Jack o’ Lantern Mani w/ Southern Tier’s Pumking
LA Manis w/ Eagle Rock Brewery’s Revolution XPA and Populist IPA
Ahhhh, LA. Land of beautiful people, beautiful landscapes and beautifully fresh air:
(Let’s just say it was foggy that day, ok?) This was my first time spending a decent amount of time in LA and it was quite a blast. I chose Eagle Rock Brewery as my muse this week and I am so happy I did, for so many reasons (more on that later). I was staying with my friend Danielle this week and she was gracious enough to let me paint her digits for this post (THANK YOU D!).
Populist IPA Nails:
We started out with Dashing Diva’s Grand Central Station on every nail except the ring, which we painted with Essie’s Sand Tropez (2 coats each):
Next, I painted every nail diagonally with the opposite color using the polish brush (again, 2 coats):
Third and final step was using a very tiny dotting tool to paint the wheat design on the ring and pinky fingers (again, using the opposite colors). I just followed the pattern on the bottle as much as I could:
Revolution XPA Nails:
I went a little crazy with this one. Took me 3 hours to complete and it was the night before my flight…not the greatest time management ever. I actually ended up doing this manicure TWICE; once before my trip and once right after because I didn’t get any good pics of it while I was in LA and by the time I got home, the mani was a mess. Oy. My back hurts.
I painted every nail with 2 coats of Sally Hansen’s Cherry Red and the pinkies got 2 coats of Essie’s Sand Tropez. Then the fun began. I started with one shade of red acrylic paint and used a small, flat brush to paint 3 small triangles on each red finger. Then I mixed another color into that batch (white, peach or a different shade of red) and paint 3 more triangles on each nail. Each shade of triangles should be sporadically placed, but placed within a patterned grid. As long as you have slightly different shades of red each time, you’re good. I only mixed one batch of color and painted every nail before changing the shade because I didn’t want to risk the paint drying out while I worked. I used about 5 different shades of red. Here they are from the first step to the last (sorry, not the best lighting here…):
Of course, once all is said and done, I clean up around the nail with an orange stick dipped in remover. Then I used a very tiny dotting tool to paint the wheat graphic on each pinky. 3 hours later!:
And just for reference, here are all the supplies I used for these manis:
Ales: Eagle Rock Brewery was established in ‘09, but you wouldn’t know it by the taste. The brewery is nestled in the bowels of LA (am I allowed to say that? I don’t even live there…it felt tucked away though. Don’t be mad, almost all of Brooklyn can be considered “bowels”). Aw shit, I just offended 2 majors cities. This post really is full of multiples!
Anywho, website said the brewery opened at 4pm and as my friend Ed (THANKS ED!) and I pulled up at 4:05, we wondered if we’d be those weirdos waiting for the doors to be unlocked so we can get our fix. Nope. The place was almost full! I soon realized why. Almost all beers on tap were $5 and you can get a nice flight for $2 per beer. Also, they were all amazing. Here are some pics:
Above is the flight. I chose (from left to right) Solidarity Black Mild Ale/Manifesto Wit Bier/Revolution XPA/Populist IPA/Nitro (I think was Double IPA)/Unity 2012 Berliner Rye w/ Prickly Pear
Not going to review them because that would be a lot, but they are all worth trying, no matter what your style preferences may be.
The more I look at these labels, the more I love them. I’m big on clean lines and geometric shapes. These labels simply have a nice, clean design. We bought the pint glass because it was so pretty. Multiple people have said they like it!
The Populist IPA: Since this was the beer I used on Danielle’s nails, I asked for her input (keep in mind, her fave beer is Bud Light.) She said the color looks like “my pee after a good night.” Her beer reviewing career is off to a running start, folks! Needless to say, I stopped asking questions after that one. Love you, D.
Being in NYC, I don’t drink west coast IPAs very often, so it’s a somewhat new experience for me. This brew has a hazy golden color and a small head that dissipates quickly. Medium carbonation and a sweet, fruity, hoppy nose. Even with the fruity notes, the taste was still rather bitter and full of hops (which most of their beers carried…and I don’t mind at all). Overall, it was a well-balanced (west coast) IPA. 7 out of 10 nails!
The Revolution XPA:
Due to the focus of malt in typical pale ales, I don’t usually gravitate to them. Revolution is different though. It is very bitter and hops are definitely present. The nose seemed to be non-existant. Color was golden and very translucent. At first taste, the hops are in the forefront and there is not much else, but as it warmed I picked up a sweeter, honey-like flavor. It was delicious and surprising for a pale ale so I’m giving this one 8 out of 10 nails.
A note about Eagle Rock Brewery: Eagle Rock has a female co-founder, Ting Su, and she does a lot to help educate women about beer, which I love. I came across a lil’ documentary on her in which she and her husband (another co-founder, along with his father) talk about how the brewery was founded and about the rarities of female brewery owners. Check it out here: Ting: A Documentary
While at the brewery I met Jerry and Andrew manning the taps (forgive me if I got your names wrong!) and I want to thank them for their enthusiasm about this blog! You guys rock and I hope to visit again soon. Cheers!
Gust Mani w/ Birrificio del Ducato’s Sally Brown Caffè Baracco
Nails: It’s Fall and starting to get a tad chillier outside so I chose this coffee ale because the flavor would fit the season…it was an added bonus that the label does the same! The brownish-green background of this label screams Fall and the white/yellow brush strokes remind me of illustrations of gusty wind.
I picked up a bottle of Sally Hansen’s Magnetic Nail Color in Golden Conduct last week and decided that this would make for the perfect base for this design as it helps to add some texture to the background. This polish is pretty great and I even wore it last week on its own because it makes such a cool design. It’s a super easy way to add a little flare to your nails! You basically paint one nail and immediately place a magnet (provided with the bottle) over your nail for 10 seconds. Lift up the magnet and, voila, you have nail art! The only issue I have with this polish is that the magnet should be curved to fit the shape of your nail. Right now it’s flat and that means that sometimes the sides of your nails will not get the design (especially on your larger thumb nails). That’s ok for this mani because I would be painting over the sides a bit anyway:
Next, I mixed together some white and yellow acrylic paint to make a light yellow (the color of the brushstrokes on the bottom of the label) and I used plain white to paint the other strokes. I had practiced this mani with a small brush at first, but I found that by using a very tiny dotting tool I was able to control my design a bit more and I still got a brushstroke look:
You can be a bit loose with this design, as the label doesn’t warrant a very precise look:
Ale: I lurv me some coffee, not just for the caffeine but for the wonderful smell and flavor. When I stumble upon a really great coffee porter or stout, I am in heaven. I was curious about Birrificio del Ducato’s Sally Brown here because it is labeled as an “ale brewed with coffee.” You don’t usually think of this beer style being paired with this kind of flavor (or at least I don’t):
The head is frothy like a Coke and it quickly dissipates. Color is a very deep brown, again like Coke. The nose is coffee and sweet chocolate through and through. At first taste, there is a punch of flavor (again, coffee and chocolate) but that quickly gives way to a very watered down aftertaste. It’s a very thin beer in flavor and consistency (although it does have medium carbonation, which can give it the illusion of being a bit thicker for a second). When I think of coffee flavor in beer, I think of porters and stouts and I think of thickness. While Sally Brown had some flavor, it lacked in body. I’m going to give this brew 4 out of 10 nails.
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!