Sunday, 16 June 2013

Crumpet Chats To .... Smashley Sparkles

Hi Goddesses

Today it's the turn of Ashley from Smashley Sparkles to be my special guest.   Ashley has become one of my best blogging friends - partly because she's in the same time zone as me!

I first became aware of her as a champion water marbler, but she has some awesome general art skillz too :)  As ever, the interview is peppered with photos from her blogging history, including, up first, some of her earliest ones to give us all hope :)

Here are her stats and how you can follow her, followed by a pic of the lovely lady herself :)

Instagram:  (335 followers)
Pinterest: (838 followers)

Twitter: (792 followers)

What’s your earliest polish memory

This is a tough one!  I think I have always loved polish, and as a kid I used some of those polishes where you can paint it on and peel it off instead of removing it properly.  Maybe that's what started my bad habit of peeling off my polish when it starts lifting!

one of her first manis - already flawless!

What was the polish that started it all for you

One of the first OPI polishes I got was Who Are You Wearing?, a gorgeous shimmering blurple.  This was my first venture into quality nail polishes, and who knew that I had picked one which would one day be VHTF!  And I still have it, yay!

When did it go from enjoyment to full on polishaholic-ness / obsession

I was looking through a hair magazine at work a couple years back and I saw an ad for some new OPI DS polishes, specifically OPI DS Temptation (which is a beautiful purple glitter, for those of you who don't know.).  I became obsessed with finding it and called the beauty supply store a couple times a week asking if they got them yet, to the point where they knew me by name, haha.  It was all down hill from there!

How many polishes do you own

Somewhere around 425.

If there was a fire and you could save only one polish, what would it be

Oh my gosh, what a terrible scenario!!!!!  I'm stressed out just thinking about how to answer this!  Haha.  I guess I would save one of my Lynnderella polishes, because they are so hard to replace.  Either The Glittering Crowd, or Magic Fairy Stars.

Which is your favourite brand and why

I tend to think of China Glaze as my favorite brand.  I think this is because they come out with more of the bright colors that I love than other brands, and in general their formulas are pretty good.

Which brand do you own the most of

Definitely China Glaze.  They make up more than 1/4 of my whole collection.

As a polish wearer, what’s the best tip you’ve picked up along the way

The absolute best thing that I learned was to use a brush dipped in acetone for clean up.  I used to just paint my nails all crazy and wait for the bits on my skin to peel off in the shower or when I washed my hands.  Clean up makes your manicures look soooo much more professional. 


When and why did you decide to start a blog

I decided to start my blog in October of 2011, and ended up doing my first post in November.  I started it because after my hubby and I got engaged (in Feb of 2011) I was much more motivated to keep my nails looking nice... showing off the ring and all.  I started delving more into nail art, and the girls at the salon where I was working encouraged me to make a blog and share my art with the world.  So with their support, Smashley Sparkles was born!

What was the goal for the blog – what did you want to achieve

I think my only goal was to share and document the nail art I had done, and maybe have some interaction with readers through comments and social media.  Because in the long run it really is about interacting with people who share my passion!

Did you have an idea in your head of how successful you hoped it would be

Of course I wanted it to be successful... I read blogs like Let Them Have Polish, Chalkboard Nails, and Chloe's Nails and told myself, one day my nail art will be that good and people will love me!  Haha.

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

I feel that I am still doing what I set out to do, since I tend to focus mostly on nail art.  I am constantly striving to improve my art skills though!

How did you come up with the blog name

I really wanted to use my nickname, which is Smashley of course, and I also wanted to incorporate my love of glitter and shiny things.  So for the sake of alliteration, Smashley Sparkles was born!

Why do YOU think people read your blog

I don't really know how to answer this question!  I guess I think people read my blog because I'm conversational in my writing, I try to do creative and unique nail art, and I have good quality photos.

Which social media platform is your fastest growing and why do you think that is / do you notice different trends across the different platforms

Facebook does the best for me.  I think this is because its easy for people.  They're already using it every day, they don't need to go somewhere else to find out what their favorite blogs are posting.

Tell me what you remember about your first post

zoya ivanka
Well my very first post was just a short introduction post, but my first post with photos was a swatch of Zoya Ivanka.  I did my very best to have a nice clean swatch, no mess on my fingers.  I also did my best to take great photos but was less successful.  I didn't have any good lighting yet, so they aren't so color accurate.  I just remember trying very hard to emulate my favorite blogs.

Do you remember the first post where you thought “yes, that’s a great post”

I think my first awesome post was when I did my water marble with the China Glaze Poolside neons.  China Glaze even retweeted me and I almost died from excitement!

Has your blog gone through phases / cycles that you can identify?

I went through a phase where I did a lot of water marbles.  I really enjoyed doing them and people seem to enjoy seeing them.  I got out of the habit after we moved to Sweden, and now sometimes I think it's difficult to come up with unique ideas for a marble.  Maybe I should start doing them a bit more though, they were always fun!

What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt

Hmm this is another tough one!  Recently I learned the term "batching" and how it can help your tasks go faster by continuing with the same task for a while. For example, don't do nail art, take photos, edit photos, write post, because switching tasks is difficult for your brain to do. So instead do loads of art/swatches/taking photos, then do loads of editing, then do loads of posts. I suppose this only works if you are scheduling posts in advance though.  It has greatly improved my efficiency either way!

If you were starting your blog again, what tips would you give yourself

Get or make a light box, and quickly!  All your photos will look best in the sunlight though.  Use a size of photo that seems like its too big, because people probably won't click your photos to enlarge them and the big ones look more professional.

Which post are you proudest of
My studded red leather jacket mani from Digit-al Dozen Bling Week!

Which post is your most popular
My Cult Nails water marble with studs on it.

Where do you see the blog in a year

I would love to see my followers and fans continue to grow of course... I want to share my love of nail polish and nail art with the whole world!!  Haha.  I also intend to continue to improving my nail art skills!

Do you feel you have a responsibility as a blogger?

I really do!  I feel bad if I haven't made 5 posts a week, like I'm disappointing my readers!

How many hours a week go into your blog

I would say at least 25 hours a week.  It's a lot of work to keep a blog running! When you also have a full time job your spare time gets used up with blogging very quickly.

How “hard” do you work at improving your skills

I work fairly hard at this.  I am always trying new techniques or techniques I haven't mastered in the past.  If I keep trying them enough times I usually figure out how to make them work!

How do you stay motivated / inspired

I mostly stay inspired by reading a lot of other nail blogs, and magazines.  I also do several challenges, and I feel that having a bit of direction helps quite a bit for me.

How do you plan your blogging schedule (if you do)

I don't plan too much, but now that I have about three monthly challenges which have set dates for posting that sort of works itself out.  On my free days I just post whatever feels right.

Ashley's own pussycats!

Whose nails do you wish you had

I wish I had Sarah's nails, from Chalkboard Nails, or Emma's from Globe & Nail.  They both have these beautiful long nail beds, which I love. They can keep their nails on the short side but they still look long.

Whose blog do you wish you had

Chalkboard Nails for sure!  To me she is one of the most successful bloggers, and I'm super jealous that she got featured on the Today Show!!!

Which blogger inspires you

You do!  I love that you are always trying new things, working so hard for your fans, and you aren't afraid to show things that didn't turn out perfect.

Which polish brand do you wish you owned – indie

Lynnderella... Mostly because I want a lot of those and I can't afford them haha!  If I owned the brand I could have them alllllllllll!!!!

If you were the CEO of one of the major brands, what changes would you make

I think I would share blogger links on their social media more often.  Some of them do a little bit, but in my opinion it's not enough.  A great example of someone who does what I would do is Picture Polish!  They have amazing people behind their social media, they share everything.  It makes me love their brand that much more.

What are you proudest of that you’ve achieved as a blogger 

Recently I did an interview for Nail It! magazine's Bloggers You Should Know section on their website.  That felt really good.  I was also recently contacted by a smaller local magazine which was doing an article on nail art and wanted to include one of my photos.  That feels so good for me!

Is it any different being a blogger in Europe to the US?

It is!  I think it's much more expensive for me to buy new polishes here, which has slowed down my purchasing habits.  Also, it's hard to get companies to work with you because they don't want to deal with the international shopping costs when sending blogger samples.

You’re involved in a lot of challenges – why is that – what benefits do you get from it

I've sort of answered this earlier I think, but I really like the direction that I get from them.  I have so many ideas jumbled up in my head, and when I have a specific theme it helps me wade through all that and pick out some good ideas.  It also pushes me to be more creative.

Are you obsessed with your numbers, or quite laid back about it

I'm somewhere in between.  I pay attention to them, and I like to see them increasing, but I try not to let that be the end-all be-all. 

What makes your blog different to all the others out there?

I don't know that I actually have anything that sets my blog apart from all the other nail art blogs... I should have something, but maybe I don't... 

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