For all business inquiries, please e-mail Mary: SwatchAndLearn [at] gmail [dot] com

About Swatch And Learn

Swatch And Learn is a Canadian beauty blog featuring original content, honest reviews, nail-polish swatches, nail art, tutorials, and more, brought to you by Mary!

It began out of a long-time passion for testing out beauty products and letting the imagination run wild with creativity.

July 25, 2010 to August 7, 2011

I alternated blogging days with Fiona to ensure that Swatch And Learn would have new content posted daily. (Click here to see all of Fiona’s blog posts. You can also click here to see all of my blog posts.)

August 8, 2011 to Present

I deliver quality content and maintain a consistent publishing schedule of 4 to 7 blog posts per week.

Carrying the flaming torch solo, while making bold changes to the blog, I plan to continue taking Swatch And Learn to the next level!

Social Media & Smorgasbord Sundays

While working on the blog solo, I completely changed the look and feel of the site, introduced a new feature called Smorgasbord Sundays, and joined many social-media platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, beautylish, Bloglovin’, Snapchat (username: swatchandlearn), etc. (Before, Swatch And Learn was just on Twitter.)

SwatchAndLearn Pinterest         SwatchAndLearn Facebook         SwatchAndLearn Instagram         SwatchAndLearn Twitter         SwatchAndLearn Google Plus

SwatchAndLearn Snapchat

For all business inquiries, please e-mail Mary: SwatchAndLearn [at] gmail [dot] com

Features, Collaborations & Giveaways

During the time I’ve been able to stretch my creative legs, I’ve been featured prominently in many respected sources including Stylelist, Bon Appetit, About.com, beautylish, Zoya’s official blog, Trend Hunter, Sephora’s YouTube channel, INGLOT Toronto’s website, other people’s blogs, etc. I’ve also been mentioned in tweets by companies including OPI, China Glaze, Trade Secrets, Zoya, beautylish, Cake Beauty, Illamasqua, etc. To see some of the places I’ve been featured, check out the Blog News section.

It was also during my time running the blog solo that I developed strong relationships with PR firms and various companies to help promote products and brands in an honest fashion. I’ve also taken the initiative to reach out to companies and collaborate with them for various giveaways on my blog.

Some Media Launches I Attended & Want to Highlight

Recent Achievements & Published Features

I Love My Readers & Their Voices Matter

I hope that my readers will come to see Swatch And Learn as a fun place to share opinions with fellow beauty lovers (or addicts as we like to poke fun at ourselves…hehe!).

Building a hospitable community that’s open to discussion and respectful of different opinions is important to me.

So, come stay a while. Let me share my experience with you about those overly hyped products, those inexpensive wonders, those Leave-Only-Lint-in-My-Pockets brands, and those Holy Grail items I’ve come across.

Always feel free to leave a comment. I reply to each as soon as I can because I love my readers, and your voice matters!

About Mary

(Editor and Owner of SwatchAndLearn.com)

For all business inquiries, please e-mail Mary: SwatchAndLearn [at] gmail [dot] com

SwatchAndLearn MaryFrom an early age, I was a nailphile. (The first photograph of me as a newborn in the hospital shows me spreading my fingers and displaying my nails for the camera, so maybe it was a sign of things to come!)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by nail polish because, to me, it’s much more than a beauty product. Nail lacquer gives people a voice, and it’s an economical way to follow fashion trends, challenge the status quo, and boost spirits.

Despite not being a nail-industry professional, I made time for my hobby and pursued my passion for nail polish and blogging. (Blogging isn’t my full-time job, but I put a lot of dedication into it and treat it like a second job that I’m also passionate about!)

I took my passion to the next level when I began SwatchAndLearn.com in late July 2010.

Since then, I’ve been blessed with many incredible opportunities like attending media launches for OPI and Nicole by OPI collections, meeting Suzi Weiss-Fischmann several times, collaborating with top public-relations firms and companies, being featured in printed publications, and executing giveaways for my awesome readers, just to name a few.

Although I started SwatchAndLearn.com to express myself, the most rewarding development is being surrounded by encouraging, whip-smart, and creative readers who never fail to inspire and uplift me. It’s an honour to be part of the nail community!

Quick Swatch And Learn Statistics

July 25, 2010 – March 19, 2013

  • Total Pageviews: 2,423,367
  • Unique Pageviews: 2,069,955
  • Total Visits: 1,239,094
  • Top 10 Countries Visitors Come From:
  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. France
  6. Singapore
  7. Germany
  8. Brazil
  9. Philippines
  10. Russia
SwatchAndLearn Readership July 25, 2010 to March 19, 2013

Map overlay showing visitorship from July 25, 2010 to March 19, 2013


27 thoughts on “About/Contact

  1. Maria

    Hi, I just cannot remember where and when I found your blog. Maybe when I looked for swatch pictures of OPI German Collection?! Anyway, I have found you now and I will continue visiting your blog. I really like it. Now this is set as a favourite!
    By the way – where are you from?

    All the best,

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Maria!

      I’m glad that you found me – thanks for being a new follower! :) Hope that you’ll leave me more comments in the future. I just love interacting with readers.

      I’m from Canada! 😀

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Louise!

      I like buying polish from small local beauty-supply stores, but for the bigger stores that are well known, I like to shop at Trade Secrets and Sally Beauty Supply.

      However, years ago when I used to order polishes online all the time, I would turn to etailers like Trans Design, but they were in the U.S. You really have to order a lot to make the shipping worthwhile.

  2. Tess

    Hi Mary!

    WOW, what a beautiful site you have! I too am a beauty follower, and found you searching for OPI swatches. I’m also a new blogger, and hope to feel confident to share my site with others soon. Thank you for the wonderful content! {{Would love to chat personally about blogging in general if you have time:-)}}

    Question for you … do you feel there’s a superior nail polish brand? I’ve always thought it was OPI, and continue to grow my collection of shades. But I recently bought “Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie”, and it’s the 1st time I’ve been disappointed in OPI! This just does not wear well on me, and chips within a day. Are there different formulations of this polish that would cause that vs. other OPI’s I’ve liked, “Pinking of You” for example, that seems to wear really well? Appreciate your advice!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Tess!

      Thank you so much! :) I’m glad that you like it and that we share the same interests. It’s fun to be able to learn from each other, isn’t it?

      How are you liking the blogging experience so far? Hope that you’re having a blast. When you do feel comfortable sharing, please do send me a link. I’d love to see what you’ve been up to.

      Of course I have time to converse with you. I may not always be able to reply right away, but I make it a point to reply to all the comments left on my blog to show readers that their voices are heard.

      To answer your question, no, I don’t think that there is one superior nail brand. After having tried numerous over several years, I’ve realized that price doesn’t necessarily correlate with quality. Instead, I go for colour. If I love the colour and the formula wears well, that’s all that matters. Some of my cheaper polishes wear just as well as more expensive ones.

      However, my favourite brands (I have many) off the top of my head are OPI, China Glaze, Nubar, Zoya, and Essie. But there are so many other brands I adore, too, like Cult Nails.

      Hmm…did you use the same base and top coats with Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie? Sometimes it can be the combination that causes your polish to wear poorly. Other times, it’s the actual formula. Not all OPI polishes have the same formula, so some will wear better than others.

  3. Clariza

    Hello:) I’m very very new to polishing my own nails. I never thought I was capable of doing so myself but I am and have been told they look “professionally” done which makes me so proud of myself but I must say it wouldn’t have happened without the swatches and tutorials/blogs I’ve come across and I’m so very happy I came across yours!!!!! I’m coming up on 3 months of doing my own nails and I’m probably older than you, lol!! In in my 30s :). I’m looking forward to seeing how I progress over the next year! Thanks!!!!! :)

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Clariza!

      I’m proud of you for attempting it even. :) That’s the first step. After that, you realize that you CAN do it, and then it makes you want to try to do even more designs.

      Aww…thank you for the sweet comment. You probably would’ve happened even if you didn’t find my blog. There are soooo many talented beauty bloggers out there. You would’ve stumbled upon one of them sooner or later. 😉

      Don’t let my immature face fool you! We are actually close in age.

  4. Angela

    Hi Mary!

    I hope you are having a wonderful late Sunday/early Monday! I just stopped mainly to say that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog and all the hard work you’ve put into it. It truly shows in each and every post you do. Keep up the GREAT work doll!


    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Angela!

      Aww…that is incredibly sweet of you. Your encouraging words means so much to me because I can tell that it’s heartfelt. :) Thank you! It’s readers like yourself that make blogging so rewarding.

  5. Bathelen


    Just wanted to say yours was one of the first blogs I properly followed and is what gave me the inspiration to start my own blog!

    It’s just a little thing just now, and I’m not exactly talented but I wanted to become a bigger part of the nail polish blogging community, especially to represent the UK side of things, and I enjoy sharing the things I love about polish and nail art that most of my friends don’t appreciate!

    I’d love it if you’d have a nosy at my blog – it’s not much but I’m building it up!


    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Bathelen!

      That’s really sweet of you. I’m honoured that you think so highly of me and my blog. And I’m excited to see that you started your own blog!

      I took a look around, and I love the nail designs – left a couple of comments. :) Keep up the amazing work!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Grace!

      Sometimes I try putting a shiny top coat on the Liquid Sands on a nail wheel. But on my own nails, I really love the gritty texture. :)

  6. mario

    Hi Mary,

    Love you’re Blog!
    We’ve just launched Valia – a wellness company and we think your blog readers would really learn a lot from it and appreciate knowing about are brand. Our products are based on the natural aesthetic of Asian beauty, with top of the line ingredient and rich in botanical that restore and repair the skin. Also our supplement Bloom is very special, helping to break down fat cells in foods to help improve the digestion system.
    Link to our website: http://www.valiaskincare.com/
    We would love to send you samples of our products to try, and maybe write a review about them.
    Thanks, we’ll love your feed!

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Mario!

      Thanks for getting in touch with me. I’ll check out your website, and I’ll contact you if I’m interested. Thanks for thinking of me! :)

  7. Jennifer

    I just wanted to say that I just found your blog and I really enjoy all the posts you’ve made. I went and started reading all your past posts! Your herringbone tutorial is fantastic!

    I’m new to the nail polish hobby (just a hobby?) and I was trying to research base coats for polish. Do you think you can do a base coat review/tutorial? The reason is that I’ve got a bunch of base coats and strengtheners and I’m not sure what to put on when. It’s confusing for a newbie! Fillers? Sticky? Colored? Confused!

    Also, if you can point me to some sort of terminology list I’d appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Jennifer!

      Thank you for enjoying my blog so much and letting me know! I really appreciate how you’ve taken the time to read my older posts as well. Each one, I’ve put a lot of love and thought into, so it makes me feel amazing knowing that even if the older posts feature products that are no longer “new”, you’re still getting a lot of use out of them. (While I enjoy blogging, I also love knowing that readers find my posts helpful!)

      So far, my favourite base coat is actually a strengthener: the OPI Nail Envy (Original Formula) – it’s great at shielding natural nails against stains, and it leaves a healthy-looking shine to the nails at the same time, while it also somehow leaves nails looking great, not dry or brittle.

      I’ve reviewed some actual base coats on the blog, but I can’t remember them all off the top of my head, but here are some.

      OPI Natural Nail Base Coat: http://www.swatchandlearn.com/opi-natural-nail-base-coat-review-pictures/

      Nubar Foundation Base Coat: http://www.swatchandlearn.com/nubar-foundation-base-coat-review-pictures/

      Orly Bonder Base Coat: http://www.swatchandlearn.com/orly-bonder-rubberized-basecoat-review-pictures/

      Nail Tek Foundation II Base Coat: http://www.swatchandlearn.com/nail-tek-foundation-ii-review-pictures/

      You should apply base coats onto your natural nail prior to apply your coloured nail polish, followed by the top coat. You can use strengtheners as base coats, but I don’t think all of them will prevent staining. Base coats that are milky are great to use under sheer polishes and neons when you need a bright base to help the coloured polish stand out. Ridge fillers are ideal if you have major ridges and want a smooth finished look, however, I have ridges, and I find that most non-filler base coats work just as well.

      I hope that helps! (Feel free to ask me more questions.)

  8. Traci

    Hi Mary! I was interested in your opinion and personal results with long time use of OPI Nail Envy. My nails have started seriously peeling so I was researching products to correct this problem. I’ve used Nail Envy for years and read in many reviews that peeling can occur after extended use due to the formaldehyde in the product. This surprised and disappointed me since this has been my “go to” treatment and base coat. Have you had any issues? Thanks for your help :)

    1. Mary S. Post author

      Hey Traci!

      Hmm, my nails tend to be very tough naturally, and I haven’t noticed any peeling or changes in my nails at all.

      OPI Nail Envy has a Formaldehyde-Free version. It’s called OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener For Sensitive & Peeling Nails. It comes in a white and orange box. Have you tried it? Maybe it could solve your peeling issues? (I haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend it.)

      1. Traci

        Thanks for the fast reply and suggestion, Mary. While looking into my “Envy” problem, I also read the reviews about the peeling version of the product. Many reported negative results stating it caused further peeling and also when used as a basecoat, made the polish slide off the nail! To add insult to injury, my index finger just peeled back under a Sally Hansen Miracle Cure as I type this :(

        Do you know of any other strengtheners or treatments for peeling nails? I love your blog and the time you take to test each product and trust your judgment!

        1. Mary S. Post author

          Oh no! That’s terrible how a product that’s meant to help the situation actually made it worse.

          I haven’t used many strengtheners except for Nail Tek Foundation II or III. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. It’s not bad. I didn’t notice any difference, but then again, I think my nails are just strong due to genetics. While Nail Tek was okay, I wasn’t wowed by the results (like I was with OPI Nail Envy, the original formulation) enough to keep using it.

          A couple of my friends who have peeling and splitting nail issues use Duri Rejuvacote, and they’ve raved about it. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t personally recommend it. Also, there are apparently 2 versions of it. One is a formaldehyde-free formulation.

          I hope this helps and that you’re able to find a good solution!

          1. Traci

            Thanks for much for the recommendations! I will definitely try Duri Rejuvocote. I really miss my pretty, long nails!

            The lesson I learned from this….research first! Plus now I know why they make OPI Nail Envy in a Maintenance formula 😉


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