Product Review: GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper

Tuesday Brewsday: Braxton Labs - Newport, Kentucky

Product Review: Eco Tan Face Tan Water
I love the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser from La Roche-Posay!

I love the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser from La Roche-Posay!


Have you read my latest morning and evening anti-aging skin care routines? If you have, then you know that one of the cleansers I've been using for the past several months is from La Roche-Posay. I want/need a cleanser that doesn't dry out my skin, clog my pores, cause breakouts, or irritate my sensitivities.

bottle of Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, blue washcloth, and grey konjac sponge sitting on a wooden surface

Their Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser has quickly become one of my favorite cleansers of all time. I just really love the way it makes my skin feel! It's so gentle and my skin feels soft and hydrated.

close-up of Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser on a grey konjac sponge, with a blue washcloth in the background

It's similar to CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser in that it contains ceramides and is a no-foam cleanser (and also in price). However, the Toleriane Cleanser has a creamier consistency and leaves my skin feeling softer and smoother than the CeraVe cleanser.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau (La Roche-Posay Prebiotic Thermal Water), Glycerin, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Propylene Glycol, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polysorbate 60, Ceramide NP, Niacinamide, Sodium Chloride, Coco-Betaine, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Panthenol, T-Butyl Alcohol, Tocopherol

bottle of Toleriane Hydrating Gentle cleanser on a floral background

Another thing I really like about this cleanser is that it is fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free, soap-free, and sulfate-free - making it perfect for my sensitive skin.

I dampen my face and apply one pump of the cleanser to my entire face and decollete using my hands. Then I leave it on my face for 2-3 minutes before rinsing away with a soft cloth and warm water. I use this cleanser every morning, and occasionally in the evening. If I use it in the evening, I always remove my makeup first.

bottle of Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, grey konjac sponge, and blue washcloth on a wooden surface

Since using it, I've had less dryness from the tretinoin, no breakouts or clogged pores, and it doesn't aggravate my rosacea. I'm so pleased with it that when I need more moisturizer, I plan to try the Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer. I think it's similar to the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizer that I like, so I want to see how they compare.

pinnable image of Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser on a floral background

Have you tried the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser? What's your favorite cleanser for sensitive skin?

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Kim A.
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Tuesday Brewsday: Wooden Cask Brewing - Newport, Kentucky

Tuesday Brewsday: Wooden Cask Brewing - Newport, Kentucky


What's better in hot weather than an ice cold beer? Of course, it's also good in cold weather. Or any weather!

Earlier this summer, I was finally able to convince Gus to stop by Wooden Cask Brewing Company in Newport, Kentucky. I've been wanting to go for awhile now, but he argued that "it would be hard to find a place to park" (knowing that a lot of the parking in Newport is street parking). If you worry about that sort of thing, let me start off by laying that worry to rest. The brewery has it's own parking lot, and it's big.

four small glasses of different types of beer sitting on a wooden bar

Their building is HUGE. I was expecting something the size of Darkness Brewing in Bellevue just because most spaces in the area are on the smaller side. Not only is it a large building, but it's beautiful. Apparently, back in the 40's and 50's it was the Flamingo Club (with illegal gambling). Then in the 80's it was the Jockey Club with live punk bands. More recently, it housed the Yellow Cab company (which explains the size of the parking lot!). Quite a history!

brown brick building with the words Wooden Cask Brewery

glass door that says "Wooden Cask Brewery Tap Room Entrance"

Inside, there are lots of tables with seating, couches, and of course, seats at the bar. Interesting tidbit: The bar top is wood from six bowling lanes that were on site.

tables with wooden tabletops and metal chairs and stool with a tv on the wall

wooden casks stacked along a wall

Right before we stopped here, we ate dinner at the Newport Pizza Company (NPC) - which is right around the corner. We both had a bottle of Wooden Cask's Girl Next Door blonde ale with our meal and liked it so much, I think that's what convinced Gus to stop by.

They don't serve food at Wooden Cask, but there are quite a few local restaurants that will deliver to the taproom (including NPC).

taps with a list of 18 different craft beers

We loved the atmosphere at this brewery. It's cozy but very open and spacious. I'm not one for being crammed into a crowded space with a lot of other people, so I appreciate the roominess this taproom offers.

I (we) also really liked several of their beers. They always have 18 craft beers on tap - including a seasonal cider. Three of the brews I tried were what I would call "favorites" - meaning if I see them on tap somewhere, I'm going to order them. But their Reformation is my most favorite. I do love me a good chocolate Scottish stout!

four numbered glasses of beer
Kentucky Farmhand, 7th Street Runoff, The Scotsman, Reformation

My favorites*:
  • Reformation (Scottish stout) IBU: 32, ABV: 7.5%
  • Girl Next Door (blonde ale) IBU: 20, ABV: 6%
  • The Scotsman (Scotch ale) IBU: 30, ABV: 8.5%
Gus' favorites*:
  • Kentucky Farmhand (pale wheat ale) IBU: 20, ABV: 5.2%
  • Girl Next Door
  • The Scotsman

Definitely stop by Wooden Cask Brewery when you're in the Newport, KY/Cincinnati, OH area - you'll be glad you did! Pick up a t-shirt, too - it's one of my favorites - so comfy!!

Here's where/when you can find them:
Wooden Cask Brewing Company
629 York Street
Newport, Kentucky  41071

Hours:
Monday - Thursday 3pm - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 12pm - 11pm
Sunday 12pm - 8pm

859-261-2172
info@woodencask.com
Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Untppd

infographic with a photo of four glasses of beer at the top and a brown brick building that says "Wooden Cask Brewery" at the bottom

Do you have a favorite brewery? Tell me about it - we're always looking for new ones to try! If you're interested in following along on our food/drinking adventures, be sure to find me on Instagram and Snapchat - I share a lot there that doesn't make it on the blog.

*A note about our beer preferences:
Me: witbier, Hefeweizen, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, white ale, chocolate stouts, Kentucky common ale, ginger beer, some saisons, and some Scotch ales
Gus: witbier, Hefeweizen, blonde ale, red ale, Belgian tripel, Kentucky common ale
Buddy: IPA, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, red ale, stouts (especially coffee-flavored), porter, Belgian tripel, Belgian quad, saison

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Kim A.
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Aloe Vera and Rosacea

Aloe Vera and Rosacea


How many of you keep an aloe plant in your kitchen? Or use aloe vera gel on a sunburn? It stops the sting almost immediately, right? Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory healing properties, is hydrating and absorbs well. So it's not surprising that it's found in many skin care products.

aloe vera plant with an overlay that says "aloe vera and rosacea"

(This post is sponsored by Lexli. It may contain affiliate links which were added to make it easier for you to find the items. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). You are free to use the links or not - if you do, I thank you!)

You may remember that earlier this year, I posted about being diagnosed with rosacea (subtype 2). This presented me with a whole new set of skin care concerns - as if being over-50 with sensitive, breakout-prone skin wasn't enough! After several months of only using skin care products approved by my dermatologist, I was apprehensive about reintroducing products and/or trying new ones. I've always been conscious of ingredients, but now I'm even more so because I don't want any flare-ups.

Aloe vera seemed like not only a "safe" ingredient for me but also one that could provide some much needed benefits to my skin.

bottle of Lexli aloe-based Tone and Balance Facial Toner sitting on a red chair

If you've seen my past skin care routines, then you know that I had been using a witch hazel toner after cleansing. It was one of the products I had to stop using with the rosacea flare-up, and I was concerned about adding it back into my routine. I considered just not using a toner at all, but I do like one, especially when I feel it's providing a benefit to my skin. Then I discovered Lexli Tone & Balance Aloe Vera Face Toner.

Lexli skin care products have a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera. Pharmaceutical-grade aloe is 99.9% pure aloe, while cosmetic-grade aloe may only be 70% aloe. The toner also has silk amino acids (penetrates upper layer of skin and hydrates), soluble collagen (humectant), allantoin (skin protectant), and vitamin B5 (increases elasticity and regeneration, lessens scarring) - all of which are beneficial to skin. Unfortunately, it also contains fragrance. I would have preferred that it not have any added fragrance, but since it was listed as the last ingredient, I was hopeful that there wouldn't be a problem.

back label of a bottle of Lexli toner, showing directions for use and ingredient list

The ingredient list on the bottle (in photo above) shows the key ingredients. The complete ingredient list can be found on the Lexli website:
Organic, Pharmaceutical-Grade Aloe Vera, Purified Water, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate-20, Sorbitol, Silk Amino Acids, Soluble Collagen, Allantoin, Vitamin B5, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance

For the past two months, I've been spritzing it on my face and décolleté both morning and evening, right after cleansing. It is a clear liquid, and comes in a clear spray (pump) bottle. There is an herbal scent (it reminds me of a man's aftershave/cologne), but it dissipates quickly.

Right before I had back surgery in early July, I had a rosacea flare-up that left me with several hard red bumps on my cheeks. I think the stress from back pain and the upcoming surgery was the trigger. It usually takes 6-8 weeks for these types of bumps to go away completely. This time, I consistently used the Lexli toner twice daily, and within 2-3 weeks the bumps were gone. I credit the toner because it was the only different product in my routine.

Five different Lexli skincare products lying on a wooden table
Lexli products

The toner is offered in 3 sizes: 1 oz. travel size priced at $5.99, 4 oz. for $17.50, and 16 oz. for $65. I have the 4 oz. size, and after about two months of using it twice daily, there is still 2 oz. left.

I'm so pleased with the results that I've decided that I am definitely making this part of my skin care routine from now on. If you have sensitive skin, rosacea, or are just looking for a nice hydrating toner, I would recommend giving the Lexli Tone & Balance Aloe Vera Face Toner a try.

pinnable infographic with a picture of an aloe vera plant an a pink and white heading that says "aloe vera and rosacea"

Do you use a toner? Which one works well for you?

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Kim A.
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Adventures of Gus and Kim: Moerlein Lager House - Cincinnati, Ohio

Adventures of Gus and Kim: Moerlein Lager House - Cincinnati, Ohio


Gus and I love a good restaurant. If we can find one that has delicious food as well as great craft beer, we're there. If you throw in a great view - it's on our "favorites" list. Christian Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati is one such place.

Photo of the outside of Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati, Ohio
Moerlein Lager House, Cincinnati, OH (courtesy of moerleinlagerhouse.com)

The location? The Banks in downtown Cincinnati - right along the riverfront, next to Great American Ballpark, and overlooking Smale Riverfront Park. There is a convenient parking garage underneath The Banks with several exits so you can be near wherever you're headed. It's such a cool area to hang out, whether you're coming/going to a Reds game, Bengals game, a concert, or just looking for something to do.

tables and chairs inside Moerlein Lager House
inside the upper level of Moerlein Lager House

Now let's talk food...

warm pretzel sticks with beer cheese and spicy mustard on a plate
warm pretzels with beer cheese and spicy mustard

Gus and Buddy can't resist warm pretzels with beer cheese and spicy mustard! They gobbled them down in record time, so I think they could be considered a winner.

short ribs with tomato chutney, cheddar mashed potatoes, and green beans on a white plate
short ribs with cheddar mashed potatoes and green beans

My favorite dish is hands down the short ribs. If we go to a restaurant and they have short ribs on the menu, I pretty much just stop looking at everything else and get the ribs. The short ribs here are some of the best I've ever tasted. They're served with a barbarossa (one of their beers) demi-glace, cheddar mashed potatoes, green beans, and tomato chutney. Melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness!

pork shank with tomato chutney, cheddar mashed potatoes, and green beans on a white plate
pork shank with cheddar mashed potatoes and green beans

Gus likes the barbarossa-braised pork shank. Like the short ribs, it's served with a barbarossa demi-glace, smoked cheddar mashed potatoes, green beans, and tomato chutney. What's not to like?

pork belly with brussel sprouts and braised red cabbage on a white plate
pork belly with brussel sprouts and red cabbage

Buddy likes the hops-smoked pork belly served with balsamic brussel sprouts and braised red cabbage. Another excellent choice!

And of course, dessert...

crème brûlée in a white dish with whipped cream on top
crème brûlée

Gus loves their crème brûlée (it is tasty)...

blueberry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream in a white ramekin
blueberry cobbler with ice cream

The last time I was there (Mother's Day), they had a blueberry cobbler that was divine. I think it was a seasonal dessert because I don't remember seeing it on the menu prior to then.

Naturally, you can't mention Christian Moerlein without talking about beer, right? When we visit breweries, usually a couple of us will like several of the brews, and the rest (usually Gus) will like one or two. But this is one of the breweries that has a lot of beer we all like.

eight 4 oz. glasses of different types of Christian Moerlein beer sitting on a table
beer flights

My favorites* (both were soooooo good!):
  • Barbarossa (lager/Munich dunkel - malt)
  • Strawberry Pig (cream ale)
  • Piggy Weiss (Hefeweizen - this is Strawberry Pig and Se7en mixed together)
Gus' favorites*:
  • Se7en (Hefewiezen - south-German-style wheat beer, banana, clove)
Buddy's favorites*:
  • Currant Trend (fruit beer collab with Against the Grain Brewery - fruity Kolsh with black currant)
  • Se7en
  • Emancipator (Doppelbock - malt, caramel)
  • The Great One (American IPA - denali hops, pine, citrus, pineapple, and mango)

I'm also going to mention a couple of other favorites. I didn't have them during this visit, but they're still worth a mention!

  • Plum Street Wheat (fruit beer) - fall seasonal 
  • '77 Winter (winter warmer) - love this one!


infographic showing a plate of shorts ribs and a flight of beer with the words "Adventures of Gus & Kim - where to eat/drink in Cincinnati, Ohio: Moerlein Lager House"

So if you're ever in the Cincinnati area and you're looking for great restaurant with an excellent beer selection (they have over 80 choices!) AND a great view, check out Moerlein Lager House!

Moerlein Lager House
115 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513-421-2337

Hours:
Monday - Thursday 11am - 12am
Friday and Saturday 11am - 1am
Sunday 11am - 11pm

*A note about our beer preferences:
Me: witbier, Hefeweizen, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, white ale, non-coffee-flavored stouts, Kentucky common ale, ginger beer, some saisons, and some Scotch ales
Gus: witbier, Hefeweizen, blonde ale, red ale, Belgian tripel, Kentucky common ale
Buddy: IPA, fruit beer, Berliner Weisse, Gose, blonde ale, red ale, stouts (especially coffee-flavored), porter, Belgian tripel, Belgian quad, saison

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Kim A.
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My Evening Anti-Aging Skincare Routine - August 2018

My Evening Anti-Aging Skincare Routine - August 2018


Recently, I shared my updated morning skincare routine, and today, I'm sharing my updated evening anti-aging skincare routine.

If you haven't read my updated morning routine yet, let me tell you a little about my recent skincare issues. (If you have already read that post, you can just skip to below the first photo.) In March 2018, my dermatologist gave me a diagnosis of rosacea, subtype 2. (If you want to read more about that, check out my post: Five Important Things I've Learned About Rosacea or All About My Skin.) That meant I had to stop my skincare routine except for a prescription cleanser, First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum, and CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion - until the rosacea was controlled. I suffered some anxiety when I realized I wasn't going to be able to use my anti-aging products - being most upset about losing all of the progress I had made with tretinoin.

Infographic showing a pink flower with a text overlay saying "P.M. anti-aging skincare routine for younger-looking skin"

(This post may contain affiliate links which were added to make it easier for you to find the items. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). You are free to use the links or not - if you do, I thank you!)

1) I've always been a two-step gal, so if I have makeup on in the evening, I remove that before I cleanse my face. If I'm wearing a full face of makeup, I use Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water for waterproof makeup (the blue cap) and an exfoliating cotton pad to remove it. If I only have on tinted moisturizer, I will use a makeup removing towelette like Garnier SkinActive Micellar Remover Wipes (pink) or Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes.

Three different sizes of Pure & Pretty Clarifying Cleanser sitting on a wooden table with purple flowers behind them
Pure & Pretty Clarifying Cleanser from I Feel Pretty Products

2) Cleansing is next, and I switch up my cleansers in the evening. Every third night I use the prescription sulfacetamide face wash prescribed by my dermatologist. That's the "schedule" that allows it to work without drying out my skin too much. On the other nights, I have three cleansers I choose from: Pure & Pretty Clarifying Cleanser, Acure Sensitive Facial Cleanser (now called Seriously Soothing Cleansing Cream), or the La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser. I apply with a konjac sponge, and remove with a soft washcloth and warm water.

3) While my skin is still slightly damp, I spritz Lexli Tone & Balance Aloe Vera Face Toner over my face, neck, and décolleté. This is a new product for me, and I like it a lot. I feel like it has helped keep the rosacea calm, and it doesn't dry out my skin. (There will be a review coming soon!)

Bottle of The Ordinary's Argireline 10% Solution sitting on a wooden table with the product box in the background
Argireline 10% Solution from The Ordinary

4) Next I apply the Argireline 10% Solution from The Ordinary. As in the morning, I don't really measure this, I just drop some on my fingertip and apply to my forehead, the lines between my eyes (near the bridge of my nose), crow's feet, and nasolabial folds.

4a) Every third night, I apply tretinoin to my face, neck, and décolleté. I'm moving very slowly with this, keeping an eye out for any irritation/rosacea flare-ups. After about 6-8 weeks at this schedule (which is soon), I will increase to every second night.

A bottle of Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum from The Ordinary sitting on a wooden table with the product box in the background
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from The Ordinary

5) After about 30 minutes, I apply Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum from The Ordinary. I use about 5-6 drops, applied with damp hands to my face, neck, and décolleté.

A bottle of Lexli A-Firm-Ative Anti-Aging Peptide Serum lying on a wooden table
A-Firm-Ative Anti-Aging Peptide Serum from Lexli Skincare

6) Now I apply Lexli A-Firm-Ative Anti-Aging Peptide Serum. I place two pumps of serum into damp palms and apply to my face, neck, and décolleté. Other options would be The Ordinary's plain Buffet Serum or their Matrixyl 10% + HA.

I usually start my evening skincare routine fairly early in the evening - several hours before I go to bed. I take advantage of this and apply more than one moisturizer.

Two different sized bottles of Pretty Pearlfection Cream sitting on a wooden table with purple flowers in the background.
Pretty Pearlfection Cream from I Feel Pretty Products

7) The first moisturizer I apply is the Pretty Pearlfection Cream. I use a pea-sized amount with damp hands to my face, neck, and décolleté. I've been using this product for many years, and not only does it moisturize, but it also keeps breakouts at bay. When I do get a breakout, it definitely shortens the healing time.

8) Next I spot treat any red areas with First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum. This contains colloidal sulfur, which is great for rosacea. If you don't have rosacea or other redness, you wouldn't need this product.

Bottle (and box) of CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion sitting on a blue-patterned surface with a wooden wall behind
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

9) After an hour or so, I apply CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. I use about two pumps and apply to my face, neck, and décolleté. This is another long-time product for me. I love that it is lightweight, but yet provides a good amount of hydration.

clear jar of white cream sitting on a wooden table with a silver lid nearby
Revital-Eyes Rejuvenating Cream from Lexli Skincare

10) Just as in the morning, I apply Lexli Revital-Eyes Rejuvenating Cream under my eyes at night. I don't think it's always necessary to have a special product for the undereye area, but I seem to need a little extra "something" for moisture. If I don't use the Rejuvenating Cream, I apply watermelon or rosehip seed oil.

11) Right before I go to bed I apply the last moisturizer - Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream (I prefer the fragrance-free). I can definitely still feel this on my skin in the morning, so it's great at hydration as well as plumping fine lines.

Tube (and product box) of Clinique's Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask lying on a wooden table
Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask

12) And let's not forget the lips! I use two products on my lips to help with plumping as well as keeping them hydrated. The first is GrandeLIPS Hydrating Lip Plumper (in clear). I usually apply that one near the beginning of my skincare routine to give it a chance to absorb. Then right before I go to bed, I apply Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask. It's so hydrating it lasts until morning!

The Lexli products I mentioned are new to my routine, and they are formulated with a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera for it's anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties as well as it's ability to penetrate the skin. So they're great for someone with sensitive skin or rosacea. I'll be doing a review soon!

Infographic showing a pink flower with a text overlay saying "P.M. anti-aging skincare routine for younger-looking skin"

Subscribers/members will have access to a printable version of my complete a.m. and p.m. skincare routines (including suggestions for alternate products) in the members-only section of the blog. If you're not a member and would like to be, you can sign up here.
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Kim A.
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