Sunday, November 16, 2014

Coming Soon! The 12 Vintage Cocktails of Christmas

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I know it’s not December yet, heck, it’s not even Thanksgiving.  But December 1st is quickly approaching.  And, my dear readers, you know what December 1st is; the first day of the 12 cocktails of Christmas!

This year marks the 4th annual 12 cocktails of Christmas.  This year we’re taking it back a few decades making it the 12 vintage cocktails of Christmas.  The drinks may not fit the theme of the classic Christmas carol but it’s fun to make classic cocktails.  Especially with Mad Men ending *insert single tear*

I’m fortunate my sister-in-law & her boyfriend are NYC bartenders to help guide me and give me tips/trips. Check Derek out at the Growler’s downstairs in the Underdog Cocktail Bar, located in the Financial District; his drinks don’t disappoint.  

Anyway, I would love for other bloggers (or non bloggers) to join in.  I’m not sure how to set up a link-thing, but if someone does know, leave me a comment or email me (surlykitchen@gmail) and I'll try to get it set up by Dec. Then others can share their favorite Christmas cocktails.  Drinking is always more fun in a group.


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Thursday, October 30, 2014


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You guys I'm deeply, deeply disappointed in my beloved Sephora. I love shopping there & I have been a VIBrouge since they introduced the program, maybe a couple years ago? Don't really remember. Anyway, I LOVE having access to special gift sets & products. I got this email about this awesome algenist kit with an amazing travel bag. Since I'm flying south for thanksgiving with my family, I was totally excited about this because it would be perfect to fly with. The small travel bag would force me to pare down my makeup to essentials and fit easily in my carry on (I never check bags; not even when it was free).

Anyway, so I order the kit almost immediately because supplies are limited and stuff like this goes FAST. I'm anxiously waiting for it to arrive (because I love a package from Sephora). Yesterday it came! Hooray, or so I thought. The kit came in a box and my seal was broken, which I found odd, but whatever it was in a bigger box. I open the small box, and to my total and utter dismay the travel bag is missing. I called the VIBrouge concierge to report the issue. I was told it was a "known issue" with this particular kit and they were fixing the problem. Great, can I get the bag? No. Only future orders. Of course the code it a one-time use only so I can't send it back to order another one. They offered me extra VIB points. I told the customer service rep that was kind but I'd rather get the bag instead. Well, they can't send out the bag. SO FRUSTRATING! I have never had an issue with Sephora that couldn't be resolved. They ended up giving me points & a $5 credit, which is a nice gesture, but it's the principal of the matter. If you can't deliver something don't advertise it. You will just wind up disappointing (and maybe even pissing off) customers. To the other VIBrogue members who ordered the kit prior to when the "fix the issue" are just s.o.l. I'm totally bummed about it. How can I trust future offers? I can't. I'm so deeply upset because I love Sephora and know I'm doubting them.

I know this is ridiculous of me to post about but I'm bummed. And I just want others to be aware of the issue so they aren't excited about something that Sephora can't deliver. It's really the whole principal of the matter that bugs me. Don't say you have something when you don't or can't remedy the situation. I can't help it; it's the Libra in me. sorry about the vent.

over and out.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here. I think just about everybody has been affected by breast cancer in one way or another. For me, I lost my mother to this evil disease. Every month on my birth date (the 9th) I perform a self breast exam. In addition I get annual mammograms and MRI mammograms (my mother died pre-menopausal of breast cancer, thus increasing the risk for me to contract it before I hit menopause). I have chosen not to have genetic testing. I know all about genentic testing (Before I became ill, I worked in a genetics lab working on, ironically, breast cancer clinical trials and finding which medications the tumor responded to. Basically, the beginning of personalized medicine, which is the future & fascinating). Anyway, I digress; I know what the BRCa gene testing involves and, for personal reasons, have declined to have it done. There can be false positives, false negatives, etc in science. I'd rather be proactive without knowing my genetic results.

As many charities will be promoting breast cancer this month, be careful which charities you choose to donate to. For example, Panera bread offers the breast cancer bagel, but did you know only 10 cents of that bagel goes to charity? When a store has a buy this we'll donate to cancer be sure to ask how much of your donation actually goes towards the cause. Sometimes you'll be surprised by the answer.

A couple charities I believe in:
The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research
100% of every gift to the fund goes directly to research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Read more here.

Your local Hospice
Hospice is such a great service for the terminally ill. Thanks to our local Hospice, my mom was able to spend the last critical months at home with her family instead of in a sterile hospital room. Hospice workers come a few times a week to help and relieve caregivers which is much appreciated when you are caring for a terminally ill loved one in the home. Hospice is a service I support and believe in whole-heartedly.

I like my dollars to be spent locally, so I look for local charities. If you want to donate, check with your local hospital/women's center to see what options are available to donate to for breast cancer patients and research. Be sure to do some asking to see exactly how much of your donation dollars are being put toward actually helping breast cancer patients & research.

A great article can be found here about making sure your breast cancer donation dollars are being spent wisely.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal Review

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Treat & Conceal
Hi, it's me. I'm back after yet another absence with another beauty product favorite. Since I haven't been cooking I have delved back into my obsession with beauty products full-force.

Today's product is Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal. It's a concealer that treats blemishes, pigmentation spots and fine lines as it conceals. It comes in 4 different shades for all skin tones.

Let's discuss why I wanted to try this product. I have very sensitive skin. I used an eye cream with retinol and it gave me retinol "burns" around my eyes. Basically, they were patches of brown discoloration on my skin. Are you ready for the unedited pictures? I cringe to put them out there but here they are:

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Apothederm Skin Firming Serum Review

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If you can’t tell by reading my blog and instagram I’m skin & beauty product junkie. It’s so important to take good care of your skin. I love, love, love trying new products. I am not familiar with Apothederm skin products. For this reason, when contacted to see if I would be interested in trying Apothoderm’s Firming Serum I jumped at the chance.

I have some mild wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes (crow’s feet) that are noticeable without a good primer or tinted BB cream. I wanted to see how well this product really worked so I stripped down my skin routine to simple products. I used Cerave facewash & moisturizer in the morning and NARSskin or Purity at night with Cerave night moisturizing cream. I did this for one month and noticed a significant reduction in my crow’s feet. They were barely visible. My forehead wrinkles softened as well. But I was extremely pleased with the crow’s feet going away. I don’t use a special eye cream, just moisturizer. It has been two months and I'm still going strong using this product.

As to the firming claim, I’m not sure if my skin feels any “firmer.” It’s supple & soft, as usual. I didn’t notice much difference in skin tone. But the wrinkle reduction was clearly evident. I’m so happy with the results! After a month I went back to using other products on my face and all I can say is the results continue to amaze. I’m going to cry when my bottle is empty and will probably buy more from Apothederm's website. You can’t put a price on something that reduces (and hopefully will prevent) wrinkles! I’m an impatient, instant-gratification kinda girl, so the fact that it only took a month for this to work WONDERS is worth every penny!

Product Information:
Hydrate and protect with the Firming Serum
The combination of Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14 and Heptapeptide-7 in the Firming Serum boosts collagen production and promotes keratinocyte proliferation and migration, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while increasing firmness of the skin. ($75)

Note: I received the product for review but all opinions (as always) are my own. I only share products I'm 100% in love with.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

FF Friday Vol III

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I haven't don't a FF Friday in awhile. Since my GI issues have flared up severely, I thought this would be a nice, easy post for me.
Enjoy the weekend!

1. I bruise like a peach. Breathe on me and there will be a big purple bruise.

2. Mr.Surly & I dated for 6 years (2 1/2 of them long distance in different states) and lived together for 3 before getting married. Yep lived in sin for 3 years with my lover before marrying him.

3. I'm obsessed with my fitbit flex's sleep tracker. Not totally accurate but close enough

4. One of my pet peeves is when people caption their photos "Jane & I." It's "me" people, "Jane and ME!!" Spread the word, please!

5. Lately, I've been obsessed with watching YouTube videos.

6. I proud of myself for learning, on my own, how to crochet a baby blanket for my unborn niece. (I lamented about this in FF Friday Vol II) I finally finished it!!! Now I'm hooked (pun intended) on crochet. Not sure what my next project will be.

7. Mr.Surly's wedding band is my grandpa's 18 karat white gold wedding band from 1941; surprisingly it was a perfect fit, no adjustment necessary.

8. I'm really into coral right now; lipstick, clothing, jewelry, etc.

9. I've been drinking a lot of coconut water lately. It's so refreshing and a natural source of electrolytes.

10. I have finally found a hair stylist here that I trust with my hair. It's hair to find a good colorist.

11. I just now discovered the show History Detectives. Not quite a 100% die hard fan but I find it entertaining.

12. Last week I accidentally wiped my iphone clean. Lost all my pics, contacts, etc. Thank God for apple support who walked me through how to get everything back.

13. Went to Nordstrom for their Anniversary sale & was overwhelmed. I'm not used to shopping in a store; I do it all online. I had all my items picked out on my Nordstrom app. I ended up only buying a winter coat (which I need now that I'm living in the North) and a new pair of jeans since my weight is changing again. Mr.Surly did find a lot of shirts & pants for work. We are buying winter clothes since we really don't own many. Ps Nordstrom sale ends Aug 3. We had early access which was nice.

14. I can't believe it's almost the end of July! I have been so sick that I haven't really noticed the weather outside.

15. I have been dabbling in making bracelets. Let me tell you, it's harder than it looks! Bending the wire is a b*tch, even with all the proper tools. I've made a couple for myself and some relatives.

16. Watched the movie "Can't Buy Me Love". If you want a taste of the 80s, in all its glory, this movie provides it all. Crimped hair, slang, pleated pants, AC Slater cropped tanks. This movie is one of my guilty pleasures.

17. Been really slacking on shaving my legs. I'm part Native American (Cherokee on my dad's side, Delaware Indian on my mom's side) so I'm pretty hairless. My legs don't get rough stubble, just soft hairs. One day I look down at my legs (the hair doesn't grow above my knees) and see that the hair is long & sparse. Gross. If I wasn't so sick right now I would be better at grooming.

18. I now have Physical Therapy homework: a 15 minute pilates routine, light band exercises, and stretching on a pool noodle. OMG, have you laid on a pool noodle, relaxed and stretched your body? It's so amazing. If you want details let me know; I'd be happy to share them with you. It's supposed to benefit everyone. My PT does it every night.

19. I have tapped back into my beauty obsession. When I was in Junior High my sister always joked I should write a book on beauty tips & tricks. With the ease of writing an ebook I'm seriously considering it (I'm not in it for the money, just to share knowledge). But I'll probably just write a bunch of posts about them instead because I don't know if I could handle a book. The task seems daunting.

20. Do I sound more coherent? My myofascial physical therapy is amazing & I'm able to decrease my meds. Still have double vision, short-term memory loss & mind fog but after some bullet proof coffee I find I can actually function semi-normally. I'm definitely not back to where I was before I got sick, but I feel like I'm slowly regaining some coherency. Still making mistakes but I'm better at catching them.

FF Friday Vol I
FF Friday Vol II

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Who Likes Free? Me!

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I am such a beauty product junkie; skin care, makeup, etc. I love it all. I love trying different products. Have you heard of Mario Badescu? He has a spa in NYC with celebrity clients. According to InStyle, Naomi Campbell visits him when she's in NYC. Naomi has skin that is to-die-for. She's timeless.

After some research I discovered that you can get samples in the mail, for free, from Mario Badescu. The Best part is you get products based on your skin type. It's so easy. You take a quiz which at the end lists the products they recommend for your skin. I think you might have to register; I can't remember. But after a week or so when you don't order anything from them you receive a follow up email saying, hey you didn't order anything would you like free samples sent to your house. Um, yes please! It takes a few weeks but free deluxe samples are worth the wait. If you don't see it in your inbox check your spam folder. Included is a daily skin regimen on how to use your products. I haven't started using my products yet but I will keep you updated with what I'm loving.

Get your free samples by taking the questionnaire yourself. Click here to get started. Everyone gets different products based on individual skin needs. I'd love to hear what products you get and how well they work for you. As I said I'm a product junkie and I'm open to trying anything.

Note: This post is NOT sponsored by Mario Badescu. I just want to share an easy way to try some new (and free!) skin products. Over and out.

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