Today's Crumpet Chats To is with my best friend in the polish world, Missy from Gnarly Gnails. From the minute she started blogging, everything she has done has been artistic, original and a little bit kooky. Seriously, everything she touches turns to cool.
On a personal level, we have a lot in common, and there have been many times when we have managed to keep each other sane. More than that, she inspires me. From her photo angles to her obsession with mattifying everything, and her inventive use of new techniques, her blog speaks to me like very few others.
www.gnarlygnails.com - 1582 followers
https://www.facebook.com/GnarlyGnails - 2228 followers
http://www.instagram.com/gnarlygnails - 1521 followers
http://pinterest.com/gnarlygnails/ - 9352 followers
https://twitter.com/GnarlyGnails - 1379 followers
http://gnarlygnails.tumblr.com/ - 2342 followers
http://www.bloglovin.com/gnarlygnails - 770 followers
On a daily basis, Missy's is one of the 3 blogs I read if I only have 5 minutes, and 9 times out of 10, you'll find me cursing her with a "damn girl, how the hell did you think of that?". She's awesome. Here we go. (Remember, there will be some ooooold manis in here too!)
What’s your earliest polish memory
As long as I can remember, I have been drawn to cosmetics of all types. I used to do a lot of freelance makeup artistry, and as a teenager I worked in the cosmetics department of our local drugstore. I can even recall being in 5th grade and being asked (more like told) to go to the restroom and remove the makeup from my face. I was mad! However, my earliest and fondest memory of polish is of my grandmother. She was (and still is to the this day) an AVON lady and I always loved going to their house and helping her on her delivery runs and sitting down with her customers while they scoured each new book and those people decided what they wanted to buy. My grandmother always seemed to be in a constant state of pinkish/mauve/rose nail polish wearing and I always wanted to paint my nails when I was visiting!
What was the polish that started it all for you
I would say it was Butter London's Henley Regatta. I caught a glimpse of it on a friend of mine one day and loved it so much!
Later that month she actually passed it on to me!
When did it go from enjoyment to full on polishaholic-ness / obsession
Immediately. It went from me liking a polish so much that it spawned a massive obsession right away.
I was buying 20+ polishes a week that first month or two.
How many polishes do you own
Its under 1000 I THINK. I have 3 Melmers and a display cube. None of the drawers are totally full, but I also have a large box off to the side full of untrieds and another shelving unit on my workstation of immediate untrieds I want to use.
I venture to say its about 700 or 800.
If there was a fire and you could save only one polish, what would it be
To be honest, if there was a fire I think this place would blow before I had a chance to pick one. But if there WAS time, it would be A England Saint George. I've had it over a year and it is still my favorite of any polish ever.
Which is your favourite brand and why
I'll say overall its probably Illamasqua. And if I could afford them at any whim I fancied, they would be the one taking up the most space hands down. The formula is never anything short of perfection bottle after bottle after bottle.
Which brand do you own the most of
I'm sure it must be Sinful Colors. I have a near entire drawer of them. As a polish addict, I sometimes need that "instant gratification" - and the closest place I can achieve that to my house is Walgreens. If I don't find one thing in there but I'm dying to buy SOMETHING, I will pick some random polish up in that line and bring it home.
As a polish wearer, what’s the best tip you’ve picked up along the way
I see a lot of tips, some work for me, some don't. I think the most obvious is to moisturize! Whether your hands and nails are under macro-like scrutiny or just regular ole hands with polish, it is so nice to have good skin and cuticles. Nothing grosses me out more than ragged bitten gross finger skin - and I used to be one of those people!
Do you also have a day job
Nooooo. But I need to. I am lucky to have a fantastic partner who encourages and supports my crazy hobbies and ventures and we are both fortunate enough to live without a lot of needs.
When and why did you decide to start a blog
This happened within about 2 weeks of becoming extremely obsessed with polish. While shopping with a friend, and her noticing a lot of polish in my cart, she asked me if I was going to start blogging, and the thought had never occured to me until then.
But basically, before that night was over, I had secured a blog name and was working on the details of it! As to why I did it.... I think I just had a need to reach out and share my love for polish and hoped someone else was out there reading! Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to buy ALOT of polish! Like hey Im a blogger, i NEED to buy this, for "business".
What was the goal for the blog – what did you want to achieve
I didn't start with any goals, except maybe to just master nail art. As an artistic person, I was excited to have a new outlet to do art on and my only real starting goal was to get inspired and keep it all somewhere. I certainly didn't have aspirations to be anything special or have any of the success I do today!
Did you have an idea in your head of how successful you hoped it would be
Nope! I mean, I think in a way we all hope we pick something up and end up being the master of its domain. But I've picked up alot of things in my life (which my boyfriend would love to attest to!) and never really followed through with them. This is the first thing I've stuck with and never tired of, and it may possibly be in part due to how well I seem to have taken to it, at least in my own eyes!
Does the blog as it is now match your vision for it, or are there changes you want to make / has it ended up going in a totally different direction
It has undergone changes since it has started, but I think its underlying theme has always been the same, which was just to channel my weird and strange interests into nail art. I think as of today my blog is a little more clean and mainstream than I myself am, but sometimes you have to adapt to the masses, or you possibly end up adapting without realizing it. In that sense I have yet to reach that final stage of appearance on the blog that is fully ME. But the content is always 100% me and my style.
How did you come up with the blog name
I usually pull my ideas from pop culture and my need to make everything either rhyme, be symmetrical or start with the same sound. I pretty much came up with words for nails or polish and then thought of things that would go with those. I knew it had to say nails so people would know what it was ABOUT, then I think I ended up with Gnarly because I am from California and that was just a word we said ALL THE TIME when i was a kid. But, as with everything in my life, I had to make it stand out, so i went from Nails to Gnails. And most people never get that part right.
Why do YOU think people read your blog
I am always baffled that they DO! My ideas and content can be kind of all over the place in terms of art, swatching and content in general, so I guess it wouldn't be to pinpoint one thing they come for, but maybe that they just like the variety? And the tattoos.
Which social media platform is your fastest growing and why do you think that is / do you notice different trends across the different platforms
I'd say its Instagram. I grow fast there, I didn't realize it was so much easier for people to click like and click follow than it was to comment on blogs or follow and read blogs. I grow fast on facebook too but Instagram is the new it thing on the block so I guess it makes sense to do well there more than anywhere else. I do like tumblr for the nailart feature tag, so I try to post my art mani's there too, but I dont notice a big jump in my followers there most of the time.
the difference a year makes :)
Tell me what you remember about your first post
I dont know how most people start their blog, but mine was a boring little bit about myself and what I wanted the blog content to be about.
The usual "HI, here I am world! Is anyone out there?" type of thing.
Do you remember the first post where you thought “yes, that’s a great post”
Oh, of course! It was my SECOND post! Where I splattered red paint on my nails and said Happy Friday the 13th! I thought I was so clever.
Has your blog gone through phases / cycles that you can identify?
I think its always going through one thing or another. At first I was just trying to find my way, then I found my way and I was trying to improve other things like photo quality and posing, or better nail care, appearance...it's always something and I am always trying to evolve and makes things better and different. I can't stay stagnant doing the same tired gradient day in and day out and feel like I'm advancing or improving.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt
Accepting the things I cannot change. Its corny but its true. I have learned first and foremost to stop comparing myself to others because it will only disappoint me. I used to be so hard on myself about why I didn't have more followers or better/longer nailbeds...I mean its crazy how hard us women can be on ourselves sometimes. The world keeps turning because we are all so diverse and I am trying daily to embrace my differences from others instead of trying so hard to be like them. Oh and also to never ever throw out a polish because its thick or dried up!
If only I'd known then...
If you were starting your blog again, what tips would you give yourself
I did a little research on blogging before I jumped in, so I don't think I have a TON of regrets, but I do have SOME.
So research - see what other bloggers are saying is important, like a good cuticle cleanup, and good cuticles!
Also good photography and clear, well-lit photos! I wouldn't have shot photos with busy backgrounds or had such wonky poses.
Which post are you proudest of
My Floral Grunge. I remember showing it to Debbie before I posted it and she loved it so much, which is always nice when you know you like a thing a whole lot but then someone else does, too!
The biggest joy to me as a blogger is when anyone likes what I have done so much that they want to re-create it.
That manicure spawned at least 10 people showing me their own versions of it, which was a HUGE compliment to me!
Which post is your most popular
The artwork/tattoo manicure that was part of the 31 Day Challenge in late 2012. That is my most viewed post outside of giveaway and swatch posts.
Where do you see the blog in a year
i dont like to think of those things! I stay within a 1 to 2 month timeframe of ideas for the blog and I don't move out of that bubble.
I have challenges I participate in every month and things I plan out for the coming month that I want to work on, my own personal theme weeks or content ideas, and I don't veer past those ideas. I find it helps me not go crazy with deadlines and brain drain me. Thats the sort of thing that makes me start feeling like the blog is running me instead of the other way around.
Do you feel you have a responsibility as a blogger?
I feel I do as far as being honest. I don't ever want someone to think I am sugar coating my words to make anyone look good because they gave me a free product. I will not agree to review a product I dont like or dont think fits my blogs content and I will always be honest (in a nice way of course) about everything I do and show on my blog. Though I do realize that we are all different, and what does and doesn't work for one won't be the case for all. So I try to keep opinions to myself unless I really feel it needs to be addressed. There are opinions and there are facts, and as a blogger I think my responsibility is to provide facts.
How many hours a week go into your blog
Like...90% of them? I don't work...i spend most of my free time doing my nails, taking pictures of my nails, editing photos, writing blog posts, proofreading those posts, scheduling those posts and then reading other blogs and participating in several polish groups and forums I am apart of. I like to keep up with whats new, but I am in no way on top of it all, and that seems to be the perfect balance for me
How “hard” do you work at improving your skills
Day to day, not very. But sometimes inspiration will strike and it will make some improvement either on the blog in general or in my nail appearance. It may be a technique or new idea for content...it just happens when it happens, I don't ever force it or sit around thinking up ways to be awesome.
How do you stay motivated / inspired
Reading other blogs. Googling weird things. Talking to polish friends. It is hard for me to stay motivated. I am prone to depression and laziness, its no lie. Sometimes getting out of bed is hard enough for me. But setting small goals and having challenges and minor deadlines I know I need to get to each week motivates me. If I didn't have reviews and obligations or challenges, I don't know that I would have more than 2 posts a week!
How do you plan your blogging schedule (if you do)
I used to keep a calendar of things that I needed to do every single day. Talk about overwhelming!
Nowadays I keep a small list on my computer of upcoming challenges I might be involved in, ideas of things I want to do and a basket on my desk of things I need to review. Thats the simplest I can get and still be functional.
What frustrates you about being a blogger
Having to fight for new followers. This is something we all sit around and bitch about. We want more followers.
And the minute we feel like we are getting somewhere, it feels like we have a setback. GFC gets cut from non-blogger blogs. Or google reader goes away and we lose followers through rss. It always feels like there is a hurdle. We all want to be the next big thing but there are SO many awesome blogs out there. The truth is, there are too many blogs to follow, and if you knew about them all and could follow them all, when would you have time to do anything else?! I try to relax on that need, but I frustrate myself with how hard that actually is to do.
What do you wish you were better at? (can be an art style or something else like photography)
Everything. I want everything I show to always be improving. Its not any one thing. I am proud of the content I push out, but it can always improve, and I always wish I was better at all of it!
What is your most popular social platform and why do you think that is?
Facebook. Facebook is everywhere so I am in no way surprised. I push it as the 2nd most important number to improve on after my GFC number.
It is faulty as hell when it comes to people actually SEEING your content on Facebook because it moves so fast and seems to only be beneficial if you pay for it to be, but it's everywhere and its easy for everyone to hit "LIKE" and the rest is automated. i dont know the stats, but I can only assume that the majority of FB users are on it daily, so you have that chance to get yourself out there to those fans EVERY DAY, and to get their friends to see them interacting with you and possibly jumping aboard.
Whose nails do you wish you had
Who isn't going to say Sarahs? Her nails and hands are very aesthetically pleasing. But I also love Lucy's of Lucy's Stash and Sheila's of Pointless Cafe and Nicole's of Nail Polish Wars and just about everyone who is in the Digital Dozen. Overall...I don't care for mine all that much, so this list could get long because so many I find nicer than my own!
Whose blog do you wish you had
I can't say anyone here. I don't want to be anyone else but me. I have worked my butt off to have the minimal success I enjoy now and I would never trade it to be someone else. Anyone I aspire to be more LIKE has worked probably even harder than I have for their own successes and they deserve every bit of it! There are blogs I am jealous of in content, talent and numbers, but I am happy to be me and to be where I am!
Which blogger inspires you
I look at nail art for inspiration. In that aspect, I am inspired by Emily of Very Emily, Veronica of the Gorgeois, Mishka of Accio Lacquer for her just straight up weirdness, KayleighOC for her out there designs, Lucy of Lucy's Stash for being just awesome at everything, and Debbie of the Crumpet for just being a huge overall inspiration, mentor and friend, not only to me but to the nail community in general. There are TOO many to name as inspirations, seriuously, have you seen my blogroll? Every one of those blogs inspire me in some way!
Which polish brand do you wish you owned – indie
I am so in love with the polishes I have seen from Femme Fatale, Jindie, Emily de Molly, Digital Nails and Wicked Polish. But who knows - I hope by the time this goes live I will have tried at least a couple of these!
If you were the CEO of one of the major brands, what changes would you make
Fan favorites! Bring back those hard to find sought after polishes for us!
What are you proudest of that you’ve achieved as a blogger
Overall, I think that I've stuck with this. I get tired of things easily. I know if I stick with something for more than a year, its a good chance it will be something I stick with for a really long time. I know that as time goes on and time management and life changes, this won't always be something I can do like I do now. But I am really happy that I have given it my all and still want to give it more!
You famously took quite a break from blogging – why was that ?
Mainly, I had some personal issues I needed to deal with. I was dealing with depression on a large scale, which was new to me.
I think I'd been unconsciously dealing with depression by finding things to fill a void within myself, like the blog. After awhile I suppose it wasn't filling the void well enough and I disconnected. Short form version I suppose.
What are you doing differently now you’re back, to prevent that happening again
I just take it all in stride now. I dont focus on being like someone more popular than myself. I enjoy my successes and learn from my fails and try to keep from letting insecure feelings overwhelm me, on the blog and in my personal life. I've cut a lot of strings, blogwise, to allow myself more creativity and enjoy blogging more. And I've done my best to be happy in life, though it's a struggle and something I need to work at everyday.
Is it different this time?
Blogwise it is. I am happier and more relaxed with my blog now. I still spend all my time thinking about things pertaining to it, but they are things that dont HAVE to get done, which is a huge weight off my shoulders. With my popularity comes new business partnerships as well, and those help to keep me on track.
You have an awesome quirky style – what inspires it
Who knows! I have always been a little weird I guess. Always one of the stranger ones in my circles of friends. I gravitate toward the more odd and macabre in life and I guess it shows in the blog. I dont ever think I will achieve huge success being so different than just your run of the mill normal person, but I like that I have achieved a modicum of success by being who I am. As far as any inspiration for why I am the way I am...I grew up (and by grew up I mean like my 20s...im very immature even at this ripe old age of 39) getting tattoos and being obsessed with serial killers and crime books and the weirder the better! It has all rubbed off on me and given me very interesting interests!
How do you constantly stay original
Thats hard for me to say because I don't feel like I do stay all that original most of the time. Usually when I do feel like I may have done something even remotely original, its because I've looked outside of the nail community for a clear eye. I look to things I like and I draw from those. I try not to just copy something I like on someone elses nails, but instead I will mull it over in my mind and think of a new way to do it, or I might take many ideas and meld them into one.
How is nail polish different to other obsessions you’ve had?
Its kept my interest! Its small, so its something I can hide from people! Its not a huge closet of shoes/purses and it can be inexpensive when the budget tightens up. Its a great way to feel beautiful without doing a lot of work!
Its got vast possibilities so there is never a shortage of things you can do with polish! And I love that friends and
family think I do it ok enough to want me to do it on them too instead of saying things like "oh my god why do you need all this polish?" Though i do get that sometimes!
If you could steal any one mani in the world from another blogger and claim it as your own, which one would it be?
HAHAHA! This one is funny. I'd say either Chloe's Nails matte and glossy black french manicure or anything Nailside ever invented.
Enjoy xx :)