Save this spring with Groupon Coupons!

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(This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.)

Y'all know how much I love Groupon. I wrote a post a few years ago about how I used a Groupon to get a massage locally and a few times I've mentioned how you can get JulieG by Jesse's Girl Cosmetics polishes at a really awesome deal price through Groupon. But did you know that in addition to having amazing deals for over 500 cities and 28 countries around the world, Groupon also has a whole section dedicated to coupons?

Groupon Coupons, which frankly is fun to say, has over 75,000 coupons to over 11,000 stores.  I was actually surprised to see coupons from Sephora, Ulta and even Macy's - this isn't just random dot com URLs that you've never heard of before! Doesn't matter if you're searching for the best gel polish deal out there or if you're looking to buy a new TV, Groupon Coupons has you covered. I really like that you can even check out what stores and sites are having free shipping!

The thing that really grabbed me about Groupon Coupons is that you don't have to do anything special to qualify for the coupon codes - you don't even have to log into Groupon! Only reason I found that out was because (oops) my Groupon account had been deactivated at some point in the past. However, Groupon has a great live chat service and I was able to get my account reactivated in under 8 minutes.

Additionally, the free iPhone app makes it easy for me to lie in bed and check out deals in case I'm not at my desktop. I especially enjoy being able to pull it out when I'm in another town and want to try a new place for dinner or check out a local spa. The website and the app are seamless together which is always a plus.

This spring, make a point to check out Groupon Coupons during your next purchase. Join the social conversation by liking Groupon on Facebook and following their Twitter.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.  For more information, please read this post.

Colors by Llarowe Summer Skies

Press Sample

It's cold in South Texas (below 40!) which is really rare so I wanted an icy blue to wear today! I decided to grab Colors by Llarowe Summer Skies which was the Polish of the Month for May 2016. This is a icy blue that is both holographic and has pink shimmer. 

I used a base coat of Cult Nails Get It On, 2 coats of polish and finished with Glisten & Glow HK Girl top coat. The polish went on well and the brush is nice and fluffy which I love. 

This photo was in my light box. Despite being under artificial light, you can still see a bit of the holo peeking through.

I also was able to grab a photo in the sun and that's where the scattered holo really comes out to play. It's a pretty intense blue so possibly double up on your base coat. I had only a slight blue tint to my nails - not smurf like - when removing.

Colors by Llarowe are available through the Llarowe website and range in price from $5 to $12. You can also like it on Facebook, follow on Pinterest, and follow on Instagram.

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration.  For more information, please read this post.

JulieG Tropical

Nothing To Disclose

If you love ipsy, then you may just recognize the next shade here! Today I grabbed JulieG Tropical, a matte neon turquoise/mint polish from the May 2016 five piece release. If you're an ipster, this was also included in a limited edition bottle but I purchased mine straight from the website.

Now as I mentioned in my last post, my nails are pretty trashed. I'm still trying to remove acrylic from my right hand and my left index finger is incredibly sore where the natural nail was filed too far down. I attempted to use Duri Rejuvacote for this manicure but the neon in Tropical would NOT play well. I decided to pull out a bottle of Cult Nails Get It On, and then carefully applied 3 thin coats of Tropical. Although this is a matte, being neon, I added Glisten & Glow HK Girl top coat to bring out the glossy.

Being a neon, this polish dries QUICK and if you don't pay attention, you can easily pull up the layers when applying the next coat. I also think the unevenness of my nails didn't help as my ring finger was streaky no matter what I did. But overall I LOVE this color and am seriously considering it for my next pedicure.

Teeny tiny little nubs! After my last posting, I had to once again cut down my nails because of splitting. No worries - they typically grow quickly and I have a plethora of nail oils and cuticle balms to play with. I may even consider wearing gel polish for a week to hopefully keep down the splits. We'll see.

Back to the polish - you can see the streaks on my ring finger but they aren't terrible. Great color especially for less than a cup of Starbucks coffee. 

You can purchase JulieG in Rite Aid stores across the US or shop online at Jesse's Girl Cosmetics which ships worldwide!  JulieG sells for $3.99 for a 0.35 fl oz (10 mL) bottle.

Glisten & Glow Parasail in Puerto Rico

Press Sample

I tried with my acrylics, y'all, but I just couldn't keep it up. I took off my left hand after Christmas and the right hand a week later. It was an ordeal that left me with some sore hands (mostly my fault) and the need for some TLC. I've been wearing Duri Rejuvacote for now but I wanted to add a punch of color for fun.

Glisten & Glow Parasail in Puerto Rico is a pink/coral creme from the Experience the Islands collection. I used a base of Duri, 2 coats of polish and finished with Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat. The first coat went on well with just a few streaks but the second coat evened everything out. Very minimal clean up was needed as this polish played well with the brush and my nails. I didn't have any issues with it being too thick or too thin.

Don't judge my nails too harshly - I have a long to go with my recovery, especially in shape and thickness. It's tough because I have SO many beautiful polishes that I want to wear, but my hands need some recovery time. I'm going to do what I can, when I can. I may even have a few guest "hands" on here for a bit.

Back to the polish - I love this type of coral pink creme. It's not too coral but it's not too pink. I don't feel like I have lobster hands and it's just a happy little guy. As of press time, this polish is still available on the Glisten & Glow website.

Glisten & Glow is available on their website. Join the social conversation with FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Disclosure: The product[s] in this post was [were] provided to me by the company for consideration. For more information, please read this post.

Spa Hacienda - Full Set Acrylic Nails

Nothing To Disclose

Spa Hacienda is an upscale spa and salon located in downtown Kingsville, Texas. It is owned by Meredith Benton, a licensed esthetician since 2001, mom and overall rockstar. I first went to her after a disastrous eyebrow waxing and now only trust my brows to her and her manager, Sarah Peterson. During my last eyebrow appointment, I learned that they had added a new nail technician to the group, Esteban Guerrero.

I went to check out Esteban's Instagram and absolutely fell in love with what I saw. Crystals, glitter, holographic powder, mini almond claws, coffins! Between the bold matte colors and mix and match  nails, I was sold. What made things really awesome for me was that I had just recently won a $50 gift card from our work holiday party so I felt like this was going to be the best chance to play "Secret Shopper" and get some awesome nails!

Esteban was able to book me for Friday morning at 9 am, making me the first appointment of the day. I let him know that I was totally open to color, shape and design - I had a $50 gift card and I work on a computer most of the day and have two young kids. He recommended a coffin shape and got to work.

He started with a waterless manicure, removing my old polish, cutting down my natural nail and pushing back my cuticles. Then he used an e-file to prep my natural nail before fitting me with tips and started work on shaping the coffin. I didn't feel any burning or discomfort during the e-filing.

Next came the bonder and acrylic as he shaped the coffin and built up the nail. Esteban works quietly and intently as he would line up my hands to check. Now, I haven't had acrylics in over 10 years, so I felt a little odd moving my hands around and felt like I was apologizing too much but he assured me each time that I was fine.

Originally I was told that I should block an hour and a half for the appointment but at the one hour mark, his next client arrived and we hadn't even polished. Esteban chose a white Color Club gel and started to free hand a negative space triangle on my right index finger. Next came overall color on my right middle finger, ring finger and thumb. On the pinkie, he used a pink Color Club gel. For my left hand, it was again white gel for the middle finger and thumb and on the pinkie, he started a negative space Ruffian nail. My ring finger was done in the pink and my left pointer finger was left clear and he used holographic glitter (UH MY FAVORITE!) to make the tip opaque and then taper down to the nail in an ombre effect. For finishing touches, more holographic glitter was added from the cuticle up on my left ring finger and after top coat, I received some left over holographic glitter on my left thumb. The appointment ended after an hour and 15 minutes.

The price for my nails was $50 even, and I left a 40% tip because it's the holidays and I knew I was going to be reviewing his work on the blog, which some people may not love being reviewed without knowing.

Here are my nails:

Overall thoughts
Since this was my first acrylic set in over 10 years, I'm impressed with how the industry has evolved. While the length is definitely something to get used to, I absolutely love the shape.

As for the designs, I'm in love with all but the negative space designs. The hand painted isn't perfectly straight, which for me, is something I obsess over. The negative space Ruffian drives me absolutely insane. I feel like I looks grown out, not like a Ruffian. While the holographic glitter index nail is my absolute favorite, the glitter needed another coat of gel top coat because there is some rough spots where the gel soaked down and the texture of a rough nail is frustrating to me. 

The thickness is VERY hard for me to get used to. My natural nails are at least half the thickness of these nails, but I don't feel that it's adequate for me to judge since I haven't had acrylics in over a decade. Also, the corners of some of the nails were not smooth which meant I started snagging on everything and it's only been 2 hours since I got these done. 

Gel application does need a bit of work for me - as you can see, some gel is on my skin, meaning that lifting is possible over the coming days and weeks as the gel loosens from the skin. While I like the waterless manicure idea, I would have preferred a cuticle remover like the Essie Apricot Cuticle Remover and some time of cuticle oil in the end like CND Solar Oil.

All that being said, I've shown these to two people who had very different reactions. A fellow nail tech immediately was able to see the flaws and tell me how I can fix it to work in a way I need. My friend, who has no knowledge of nails except she is looking for a place to get her nails done - absolutely loved them and gushed over how amazing they look. 

Esteban can be booked through the Vagaro website. The price list as of December 2016 are as follows:

  • Full Set Acrylic Nails - $30
  • Acrylic Nail Fill - $25
  • SNS Full Set Natural Nail - $35
  • SNS Full Set With Tip - $45
  • Shellac Polish Only - $20
Again, my above nails were $50. I'm not sure if the $20 went for the specialty shape and each nail being different or how it was broken down, as it wasn't listed.

I would love to try the SNS on my natural nail some time in the future. For now, I am going to try and keep my acrylics as long as I can and will be soaking off with my Steam Off to see how my natural nails survived.