Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Empowered Wednesday: Jennie Shaw

Welcome back to another Empowered Wednesday Bookworms!! I've got a pretty awesome creator for you today, as she paints the books she read to life...seriously! She paints the titles of the books onto her nails with the most detail I've ever seen on the tiniest space possible! So lets get on with my feature today!

Q: Can you tell our readers about yourself and what you do?
A: I’m Jennie, and live in the country, a couple of hours north of Toronto, with two pups Pickle and Pepi, and my husband, Marc. I’m a writer, blogger, nail art enthusiast, and most importantly, a Level 10 booknerd.  

Q: How did you first get into blogging and when did you decide to take the leap and go for it?
A: I’ve been blogging for over eight years and for the last three, I’ve paired book reviews with cover-inspired nail art. In the beginning, my posts consisted mostly of funny stories and silly thoughts. After a while, I hooked up with other bloggers through weekly linkups, which quickly became the best part—connecting! I don’t have many bookish friends in my day-to-day life, and finding like-minded pals has been beyond awesome. 

Q: Who or what inspired you to do what you are doing now?
A: I was mentioned in the acknowledgements for a novel (The One that Got Away) and wanted to add something special to my review. I’d been into nail polish for a while at that point, but not much nail art (yet haha). With limited tools, I painted a little bluebird. I caught the bug after that and kept going. My skills began to improve and now I include titles when I can (which I honestly still can’t believe. I always feel so proud of myself when they’re legible and/or somewhat resembles the title’s font.) 

Q: What would be your ideal working environment?
A: I’m pretty lucky to have an ideal working environment. Marc built me an incredible nail polish rack where I can see most of my collection. A desk with a glass top (for easy clean up) faces our front yard, where we have a pond and trees for days. So I always have a great view when I’m not looking down, and lots of natural light. 

Q: How would you describe your style with blogging and Nail Art?
A: I’m not sure I have much of a style. As far as reviews go, I strive to write accessible, entertaining, and ultimately manipulative reviews that make others want to read the book. Is that bad? Haha! I’m pretty candid in person, and often times, I hear others remark that I write in a similar way to how I speak, for better or worse. ;) When it comes to bookstagrams, I often try to match the tone/vibe of the cover. For manicures that aren’t book-related, I usually gravitate towards simpler, geometric patterns. And also glitter. Because, glitter. 

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew starting out with blogging and nail art or something you could have told your past self?
A: Probably something along the lines of: “Get ready to work, girl!” I had no idea how much behind the scenes work went into blog posts. Early on, I realized that typing something off-the-cuff and pressing post didn’t result in work I could be proud of. Drafting, editing, and revising is necessary in order to truly express my opinion in a thoughtful, well written and enthusiastic way. The book manis themselves have always been challenging, but I didn’t anticipate the amount of time it would take for good pictures (oh the difficulties of shooting curved surfaces and getting each nail in focus!) and editing. So in essence, the time element. Yes, blogging is fun and rewarding, but it requires a lot of effort that nobody ever sees. 

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Reading and painting my nails, which kind of sounds insane. Haha! I don’t review every book I read (in blog form—always leave reviews for books you love on purchase sites!) and painting my nails truly is self-care. I also play tennis and go for walks with my dogs. I’m a fan of Big Brother, too, and that takes up a lot of spare time because it’s on three times a week. ;) 

Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog going?
A: Books! There’s always something new and I want to read every single one. I don’t think I’m being helpful here. Haha! No wait. I definitely keep a schedule, and it stops me from feeling overwhelmed. Each week, I know which 2-3 books I’ll be reading, and keep different TBR piles on my bookshelf for ARCs and books I’ve purchased myself. I only write a full review and paint a cover mani if I really like/love a book. Fangirl enthusiasm is a must, because of the time investment required, and staying organized keeps the pressure off so I can enjoy myself. 

Q: What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging aspect of blogging and doing nails?
A: If I feel too much pressure, my motivation drops to zero because it becomes a chore. (Note: getting to that point is a true nightmare because I can’t imagine how devastated I’d feel if I lost my love for cover manis.) 

Q: How much time do you spend blogging and Cover Manis and is it a hobby or job?
A: It’s a passion project for me, and I’m pretty adamant that the cover manis stay a hobby. They take anywhere from two to seven hours. Then there’s an hour for photos, another hour for editing them (colour correction because of lighting, clear details visible on each nail). Drafting the review is another hour or so, and another couple of hours to revise and edit (on a different day because I need time away for fresh eyes). Then everything needs to be uploaded, and I compose mini reviews for Goodreads, Amazon, and Indigo. Finally, I post another mini review on Insta, and a link on Twitter. In total, each review and cover takes 8-15 hours. Errr…plus reading the actual book. So more like 12-18 hours. Yikes. I wish I hadn’t done the math. ;) Believe me I feel the same! When it comes to blogging, there are never enough hours in a day, especially if we're already working a full time job on top of it!

Q: Can you name some of your favourite bloggers and explain why they’re your favourite?
A: These are all Insta accounts:
@elzablues  - Elza does intricate geometric nail art like I’ve never seen. Unreal details and unique colour combinations.
@prose_and_palate - Stacey is one of the most generous humans, has amazing taste in books, and the cutest puppers ever named Huck.
@thegraduatedbookworm - for obvious awesome reasons. Aww Thanks! 😍
@accio_library – I love Patricia’s style and her pics are stunning.
@nailsanatomy – Carolina’s nail art designs are so beautiful and creative.
@topknotnails – Beyond inspiring. On-point line work and out-of-the-box ideas.
@sustainablerainbow – Jessica’s fashion sense is ultimate goals, and I love her focus on sustainable fashion. 
@themeltinglibrary – I had a legit addiction to Raquel’s incredible bookish candles. Like, it’s a real problem.

full house 90s GIFQ: Kiss, Kill and Marry:
(Uncle Jesse from Full House, Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles, and Jess Mariano from Gilmore Girls)
A: (Loving this question!)
Kiss – Uncle Jesse
Kill – Jake Ryan (ugh this guy for real)
Marry – Jess Mariano (forever and ever, Jess)

I’m also doing this one haha!
(Peyton Sawyer from One Tree Hill, Erin Lindsay from Chicago PD, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games)
Kiss – Katniss Everdeen
Kill – Peyton Sawyer
Marry – Erin Linsday

Q: If you were stuck on an Island what would be the three things you would want with you?
A: SPF 60 Sunscreen, because I quickly turn into a roasted tomato
The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman (I’m cheating, but a boxed set could technically count as one item, right?)
An enchanted cheeseburger that would regenerate after I finish eating it (also if this exists, I would like one even without being on an island)

Q: What sort of advice can you give to anyone out there that’s thinking about starting a blog?

A: Don’t think about it too much; just do it! You’ll learn as you go but remember it’s supposed to bring you joy!

Here's Where You Can Find Jennie!

That's all for this week's Empowered Wednesday's! I hope you enjoyed this new feature! Check back here next week where a brand new creator will be featured on the blog!!

So until the next time, Keep Reading!

Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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