Thanks for sharing.
I use those sites too. I also like Co.Design and Creative Bloq. There are many out there. It’s getting to be a lot. I use Feedly to gather them. Maybe you use it too. I’ve become a bit particular about what I read.
So, in regard to your questions of mastering the tools (I forgot to mention InVision and Sketch.). I’ve learned that in order to master the tools — you can also get insight to the design thought. The theory and the thought process becomes more understandable when you’re choosing colours, shapes, space, hierarchy and typography.
I really like putting their thoughts into practices. Right now, I am working on combining crazy contradictions together and making them into a whole design. Like: combining boring, formal with bubblegum and neon. I’m going for a whole branding, a logo, webdesign, corporate identity. It’s hard to do and maybe it won’t work out. But you know, I am forced into research, a process and doing the work. It’s a good way if I’ve learned anything.
Are you into designing something particular? It looks like you’re into UX design from the sources you’re reading?
I have to say, it’s nice to discuss this with you.