Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Love Letter Nails

Look! A watermark!! ...Please ignore the black nail polish on my palm...
Hello, ladies and gents! Today is a GREAT day! For nails, anyways! Today I'm going to show you pic-by-pic how to get the newspaper look on your nails! (It's super easy!)

When I started doing these, I couldn't remember how exactly I was supposed to go about doing them. I thought I'd read somewhere that I was supposed to soak the nail for like 5 minutes in the alcohol and then press the newspaper onto my nail. That dissolved my nail polish. So I thought it's gotta be like doing a temporary tattoo, and attempted it that way. It worked!!!

First, paint your nail white (or light grey, if you want it to look like a real newspaper). Let it dry COMPLETELY.

Cut your newspaper down to just larger than your nail. I used the smallest type I could find in my newspaper.

Soak a cotton ball in alcohol, place the newspaper on your nail in the direction you want it, and place the cotton ball over the newspaper. Let it rest for about half a minute.

Gently peel off, and voila! Newspaper print on your nails!  Let it dry for a minute and then GENTLY add a topcoat. I used a very subtle glitter topcoat by Pure ICE.

To finish, I took some stamps (like, the type you use for stationery) I found at Walmart for $1 and stamped L O V and E. (On my right hand, I messed up and stamped it backwards... I was trying to get it to match my left hand which I'd stamped first >.<). Then on my thumbs I drew a heart and outlined it in black to make it stand out a little, added a matte topcoat, and enjoy!

It's been two days, and I'm STILL wearing this mani. I absolutely love it, and it was so simple to do! I hope you like it as much as I do!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Watermarbling Madness

So out of sheer boredom I started practicing my watermarbling technique. In the name of Science, I tested and labeled all of my different colors into one or two of three categories (This took several sittings...). Green means "I can marble really well!" Yellow means "I'm OKAY at it. Use if desperate," and Red means "I cannot marble. Don't even TRY!" Green and yellow puts it in the middle between okay and good/great. A lot of the brands surprised me, I thought the cheaper ones wouldn't do it as well, but the majority of the LAC's did pretty well :)

Here's the pics from last night's adventure:

Some turned out really well! And others.... Not so much.  :/ I honestly have no clue as to how I got that rainbow splatter one :'(

Now that I live in Iowa, I figure I'll need to know how to do Cyclone and Hawkeye nails. This one turned out pretty well, despite the black not working with me very well.

This was my first attempt at Cyclone and Hawkeye nails. The black REALLY wasn't working with me here (I had it labeled as yellow, but added red to that rating), and I don't think these turned out terribly well. For practice, however, they're just more experience.

This one was my first REALLY successful nails. In fact, I'm quite proud of it.
So that was my evening. These are cheap, blank, fake nails my sister gave me when she moved out of our house. You can find them for about $5-$10 at Walmart. I just use a small dab of thick white nail polish to keep it attached to my stick.

My nails right now are blank. I'm going to do a fall-themed watermarble when I get home (I'm currently at the library... internet is internet, even if it's slower than a tortoise on a tricycle.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm going to be taking a forced break from blogging. I don't have internet access or a babysitter so I can go to McDonald's or something.
I have a job interview on Saturday, and if I get the job I'll have to adjust to my new schedule. I'm really hoping they let me keep doing my nails!
I'm going to be keeping an eye on my comments, so feel free to keep sharing and commenting! <3

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mani Marathon

I have done 8 manicures this weekend, and it isn't even Sunday yet! I am unable to post them at the moment, due to a total lack of internet. I'm updating you from my phone, and the app isn't great at formatting pics. I COULD just lump them here... Ah hell, here's a picture dump. Enjoy!
(Two manis are not pictured, one was crap and the other hadn't been photographed yet.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dotting, Watermarbling, and Stamping

Day 8 without my nail polish and care kit. I'm cracking, my nails are chipping, and my cuticles are peeling :( Only three more days...

Here's a mix of watermarbling, dotting, and stamping! I loved this mani!  I have a problem with my white covering the other colors, though. I'm not sure why it happens, maybe it's because I'm waiting too long between drips? IDK.

No clue why I forgot to clean that pinkie... 

You can see on the ring finger what I mean by the white covering the blue. See how the blue's off-color?
This was my favorite nail of the bunch. It turned out great :)
The tutorial for this mani is here. Indigonova1 has some great designs, and I'm sure I'll be doing a lot of my own takes from her. In this one, instead of using a dotting tool for the flowers, I used a stamp. I'm still working on my precision, which has improved since this mani.

I used Sinful Colors for the white and a Pure Ice for the blue.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dotted Gradient

This post is gonna be short, they're old nails and I'm tired lol 

This has been one of my favorite manis to date. I just wish it was better quality. The ONE stamp I have with dots is very thin and doesn't fit over my nail. It's the set you can find in Walmart, it was what I started with.

I didn't clean this one very well. It was done before I started cleaning my nails instead of waiting for it to peel off in the shower.
I decided to do the accent on my thumb 'cause it's so much bigger. I kinda liked it, though I really love doing the accent on my ring finger now.

You can see where the stamp didn't cover the entire nail on my middle finger.
I love how this looks, going from purple to white with the dots. It's a fairly easy mani, especially if you have a stamp. Just do the dots, then sponge the white at the tips :) The flower was done with a toothpick. Let down a drop and drag to form a petal.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Today's post is about saving money at my personal favorite store: Target.

"Why Target," you ask. "Why not Walmart?"
Three reasons: Target is the same price (and sometimes cheaper), it's more organized, and the people (both customers and employees) are a bit higher class and not as scary/creepy/gross.

"Target is NOT cheaper than Walmart!" you gasp.
Why, my dear ma'am (or sir, I don't judge!) you must not know about the amazingness that is the Target RedCard.

"You mean that credit card the cashiers always harass me about? I don't want any more credit cards- they're trouble! You aren't helping me save money, you're a scam!"

First of all, there aren't yet ads on my blog, so I'm not taking any money for this and therefore I'm not a scam. Secondly, the RedCard is not- I repeat, NOT- a credit card. It is a DEBIT card, which means it is directly linked to your bank account. You don't get a bill, it's removed from your account directly. It's exactly as if you're using your bank card, but more Target-ey, which means that you're saving money using it.
When you use the RedCard, you're automatically saving 5%- which makes it as cheap-and in some instances cheaper- than Walmart (with a bit higher-quality products), and when shopping online you get free shipping!

[Edit: The Target RedCard USED to be a credit card, but it is now offered as a debit. If you want the credit card, it is still available, but they aren't trying to get people to sign up for it anymore like they used to.]

Add on top of that: coupons. On Target's website, you can print out Target-exclusive coupons that you can combine with manufacturer's coupons to double up savings.

AND THERE'S STILL MORE! If you send 5 prescriptions to the Target pharmacy you get a 5% discount that lasts for 24 hours once you use it the first time. Forget something the first time you go? Go again within 24 hours and still receive the 5% off :)

Certain items will earn you a gift card- usually between $5 and $10. I generally like this deal. The items are usually discounted, and they're items I would generally buy in bulk anyways, like diapers and "feminine hygiene products".

I have bought $1.99 NYC nail polish for under a $.50 with all these discounts and coupons and such. HOW DO YOU BEAT THAT?

So anyways, I've found a few coupons on the Target website: $.50 off a N.Y.C. cosmetic item, $1 off L'Oreal Color Riche Nail Polish, $1 off L'Oreal cosmetic item, and $1 off a Revlon Nail Art kit.

Click here for the Target Beauty Coupons.

As a side note, I'd ask that you please, please, PLEASE always be kind and respectful to your cashier. If a coupon doesn't go through or a discount doesn't work, if you smile and joke about it or something, the cashier is more likely to let the coupon slide (by slide I mean they might give it to you anyways) next time (or this time if they're having a good day). If you're a bitch (excuse my language), you aren't going to get what you want- now or later. Couponers have a bad rep because they like to fight for coupons-which exhausts the cashier and often the management. They'll remember you and you're going to be less and less welcome at their store.

Anyways, good luck with your search and enjoy your newfound discounts! ♥

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Poor Nails... :(

First the flight, and now the lack of my oils are killing my nails and cuticles. Lots of peeling. I don't know whether I should just take off the polish or if it's protecting them...

I have no clue why it's so oddly distorted....

There's been peeling on my right thumb and on my left middle finger, with my cuticles chapping and peeling. There's been a change in the atmosphere (it's a lot more humid here) and there's been stress. I've even got a hangnail on the right ring. 
You can't see it very well in this pic, but it's there, I promise. As is some dryness and peeling of my cuticle :(

So yeah. There's an update. Travel is hard on my nails, and I'm missing my nail kit as if I'd left my baby behind :(

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Good Vs. Evil and The Most Expensive Internet Ever.

So now that I'm all settled in to my brother's place for the next 10 days or so, I figured I should make a post to make up for yesterday's absence.
There was on-flight internet, but I seriously was NOT going to pay $10 for the 6 hours I was on a plane. Sorry. On a budget and all.
This has to be one of my more awesome ones to date. My friend texted me after a very troubling event knowing I needed to do my nails (it makes me feel better!) with this: "I have an idea for your nails! You could do a naughty and nice type deal, like, do a hot color on all your nails except your accent nail, where you can do a pretty neutral. Also you could do the shiny topcoat on the 'naughty nails' and the matte topcoat on the 'nice' ones. Just a suggestion. I won't be offended if you think the idea sucks."

I took the suggestion and ran with it. It mutated in my mind into "Good vs. Evil" and here ya go!
This was an "Evil" accent nail. Devil horns made out of caviar beads. The beads were almost impossible to see without looking :(

This was the other "Evil" accent nail. Devil tail made out of caviar beads.

This was a "Good" accent nail. A halo made out of  caviar beads. Oddly, this was much easier to see  in normal light, but the camera hated it.

This was my "Evil" hand, with the "Good" accents. My middle and pinkie fingers are wings.
(My pinkie sucked, IMHO. I wish the halo was visible, but I promise it's there)

The "Good" hand. This picture turned out much better lol
So what do you guys think? I personally really enjoyed wearing this, though that was mostly because I couldn't stop playing with the beads >.<

So, I don't have my polishes with me, and I didn't think to write down what colors and brands I used, so I'll do my best to remember.
The base white and base red are from Sinful Colors. The white had a Pure Ice glitter over it, and then the silver, which I THINK is L.A.C. The red had an N.Y.C. glitter over it, with a black/silver combo from... Hrm. It's either Color Workshop or L.A.C. I can't remember. Sorry. The caviar beads all came from the Dollar Tree and are a brand I can't make out in the picture.

I would like to say that I HATE working with white polishes. They get gloopy and hard to use waaaay too fast, and even my polish thinner doesn't seem to help :( If anyone has a favorite brand of white or a suggestion on how to keep the whites from thickening up super quick, leave it in the comments please!

On a side note, am I terribly vain or are there others who totally feel let down when no one comments on your nails? No one said anything about them :(


Today's mani is brought to you by the toughness of glitter.

No seriously, a good glitter is impossible to get off. That's why I chose to put a glitter at the tips. This mani has to last me a looooong time (like over a week *sob*).

I literally had five pairs of colors that I wanted to do this with. I had a black/silver, a pair of purples, a pair of blues, a pair of greens, and a pair of turquoises. I asked my brother-in-law and he said "RROOOOYALLLLL BLUUUUUUUUUUUE!" like from Liar Liar. So here we go:
These aren't cleaned very well- I didn't have a whole lot of time.
This is my favorite way to use glitter, as a gradient on a similar color. It's SUPER simple to do, too. Just put the glitter on a corner of a damp makeup sponge and slowly work your way down going from side to side.
Looks nice, doesn't it?
This manicure got DESTROYED. My mom bought a giant binder for our dvds, I ended up moving over 200 dvds from their cases into the binder, and even 3 hours after I applied the top coat, the tips got messed up.
They got EFFED UP
So I redid them. But it was all for naught, 'cause 7 hours on airplanes and in airports with a 16-month-old DESTROYED a couple of my nails. Chips and peeling in both the polish and in the nails themselves... I'm very disappointed in you, glitter.

Both of these colors are from Pure Ice. The top coat is NYC's Matte Me Crazy. I'm honestly wondering if the topcoat is to blame for the chipping. Aren't top coats supposed to prevent that?

Anyways, it's taken three days and a couple headaches to bring you this post. I need a nap. Good night!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quick Walmart Post

Flirt released new plates!! And they're cute, not cheesy! YAAAAY!

All Clean!

Hey guys! Things are really hectic around here, I think I probably should have waited until things settled to be doing all of this >.< Oh well, no time like the present, right?

Right now I'm in the process of moving halfway across the country. Until my nail art kit is brought to me (around the 15th), I won't be able to post anything new (unless I can borrow some stuff from my sisters and nieces...), but I'll post some things like pictures that inspire me or manicures I've done before I started this (I have an entire album on Facebook... Been spamming my friends with manis for months now).

Anyways, I DO have something to show you today! My nails when they're clean!
I know it LOOKS like I'm about to lose the pinkie nail, but I'm not. I promise.
All clean!
The fact that the nails are all the same shape is somewhat new to me. My first finger and thumb (I played violin for 8 years. Piano players will throw a fit because the thumb is the first finger. Whatever. Bite my rosined bow :P) naturally grow in rounded, and the second, third and fourth fingers come in square. It makes absolutely no sense to me, either, but I'm going to try and keep them all uniform. Let's see if that happens, hmm?

After I'm done shaping, I use Sally Hansen's VitaSurge Strength Gel. I brush it on, let it set for a minute, and then rub it in. I let that dry for a few minutes (if you don't rub it in and let it dry, the manicure will peel right off your nail. Trust me on this one.), and then brush on a base coat, which is either Sally Hansen's Double Duty Strengthening Base and Top Coat or Sally Hansen's Maximum Growth Plus.(Can you tell I'm a fan of Sally Hansen's?)  (The pictures only show the shaping. I hadn't put the base coat or the gel on yet.) I also apply a coat underneath my nail.

And then comes the mani! I stopped last night after applying the base coat. I have a lot of people to say goodbye to, and didn't have time. 

After I'm done applying the topcoat and it's dry, I oil my cuticles. I have a couple different oils I use, one being (again) Sally Hansen's Salon Nail Care Healing Cuticle Oil (it's really old, and no longer for sale), and the other being Beauty Secrets Nail Matrix Cuticle Oil and Instant Polish Dryer (again this one is old and they apparently changed the formula). 

So there you have it, my nail routine. I usually do this at night when the baby is asleep. It's quiet then and I can relax! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mani Math Mistake

Tonight's mani makes me think of witches and Halloween, for some reason. I think it's the purple and black. Always kinda reminds me of the spider web my mom had in her classroom for Halloween, I guess. I have 2 coats of Wet'n'Wild's Wild Shine "Midnight Prowl" topped with a coat of Pure Ice Crackle in "Strobe Light". It's a very dark mani, which is unusual for me. It was an experiment in color and contrast. I thought the glitter in Midnight Prowl would show up more between the cracks of Strobe Light, but... Eh. You'll see.
Swatch of Midnight Prowl
Midnight prowl is a black with tiny purple glitter (I will someday learn about the different types of glitter and then I'll be able to tell you what kind of glitter this is, though I think this is a glass glitter. I honestly don't know, though). It's a definite 2-coater (possible 3-coater even, it's a very thin formula), a sheer black at first, needing some buildup. It's extremely pretty and very distracting. A bit hard to clean up, though.
This is the best pic I could get to show how dense the glitter is.
I didn't know I had a freckle there O.o
I thought that the glitter would sparkle very prettily through the crackle topcoat, and experimented thusly.
Well, I was kinda right...
With such an extreme light as the LED flash/flashlight from my phone, the glitter shows up really well, and you can TOTALLY see it through the cracks. But in the dim light from the "energy saving" bulbs we have in my home, my nails just look black :(

I did my usual final step- a top coat. 
This was a mistake. 
With a topcoat in the light of my house, you can no longer even see the glitter because the shine from the topcoat is hiding it. The black of the crackle is just kinda overpowering the glitter. 

So, now I've learned: dark nail polish + black crackle = nails I'm not proud of. 

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello, and welcome to my new site, Pinkies for a Penny: Nail Art on a Budget! I'm your host, Makenna!

Lol, just kidding! Nothing so formal here! Lemme explain what all this is about:

I'm Makenna (pronounced "Ma-Kenna", not "Ma-Keena" for those wondering). I'm currently 21 years old. I have a nail art obsession. Okay, maybe it's an addiction. A small one. Maybe.

I started painting my nails as a little girl, just like everyone else. Then for a long time I didn't paint them very often or very detailed (someday I'll tell you why- it's one of my mother's favorite stories to tell me while I do my nails- as if I didn't remember) and then I suddenly stumble across a blog called on a quest to find out more about  these nails. I spent three days going through her posts and I immediately started doing my nails, learning new tricks and tips and techniques. I sorted through Youtube tutorials and found new blogs to follow. And I started doing my nails. Obsessively. I started buying new colors whenever I went to the dollar store or when Walmart or Target or Walgreens had sales or clearances on polish. Soon my little box I started with wouldn't fit all my colors, and then the new box I got for them wouldn't fit all of them, either. So I got smart and got a stackable caddy:
I hate my feet, but it was all I had for reference at the time
I can add more stacks if need be, so this is really handy. Top two layers have my polishes; then the sponges, cotton balls, q-tips, toothpicks, and removers (pure acetone and "strengthening"); and then on the bottom is my tools, glitters, and stamps.

Anywho, one thing I noticed about all these nail art blogs is this: they all use really expensive polishes and tools and oils and such. On my budget, I can't really afford to drop $8 for a bottle of polish (I HAVE, once. It was mislabeled. Story later.). Most of my polishes I got for less than $2. My dotting tools I got for free using a reward I'd earned by submitting to Almost all my glitter and a LOT of my polishes come from the dollar store. 
My last dollar store haul
So I'm here to show you how to do it all on a budget, to give you tips and tricks from the dollar store. Unless you're 100% 3-Free, why spend more?

I'm not using great cameras right now (in fact, the camera on my phone often works better focusing on my nails and getting macro shots than the Nikon Coolpix S4100 I got for Christmas, but the quality for videos is horrible from both.), and even if I had the best of the best, I doubt I'd know how to take amazing pictures with it. So for now, I'll ask that you please forgive me for my horrible pictures, and if you have any advice on photographing your nails, please feel free to share.

Speaking of sharing, if you think I'm doing something wrong or have a tip for me, please share! Sharing is caring :)