NARS Review

I am easily seduced by NARS cosmetics. It’s easy to convince myself I need something else enrobed in matte black packaging. Here are my most recent finds:

I couldn’t resist the Danmari All About Cheeks Palette($107 value, for $65). I personally think the regular sized blushes are huge (0.16 oz.) but the tinier (0.12 oz) ones are perfect. This palette of 6 contains an OK selection of colors, I do think they should have left out one of the Orgasm shades, because who needs 2 and how much difference is there really between Orgasm and Super Orgasm? I was impressed with the size of this palette and love the large mirror. Great travel palette. At $65, each 0.12 oz. blush works out to cost $10.83. A regular sized 0.16 oz. blush costs $27. For a regular blush you’re paying $168.75/oz. In this palette you’re paying $90.28/oz. Overall, I didn’t really need it, but… oh well.

face candy grade: B+

Is there one beauty thing that you always manage to do? Mine is contouring. I love my cheekbones and ALWAYS contour. I bought The Multiple Bronzer ($38) in Malaysia for quick on the go contouring. A couple swipes, blend with your fingers and you’re done. The color is intense at first but can be sheered depending on your desired finish. I layer Laguna Powder Bronzer over top with an angled cheek brush. I really like it but don’t think it’s worth $38.

face candy grade: B-

Read about my experience at the New York Makeup Show

After being quite disappointed by MUFE’s uplights, I decided to try The Illuminator ($29) in Copacabana. The glistening pinky pearl is not a color I would have normally picked for myself, but I’m branching out and trying new things. Anyway, I apply a little on both cheeks and up into the cheek bones, down the center of my nose and on my cupid’s bow. Combine this with the Multiple Bronzer and your face will have dimensions you never knew it had! Work quickly though, it can dry in an unflattering way if you wait too long. One of my new favorites.
face candy grade: A

The Arabian Nights Trio Eyeshadow ($45) caught my eye and I needed it. I love the first two shades, black with red pearl and black with purple pearl, but could do without the black with gunmetal shimmer. I all ready own Night Clubbing which is black with gold pearl. This is one of my favorite lining palettes, I almost always reach for it when getting dressed up. That said, I find the third eyeshadow to be useless and the first has begun to crumble a bit around the edges despite having travelled practically no where in its short life. If you’re really into the colors, splurge, but otherwise you can probably live without it.

face candy grade: B-

What are your favorite NARS products? I think the next thing to try will be the Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24) as I know some people prefer it to Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, which I am just now finishing up.

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My Experience @ The Makeup Show New York

Last weekend, I was invited to The Makeup Show New York. Saturday was a preview day and the show was Sunday and Monday. Unfortunately, I was sick most of Saturday and Sunday but I managed to get on a train Sunday afternoon and arrived just in time for the show to be over. I took the Amtrak train, because my husband prefers to travel that way, but I’d kind of rather take the $5 megabus and spend the rest on makeup. It’s only a little bit longer by bus. Anyway, we stayed at the Warwick Hotel, which is very nice. I booked it through Gilt Groupe’s Travel site, They offer luxury hotel flash sales. Not a member? Sign up here. *If you sign up, you get $25 to spend. Once you book a hotel, I get $25 added to my account.*

Monday, I headed to the show around noon and was immediately overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start. I should have had more of a system. Since there are a lot of people and only one display per brand, it’s easy to get impatient waiting for your turn. I ended up waiting forever in the Embryolisse line and moved on, but then forgot to go back! Overall, I had a really good time and can’t wait to go again next year.

Here are some tips for going to TMS:
Make a list of things you want to try and/or buy for sureI of course, did this and then forgot my list at home.
Get your foundation/concealer shades BEFORE you goWhile there are makeup artists and professionals there, there are a LOT of people too, so be prepared to wait for someone to help you. You’ll also have to choose from the available selection they have. Meaning there’s ONE set of foundations for everyone, so if there’s 5 people grabbing different ones to try, that’s 5 shades you aren’t seeing.
Decide what seminars you want to hear and plan your day around them.
Double check your order to make sure you got everything you checked off and paid for. I checked off a MUFE lip gloss that never made it into my bag.
Be patient. I got out of lots of lines after picking things out because I was impatient.
Take some breathersI am easily annoyed with large crowds of people. I ended up leaving after like 3 hours because I felt claustrophobic, when there were lots of other things I would have liked to see.

Highlights include passing Sam Fine, buying makeup from Rose-Marie Swift and speaking to Reggie Wells. I didn’t take pictures because… I just don’t do that.

Here’s the full list:
-Prep & Prime HD Exlixir ($38 for $22.80)
-UV Prime SPF 50/PA+++($30 for $18)
-Lift Concealer #2 ($22 for $13.20)
-Duo Mat Powder Foundation #203 ($32 for $19.20)
-Uplight Face Luminizer Gel #11 ($29 for $17.40)
-Aqua Smoky Lash ($22 for $13.20)
-Aqua Liner #14 and 17 ($23 for $13.80 each)
-Aqua Cream #14, 16 and 17 ($22 for $13.20 each)
-Aqua Eyes Waterproof Pencil 4L and 18 L ($18.50 for $10.80 each)
-Aqua Lip Liner #18 C ($17 for $10.20)

Yves Saint Laurent
-Rouge Pur Couture Pure Color Lipstick SPF 15 ($30 for $24)
-Touche Eclat Radiant Touch #8 ($40 for $32)

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Lip Tar ($13 each)
Loose Colour Concentrate ($12)
(paid $80 for all)

RMS Beauty
-Raw Coconut Cream ($18)
-Luminizer ($38)
(paid $42 for both)

*Tickets to The Makeup Show NYC were provided by a PR company. See disclosure page.

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The Cheap Gourmet is Cooking with Emeril Lagasse Cookware

Happy Fat Tuesday Everyone! I am super excited about the arrival of my new set of Emeril Lagasse cookware. It arrived last night; just in time for our Fat Tuesday celebration this evening. The UPS driver pulled up just minutes before I began cooking dinner. I couldn’t open the box fast enough!

I engaged in considerable research before purchasing the Emeril Lagasse hard anodized cookware. There has been considerable controversy regarding Teflon coated cookware, aluminum, porcelain and cast iron. It seems that all cookware has something that could leech into our food. Plus, being The Cheap Gourmet, I was looking for budget-friendly cookwarethat would provide the results I wanted without breaking the bank.


I chose Emeril’s anodized cookware because the research indicated this was one of the safest types. My husband explained the process for anodizing aluminum. In a nutshell, aluminum is dipped in a sulfuric acid bath, than exposed to electrical charges which causes the aluminum to oxidize. Afterwards, the sulfuric acid is cooled to 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the electrical charge is increased which in turn hardens the aluminum. It’s actually quite a fascinating process.

Anodized cookware appears to be nearly indestructible. It is non-toxic; scratch resistant; can be used in the oven; provides fast, uniform cooking; and is easy to clean. What more could a girl (or guy) ask for?

Last night we had spicy garlic grilled chicken wings, except we deep fried them instead of grilling. The only thing I needed a pan for was to make the hot sauce. Have look here for an indoor grill for cooking.

After washing the 2-quart saucepan with warm, soapy water, I added my ingredients and turned the heat to low. Within minutes the butter had melted. I couldn’t believe how much faster the cooking time was with my new Emeril cookware!

When I poured the sauce onto the wings, every last drop of sauce poured out of the pan. If you’ve ever made chicken wing hot sauce, you know it can be rather messy. But, with the Emeril cookware, clean-up was a breeze!

Another nice feature of Emeril’s hard anodized cookware is the saucepans have pouring spouts and the lids have built-in strainers. Colanders have always been a pet peeve of mine. While they are great for draining liquids, they can be difficult to clean; particularly the mesh colanders. With the strainer built into the lid, I can eliminate the colander along with the frustration of cleaning it.

Emeril’s cookware lids are made of tempered glass, which is a feature I like because it allows me to see the food while it’s cooking. My old set of cookware had aluminum lids that required lifting to see the progress. The only downside I can see at this moment is the lids have aluminum handles which can get quite hot, so I need to remember to use a pot holder when lifting them off.

I purchased my set of Emeril cookware through Seventh Avenue. They offer a low-cost payment plan which allows me to extend payments if I desire. I didn’t have to pay a dime to receive the cookware and can pay as little as $25 per month. I find this option to be very helpful for cheap people like myself who don’t want to shell out big bucks for high quality cookware.

A great place to comparison shop for cookware, kitchen appliances, household goods and just about anything you could ever want to buy is ShopWiki. Simply type in the product name and ShopWiki provides a list of vendors and price ranges; allowing you to find the best deal.

Rest assured there will be plenty of new recipes featuring photos of my new Emeril Lagasse cookware. I have spent half of my morning drooling over recipes presented at It’s hard to decide which recipe to start with.

Perhaps I should embark on The Cheap Gourmet and Emeril cook-athon and cook nothing but Emeril recipes for a month or two. From the looks of the recipes on his website, I’m pretty certain my husband and I would be perfectly content eating Emeril recipes prepared in our Emeril cookware! And, Emeril, if you’re reading this, thank you for the outstanding cookware. I LOVE it!

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White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan

I enjoy all types of cooking; however my two favorite styles are baking and making soups. Maybe it’s because my mom was such an amazing baker and maker of soups? I wonder if there is a specific gene that makes one good at cooking??

Last week, I helped my husband clean out our garage. My motivational factor was that I knew I had some old cookbooks and recipes cards stored out there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered two 3-inch notebooks filled with recipes I created (or helped create) at the health food store I worked for back in the early 90s.

That was by far my favorite food service job. My boss was Mother Earth. A total hippie with a love for health food. She had the ability to take any high-fat, calorie-rich recipe and turn it into something good for you. She could make a meatloaf out of tofu and no one could tell the difference. She made an amazing flourless chocolate torte out of carob. Her healthy revisions always tasted as good as, if not better than, the original dish.

Growing up, my mom made the best Ham and Bean Soup and served it with cornbread. She slattered the top of the cornbread with a half stick of butter, then dipped pieces of it in the soup. Talk about heaven! She used the ham bone to season the soup and included generous chunks of ham. I vividly remember her saying, “It’s not ham and bean soup without plenty of HAM!”

One day, Leslie (my boss) and I were talking about mom’s bean soup. At the time I was practicing Vegetarianism, but had been craving ham and bean soup. It was a slow day, so we decided to do a little experimenting and develop a healthier version.

The following is the concoction we came up with. Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment with this soup; however, I highly recommend eliminating that half stick of butter. A teaspoon will do just fine or if you’re adventurous try using organic coconut oil. It adds a wonderful sweet, coconut-y flavor. A crispy, French baugette or whole wheat dinner roll is another option.


Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours


1-1/2 cups dried small White (Navy) Beans
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion (yellow or white), finely chopped
1 medium Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk Celery, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, minced
7 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock (substitute with water, if desired)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Pick over and discard any damaged beans or stones. Place beans in colander and throughly rinse.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl, add enough water to cover and soak for about 3 hours.
  3. Drain beans and set aside. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft; about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Add garlic and rosemary and continue to saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add drained beans and the chicken or vegetable stock, or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When beans are fork-tender, soup is done.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Place one-third of the bean mixture in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  8. Puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back into soup pot and reheat gently.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer soup to individual bowls. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

NOTE: You can use canned white beans, if desired. Doing so will reduce the cooking time to around 20-30 minutes. Feel free to substitute different types of beans such as Canneillini (white kidney beans), Great Northern or Lima beans.

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MAC – Venomous Villains

A POTION TO POISION, AN APPLE TO BIE, A SPELL TO CAST… bad never looked so good. A CRYSTAL BALL OF COLOUR creted from your favourite Disney venomous villains, inspired by the three most infamously frosty, FABULOUS and formidable of Disney’s DARK LADIES… and one DASTARDLY Dr. Facilier. Don’t you love it?
A MAC and Disney collaboration to celebrate THE DARK SIDE in every one of us, in a glamorous sort of way. WHO’S THE FAIRSET ONE OF ALL? Four separate mini-collections, IN HAUTE ANIMATED COUTURE. The incomparable Cruella de Vil and Snow White’s Evil Queen, each featured on one ultra primary displayer. Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent and The Princess and the Frog’s Dr. FACILIER are both up to no good on their own. UNIQUELY DESIGNED ICONIC PACKAGING YOU WILL KILL FOR, cunning characters and bedeviled beauties that are so alluring, you can’t help but wonder: WHAT WOULD  IT BE TO BE ONE?

Eye Shadow ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Sweet Joy – Frosted creamy pale gold (frost)
-De-Vil- Rich copper (veluxe pearl)
-Carbon- Intense black (matte)

Lipstick ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Innocence, Beware!- Light yellow pink (cremesheen)
-Heartless- Cherry red (amplified)

Lipglass ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Wicked Ways- Light nude with gold pearl
-Devilishly Sylish- Deep fuchsia with pink pearl

Powder Blush ($19.50 US/$23.50 CDN)
-Darkly My Dear- Dirty brown plum (matte)

Beauty Powder ($25 US/$30 CDN)
-Her Own Devices- Cool nude

Penultimate Eye Liner ($16.50 US/$20 CDN)
-Rapidblack- True black

Eye Shadow ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Her Alter Image- Light violet (veluxe pearl)
-Vainglorious- Bronze burgundy (frost)
-Vile Violet- Deep dirty blue purple (matte)

Lipstick ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Toxic Tale- Bright coral (satin)
-Sinister- Soft brown plum (lustre)

Lipglass ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Strange Potion- Soft coral pink
-Hot House- Deep rasperry with pink pearl

Powder Blush ($19.50 US/$23.50 CDN) -Bite of an Apple- Soft coral pink (matte)

Beauty Powder ($25 US/$30 CDN)
-Oh So Fair- Clean pink with gold pearl

Penultimate Brow Marker ($16.50 US/$20 CDN)

Mineralize Eye Shadow Duo ($21 US/$25 CDN)
-My Dark Magic- Deep pink with pink pearl/Deep plum with purple pearl
-She Who Dares- Deep navy with blue pearl/Deep forest green with lime green pearl

Lipstick ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN) -Violetta- Bright clean violet purple (amplified)
-Dark Deed- Burgundy plum (amplified)

Lipglass ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Revenge Is Sweet- Light yellow purple
-Wrong Spell- Deep plum with pink purple

Beauty Powder ($25 US/$30 CDN)
-Briar Rose- Soft violet pink with pearl

Nail Lacquer ($13 US/$15.50 CDN)
-Bad Fairy- Red with red multi-changin pearl
-Mean & Green- Purple with teal multi-changing pearl

Magically Cool Liquid Powder ($29.50 US/$35.50)
-Truth & Light- Sheer shimmer that reflects silver and pink
-Cajun- Sheer bronze shimmer that reflects gold

Lipgelee ($15.50 US/$18.50 CDN)
-Resort Life- Off white with pink pearl

Greasepaint Stick ($17.50 US/$21 CDN)
-Slick Black- True carbon black
-French Quarter- Dirty black green with multi-colour pearl

Pigment ($19.50 US/$23.50 CDN)
-Melon- Soft bright golden peach (frost)
-Brash & Bold- Bright magenta (frost)
-Push the Edge- Deep bright purple with pearl (frost)

Zoom Fast Black Lash ($14 US/$16.50 CDN)
-Deepest Black

I’m So Vain Mirror ($12 US/$14.50 CDN)
-Compact inspired by collaboration; interior contains standard mirror on one side and magnifying mirror on alternate side.


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