Painted Fingertips is 3!

Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Happy Birthday to Painted Fingertips!

Scroll down for the good stuff if you aren’t interesting in some reading and reminiscing!

That’s right – today 3 years ago I made my very first post on this blog. At the time, I had no idea I’d still be going 3 years and over 500 posts later – and now, I hope I keep it up for many more years to come! I love my blog, my nail art, and my interaction with all of you. My first post ever in 2013 was something that I was very proud of at the time. I was brand new to both blogging and nail art. I thought the nail art I did was brilliant – now it seems not very exciting. I didn’t know how to clean up, pose my hand, or take a good picture. But you know what’s amazing? That was okay! We all start somewhere and despite the fact I could immediately see that I needed to work on those things, I still loved and was proud of what I was doing. I’ve been happy to see how many people can be really supportive – so go ahead and share your work, even if you’re concerned it’s not as good as others. The blogging community is always after new recruits. After all, my source here has estimated around 6.7 million people blog on sites like Blogger and Tumblr. There certainly wasn’t that many people blogging when I started so I’m really pleased to see the blogging family grow in size. One can only hope it continues to get bigger and bigger. Why not give it a try yourself? Who knows, you might just unlock a new passion!

One year later, on my very first anniversary of blogging, I shared the exact same nail art. It was a delight to see the vast improvement I’d made in just a year. I was my own worst critic and really worked on producing something I thought you all would enjoy as much as I did. A year after that, when Painted Fingertips turned 2, I shared my 10 favourite nail art looks from the preceding year. It was a good mix of freehand, water marbles, stamping and glitter and those are still 10 looks that I am very proud of. Today I am going to do the same and show you my 10 favourite looks from the past year. First, though, a bit of a more personal update that I only occasionally share over here.

The past year has been a crazy ride for me. Just a few days after my last blog birthday, I got on a plane and flew from South Africa to the USA to start working on my PhD.

We had a rough start over here. It was several months before my husband would be able to work (red tape – he has a great job now!) and my stipend wasn’t really enough for two people. We were managing, but working hard and glad to have each other. Then one day, we were mugged outside our apartment. It was a terrifying experience but we were very lucky to get away relatively unharmed. Not long after that, we found out we had a window peeper who was peeking in our bedroom window! That was rather disgusting but fortunately he was caught and wound up leaving the country (also a foreigner). In a way, it was lucky, because the management was so apologetic that this happened to us that they moved us to an upstairs apartment which opened up, and which is far nicer. Just when things seemed to be settling down – I woke up one morning with abdominal pain bad enough that I decided to go to the hospital. Turned out to be my appendix and I had to have it removed! Luckily it didn’t burst, and I just had a miserable few days recovering. I’m not superstitious, but at this point I am hoping that bad things really do happen in threes so it’ll be over now!

Things haven’t been all bad, of course. I was fortunate to find staff members in my department who were very helpful to me as a brand new international student and made sure I didn’t get too lost. We were also lucky with the apartment we rented – though smaller than what we were used to, it turned out to be very nice and in a great area. There is something hugely different about moving to another country, though – as opposed to just another city – that I am sure you can only fully understand if you’ve been through it yourself. We didn’t have a major culture shock – everything is pretty much the same – but only ‘pretty much’. There are small things that are constantly different and that take a lot of getting used to. One of the most every-day examples is not knowing what is the best place to go to buy something you need. Every store has a different name, and many brands are different, so it’s not always easy to find out! It’s all part of the adventure, of course, but this type of knowledge that you just ‘know’ from growing up in a certain place can be hard to come by. We made it through our first winter and I got to build my first snowman. We went camping in some gorgeous parks. Honestly, it feels like we are only just now settling in here and I have hopes that the coming year will be both more relaxed and more exciting as we finally manage to explore and have some fun experiences over here.

If you’ve made it through that wall of text – congrats! Time to see my top 10 nail art looks from the past year! I had a tough enough time choosing these, never mind trying to put them in any kind of order, so I’ll show you in the order they were originally posted:Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

The first one, from almost a year ago, was this sunset gradient with little dancing fireflies. It was inspired by a look by Chalkboard Nails. This was one of the few cases where I managed a really smooth gradient and I just love the overall vibe with the fireflies. Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Next up is this freehand snowflake art. This one also has a gradient background and it makes me realise it’s about time I did a gradient again! I remember loving this at the time I did it, and it was fun to paint. It’s a reminder of the icy times that’ll be here in just a few months!Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Next up, another freehand look in my Star Wars nails. Although they aren’t perfect, I think these turned out really well and I had to include them because Star Wars means something to me. I have very early memories of watching the movies with my family (before I could understand them all that well!) and they’ve been my favourite movies as long as I can remember. I loved the new one, too! These were inspired by a look by Coewless. Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

The next one is a very simple stamped look, but I just love it. From the combination of turquoise, black, and gold, to the lovely floral stamping image. This one may have been simple to create but it’s just so gorgeous! Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Is it any surprise my microbead flowers are on the list? My original microbead flowers were on last year’s list, too. These ones were even better and I liked the crisper design. As far as I know, I’m still the only one who’s been crazy enough to do full-on microbead placement! Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

This next look is again a simple stamped look but I just love it. It’s clear I love turquoise and gold together since that’s what we have again here! From the base polish to the image to the stamping itself, this one is lovely in its simplicity. Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

These freehand blue roses on a bronze base were one of my husband’s favourite nail art looks I’ve ever done. I really like the colour combination. The bronzey base is gorgeous and I had fun with the detailing on the roses. Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

This one is another stamped look, this time using one of my favourite stamping plates over a silver-and-gold base. I have far more stamped looks in this year’s top 10 than last year! I think I have not only done a lot more stamping this year, but also become better at it. Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Can you believe this is my ONLY water marble on the list? Last year my list was just about half water marbles because of the Water Marble Wednesday series I had done throughout the year. I had to include at least one this year and this Captain America water marble was the perfect choice. This also makes me realise I really need to sit down and do some water marbles again soon! Painted Fingertips | Top 10 nail arts from my third year of blogging

Last, but not least, these butterfly wings were a fan favourite and something pretty unique out of the selection I had. I filled in these stamped wings not with polish, but with colouring pencil! I saw the idea here on Piggieluv and had to try it out for myself.

Whew! What do you think of my top 10? I had a hard time picking and of course I had about 30 that I wanted to include! Was there anything else you would have added to this list?

Finally, for any of you who are still reading, a little update on what’s to come: this year, I am planning on taking part in the 31 Day Challenge again! I did it in 2013 and 2014 but was only able to do a few of the prompts in 2015 because of my move. I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete every day since I do have some classes starting up in September, but I’ll try. I was on the fence for a while because I wasn’t sure if I could keep the same prompts interesting enough, but then I decided to double challenge myself: I am going to try to complete the challenge with freehand in every single nail art. Some will be entirely freehand, some will combine this with other techniques, but that’s the plan. Freehand does take longer than many other techniques so I might be forced to do something else here and there, but I’ll try! After that, I don’t have much specific planned – let’s see where the next year takes us!