Been sick this week so no new nails, but I did want to give a shout-out to @sallyhansen for the most amazing swag bag EVER. (Cat not included) I don’t want to do anything but stay home and paint! Thank you! (Taken with Instagram)
“Owlsome” Mani w/ Hitachino Nest White Ale
Nails: This beer has been hanging out in my fridge for months now so I’ve had plenty of time to think about this one. Of course you’d look at the label and automatically want to paint the owl but that was intimidating to me and it seemed like it would be a lot of work and, let’s face it, sometimes I can be a lazy asshole. So there the beer sat until this week when I realized it was the only beer left in my fridge (I haven’t gone to the store in…a while), so Hitachino Nest it was!
I love the blue colors that make up the background of this label, so I started with 2 coats of Dashing Diva’s Water Taxi as the base for 4 nails on each hand and Sally Hansen’s White On on one nail per hand for the owl:
To mock the brick-like design, I used Sally Hansen’s Bluetylicious. I started out trying to simply use the bottle brush to make the small rectangles, but quickly learned that a dotting tool made this task much easier by giving me more control. The design is a bit messy itself, so there’s no need to make perfect rectangles here:
After the easy step, I moved onto the owl accent nails. I applied red acrylic paint with a very tiny dotting tool to draw up the eyes and wings of the owl and then went back over those parts with a bit of white to add the details. Here’s a pic of the final owls (pointer finger on my left hand and the pinky on my right hand):
It didn’t turn out to be too difficult to paint and, again, using a dotting tool instead of a brush made things much easier. I also have an extremely tiny dotting tool, which was a blessing. I thought that these owls on my nails would be too kitschy for me, as I like prefer to use more designs/patterns on my nails instead of literal interpretations of labels, but these owls are too adorable to hate!
Ale: I have used a Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale beer for Nails and Ales in the past (which you can see here) and I loved it. The White Ale was a different story. I’m not sure if it was the witbier qualities of this beer (my tastebuds gravitate away from that genre…) or if sitting in my fridge for 4 months altered it, but the flavor was not up my alley. This beer pours a very hazy, dull yellow with barely any head:
The nose was sweet and herbal. The mouthfeel was intense and almost had a stinging quality to it. Coriander and nutmeg were pretty prominent to me at the beginning of the sip but then the taste trailed off with citrus notes that seemed watered down. I’ll admit that it was interesting to drink this beer, although the flavors aren’t my jam. I would think that a person who likes Belgian beers would be pretty intrigued by this Japanese take on the style. I give this one 5 out of 10 nails. Hoot!
Browns Tailgating Mani
Taking a different route this week and forgoing the normal step-by-step and beer review that I usually do (unless you REALLY want me to review Bud Light…) and simply posting some nail and football porn. If you don’t know already, I am a huge Cleveland Browns fan and I try to make it back to Cleveland every year for the home opener. Why I would do this is anyone’s guess, as we have only won ONE home opener in the past THIRTEEN years. Being a Browns fan makes me a stronger person…or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
I celebrated my early season optimism by paying tribute to my team on my nails. Those little Browns helmets were the bane of my existence, but they didn’t turn out too bad. My only regret is that I should have painted them facing the other way so they wouldn’t be upside-down while drinking beer. It kind of worked out though because, if you look hard, the helmet on the field was upside-down from my seats anyway!
Below is a shot with the Muni Lot (Cleveland Browns tailgating headquarters) in the distance. I was going to use Great Lakes Brewing’s Cleveland Brown Ale for this mani pairing, but it turns out they don’t sell it in bottles anymore…so I settled for this lovely can of Bud Light, which matched perfectly! (judge-free zone):
Here are some nail-free shots for ya, in case you would like the full tailgating experience:
(yes, that’s a meatloaf stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.)
On that note….GO BROWNS!
Antique Mani w/ Dogfish Head’s 75 Minute IPA
Nails: Hello strangers. Sorry I completely biffed on posting last week. I had painted my nails for this Dogfish brew, but they just weren’t what I wanted. So I tried again last Friday with a different spin. Wore them for a night and, again, it just wasn’t right. I was feeling like fuckin’ Goldilocks here. Finally, last Saturday morning I got it juuuuust right and here we are! To be honest, I think I was so anal about this look because I spent $22 on this 22oz. bottle of beer. Let’s do some math, kids. That is 1 dollar per OUNCE. Whaaaat?! Still undecided on whether or not it was worth it, but the label is so beautiful I just couldn’t resist:
One would look at this label and think “Oh, well of course you should focus on the stars and hearts for the nail design!” Well, I’m not into stars and hearts and shit. I really loved the antique look of the label, so I focused on that. I started with 2 coats of Dashing Diva’s Bluetylicious:
The next step really threw me for a doozy. I thought I had the PERFECT way of getting the antiqued look: crumple up a piece of paper, dip it in gold polish, and dab on my nails. Nice try, Meg. That looked like shit, so then I got creative and tried to use the pumice stone collecting dust in my shower. Another bust. Finally I went searching for a sponge. The only one I had was all beat up and living in a dark corner beneath my kitchen sink. I still tried it (don’t judge) and that too did not look right. At this point, I’m 12 ounces deep in a 7.5 abv and things are looking bleak.
As I sat there and stared blankly at my cat hoping he would give me a brilliant idea, I noticed the paper towel I had been using to paint on. LIGHT BULB. I ripped off a small square, dabbed some gold polish on it, and gently dab-rolled it over a nail. It was perfect (don’t mind my stubby thumb nail. I sliced it off with a knife while chopping some veggies):
I just bought Milani’s Gold Glitz that week and it was the perfect polish for this. It’s a brilliant gold sparkle with a hint of red, which is exactly what the label has. I made a video to show you guys how to do this, but it was taken with the cam on my computer and it looked stupid and the soundtrack was Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk with Me”. (which actually made for a funny combination, but alas). I promise videos are on their way, but it won’t be until October, so hold onto your horses.
In the meantime, if you want this look, take a small piece of paper towel (the kind I used had larger divots in it, which I think would work better than smaller) and paint some gold polish on it. Then, dab it lightly with another piece of paper towel to get off any large globs of paint. Next, lightly roll the paper from one side of the nail to the next. You should be done at that point but if you notice some areas that didn’t get covered with the design, go ahead and dab the paper towel straight up and down over that specific section (try not to dab over the areas that were already covered, as this will simply make it look like a solid layer of glitter on your nail.)
Next, I painted the pinky nail with the Gold Glitz and used brown acrylic paint and a teeny brush to paint a zig-zag down the center. Then I used a VERY teeny dotting tool and a lighter gold polish to add the small dots along the zig-zag path to mimic the border of this label:
And there we have it. What a road it’s been! Here is the final look:
But to REALLY complete it…
(How could I resist?)
Ale: My friend recommended this beer to me because of the awesome label, but also because of the fact that he really really loves it. I am a fan of Dogfish’s 60 minute IPA, so I decided to check it out for myself.
The color is a very hazy orange and it pours with an EXTREME head, as shown above. It was very frothy at first and then thinned out along the edge of the glass into big airy bubbles, while remaining frothy and thick in the middle:
Haven’t seen anything like that in a while! The nose was sweet and tangy and the carbonation stung my tongue. The initial taste is smooth and sweet (due to the maple syrup they use in it), but that quickly turns bitter with a sharp bite to it. The aftertaste goes right back to smooth and sweet, which is surprising. It’s definitely a roller coaster for the tongue! I’ve had the 60 minute before, which I love, but when I’m looking for something more and I drink the 90 minute, it tends to be too much. The 75 is a “juuuust right” blend of the two. (FULL CIRCLE!) high five. Dogfish 75 is getting 8 nails out of 10 from me!
Tat Mani w/ Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Coney Island Lager
- TAKE YOUR EFFING TIME. Seriously, if you’re going to commit to something very time intensive, why rush? It’s just like relationships! HA! Just kidding, I know nothing about that.
- Paint on a full stomach, but not one that’s full of coffee. Your non-dominant hand will already be shaky; coffee and/or an empty stomach will just make it unbearable.
- Place the hand you’re painting into whatever position (no matter how uncomfortable) is most convenient for your non-dominant hand. Beauty is pain, right? Nod your head “yes” or else I will punch you in the face.
Special Edition Newport Folk Festival Hurricane Mani w/ Newport Storm
Nails: Ahhh…the Newport Folk Festival. One of the best weekends of the year. Awesome music, awesome scenery and awesome vibes from everyone. It truly is a magical time. I mean, check out this dude chillin’ in a dinghy like he doesn’t have a care in the world:
It doesn’t get much better than that. In the past few years, Magic Hat has been the official beer of the fest, but this year they went local and handed that title to Coastal Extreme Brewing (or The Newport Storm Brewery, as they are more commonly known). I had never heard of or tried any brews from these guys, as they do not yet distribute to NYC, so I did some photo research online and hoped to match my nails to some of their taps. I had no idea which beers they would be serving at the fest, so I simply used 5 different colors to make sure my bases were all covered! I started with 2 coats of Sally Hansen’s White On:
From thumb to pinky, I used Sally Hansen’s Pacific Blue, New York Color’s Times Square Tangerine, Sally’s Green with Envy, Mellow Yellow and Cherry Red:
The nice thing about this mani is that you don’t need any special brushes or tools to do it, all you need is your bottle of polish. After the white has completely dried, grab a color and paint one half of the nail in an “S” shape pattern with the polish brush. It’s like a softened zig-zag movement that goes up-down-up:
Then do the other side following the same pattern, but leaving a bit of white in-between so the white looks like a thin hurricane symbol:
Annnnd here’s the final look!
The people manning the taps were super friendly and I want to say a huge THANKS to the Newport Storm team for letting me invade their space for a few minutes. You guys rock. We are planning on staying in Newport for a whole week next year, so I will make a point to stop by the brewery!
Ale: They were serving their Hurricane Amber Ale, Rhode Island Blueberry Ale and the Summer Hefeweizen. We all know how I feel about hefeweizens, so I only took one sip of that and I have to say that it wasn’t so bad! Very light and refreshing and not too heavy on that classic hefeweizen taste I despise.
The Amber Ale was my first try of the weekend while my girlfriends opted for the Blueberry Ale. The amber was delicious.
A nice deep copper color with a slight head and a somewhat light flavor for an amber ale, which made it the perfect beer to drink at a weekend-long festival. Definitely did not get sick of it. I brought some of these back home with me, so I’m trying it out of the bottle for the first time as I type this and I couldn’t stop thinking about how it reminded me of another beer, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
After a couple more sniffs and sips it finally it me; this stuff tastes like a less sweet and less thick Great Lakes Christmas Ale! One of my all-time favorite beers and that’s not just because I’m from Cleveland and you kind of have to love that beer if you’re from Cleveland. Definitely less honey and nutmeg flavors in the Hurricane, but it’s still slightly sweet, smooth and warming. I simply enjoyed this beer all-around.
The Blueberry Ale was had once by me and I probably would not have even tried it if it weren’t for my friends.
They loved this stuff. I tried one myself and agreed that it was a rather pleasant brew. I’m not a fan of fruity beers (hence me only having one or two glasses all weekend), but this was really nice. The nose was a really strong blueberry smell but the taste was not, which gave it a few extra points in my book. After trying all 3 of these beers, I can’t wait to visit Newport again and hit up the brewery. I’m going to give all 3 of these brews a combined 8 out of 10 nails. And I am now dubbing Newport Storm the Official Beer of FUN.
Thank you again to the folks at Newport Storm Brewery, the Newport Folk Festival and my friends for making that weekend one to remember! See you next year.
Surfs Up Mani w/ Ballast Point’s Pale Ale
Nails: Took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do here, as I sure as hell wasn’t about to paint a fish on my fingers. I thought I’d paint the background blue and and do a white moon with rays, but that would just look like Sarita’s mani. So, I opted for a little bit more depth. I painted 2 coats of Sally Hansen’s Blue It and then I used some yellow acrylic paint in the bottom far corner of each nail to mimic the sun shining through the water:
Next, I painted 1 coat of Dashing Diva’s Water Taxi on top so the blue wasn’t so harsh:
Then I took on my handy-dandy fan brush to work on the “waves.” I love this brush for many reasons, but it’s so perfect for getting a fun swipe on your nails:
As you can see above, I mixed some white and blue together for a light blue color to start and I simply laid the brush flat and swiped from the bottom, far corner to the top near corner on each nail:
This light blue color is the base shade of the wave, so you can make this stroke a bit longer so it will peak through the next color. Next up was white (I waited until the light blue was completely dry). Same placement and motion, but a smaller stroke:
Those bottom corners where all the paint is were a bit sloppy, so I took a small-tipped brush and filled them in with white to make them clean, topped them off with Seche Vite and we were off to the beach! (I wish):
Most people who saw this mentioned right away that it looked like a wave, so my job here is done. You can do this in so many other fun color combos too. I just love the swipe method. Also, did you notice my new nail shape? I’m trying out the almond shape here a bit, as my nails are now long enough to do it. Not sure I like it…definitely feel like my grandma. Maybe it’ll grow on me.
Ale: Never had me a Ballast Point brew before (from San Diego), but they really love their fishies. All sorts of different ones on the label:
What is this guy? A yellowtail? I think so. Anyway, the beer wasn’t up my alley. It poured a cloudy yellow with minimal head. The taste of bitter dough and yeast were overwhelming. No traces of hops. I am definitely willing to try a different Ballast brew, but this one was not for me. I give it a 3 out of 10 nails.
Sorry this post was so short! I’m heading out the door right now to go to the Newport Folk Fest and ambush Newport Storm Brewery with my nails. Special edition post coming your way next week!
Hippie Mani w/ Ithaca’s Flower Power IPA feat. Maggie
Nails: My first traveling NailsandAles! I went up to the Upper West Side last Saturday to paint my friend Maggie’s nails. She had this beer picked out for months (gotta love that)! We decided to try out the water marble technique, which I have never done before but thought it would be perfect for that 60’s look we were trying to accomplish.
First, you need to tape around the nail so you won’t have to spend a ton of time on clean-up later:
Our first “dip” was a bit of a fail:
The colors we used weren’t right here. They were also really light, so we did a base color of China Glaze’s Peachy Keen to help make the pattern pop a little more. The yellow and green were too similar and we also didn’t dip the finger in the proper area to get a good pattern. Placement is everything. So, we added an orange to the dip and thought a bit more about where we were placing the nail:
Pretty! Also, here’s an action shot:
It was really nice having other people there to take photos. (Thanks Alan!) Also-side note- I know that my next step has to be shooting video as pictures of these steps don’t really show people how to do them. I’m workin’ on it people, so just hold your horses! (but also be prepared for gratuitous action shots of my cat).
Moving on. Let’s talk about some tips here. You can Google “marble water nail art” to watch some videos on this technique but here’s what we found out:
* move fast. Before you start dropping paint in the water, make sure all the tops are unscrewed on the paint you’re going to use. You want to drop the paint really quickly because once this paint starts to dry, it’s difficult to draw a design into it.
* we used room temperature bottled water here and while I’ve heard you have to change it out after every nail, I was able to use the same water for at least 3 nails with no problem. Don’t waste water, people.
* I painted Maggie’s nails with a peach color before dipping them, just to get a more vibrant pattern, as the paint color thins out significantly after you drop it into the water. Darker shades definitely work better here.
* once you’ve “drawn” your design in the paint, choose your favorite spot to dip the nail. Don’t go dipping all willy-nilly, you don’t want to have to re-do anything.
Here’s the final outcome:
Love this look! There are so many things you can do to make this your own and every nail is going to look different. I used a dotting tool to paint a flower on the middle fingers and we were done!
Ale: The name and the label of this beer don’t really match the flavor. You look at this label and think “Hmm, it’s going to be fruity and sweet in flavor and maybe light and girly.” (ewwww, “girly”!) But then you take a sip and holy shit, it’s a really amazing and flavorful IPA.
As I have said before, IPAs are my fave so maybe I’m biased, but this IPA was just wonderful. Flower Power is Maggie’s favorite beer and I can see why. The color is this lovely golden amber and it pours with a light head and medium carbonation. The nose is very flowery, which I assume helped to give it its name, but the taste does not have that same flowery note. Perfect blend of hops and light citrus. Maggie noted that she actually isn’t an IPA drinker but she likes this beer because it tastes OF hops, but not LIKE hops and it almost had a wheat beer flavor coming through. As someone who loves the smell and taste of hops, Flower Power satisfied me. Maggie’s right, it’s not too strong, but it’s definitely there. An IPA that hop-haters and hop-lovers can both enjoy? We are one step closer to world peace, people (annnnd this post has come full circle). Flower Power gets a 9 out of 10 nails. And is Toby-approved:
Border Mani w/ Birra del Borgo’s Rubus Raspberry Ale
Nails: This post took me weeks to complete. That’s sad. A couple weeks ago I sat down to complete this mani and decided to mock up the raspberries on the label (the photo is a negative and in green, so I actually didn’t know they were raspberries for a while…). So I painted my base in Sally Hansen’s The Real Teal and then I dipped a drinking straw into some acrylic paint and made a sort of chain-link design on the nails:
But it just wasn’t right. The paint I used was too red so I kept meaning to add some more pink to it but never got around to it. Also, people kept saying it looked like a turtle shell, which it did. I liked the design, but it just wasn’t working here. Eventually I had to take it off and I just got around to re-doing this one. “Second time’s a charm” is the saying, right?
Take 2: I painted a base of So Laque’s Rose Vamp (just one coat):
(Wait for this to completely dry or else the next step will be shit.) Then I used Sally Hansen’s The Real Teal and (very slowly) painted the inside of the nail, leaving a thin pink border (2 coats here):
After letting this dry, I used the pink again to paint a draped french tip. This was a pain, as this polish is on its last legs and trying to paint a design with sticky polish is the bane of my existence. I added some nail polish remover to the bottle to try and keep it alive for this mani and we barely made it through! Crisis diverted. As with every mani, I slapped some Seche Vite on top and we were off!
Ale: This was a gift given to me for my bday and the labels colors are so fun and perfect for spring/summer. Birra del Borgo is in Italy and after translating their website, here’s what you get:
“The love story all in pink between the Raspberries and the Duchess. Made sweeping adventure of spontaneous and controlled fermentation, passion and time. An extraordinary plot to Enjoy.”
haha, I fucking love that. Some things are better when they’re lost in translation.
As I do with most fruit-flavored beers, I expected the beer flavor to be at the front, with the fruit flavor playing a much smaller role. This was the complete opposite, but I love raspberries so I didn’t mind! The color is thick and dark, almost red:
Carbonation is at an extreme minimum, which is probably why this beer bottle comes with a reusable cap(!) as you could probably keep it for a couple days after opening. Rubus has a super authentic raspberry flavor with a tangy bitterness that makes you pucker after every sip (in a good way!) This is definitely more of a dessert beer or something to enjoy one of, very slowly. I really enjoyed this “le bizzarre” ale: 8 out of 10 nails.
PS- They have a beer called “Hoppy Cat”!! OMG. I’ll be looking for this one. In the meantime, here’s a pic of Chuck and my nails: