Nail Art Cookbook: Pumpkin Edition!

Happy Friday, Friends!

Welcome to a new series of mine called Nail Art Cookbook! If you’ve seen my Instagram stories (side note, follow me on Insta, if you don’t already), then you probably know I LOVE to cook and try new recipes. One day, I was chatting with my friend Halle (who also has an amazing nail blog!!!) and I typed “lookbook” but it changed to “cookbook” and voila! this idea was born.

The Nail Art Cookbook is my way of marrying two of my favorite things: recipes and nail art. For the first installment in my series, I wanted to be as basic as possible and try some pumpkin recipes that pair with some fall nail art. What could be better? Nothing, honestly.


Pasta with Savory Pumpkin Sauce


For 2 servings

8 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti & added some zoodles too)

1/4 onion, sautéed 

2 cloves garlic, sautéed 

3/4 cup pumpkin purée 

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp Dijon mustard 

1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne (to taste)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 cup cooking water from pasta

1/4 tsp lemon juice 


Boil water, add pasta to water and cook as directed. Sauté onions in oil, about 6-8 minutes. Add all ingredients to high powered blender (I have a Vitamix, but I believe any blender would do with some pausing and wiping down the sides!). Mix sauce into pasta, top with basil, parmesan, extra salt and pepper, and enjoy!


Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk


3 cups almond milk (or any type of milk you like)

3 tbsp pumpkin purée

1/2 tsp turmeric

Pinch of black pepper

1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp vanilla 

Pinch of sea salt 


You can either use 3 cups of almond milk from the store, or make your own. To make your own, soak 1/4 cup of raw almonds in water over night in the fridge (the amount of water does not matter, just cover the almonds). Rinse almonds, add to blender, add 3 cups of cold filtered water and blend for 2 minutes on high. Strain almond milk with a tea towel, old tee shirt or nut milk bag. Return milk to blender, add all ingredients and blend until well combined. Keep refrigerated for up to 4-5 days.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Add 1 shot of espresso to warm pumpkin spice almond milk, top with pumpkin spice, and enjoy!


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I loved this smoothie so much I had it every day that week! It’s not super sweet, which I really enjoy in the mornings for breakfast. Feel free to use more banana if you like it extra sweet, or it should taste sweet if your protein powder is sweetened! This is the powder I have been loving recently. It’s flavorless and you can’t taste it AT ALL in your drinks. I hate the taste of protein powder so I’m super happy I found this one! It’s also not sweet, so the only sweetness is from the fruit that you add.


1 tbsp almond butter

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop protein powder

1/4 cup pumpkin

1/4 tsp turmeric

Pinch pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

1 tbsp chia

1 cup water

1/2 cup almond milk

Handful of ice

Directions: place all ingredients in blender and blend until well combined! Enjoy!


These recipes perfectly complement these two manicures. One is a gorgeous burnt orange cream color from Cote, and the other is PUMPKINS! Duh 🙂

Loving this pumpkin colored polish from Cote


Base color The Social Network from MiniLuxe


Hope you guys enjoyed this new series. I can’t get enough pumpkin this time of year and loved sharing some recipes and mani’s I’ve tried recently.

Let me know what you think & if you have any ideas for what foods to try next!



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I’m in the BIRCHBOX Magazine!

Helloooooo everyone!

Just dropping in for a super quick hello, and to let you know that I was recently interviewed for the Birchbox blog! I talked about how I started a side hustle and about my little nail blog and instagram. I’m so so so excited to be featured on their blog, I love Birchbox and their marketing so much ?

Check out the article HERE! And let me know what you think. I’d love to know if you have any favorite resources for side hustles or business tips too.

See you soon 🙂

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Nail Polish Giveaway!!! – Closed


I hope you all had a great week! I am so excited for this weekend to recharge and spend some serious time poolside. I’ve got an exciting post for you today… Are you ready?!


As most of you know, I started my nail art Instagram page (do you follow me?!) about a year ago and I recently hit 3,000 followers! I really can’t believe how fast this has all happened and I want to say HI! and thank you to everyone for following along. So I was thinking, what better way to celebrate both of these milestones than to do a giveaway to say thank you! But I want to make this FUN. I really hope you’re as excited about this as I am.

The inspo:

I started doing nail art a year ago because no one was doing it where I lived and I wanted to be involved with all of the trends! I had literally ZERO experience besides painting my nails colors and using the occasional toothpick for some dots. I just practiced and practiced and now, while I’m not perfect, I can confidently attempt most looks I’m interested in! If you’re a fellow nail art lover, but never tried it yourself, what are you waiting for?! It’s like my zen, happy time, and it could be yours too! 🙂

Here’s how it’s gonna work:

I want you to try and recreate ANY nail art look that I’ve done on my Instagram in your own way. You can use whatever colors you want, change up the design, whatever, as long as it’s inspired by KaraNailedIt and you do it yourself! Are you intrigued?!

You can look at designs on my Instagram, Youtube, Blog Posts, and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration! I have designs ranging fromminimal and more simple, to complicated! You can choose what you want to attempt. If you have any questions about HOW I did anything, send me a message on Instagram and I’ll do my best to explain! 🙂



  • Follow me on Instagram
  • Recreate ANY of my nail art looks in my style OR yours!
  • Post the picture of your nail art on your Instagram & tag me in the comments and the picture (your Instagram has to be public for me to see the look!)
  • I will pick two winners to win 10 bottles of Essie nail polish that I LOVE for nail art and everyday! Essie is my OG fave for nail art and they have every color under the sun 🙂
  • Giveaway will end on August 28 at 6pm. I will pick winners at RANDOM! So don’t be discouraged if you’re worried your nail art won’t be the “best”! I just want to share the nail art love <3
  • You can enter as many times as you want
  • Entries from the United States ONLY!

KaraNailedIt TIPS:

Like I mentioned, if you have any questions about anything nail related, send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll help you! But for some quick help, here are a few of my nail art must haves!

  • Favorite Nail Art Brushes – Only like $8 from Amazon and they’re THE BEST. I use them every time.
  • Dotting tools can be found anywhere – use the back of an earring for a tiny dot, the tip of a bobby pin for a medium sized dot, or the other end of a pen or nail art/makeup brush for large dots!
  • If you use a base color, let it dry completely before putting art on top! Don’t rush it!
  • Same goes for your nail art before using a top coat. Let it dry at least 10 minutes!
  • A fast dry top coat is another must! I love this one, but you can use any quick drying top coat at the store! Seche Vite is sold at most Target’s and Ulta’s, but you can get it cheaper on Amazon 🙂

Ready, set, PAINT!!

I hope you guys are excited! I can’t wait to see what you recreate 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions and


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Manicure Tips from a Nail Technician

Hello Friends!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of shadowing a nail technician at a local salon here in Austin to learn some more tips about executing a proper manicure. I have plenty of experience doing manicures on myself, but I knew there was so much more to learn. Pretty much immediately after I got home, I went on Amazon and ordered some new tools so I could replicate this experience at home. Here are the top tips and products I took away from the day!

Cuticle Care

I’ve heard before that you should never cut live skin off of your “cuticle” area with those tools that look like little v’s, you know what I mean? I’m definitely guilty of this, but now I know that it can both cause you to cut yourself, and it just makes the skin grow back and sometimes it can be thicker! No one wants that. If you have excess skin below your nails, they suggested just using oil every day to soften it and make it look nicer. Don’t cut!

Cuticle Remover

The actual cuticle is the excess skin that grows over your nail bed, and you can definitely gently push that back to make a prettier manicure. This will also help your manicure last longer in general because the nail bed will be cleaner. The nail techs I worked with like using Blue Cross cuticle remover because it’s gentle, effective, and you don’t need to wash your hands after! I really like the texture of this cuticle remover, it’s kind of watery, and it works quickly. This comes in a decent sized bottle and you literally only need one drop per nail, so I’m guessing this will last a while.

Cuticle Tools

After using the cuticle remover, they used a metal cuticle pusher to gently push the skin back. Since the tool is metal, you must work very carefully so you don’t scratch your nail bed. I was a little worried about that part, but I think the metal tool is super effective and helps you work quickly too.

Clean Nail Bed

Before they started painting the nails, they ran a cotton ball with some acetone over it. This is so important because you want to have a completely clean nail bed before applying polish so it will adhere and stick for as long as possible. I also asked about the difference between acetone and non-acetone nail polish remover, and she said that one isn’t better than the other, they’re just different! I had always thought acetone was bad for your nails, but now I use a mix of the two and I love how effective acetone is at cleaning my nail brushes and getting the polish off.

Long Wearing Gel-Like Nail Polish

No surprise here, the nail techs love nail polish that promises to stay on for a longer time! They dry fast, look shiny and beautiful, and make clients happy because they get a great mani. The two kinds they raved about are the Essie Gel Couture line and CND Vinylux line. I got a red mani with the Vinylux polish and it was a gorgeous color and consistency. I’m no stranger to the Essie Gel Couture line. It’s my favorite polish to wear on my toes because it lasts forever and looks shiny and freshly polished even two weeks later!  Both polishes have special designated top coats that must be used together to achieve the long wearing effects. The nail tech explained that these polishes have special polymers in them that harden when they’re exposed to natural light, which is how the polish ends up lasting so long! The more you know…

Finishing Touches

It’s important to add some oil to your manicure after you finish painting because, at this point, you’ve dried out the area using acetone around your nails. These nail techs love using the CND Solarspeed Spray after doing the top coat. This both helps ensure the nails are dry, and has some moisturizing oil in it too! It’s the best of both worlds. This is a little pricey, so a more wallet friendly option would be a regular cuticle oil. They love the Dadi Oil but I personally just use the Sally Hansen oil I got on Amazon. As long as you’re moisturizing, your manicure should stay fresh for a few days longer.

This was such a cool experience to sit with a nail tech and pick her brain to learn so many new facts and tips. Hopefully you guys learned something new or discovered some new products. I’d love to know if you have any other tips too! Leave a comment here or on my Instagram!

Thanks for reading 🙂


– Kara






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Hello friends!

A snap from my interview on Essie’s Instagram Stories

Last weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to go to NYC to film a video with Essie for the final round of the The Essie’s Nail Art Awards! I had no idea what was in store and it definitely exceeded all of my expectations. The weekend basically consisted of talking about nails, seeing friends, and eating — what could be better?!


So the two other finalists Halle & Meagan and I are basically best buddies at this point because first of all we all just vibe, and going through this experience was even better when I had some friends to chat with. I was so excited to meet them and I didn’t even feel nervous (which is saying A LOT for me 🙂 ).

After I landed in NYC and made it to the hotel, I met Halle and we went to Sweetgreen, because kale. About 1 hour later (no lie), we went to dinner at Catch and had delicious sushi. Next stop was Milk for cereal milk and birthday cake soft serve. One of my favorite things about these girls was their dedication to the food <3

We hit the hay early that night since the shoot was the next morning!


The Essie shoot was at Youtube Space NY which was this cool open studio space where they had rooms and props available for content creators. We were set up in a pretty big studio, it felt like a real TV production- I’ve never been near anything like this before, so everything was exciting.

We took turns getting our hair and makeup done, and recording our scripts for the video in a sound booth. The room was so incredibly quiet I could hear my ears nearly ringing.

After we were all beautified, we had to prepare for our interviews. This was the part that made me the most nervous because we weren’t really prepared in any way. We got our mics on, hair touched up, and then started answering questions for the video. I was so nervous the instant all of the other people cleared out and it was just me standing in front of about 10 people with all eyes on me.

Meagan getting all ready to film!

Luckily, everyone was so friendly and encouraging (and extremely helpful when I was stumbling over my sentences!) that it turned out great. I was so happy to be done with it even though it was approximately 6 minutes of my life.

Afterwards, the 3 of us sat together and painted our nails for the next portion of the shoot. I don’t usually paint my right hand, so it was a struggle to say the least. Fortunately, the camera is far enough away you can hardly tell. This part took the longest because we had to film each step in its own take and clean up and readjust the props each time.

After all of us finished filming our nail looks, we took a few pictures and said our goodbyes to the crew and Essie team. It was such an incredible experience to film such a legit production and I hope I can do it again in the future!

To end off the night, we got poke bowls and drank plenty of red wine. Halle also took me to visit Paintbox, the nail salon that she works at and omg! It was gorgeous.

Caught in the act snapping a picture of my nails!


On Sunday, I met up with one of my best friends who I used to live in Florida with (we both moved on the same day- me to Austin and her to NYC). I had a short to-do list which included eating a giant bagel, and buying more matcha from my favorite tea shop, David’s Tea. We finished the day by squirrel watching in Madison Square Park and eating mac and cheese at byChloe (which I tried replicating the day after I got home on Insta Stories and O M G try it now!!! You’re welcome.)

It was pretty much foggy all weekend but my window faced downtown & the Freedom Tower!

This was such a fabulous trip and I’m so so honored to have had the chance to go and film a video with the Essie team. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, Halle & Meagan. I know we are all so grateful to have shared this experience!

And now, for the main event!!

Here’s the final look that I filmed! 



The final grand prize winner is picked by a panel of judges that work with Essie! However, there is one more round of voting to pick a FAN FAVE! If you like my look and want to vote (or want to see the other looks!) click here to do so! Voting starts June 23rd and ends July 3rd. The winner will be announced July 5th!

Thank you for your support!!!!



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