It was 3 years ago today that I started Swatch And Learn. Back then, I had no idea how much joy it would bring me or how much I would grow as a blogger and as a person.
Although I initially began blogging because I enjoyed trying new beauty products and because I’m passionate about writing, looking back now, I started this project to give myself some direction and hope.
You see, a few months before this blog was born, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It shattered my world.
Blogging was a productive distraction. It kept my mind busy, away from negative, depressing thoughts. And it also forced me to create goals for myself that essentially put me in the mindset of thinking about the future.
(When my dad passed away, I got into a funk where I didn’t care if tomorrow never came. And I was always surprised when I’d wake up the next morning. I felt as though life shouldn’t go on without my father. But it did.)
Back in 2010, I alternated blogging days with my friend, Fiona. Then, after a year, she quit because she no longer enjoyed blogging. (It’s not for everyone. In fact, some people think it’s all fun and games. It’s not.)
Although it was challenging to go from having a blogging partner to sailing the ship solo, I did it, and I loved every minute of it!
I stretched my creative legs, experimented, and made tons of changes to the layout, the focus, the social media, etc. It was really fun and exciting, but it definitely was a lot of work.
I believe that the best things in life are the ones you have to work hard for and that aren’t just handed to you with a silver spoon. Putting in the effort makes the potential reward that much sweeter. And even if you fail, there’s something to be said about trying. (I’d rather try and fail than to never try. After all, if you never try, you fail 100% of the time. At least if you do try, your odds of succeeding are higher.)
When I look back at my early reviews on here, I smile. I’m not ashamed of my past. If anything, I feel very proud when I remember being a wet-behind-the-ears blogger. (Click here to see my very first review, and click here to see the very first blog post on Swatch And Learn!)
Those old posts are like breadcrumbs – my trail. You can see my progression over the years, and it gives me hope that I’ll continue to improve in the coming years as well. The day we stop learning is our creative death.
Where I Am Today
Here are some quick stats on Swatch And Learn (July 25, 2010 to July 24, 2013):
- Visits: 1,444,360
- Pageviews: 2,770,981
- Unique Visitors: 966,193
- These are some of the posts with the most pageviews:
I have a lot to be thankful for. Blogging gave me the incredible opportunity to meet Suzi Weiss-Fischmann (the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President, and Artistic Director of OPI) on October 14, 2012.
Then, I was invited to attend an exclusive OPI launch party and meet Suzi Weiss-Fischmann a second time on March 18, 2013!
Letting Things Roll Off This Turtle’s Back
Since blogging, I’ve received e-mails from people telling me that my nails aren’t shaped evenly and that my painting skills suck.
Regardless of what negativity is directed at me, I am truly happy with where I am today as a blogger – imperfections and all. Why? I developed a strong mantra that reminds me that being human is okay: Happiness is more important than perfection.
I read somewhere that “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Being happy means that you’ve decided to overlook the imperfections.”
Although I blog to interact with readers, to share my love for beauty products (especially nail polish), and to challenge myself to stay creative, I also blog to drive home that important message that I feel a lot of people forget because there’s just so much pressure to be ‘perfect’.
There are days when I struggle to stay positive and to find my own happiness. That’s also why I blog. I want Swatch And Learn to feel like a place you go where you can just be happy, even if it’s just for the 2 minutes you read a post. It’s still something.
I love encouraging my readers to try new shades, nail art, and techniques. And if you follow me on any social-media platform, you’ll no doubt see that I don’t just like the nail looks that are ‘perfectly’ executed. I also like the ones where the person painted all over their cuticles. To me, the latter actually shows more courage, and I admire courageous people. It says, “Yeah, so I painted my cuticles. I still loved this manicure. It made me happy, and I’m proud to show it to the world!” I am attracted to people with a strong sense of self. But I’m even more attracted to people who strive to be happy.
Listen, there will always be people who try to knock us down. There’s never any shortage of those types. But, as you get older, you learn to let certain things roll off your back as though you’re a turtle who just got your shell waxed.
Swatch And Learn has been my vehicle to reach out to people to let them know that their voice is heard, that their creativity is appreciated, and that no matter what your socio-economic status is, we will always have some common ground.
Although standing out is fun, the most meaningful changes are done as a collective. And I feel like the nail-polish community is roaring – we are strong and proud!
I feel very happy to have ‘met’ my amazing readers. You come from all different walks of life, with different educational backgrounds, different religious affiliations, different political philosophies, and different upbringing.
Through our differences, we have learned a lot. Through our similarities, we have also learned a lot.
Thank you for visiting my blog! Your support, your love, and your comments motivate me, inspire me, and bring me immense happiness!
To some, this might be ‘just another beauty blog’, but to me, it’s much more than that. It literally lifted me up from the depression I felt when my father passed away. It reminded me that there are good people in the world, and that even if we have to part with those we love, we should still look for love and kindness in others.
This is a lesson that money can’t buy. So that’s why I think blogging is truly a blessing for me, and it’s one I never want to take for granted.
Success can be defined by many different things, depending on who you ask. Happiness is the mark of success for me! And I try to remember that success is not about how you got to the top, but who you brought with you.
I appreciate your participation in my blogging journey. And I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us in the future!
P.S. To celebrate my 3-year blogiversary, I will be having some nail-polish giveaways! Check back tomorrow for the first one. 😉