Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorites of 2012/The Year in Review

Hey everyone - it's that time of year again. Time to read everyone's "best of" posts for the year! I actually love these kinds of lists because I feel like they remind me of things I totally forgot about. Here's my list of the things that (I think) mattered most in the nail world.

Indies. 2012 was by far and away the year of the indie brands! I remember searching Etsy for polish a year or so ago and I found only one or two, and now you have hundreds of pages of results. My personal favorites are Lynnderella (yes, still!), Candy Lacquer, JENsations (best bottle shape), Darling Diva Polish, I Love Nail Polish (best packaging), and Black Cat Lacquer. Of course, there's dozens of brands I haven't even tried yet but these proved to be my favorites and will be the ones I absolutely return to in 2013. Here's a handy collage of 9 of my indie manis this year:

Nail art, which suddenly became huge this year! I know when I first became interested in polish a few years ago, my friends were astonished by stamping. Now, I see even Facebook friends trying their hand at nail art, and the amount of nail blogs has gone through the roof! I really loved the trends of chevron, kitchen sink manis, and dots, but the creativity I've seen has been spectacular.

This leads to my next point, where did all this come from? Social media. Pinterest, especially, which introduced even the "layman" to nail polish, nail art, and nail blogs. What would have required searching through google and blogs now is easily found through a Pinterest search. Since most of us are visual, it's much easier to search for a tutorial in a graphic than to try finding written instructions somewhere. YouTube was big for tutorials as well and Twitter was big in getting lots of us together to chat about nail polishes. Instagram blew up as a way to share manicures and even just everyday photos, which reminded all of us - oh! hey! Those huge bloggers we follow have lives beyond nail polish, and now I have photographic evidence.

You may have also noticed, glitter made a huge leap onto the scene this year! YAY! Indies helped us become familiar with glitter beyond clear bases or single colors or shapes or sizes and into realms of creativity: matte glitter, shapes of glitter, rainbows of glitter, shimmers incorporated with glitter, etc. Now, the mainstream polish brands are starting to take notice, as evidenced by China Glaze's recent Cirque du Soleil collection which featured a black and white matte glitter as well as a multicolored glitter in a white base.

Pets seemed to make a huge leap into our lives this year.  I don't recall hearing about each other's pets and animals so much before this year of blogging but now I know who has what pets, their names, even some of the pets' preferences! This is probably because of social media but I love that this community seems to have a stereotype: we are all animal-crazed ladies and gentlemen!

Speaking of gentlemen... male bloggers! This still isn't as common as females polishing their nails, but more and more men are making the leap into nail polish, which I think is a great thing. We all have our comfort zones, expectations, etc. and it's great to challenge our minds not to consider nail polish as feminine, but as a form of expression for anyone. It's weird to us because it's unknown, and the more we see of it, the less strange it becomes in society.

Swaps and, by extension, random acts of kindness. With polish becoming so much more "mainstream" and popular, it seems like everyone had polish to swap or trade or talk about with friends and try out together. I know more than ever I've found people in my life interested in how I did my nails or what was on them, and as a result, more people wanted to share in this passion. This year I had so many swaps with people and especially RAOKs from people around the world who sent me polish just because they knew I'd like it or couldn't find it myself. I can't even mention them all here because I know I'll leave someone out - there were that many! It really renewed my faith in humanity (I know this seems like a huge exaggeration but seriously) and this community because...

Drama seemed to be a big thing this year. It's really easy on the internet to misconstrue people's words because there's no body language or tone to accompany it. I admit, even I am guilty to jumping to conclusions because of how I read something and not how the person intended it. There was also plenty of brand-related drama, such as Ciate trademarking techniques started by bloggers, companies using bloggers' photos without permission or credit, copycatting left and right, you get the idea. I've done my best to ignore most of this because negativity does absolutely nothing but complicate my life and, in blogging and in my "real life", I've cut out a lot of unnecessary attention to drama. Easier said than done for most of us, but in order to keep this passion alive, I can't let every little thing bring me down. I encourage each of us to remember the sense of community we have in the best and worst of times, and to see things through other lenses, because sometimes we can misread or misinterpret something innocent. Respectful conversation is what it's all about.

Here's to more trends, more creativity, more love, and more glitter in 2013.


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