Friday, April 11, 2014

FF Friday

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Happy Friday. As I'm still recovering from a painful nerve block please enjoy these little facts about me. I feel the nerve block was bothced (no anesthesia=lots of pain & long recovery.

1. I love designer jeans. The most I've paid for a pair of jeans is $350. I have a bin of designer jeans that are too big for me (the $350 pair among them). That bins contains over aprrox $1,500 worth of jeans. I'm insane.

2. I love fashion and after college while waiting for a job in biotech I worked as a visual merchandiser for 2 years. Yep, I dressed mannequins, merchandised the store, put together suggested outfits with accessories, etc. Loved it so much after finding a "grown up" job I continued on part time for 8 more years.

3. Due to medication I have a lot of issues; double vision, short term memory loss, lack of focus/concentration just to name a few. After reading posts I'm always finding errors and I find myself editing each post like 50 times. So annoying.

4. I don't have a personal Facebook profile. I do have a Facebook page for my blog but I'm not really sure how Facebook works. I'm a mean Instagramer though.

5. I put milk in my tea.

6. I'm a huge procrastinator; I was the one in college up all night cramming for exams.

7. I have/had a photographic memory (or at least I did before I developed short-term memory loss due to medication).

8. I prefer Sephora over Ulta for makeup and skincare.

9. I'm a self-processed Essie nail polish hoarder.

10. After seeing Gisele in a pair of amazing Ray Ban sunglasses I knew I had to have them. They are the classic Wayfarer in 54mm polarized. Through my amazing shopping skills I got mine 50% off. Can't wait for them to arrive.

11. I have so many free make up and skin deluxe size products I don't need to shop for either for at least 6 months. Sephora is amazing.

12. I'm attempting to teach myself to crochet a baby blanket for my unborn niece. I've only ripped it out about 5,000 times. Good thing I'm tenacious.

13. I can't believe my wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks.  No clue what we will plan.

14. I'm currently debating an anti-inflammatory diet. Is anyone on one or know anything about them?

15. I have started doing oil pulling in the morning with coconut oil. Though I'm not convinced it will pull out any toxins it's at least whitening my teeth.

16. Mr.Surly and I recently finished a show on Netflix called The Borgias. It stars Jeremy Irons and is one of the best series I've seen since in awhile; scandal, corruption, everything that makes a show great. Plus a hottie son, played by Francois Arnaud. Lord Almighty hand me some ice and a fan.

Showtime cancelled the fourth season so I've become a huge advocate to get a Season 4, 10 episodes already written. I need more Cesare! (Francois). Season 3's ending left everyone hanging.

17.Has anyone watched any good movies on Netflix or Amazon Instant? I need some good movies to watch.

18. Mr.Surly and I have already blazed through Mad Men Season 6 on Netflix. We don't like to watch it on tv because we like to have it all at once. Same thing with The Walking Dead, if I see a promo for the next episode I change the channel. I like them all at once; I don't want to be left hanging for a week til the next episode (can you tell I'm an instant gratification kinda girl?)

19. I'm ready for spring. I want sunshine and warm temperatures. You southerners keep your mouths shut, I still check my old southern forecast on my phone (since it's already in my weather app) and it makes me sad. I could be sitting in 70s instead of 50s. Oh, well, it will get to those temps (eventually) here.

20. I got new glasses this week. Mr.Surly says I look trendy without trying too hard. Can't bring myself to post a selfie of me in them yet. The frames make me feel like a "stupid hipster dufus" (name that show the quote came from).

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Youthy Forever

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YOÜTHY-1 hi-res

I was thrilled when I was asked to do a review post on Youthy Forever Passion for Cactus juice. I drink water all day long so this healty, no sugar added juice, was a nice alternative. It's hard to find juice that doesn't have added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. This juice is 100% juice, no sugar or sweetener added. It's 100% natural fruit juice, no GMO (genetically modified) fruit is used, it's naturally gluten free, vegan and has some added bonuses. There is 40mg of grape seed extract and 30mg of resveratrol in each 10oz bottle.


Resveratrol is in red wine and it's the reason people say to drink one glass of red wine a day. Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant that promotes healthy, glowing, skin. In addition, resveratrol also can lower blood sugar levels, aid in the prevention of colon cancer and prevent cholesterol build up. You can buy supplements of resveratrol but I like to eat and ingest my vitamins and minerals through my diet not supplements. You would need to drink about 60 glasses of wine to get the same amount of resveratrol that is in this 10oz bottle of juice.

Now let's talk about the benefits of grape seed extract. I use grape seed oil in cooking because it's good for you and has a high conductive temperature, higher than olive oil. And it has no taste. So it makes sense that the grape seed extract in Youthy Forever's Passion for Cactus juice is good for you as well. It is shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, support healthy cardiovasuclar function, lower high levels of cholesterol, and may help some blood disorders. Was this drink tailor made for me with all my medical issues?


Alright, I know you all want to know about the taste. It is made from Pineapple juice (my fave), pear juice, passion fruit juice (yum), and prickly pear juice. I have never seen a prickly pear nor tasted one but this drink is amazing. It's like juicing with out the juicer. Do you know how pears have a certain grainy, gritty texture? Well, you can taste that grain/grit in this drink; it's amazing. It's like a tropical fruit punch.

I don't know how much resveratrol you need in order to receive the skin and wrinkle benefits, but this juice is so good I can add it to my daily intake of water and green tea. It will be a nice change.

You can find Youthy Forever's Passion for Cactus juice at Whole Foods, other natural stores and fine retailers. A 10oz bottle (the size I have) will run you about $3.49. For more information visit their website at for more information.


Note: I received free samples of the product but all opinions are my own

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Taking Back My Creativity

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As I read some of my favorite blogs, one thing that strikes me (in addition to some phenomenal photography), is that these bloggers can write. It's more than here's the recipe and this is what it tastes like, which is kinda my approach coming from a technical writing background. It's writing I actually enjoy reading.

I vividly remember writing field journal in college about a squirrel (I was a pre-med biology major). They were awful; we'd have to observe an animal in its natural habitat, then write about it. This was freshmen year in my zoology lab. I wrote about how the squirrel found an acorn, put it in its "bulging" cheek as it "scurried about foraging for more acorns, possibly for winter food supply." I also noted its full, bushy tail, etc. We weren't graded on these journals (thank God) but our lab instructor read them and made corrections. My squirrel log was ripped apart. I didn't need to add what the animal looked like in detail, just note it was a squirrel was part of my feedback. Also, no reason to write how its cheeks "bulged with acorns; a simple squirrel foraged for acorns would suffice. There was more, but I'm sure you get the drift. Thus began my days of technical writing: say what you need to say as succinctly as possible, no "fluff." I became so good at this dull, emotionless writing that, after college, in my science jobs I found myself re-writing SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). I could break down what needed to be done to the bare bones, not a word was wasted.

Since starting this blog I noticed that I was doing the same thing. I remember someone noted how simply put and straight forward my instructions were, how easy to follow. Of course they were: a recipe is just a SOP on a smaller scale.

This comment got me thinking, what happened to my creativity? I used to be a better creative writer. In high school I was selected for AP (advanced placement) English. We were a small group (about 15) where our English class was taught as college course; we even used college textbooks. We even had the option, senior year, to pay to take a test that would give us our college credits for English. In case you're wondering, I declined the test. I knew my schedule would be full of organic chemistry, cell biology, anatomy, etc and I wanted an easy English class to help pad my GPA.

I remember sophomore year of HS we would submit writing portfolios (I believe 5 written papers) at the end of the semester for our grade. My teacher wrote how "blown away" she was by the "feeling and emotion" in my writing. What happened to that girl who sailed her way through these AP classes with straight A's? How did she allow science to beat her down and suck out all her creativity? Is there a way to get it back now that I've been out of the industry for almost 5 years? Or am I doomed to forever stay a technical writer; lifeless and boring?

One of the first writing rules I was taught in HS was that you had to draw your reader in in your first sentence and keep them engaged your first paragraph. Otherwise you've lost him/her forever (ok forever might be a bit dramatic but I'm just making a point here). I'm trying to re-learn that and other lessons on writing. I'm sure the scientist in me will pop up over and over; that would not surprise me given all my years devoted to the scientific field. But I'm trying, I really am. And as my medication dosages decrease, my brain will be able to function and my writing won't be so terse and technical nor will it be the ramblings of a heavily medicated person.

After I feel my writing has improved then it will be photography and food styling that I will set my sights on. The best thing is I'm doing this for me (attempting to regain my creativity) and when I want something defeat is not an option.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Fun Fact Friday (FF Friday): 20 Things about me

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So, I haven't been very good about posting, one of my New Year's Goals. I'm going to "cheat" a bit and do an easy (probably boring to most of you here for the food) post about a few things you may or may not know about me. Enjoy, and to the food people, I promise sometime I'm going to get some new recipes up! Just bear with me a little longer, please.

1. I have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. Alas, my sarcasm is often misunderstood.

2. I don't have a credit card. If I can't pay for it I don't buy it. This lesson came from my Pap-Pap who paid cash for his house and a new car every three years. I'm sure growing up during the depression and having a father who was VP of a bank influenced him. He only delt with cash and checks.

3. I have been trying to master the finger waves ever since watching Season 4 of Downton Abbey. So far all efforts have been unsuccessful.

4. When I first got sick (in 2009) I started into genealogy. I learned that I'm related to Henry VIII on my father's side. My direct line comes from one of Henry VIII's bastard children (The Other Tutors: Henry VIII's Mistresses & Bastards by Philippa Jones. My direct family line starts on pg 300).

5. I can't wear cheap shoes. They hurt my feet and back.

6. Before I got sick I never worked out. I maintained my weight thru diet and portion control.

7. I love water; it's my preferred beverage. But I can't drink tap water, it must be bottled or filtered.

8. I prefer spotify to pandora. I love 70s folk music; my parents were hippies and I was raised on it & the Beatles; my dad was crazy about the Beatles. My favorite channels are 70s, Morrissey, The Smiths, The Sundays, Jason Mraz, Singer-Songwriter, Peggy Lee, just to name a few.

9. I LOVE to read. Every year I read The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. My copies of these books have pages falling out of them; I need to replace them. Jane Austen and Maeve Binchy are two of my all time favorite authors.

10. Among my favorite directors are Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Elia Kazan, Billy Wilder, George Cukor, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles...all I can think of now.

11. I love watching ghost hunting/paranormal shows; I'm intrigued by ghosts or the possibility of them.

12. Bad grammar is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Don't use no double negatives.

13. I have perfect posture and people often like to comment on it to me for some reason.

14. I started ballet lessons at age 3 and stopped about age 10. I have a dancer's body and am as flexible as a board.

15. I have the most amazing, supportive, loving extended family (aunts, cousins, etc). We've all been thru things that have bound us closer together. I'm blessed to have all of them. "Family first" and "blood before water" are phrases I remember hearing growing up. I don't know what I would do without any and/or all of them.

16. Cumin is my favorite spice and I tend to use it in just about everything I cook for dinner.

17. After much deliberation, Mr.Surly quit his job in the south and we uprooted our life to move north for my health. We needed to be closer to the world-renowned clinic that is treating me. It's still a 4 hour drive but much closer than an almost 12 hour drive from the south.

18. I love music and almost always have it on; while I'm getting dressed/ready, cleaning, cooking, crocheting/knitting, crafting (crocheting or knitting), writing posts (right now "Shoplifters of the World Unite" by The Smiths is on; if you haven't heard this song click the take a listen; one of my favorite songs by them. Since The Smiths break up Morrissey still sings it live at his concerts and it sounds just as amazing. That man sure can sing.)

19. When I was little and learning to talk (like 2-ish) I didn't say "yes;" instead I would said "sure." For example, my dad would ask if I wanted a cookie and my reply would be "sure." When I was older I was teased mercilessly about this. My dad used to record conversations with us on tape and there are multiple instances where he asks a question to try to get me to say "yes" but I say "sure" and you can hear his soft laughter when I answer "sure" (I would kind of drag out and emphasize the "sh" part of the word).

20. My dad had his pilot's license: it was his hobby and he loved flying and was in a plane every chance he had. As a result, I grew up flying in planes. Instead of driving somewhere my dad would rent a plane and fly us there. I got spoiled and now I hate long drives and road trips (I get antsy after 90 minutes in a car). I'd rather fly than drive.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Rosy Valentines Day Giveaway

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Vaseline has been around forever. I think I have had a container of it in my nightstand since I was in high school. I always get the driest lips and I would apply vaseline to my lips before going to sleep. I love putting vaseline over lipstick to give it a "glossy" appearance without the stickiness of lip gloss. I had no idea they made a tinted vaseline. When did this happen? How did it happen? Does my local Target carry it? I was super excited when I was contacted about trying a free sample of it.

The neat thing about this Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips is that the tint is sheer & light. If you want rosier lips add a few layers so the color builds. I keep it beside me and use it all day. I like that my lips don't feel all gunky and sticky like they can with lip gloss; rather they feel soft and moisturized. Mr.Surly won't kiss me if I'm wearing lip gloss because of the sticky feel but with Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips it doesn't bother him; I actually get a "your lips are so soft" reply.

The only warning I will give is don't use it before bed unless you want pink lips on your pillow.

I would definitely recommend Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips. The 0.25oz is perfect to throw in my purse when I'm running errands. It's about $2.29 at drugstores, grocery stores, and retailers,which isn't a lot considering you only need a dab and vaseline containers last forever. Now I have rosy lips to match my red, wind chapped "rosy" cheeks.

Now, to the good news. Vaseline is giving one lucky reader their own Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips sample PLUS a box of chocolates! Look at those gorgeous lips on the chocolate. Love it.
Chocolate_R osy Lips
To enter to win just leave a comment (below or on surlykitchen's facebook page) telling me your favorite lip balm or chapstick; whatever you use to keep your lips moisturized. Winner will be announced on Feb 14. Get your entries in by 8:00am EST on Feb 14. will calculate the winner and I will post the winner Feb 14. No limit on number of entries. Once winner is announced Vaseline will be sending you your very own Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips and these yummy chocolates. Good luck!

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Thanks for everyone who participated. Congratulations Kali! Email surlykitchen@gmail with your shipping info and Vaseline will send out your prize.  Happy Valentines Day, everyone!
Giveaway sponsored by Vaseline.
Note: I received a free sample of Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips but all opinions are my own.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Touch of Grace

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I have always loved Grace Kelly for her poise, beauty, aura of mystery of her private life, and of course, fittingly, her grace. I was so excited to discover that a Grace Kelly exhibit was going on. It has toured Europe and this was the first and only US exhibit. They chose Philadelphia for the location since she is from Philly.


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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Goals

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I’m calling my list “goals” instead of “resolutions” because of the nature of the word resolution.  It is a firm resolve to complete an act.  A goal is something you are working toward.  By using the word “goal” instead of “resolution” I avoid pressure to complete each task.  This may be a viewed as a cop out but I’m being realistic.  I never know how I will feel from day to day, hour to hour; therefore, I’m not putting any pressure on myself to achieve something I’m unable to.  Goals are something I’m striving for in my life, not necessarily pressuring myself to finish if physically unable. 

*decrease the amount of medication I’m taking
*be a better blogger, whether it be food, cocktails, beauty, favorite product, health report, etc and post more often
*redesign blog
*get out of my pjs more during the day and put on regular clothes & makeup to feel better about myself
*stop picking my cuticles (to make Mr.Surly happy)
*learn to breathe slowly to calm myself in anxious situations
*keep avoiding stressful situations that make me anxious & increase my pain level

It will be interesting to see how I do with my goals this year. I'm hoping this year is better than 2013.

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