Adventures of Gus and Kim: Don't Miss the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

I Love the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser from La Roche-Posay!
How Important is Daily Sunscreen?

How Important is Daily Sunscreen?

I bet when the sun is out and the temperature is warm, you always remember to wear sunscreen, right? But did you know that you should be wearing sunscreen Every. Single. Day? This is especially important if you have rosacea, are taking medications that cause sun sensitivity, or if you are serious about your anti-aging program.

yellow and pink flowers with the words "How Important is Daily Sunscreen" superimposed

(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!)

yellow rectangle that says "what you need to know about UVA & UVB"

You've probably heard about UVA and UVB rays, but do you know what they are and what they do? They are ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun and they both damage skin, but in different ways. UVB rays cause sunburn and damage the skin's outer layers. The strength of these rays varies by season, location, and time of day. But keep in mind that even when it snows, you can get a sunburn because the UVB rays bounce off reflective surfaces (like snow and ice) and hit the skin twice. These rays do not penetrate glass well.

UVA rays aren't as intense as UVB rays, but they make up about 95% of UV radiation and they have the same intensity no matter the season or time. They are able to penetrate clouds and glass, so we get a lot more exposure. They also penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB, so they significantly contribute to aging.

yellow rectangle that says "why you need to wear sunscreen every day"

Just in case you skipped over that last paragraph, let me tell you again. UVA rays make up 95% of UV radiation and they have the same intensity no matter the season or time. They are able to penetrate clouds and glass - and they penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB. So we get a lot more exposure and they significantly contribute to aging. This is why it's important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis instead of just when you're outside in sunny weather.

Avoiding sunburn and decreasing your chances of developing skin cancer as well as slowing the aging process are good enough reasons to wear daily sunscreen, for sure. But there are other reasons it's important. If you have rosacea like me, then it's very likely that sun exposure worsens the condition. What may be a temporary flush can eventually become permanent redness. If exposure to sun is one of your triggers (meaning it causes the condition to flare up), it's important to recognize that and practice daily sun safety.

If you're taking medications that cause sun sensitivity your skin will be much more sensitive to UV rays and without protection, you can damage your skin in just minutes. You're going to want to protect your skin by wearing a daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15-30.

If you're spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on anti-aging products and/or procedures and not wearing daily sunscreen, you are throwing your money away. The sun is the major cause of premature aging. Taking a few minutes to apply sunscreen not only saves your skin, but it also saves your money!

yellow rectangle that says "how I practice sun safety - every day"

I have been practicing sun safety for almost 30 years. I do not ever try to get a tan (unless it's a sunless tan), and I wear sunscreen. If I'm at the beach, it's not during the hottest part of the day, and I'm always under an umbrella and/or wearing a hat, and wearing sunscreen with at least 50 SPF. I use a sunscreen on my face every day of the year. I wear it whether I'm leaving the house or not. But - I was often negligent about using sunscreen daily on my body. I always used it when I was going to be outside, but I just couldn't find one that I was willing to use everyday.

It's not because I didn't want to - it was because I couldn't find one I liked well enough to use every day. I had favorites for my face and for the beach, but for daily use I didn't want to feel greasy or smell like sunscreen. My nose is super sensitive and I can detect the faintest hint of that sunscreen smell. I tried moisturizers that contained SPF, but I still didn't like them and would stop using them after awhile. When Lexli offered to send me some of their Sunscreen Spray, I agreed to try it, but I'll be honest - from past experience with sunscreens, I didn't hold out much hope of continuing to use it on a daily basis, let alone actually liking it.

I was wrong.

bottle of Lexli sunscreen spray lying on yellow and pink flowers

I have used it everyday all summer. It's just part of my routine now. It has a great spray pump, it's easy to smooth out, and it absorbs quickly and completely. My skin only feels soft and smooth after applying - never greasy or tacky. The fragrance is very light and dissipates within a few minutes. I never get whiffs of it later on, and I never smell that "sunscreen" smell.

It has SPF 15, which is enough for me on most days. I don't get a lot of sun exposure on a daily basis, so this is enough to keep me safe while wandering around the house, going out to the mailbox or running quick errands. If I plan to be outside longer, I would use something with more SPF. If it came in SPF 30, I would snap it right up! (Note: Lexli does make a moisturizer with 30 SPF, but it also contains glycolic acid, which my skin does not tolerate well. But it's an option if you can use glycolic acid!)

bottle of Lexli sunscreen spray sitting in front of yellow & pink flowers

This is a chemical sunscreen and contains botanical fragrance extracts. I prefer mineral sunscreen for my face, so I'm only using this one on my body. My skin is sensitive to some fragrances, but this product has not caused any issues so far. I really, really like it.

It also doesn't affect my sunless tan. I've had some greasy sunscreens shorten the life of my faux tan and others have actually made the tan rub right off my skin. But I can apply (and reapply) the Lexli Sunscreen Spray without any issues at all. I definitely recommend it!

yellow rectangle that says "where to find more information"

Interested in the products I use on my face? Check out My Top 5 Favorite Sunscreens and My Morning Anti-aging Skincare Routine. Want to learn more about my sunless tanning routine? Check out my Sunless Tanning Series. To read more about rosacea, my Five Important Things I've Learned About Rosacea, Aloe Vera and Rosacea, and 5 Summer Beauty Tips for Sensitive Skin & Rosacea posts will provide more information.

My Prime Day 2019 Picks from Amazon!

My Prime Day 2019 Picks from Amazon!

Don't you love the deals at Amazon? And Prime Day makes them even better! Here's what I picked up, what I love, and what I really, really want!

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. This post contains 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!)

First up, what I've purchased so far:

Instant Pot Duo - I've been wanting an Instant Pot for almost a year, so when I saw the one we wanted for just less than half the original price, we had to get it. It arrived on Sunday, and we used it Sunday night for a pot roast and veggies. AMAZING!! And it didn't heat up my kitchen, which is awesome because it was 90 degrees out! If you prefer the slightly fancier version, it's just a few dollars more.

I grabbed this Travel Makeup Train Case when it was a lightning deal, and I can't wait to get it! It's no longer on the deal list (although you can still save by clicking on the coupon), but this one is very, very similar. At this price, it's a steal!

Don't laugh. Yes, I bought the Poo-Pourri when it was a lightning deal. Ha! The one I bought is gone, but there are other options here.

What's on my list:

What a fantastic deal on the Echo Dot!! We have two Echos (one on the first floor and one in the basement), so this would be perfect to add to our bedroom.

The deal of the day is the Amazon Fire Stick. (Less than half price, people!) We have a smart TV in the living room, but the bedroom TVs are older, so this would be great for watching Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

We've been talking about getting the Amazon Ring for the front door. We have a doorbell, but it would be nice to actually see who is there (so we don't have to hide out and peek through the blinds). Yes. I do that.

If you're like me, you probably have a lot of makeup. I love this makeup carousel. It would be perfect for my most-used makeup and would fit right on my makeup table!

Here are some other deals that I love!
Silicone mats and baking pans
Air fryers
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water (love this stuff!)
Southern Keto Cookbook ($5 off with PRIMEBOOK19)

Check out my Amazon shopping page!

Happy Shopping!!
5 Summer Beauty Tips for Sensitive Skin & Rosacea

5 Summer Beauty Tips for Sensitive Skin & Rosacea

Summer is here, and with warmer temperatures comes sweating - and with sweating comes beauty products melting right off your face. Am I right?

When it's hot out, I need as little on my skin as possible. For someone with "normal" skin, beauty routine changes are no big deal. But for people with rosacea and/or sensitive skin (me!), even a small change can bring on all sorts of trouble. Today I'm going to offer you five tips that work for me and hopefully they will help you avert a skin disaster!

(If you're interested in reading more about my rosacea diagnosis/journey, be sure to check out Five Important Things I've Learned About Rosacea.)

photo of flowers with an overlay that says "5 Summer Beauty Tips for Sensitive Skin 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!)

A light gel-based product can absorb quickly and completely, keeping your skin hydrated without feeling too heavy in the heat. When looking for these types of products you just want to be sure that there are no ingredients that can be drying, like alcohol. One of my favorites is the Moisture Intensifier Serum by Lexli.

Lexli Moisture Intensifier erum sitting in front of yellow and orange flowers

This one is especially great if you have rosacea or sensitive skin, because like all Lexli products, it has a base of soothing aloe vera. It also contains allantoin and panthenol for hydration, arnica to reduce inflammation, and glycosaminoglycans to help improve the structure of the skin. (Read my post about Aloe Vera and Rosacea.)

If your skin is very dry, or if you feel like you want a little more hydration at night, a lightweight oil-free moisturizer could be just the thing. It could be used alone or over the Moisture Intensifier Serum. I want my moisturizer to absorb well and not leave my skin feeling too tacky .

bottle of lotion sitting in front of yellow and orange flowers

Simply Hydration is a great choice. It does contain botanical fragrance extracts, so just be aware if you have a sensitivity to those. A fragrance-free option is CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (the "PM" just means there is no sunscreen in it).

I would love to use a tinted moisturizer, but my skintone is uneven from the rosacea and most tinted moisturizers don't offer enough coverage. I know there are a ton of you out there who can relate to the struggle!

two bottle of liquid foundation makeup sitting in front of yellow and orange flowers

During the summer, I switch to a lightweight foundation, especially for daytime. I absolutely hate being out in hot weather and feeling like my foundation is sitting on my skin like a big blob of grease, or even worse - that my face is sliding off! I've been using Tarte's Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation (available in 30 shades) and CYO Lifeproof Long-Lasting Foundation (available in 14 shades). Both are lightweight with buildable coverage. I would say an initial application gives light coverage and you can build it to a medium coverage. For me, both work best without a primer and when applied with a makeup sponge.

Setting powders can make or break your look. The trick is to find one that helps smooth and set your look without making it look caked on. I've tried a ton, but my favorites are e.l.f. HD Loose Face Powder, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder, and Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro Powder.

jar of powder sitting in front of yellow and orange flowers

I dip my Kat Von D Lock-It Setting Powder Brush into the powder, tap off the excess, and lightly dust over my face, concentrating on my T-zone where my makeup tends to wear off.

For under my eyes, I use either the e.l.f. Undereye Setting Powder or the Bye Bye Pores.

Can I just say how much I love setting sprays/facial spritzes? I don't ever want to be without my favorite aloe-based face toner - Tone & Balance. When I say toner, I'm not talking about a product that you wipe over the skin to remove any traces of makeup. This toner is non-irritating and you spritz it on after cleansing to calm and soothe the skin. I like that it gives me a nice base for all of my other skincare essentials. In warmer weather, I also like to use it as a refreshing mid-day mist. Spritz it on and stand in front of a fan for a minute - instant heat relief! Plus, it's the only spray I can use under my summer foundation that doesn't cause it to deteriorate quickly.

bottle of toner sitting in front of yellow and orange flowers

If I want a product to strictly use as a setting spray, I reach for MAC's Prep + Prime Fix+ (love the summer scents!) or Skindanavia Makeup Finishing Spray.

And those are my top five tips for creating a summer beauty routine that works well for sensitive skin/rosacea. I hope they help you keep your skin looking it's best!

pinnable image of flowers and several skincare products
How to Transform a Table with Fusion Mineral Paint

How to Transform a Table with Fusion Mineral Paint

Furniture makeovers are all over social media! Have you hopped on the band wagon? If you follow me on Instagram and Snapchat, you've seen the photos I've recently shared of my front door and coffee table makeovers.

Sometimes, we're unhappy with furniture and all it really needs is a new outfit for us to love it again. Like this coffee table...

before and after photos of a round coffee table

This coffee table has such a history. It originally belonged to my great-great grandmother, and at that time was a large dining table with two removable leaves. She raised my grandfather, and he would tell stories about how she ironed clothing on the table. She used a cast iron "sad" iron, and would place a metal canning ring on the table so the iron wouldn't be directly on the wood. Of course, being metal, the ring became very hot, and burned a ring on the surface (you can see it in the left lower corner of the photo below).

After her death, the table went to my grandfather. He refinished it several times, but never took off the ring burn (thank goodness!) since it reminded him of his grandmother. By the time he passed the table to my mother, it had been cut down to make a coffee table and the leaves were long lost.

round wood coffee table
how the table looked when I got it from my mother

My mother gave me the table back in the early 1990's, and I kept it in storage for several years. Not because I didn't want to use it, but because of it's size. When we moved to Kentucky in 1997, our living room was large enough to accommodate the table. Gus stripped the table and applied an espresso-colored gel stain (the kind you leave on). It was better than it had been, but I still wasn't happy with it. And Gus wasn't happy with me since he had spent so much time on it.

base and legs of a coffee table stained in espresso
table with "leave-on" espresso stain

Fast forward to early 2019 - when I discovered Fusion Mineral Paint (FMP) and knew that's what I wanted to use on the table. Gus finally agreed to dividing the work - he would sand the table and I would paint and stain it.

I read everything I could find on Fusion Mineral Paint and joined the Paint It Beautiful Facebook group. Once I was sure I knew what needed to be done, we took a trip to our local Fusion retailer, Dresser Up Vintage Boutique in Newport. We purchased:

  • Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement
  • Fusion Mineral Paint (Homestead House) Stain and Finishing Oil in Cappuccino and Natural
  • Fusion™ TSP
  • Cling-On O Series brush (045)
  • Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Hemp Oil Wood Finish

round coffee table with dark stain partially sanded off
removing the espresso stain

Gus took the legs off the table and cleaned all the pieces with Fusion TSP (which is actually an organic TSP alternative that doesn't have to be rinsed off). He used the electric sander (180 grit) to take the stain off, then sanded by hand with 220 grit. For the part of the table that was to be painted, he also sanded with 320 grit. (FYI: Don't sand anything to be stained with a grit higher than 220 or you will "close" the grain and stain won't penetrate or penetrate evenly.)

legs of a table painted with white primer
legs with BIN Zinsser primer

tabletop turned upside down with primer and painter's tape
pedestal and apron with primer

Once it was sanded, he cleaned off the dust and primed everything but the top (since it was going to be stained) with Zinsser oil-based BIN primer. We opted for the oil-based primer since we weren't certain of the type of wood (I was always told it was maple) and we didn't want to risk any tannin bleed-through after all the work Gus put into prepping it. I had also read that the Casement FMP paint didn't have a lot of pigment, creating the need for multiple coats for coverage, so the use of the white primer cut down on the number of coats I needed to apply.

The important things to remember with FMP are:

  • don't use too much paint
  • brush in one direction
  • don't go back over the paint once you've applied it
  • use an excellent-quality brush (like Cling-On or Staalmeister)

If you prep well and follow these guidelines, you will have very few (if any) brush strokes!

legs of table with two coats of white paint
legs with two coats of Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement

Even with priming, it took four coats to get the coverage I wanted - which I understand is common for Casement. I did not sand between coats because I wasn't aware of the process at the time, but I did wet sand with hemp oil and 800 grit sandpaper after the last coat of paint. It gave the table legs such a smooth finish!

I have to apologize for the photos that show the Cappuccino stain. None of them really show the true color. I tried photographing in different light, adjusting the color in Photoshop, and it still always looked too yellow or red. The true color is really more of a neutral brown.

tabletop with cappuccino stain
 applying Natural stain to table top (over the Cappuccino stain)

tabletop stained with cappuccino stain
after one coat Cappuccino stain and two coats Natural stain

For the table top, I used an inexpensive chip brush to apply the Cappuccino stain and soft, clean t-shirt rags to wipe it off. I applied to one half of the table at a time, and started wiping it off as soon as I finished the section. You can leave the stain on for up to 10 minutes, but I didn't want it to get too dark, so I wiped it off quickly. I was happy with the color, so I applied two more coats of stain, but I used the Natural shade so it didn't change the color.

round coffee table with a white cat laying on it in front of a fireplace
Patrique really likes the "new" table

before and after of a round wood coffee table
my great-great-grandmother's table, before and after

round wood coffee table painted white on the bottom and cappuccino-stained top
We love the table now!

We were so pleased with the results that we decided to re-do the buffet portion of Gus' great-aunt's china cabinet in the same colors - and use it as a TV/entertainment cabinet! I'm still working on the drawers for that, but I'll do a post once it's finished!

What's your favorite furniture makeover? Have you used Fusion Mineral Paint?
My Top 4 Favorite Dry Shampoos (and how to use them!)

My Top 4 Favorite Dry Shampoos (and how to use them!)

Do you use dry shampoo? I honestly don't know how I ever lived life without it. It's right up there with electricity, indoor plumbing and air conditioning. I remember using Psssssst! dry shampoo in the '70's and thinking it was awesome. Ha! Dry shampoos have definitely come a long way since then!

several different dry shampoos lying on a table; white graphic overlay with words "My Top 4 Dry Shampoos (and how to use them!)"

(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!)

About a year ago, I did a post about my Best (and Worst) Dry Shampoos. Since I've tried some new products, I wanted to do an update.  But first, let's talk...

How many times have you read a rave review about a product, so you run right out and buy it, only to discover that it doesn't work at all for you? The products I'm getting ready to rave about work well for my hair. So I'm going to tell you about my hair and how I use the products, then you can decide whether or not you you want to give them a try. They are all available in travel sizes, and I think that's a great way to sample a product without investing a lot of money.

My hair is long. Depending on my mood, it is either to the middle of my shoulder blades or the top of my bra strap. It's naturally thick and wavy, and the texture is "normal". I straighten it with the amika polished perfection straightening brush or NuMe Silhouette flat iron (mine is hot pink!) 2-3 times a week. I have my roots colored and highlights/lowlights done every 6-7 weeks.

My hair has never been super oily, but menopause "gifted" me with hair that now gets drier between shampoos. I usually shampoo my hair every 4-5 days, and with a good dry shampoo, I can easily extend the time to 7+ days (as long as I'm not getting super sweaty). I know that sounds crazy to some of you, but when your scalp isn't oily, your hair doesn't look dirty. As long as I don't use a ton of hairspray on it, it looks as clean at 7 days as it did at 1 day. If I notice any oiliness, it's right around my face, and I think it transfers from my skin rather than from my scalp.

The way you use dry shampoo can definitely affect your results. My hair isn't dark, so I don't struggle with the residue as much as someone with dark brown or black hair would, but it can definitely make my hair look dull. Colored blonde hair typically looks a bit dull anyway, so I don't need anything making it look worse. (Tip: I use Aveda brilliant™ emollient finishing gloss and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Dry Oil Mist to add healthy shine to my hair.)

I usually start using dry shampoo around day 3 or 4. This will vary for you depending upon your hair type. I apply at bedtime. I spray as close to the roots as possible around my face, wait about 30 seconds, and then work it through with my fingers. After I finish my evening skincare routine, I brush my hair to distribute any remaining dry shampoo. Using it this way does two important things: By morning, 1) there is never any residue left, and 2) most (if not all) of the scent is gone.

I expect certain things from my dry shampoo (your list may be different):
  • unscented or a light, pleasant scent that dissipates fairly quickly
  • no white/light-colored residue on hair
  • doesn't leave hair feeling stiff or "dirty"
  • doesn't leave hair looking dull
  • leaves my hair easy to style 

I want to address fragrance quickly. Scent is a very subjective thing, and I am very sensitive to certain scents. I usually prefer unscented products, and there are very few perfumes that I like (or that smell good on me). Keep in mind that just because I like/dislike the fragrance in a product doesn't mean that you will feel the same way.

There are two dry shampoos that I absolutely love. They both work so well for my hair and never leave any residue or build-up. I can use them both for several days and my hair will still look good. I'd say they tie for my #1 favorite!

can of tarte Hair Goals dry shampoo lying on a table

tarte Hair Goals Dry Shampoo
This one is a new one for me, but I've been using it for a couple of months and find myself reaching for all the time. I actually like the light scent, but even if I didn't, it dissipates quickly. It never leaves residue or build-up on my hair, even when I use it several days in a row. As far as I can tell, it sprays out clear, so it should work well for dark hair colors as well. It comes in 4 oz. and travel sizes, and will definitely be on repeat at my house. (This one is on sale at Sephora! I hope that doesn't mean that it's being discontinued!)

can of Living Proof PhD dry shampoo lying on a table

Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo
It's probably no surprise to see this one here since it was on my "best" list last year. It does everything I expect my dry shampoo to do. My hair is always easy to manage - even if I use it several days in a row. While Gus loves the scent, I wouldn't say I love it, but I definitely don't hate it either. It dissipates quickly and leaves my hair smelling fresh.  It's available in 1.8 oz. travel size as well as a 4 oz. full size.

You can't go wrong with either one of my top picks, IMO. The only possible negative is the price - especially if you use dry shampoo as much as I do. I look at it as a trade-off. I'm using less shampoo and conditioner, so I use a little more dry shampoo!

If you prefer a budget-friendly product, my top pick is this one:

can of Dove Coconut dry shampoo lying on a table

Dove Refresh+Care Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo 
You can't beat Dove for the price and effectiveness. They offer several versions/fragrances, and they're all good - I just happen to like the Coconut version the best. All of the ones I've tried have worked the same for me - just the scents are different. The one drawback (for me) is that I can really only use it for a day or two, because after that, I will start to feel a little build-up and my hair is more difficult to style. But for about 1/4 of the price, it's pretty darn good. This comes in a 5 oz. size and sometimes you can find travel sizes as well.
P.S. I did see that they are now offering an unscented version, so I need to give that a try!

There's one more dry shampoo I want to mention, and I'm going to give it "runner-up" status:

can of amika Phantom hydrating dry shampoo lying on a tablecan of amika Phantom hydrating dry shampoo lying on a table

The only reason this didn't appear higher on my list is the fragrance. A lot of people like the amika fragrances, but they're a little too strong and perfume-y for my taste. However, I do like this product. My initial thought was "how can a foam be hydrating?", because in my experience, most foam products are drying. Well, I don't know how it works, but it does, and it doesn't make my hair drier. Another concern I had was whether the wet foam would make any products already on my hair (like hairspray) all gummy and nasty. Since I only apply to my roots this hasn't been a problem for me. (This one is on sale at Sephora, too!)

Of course, I also have a list of dry shampoos I still want to try - so if you've used any of these, let me know what you think!

  • Aveda shampure™ dry shampoo - this one is a bit pricey; I wish it came in a travel size so I could try it without spending $31 for 2 oz.! Maybe I'll stop in at the local Aveda store and try it there.
  • it's a 10 Miracle Dry Shampoo & Conditioner in One - I know the other "it's a 10" products are popular, so I'd like to give their dry shampoo a try. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like this one comes in a travel size either.
  • Ouai dry shampoo - this is another foam dry shampoo. I'd like to try it but I don't see a travel size, and I'm a bit worried about the fragrance. It contains musk, amber, sandalwood and patchouli - four of my least favorite scents - but I do like the other things in it - bergamot, Italian lemon, rose de mai, magnolia, lily, blackberry, violet, and cedarwood.
  • Marc Anthony True Professional Refreshing Clear Dry Shampoo Coconut - it looks like this one is available at Walmart and Walgreens, and I do love a coconut scent - plus it's another drugstore-priced product!

If you have a favorite dry shampoo, I'd love to hear about it!