Part of being self-employed, funemployed, full time freelancing, living the dream – whatever you wanna call it – is all about saving money when you can. So here’s what I do. Instead of throwing out the junk mail like I always used to do, I go through it and clip coupons like crazy. Every now and then you find something really good in there!

Case in point — free manicures at a nearby spot, the Pure Rain Nail Spa which is in the Printers’ Row area of Chicago. I got the offer on the back page of a free neighborhood coupon magazine that comes in the mail. As luck would have it, they deliver this thing twice a month. So since I had TWO free mani coupons, I decided to invite my friend Gabi of Young Fat and Fabulous, who just moved to Chicago! Check out her Big Cartel store here!

This wasn’t a day for full body photos, bellas. We were super low key, not dolled up in our blogger best. So the only photos to commemorate the occasion are of our hands.

We were both pleasantly surprised by the Pure Rain Nail Spa. To be honest, I was expecting the kind of nail spot that has hand-shaped chairs. Pure Rain was delightfully decorated with an animal print motif, the pedicure stations were adorable, and Sex and the City was being broadcast on flatscreen TV’s throughout the spa. All we needed was champagne to complete the experience!

I chose Essie Lilacism, which is a grayish, sheer, modern take on the floral favorite.

On my thumb and fourth finger, I accented the manicure with Essie Main Squeeze, which is part of their new Wedding Collection. They describe it as “a shimmering lilac cream,” and in the bottle it looks that way…but on me it’s a barely there, sheer lilac iridescent that really only shows color in the light. It is delicate and it is super pretty, a fun funky choice for a bride. If you’re like me and you’re a fool for iridescent shimmer, you’ll love this color — photos online can’t do it justice. But if you like your nailpolish opaque, you should keep it moving.

Gabi prefers an opaque color and she chose a favorite shade of hers — Essie’s Mint Candy Apple, which is a refreshing new classic if you ask me. It’s opaque and innocent, while still packing a colorful and fun element of surprise. Love this color!

This week’s Monday Manicure was lots of fun, and FREE! Of course you gotta tip your manicurist for doing a great job and making your nails look perfect. But trust me – check those coupons, you never know what you may get!

If you’re doing your Monday manicures at home, definitely check out Your Nail Questions, AnsweredJezebel’s amazingly helpful post, chock full of info on achieving the perfect at home manicure.

What do you think? Do you love the colors we chose, or are they not your cup of tea?

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Sara says:
April 26, 2010, 5:50 pm
i had iridescent/opal colored nails for my wedding - I even had pictures taken with just my nails and the flowers, they were so gorgeous! I think it's a great idea for brides.
Jessica says:
April 26, 2010, 10:22 pm
Lovely colors! I do my nails myself because it's relaxing. I often use the Essie Lilacism to create a fun spin on a French pedicure. It's an unexpected color in a classic look.
BlackBetty says:
April 27, 2010, 12:53 pm
I've been putting off my mani/pedis for far too long. I tend to avoid lighter opaque colors since my nails are weak and chip easily. But for an event, I'll probably give them a go.
Lee says:
April 27, 2010, 2:47 pm
Thanks Bella for the info. As a Chicagoan I'm glad to find out about a new place. I'll have to check this place out. FYI-I like the Essie Lilacism.
Snarky's Machine says:
April 28, 2010, 4:33 pm
Oh my goodness. Thank you for posting your manicure! I keep looking for pictures of all Essie's new hotness on skin tones that approximate my own so I can see if I'm gonna eat a well balanced meal (another freelancer living the dream) or I'm gonna get my nails and toes did. Love, love, love your site.
Snarky's Machine says:
April 28, 2010, 4:33 pm
Looks like it's gonna be rice and beans and getting my nails and feets did.