Category Archives: Editorial Reviews

30 Day Skinade Challenge – Love the Skin You’re In

When the multi-award winning skincare collagen drink brand, Skinade, reached out to me to see if I was interested in trying a 30 day trial of their product, I thought how much more fun and better to track “real” results, if I was able to do a challenge with a few of my clients.  I pitched my idea back to the company, and as a result they agreed to partner with me and sponsor the challenge!  This article provides an in-depth review of our Skinade experience.

Four very different women, of different ages, with different skin care goals and desired results.

I first learned about Skinade during a special Mask-querade media event hosted by Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC back in October.  What is Skinade? Skinade is a once daily collagen drink that improves skin from within. Skinade boosts​ the body’s natural production of collagen in as little as 30 days. Our body’s production of collagen decreases as we grow older, and can be depleted through environmental and biochemical changes.  Beyond, anti-aging and overall skin appearance there are so many other amazing benefits to taking collagen:

  • Trigger​s the body’s production of hyaluronic acid to leave skin hydrated, plump, smooth, and glowing.
  • Strengthens​ hair​, nails and teeth​​ (reduces inflammation of the gums as well).​
  • H​elps ​to ​reduce the appearance of cellulite, can help with other skin conditions as well such as acne and eczema
  • R​educes joint pain
  • Boosts metabolism, muscle mass, energy output
  • Improves liver health

I chose the month of love, February, to kick off a challenge that embraced LOVING THE SKIN YOU’RE IN – STARTING WITH BETTER SKIN FROM WITHIN!  On February 14th, a total of four (4) participants (including myself) committed to the 30 day challenge.  Four very different women, of different ages, with different skin care goals and desired results. Each participant was given a 30 day supply of Skinade (20 days worth of ready-mixed 5 FL OZ bottles and 10 days worth of 0.5 FL OZ travel sachets), and we all took no filter, no make-up selfies on Day 1, so that we could monitor any progress over the 30 day timeframe.

“I would like to take this challenge hoping to find a product that will improve my skin, especially my face. I hope the product will help me reduce the lines around my cheeks and the dark circles under my eyes.” – Renee

To support each other on our journey, I created a private Facebook messenger group chat, so that participants could communicate with each other about our skin goals, beauty rituals, and Skinade results throughout the process. Now, let me introduce the four participants, so that you can learn a little bit about their skin care goals before starting the 30 Day Skinade challenge.

The Challenge Participants*

Renee – Age 60 –  Biggest Skin Problem: Dark circles under the eyes.  “I have always had problems with my skin; breakouts all over my body which will leave  marks. I also suffer from dark circles around my eyes. I’ve used several products and spent hundreds of dollars. I have yet to find help other than concealer. I’ve seen several dermatologist receiving creams and medication that don’t work. I would like to take this challenge hoping to find  a product that will improve my skin especially my face. I hope the product will help me reduce the lines around my cheeks and the dark circles under my eyes.”

Anne – Age 43  – Biggest Skin Problem: Cellulite and usual age related changes.  “I’d like to do the challenge to see if I can improve my skin overall. Im especially interested in seeing if the skin on my belly and thighs improve or reduce the appearance of cellulite as well.  My goal is to just see any improvement in my skin overall. I don’t have any problems with wrinkles and stuff as of yet.”

India – Age 38 – Biggest Skin Problem:  Puffiness under eyes. “My puffiness/bags under eyes and hyperpigmentation in some areas on my face are my biggest skin challenges. Also, with the winter months, my skin seems dull, and I experience occasional redness under my nose. Otherwise my skin is pretty healthy and clear right now.  I’m hoping the product will bring some vibrancy back to my skin, and reduce the puffiness under my eyes”.

Erica – Age 32 – Biggest Skin Problem: Acne.  “I wanted to do the challenge because as a makeup artist I know your makeup is only as good as your natural skin. When the Spa Bunny introduced me to Skinade, I was happy to try it out as one of the perks was aiding in acne, which I suffer from often in my adult life. With other benefits such as energy boost and speeding my metabolism… This product falls right in line with my new lifestyle for working out. I will be adding Skincare to my daily routine before the gym in the mornings.”

*All ladies have natural nails and hair.  

The Commitment:  Use product for 30 consecutive days. No caffeine within an hour of taking Skinade. No major changes to your current beauty routines.
Copy of Bottle+Fruit hi res
Photo courtesy:  Skinade

The Drink:  You may be wondering, so what does a collagen drink taste like?  Skinade is flavored with natural peach and mangosteen, and does not contain gluten, dairy, lactose, bovine or porcine products, hormones, genetically modified organisms (gmos), artificial flavors or artificial colors.  What were the challenge participants first thoughts on the Skinade drink?

R: “The drink was refreshing, I liked the color.”

A: “I was glad it was more like a thin juice than a thick shake.”

I: “It tastes good chilled. I finished the bottle in no time and was still thirsty for more!” 

E: “Mine was slightly chilled but good to taste!!”  

Spa Bunny Skinade Tip #1:  When using the Skinade travel satchet (also in a liquid form), recycle by reusing an old Skinade bottle.  This helps you mix the contents with just the right amount of water.

The Results:  Challenge participants experienced at least one or more of the following results during the 30 day period.

Day 10 – Skin a bit more vibrant.

Day 20 – Nails growing, less visible bags under eyes, clearer and brighter skin.

Day 30 – Reduced appearance of cellulite, acne less visible, more energy, stronger nails, hair stronger and shinier.

Spa Bunny Skinade Tip #2: Incorporate dry brushing into your routine, it helps exfoliate the skin and reduces appearance of cellulite when done regularly. A great addition for improved results with your collagen shots.

Watch our 30 Day transformation and Skinade journey in the video below:

Post-Challenge Survey Results:

skinadegraph

 

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“Im especially interested in seeing if the skin on my belly and thighs improve or reduce the appearance of cellulite” – Anne

In a post-challenge survey, when asked if Skinade helped to improve any of the skin problems they identified during the challenge, each participant responded favorably that Skinade produced visible results in resolving some of their issues.  100 percent of participants indicated they would likely take Skinade in the future and would recommend the product to others.

“I can see the difference. We look more alive or something… I see the glow.” – Erica

skinadegraph4

 

“I admit I was skeptical at first, but definitely a product I can vouch for 100%.  I loved it so much, I’ve committed to another 30 days!” – India

The 30 Day Skinade Challenge was a huge success.  I admit, I was skeptical at first, but the product delivered on many of the benefits advertised, and all challenge participants were pleased with their results.  I loved it so much, that I’ve committed to another 30 days!

Want to try Skinade for yourself? Use code “confess10” at skinade.com and get 10 days free with your purchase of a 30 day Skinade regimen.  Offer good until the end of April 2018.

 

Article By:  India K. Robinson
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 

 

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“Confessions of a Spa Bunny” – Top 10 “Time-Out”Gifts for the Holidays

So it’s the “eve” of Christmas Eve, and many of you may still be shopping for those last minute gifts for family and friends (or even for yourself).     I don’t get overly involved in Christmas shopping anymore, as I buy enough things throughout the year, and like to share special items with friends and family when I discover them, versus waiting for a particular day of the year to do so.

As such, figured I’d do a quick list to feature some items and activities I’ve enjoyed recently, and they may just be the right last minute gift idea you were looking for.  Most of these items are fairly easy to find or create, inexpensive, and can be picked up at that 11th hour before stores start closing their doors for the holidays.

Believing that individuals should take the time to take a “time-out”, each of these gift ideas allows you (or your gift recipient) to do just that.  Whether its for 5 minutes or 50 minutes, I’ve integrated these things into my life in 2015 to stimulate my mind, take care of my body, and nourish my soul.

Hope you will enjoy a spa bunny “time-out” during the holidays and in the New Year to come!

The Confessions of a Spa Bunny Top 10″Time-Out” Gift Ideas:

imageAlluring Aromatherapy – I’m so in love with aromatherapy, and can always find a scent to match my mood, lift my mood, and combat whatever ails me.   Essential oils (EO) offer you so many health benefits, from easing a headache (peppermint oil), to invoking a sense of calm (lavender), helping you breath easier (eucalyptus), or helping your mind focus (rosemary).  I’ve moved beyond just using oils topically  My favorite EO brand is 21 drops for applying topically, as it is already pre-blended in 100% organic Jojoba oil to a safe and effective concentration.  I throw them in my purse and can use throughout the day as needed.

My latest obsession however, is with aromatherapy diffusers.  Little machines that allow you to place pure essential oils in them (do not use oils already blended with a carrier in your diffuser), and the resulting

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Aromatherapy Diffusers at Marshall’s

scent is diffused into the air.  Some require water, some don’t.  Some require an electrical outlet, and some are portable and powered by batteries.  There are even some designed especially for your car!  The fancier offer color and/or sound therapy as an additional feature.  The type of diffuser you choose is up to you, but most are very easy to use.  They all have the same goal in mind:  allowing you to experience the benefits of aromatherapy through unconscious inhalation, as the selected scent magically fills your room or office.  Beats the chemical laden air fresheners that are sold by many manufacturers, and causes more harm than good.  I’ve tried several and must say my favorite is palm-sized portable diffuser by Spa Room that runs on AA batteries and uses an essential oil absorbing pad which you can layer with one scent or multiple scents to create your own customized blend.   You can find aromatherapy oils and diffusers online at places like Amazon or Puritans Pride, or in your local home goods stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Ross.

 

Invoking Childlike Creativity – Word on the street is adult coloring books are the next best thing to meditation.  While I can’t attest to the validity of that statement at this time, I did recently provide attendees from my last  Confessions of a Spa Bunny”time-out” event with their own mandala coloring book and a set of coloring pencils.  One night I picked a page and started coloring in my book – a design with lots of parrots in trees – Jungle Wonders I believe was the theme of this particular book.   I did not feel the 2015-12-23 23.07.31same sense of calm as meditation, but it did take my mind off of anything else I may have been pondering on before I started.  It allowed me to focus in the moment on that parrot and what color his next feather would be.  Definitely a great gift for keeping your mind sharp and sparking that creativity you may not have otherwise brought to life.    The types of books and designs in them seem endless, so find one that speaks to you and give it a try.   I found my book and supplies at Five Below, but have also seen them in Barnes & Nobles, and Dollar General.

Spa Pedicure & Chill – This past Saturday night, I gathered all my pedicure products and had me a good ole at-home spa pedicure night.  Whether you want to give the pedicure or let the individual do their own, it really dimageoesn’t take much to create a basket full of pampering goodies for your feet!  Whether you buy a spa pedicure machine, or just pour hot water in a large pot or tub, the desired effect can still be created.   Visit your local Walgreens, CVS, or spa boutique, and pick up some nail files/clippers, buffers, body or foot scrub, moisturizing lotion, fuzzy socks, and nail polish.  You can take it a step further and create a more organic and detoxifying foot soak by adding fresh lemon, essential oils, baking soda, or apple cider vinegar to the water.  Light some candles or turn on that aromatherapy diffuser to further create a relaxing spa-like environment.  Proceed to meditate, put on a Netflix movie, or start that book you’ve been wanting to read while you let those toes soak and chill.  A perfect winter “time-out” whether you are solo or if you make it a pedicure pampering party for two.

Motivating Mindfulness– How often does one stop to live in the imagemoment?  To recognize the beauty around you, to put that thought to paper, to set intention into your day, or to just say thanks for all the things you are grateful for.    Find gifts that inspire, that invoke these feelings of gratitude.   Whether its a journal inscribed with an inspirational message, a book of mindful quotes, a scenic picture of nature, a spiritual symbol, or cards printed with positive words and affirmations which you can reflect on throughout the day, sometimes it just takes a small momentum to motivate mindfulness throughout your day.

Cozy Therapy – There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work, getting a shower, making a cup of tea and winding down with a warm neck wrap. you’d be surprised how much tension you carry in your neck, back, and shoulders throughout the day.  A little hot neck wrap therapy can do wonders!  These also come in many varieties, and for different areas of your body.  You have your traditional neck wraps, which you can heat in the microwave (or with a towel warmer), or some styles require an electrical outlet, but provide continuous heat without the need to reheat.  Then you also have larger body wraps that cover larger portions of your targeted area,  cozy socks that can also be heated for those tired feet, as well as eye masks and warming wrist wraps.  I’ve seen them all.  For kids (or big adult kids), they even have stuffed animals that actually turn into heated buddies that you can warm up and cuddle  with at night. Some of the electric or battery operated ones add the element of massage, while others are infused with aromatherapy, so you get those benefits as well.  Most  can be served cold to relieve different ailments (by placing in the freezer for a designated time period) thus serving as both a heat and ice pack in one gift.  I always see these in my local Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Ross stores, as well as spa boutiques, online, and other department stores.2015-12-23 23.17.44

Music for the Soul – Sound can be so therapeutic.  Ever been having a bad day, then your favorite jam comes on the radio, and you totally forget all the negative things that were consuming your mind?  Somehow music gets into your bones, into your head, and into your soul.  It does allow you to dance like no one is watching, and most times you don’t even care if someone is.  Brighten a day with the sound of music.  Whether its buying a CD of a favorite artists, a subscription to unlimited music downloads or access via MP3, creating a customized playlist, buying an instrument, or gadgets to help enhance your music experience like speakers or headphones, the options are limitless for bringing sound therapy into your next “time-out” session.

Wine & Dine – I must say, until this past week, my wine experiences have been quite novice to say the least.  Usually sticking with white wines, a chardonnay or semi-sweet selection of some sort.  However, with recent holiday parties and festivities, I’ve broadened my palette and have grown

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Perfect for the Full Moon on Christmas!

rather fond of these sweet red wines I’ve been introduced to.   Having said that, when I went into the store to pick up some selections of my own, the array of choices was quite overwhelming.  One thing I did notice though was the bottles of wine looked like an art display themselves.  Each unique, classy, and eye catching in some capacity.  I picked one, not because I knew the wine, but for the captivating artwork alone, which felt so mysterious and wild!  It is then I realized what an experience one can create with the perfect bottle of wine, a nicely prepared meal (whether home-cooked or at a restaurant), some soothing tunes, and a moment to  take a nice deep breath and savor each sip as your taste buds have a time-out all their own.  A bottle of wine is a timeless gift, and can be found at your local alcoholic retail establishment, select grocery stores, and some bulk wholesalers like Sam’s Club/Costco.

 

Bringing Sexy Back – hey, it doesn’t matter if you have someone to show your sexy to or not, everybody (male and female) needs that article of clothing, undergarments, or lingerie that makes them feel oh so good!  Whether its a matching bra/panty set, a plush robe, some designer boxers, or a sexy sheet set, find those items that bring sexy back to yourself and to your bedroom.  I found a black lace set of bunny ears, that I just had to have, as it exuded a certain sexy spa bunny swag, paired with a lacy lingerie ensemble, and VIOLA!   Any department store or specialty lingerie boutique will have several options to choose from.  If you don’t know the exact size needed, just get a gift receipt for easy trades or a gift card with a customized note that indicates the gift they seek should help them find their sexy!

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Bra-la-la in Fulton, MD

 

Spa Day Surprises – Who doesn’t like a spa day?  Well, maybe there are those who don’t, and maybe there are those who don’t know if they do or not because they’ve never been, but I wouldn’t be the spa bunny I am today if I didn’t mention this in my list.  Spa days are so much more than massages.  Nowadays, your service options are endless, ranging from body treatments, facials, reflexology, holistic counseling, acupuncture, reiki, and much more (that’s not even taking into consideration spa amenities like the sauna and steam room offered at some locations).   Typically, there really is something for everybody at the right spa.

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Vichy Shower Treatment Room

 

Surprising someone with a spa day can sometimes be difficult, especially when trying to catch up with someone who has a busy schedule,  and not knowing with they are comfortable with, but most spas offer gift certificates!  This allows the individual to make an appointment that is convenient to them, and pick the services that appeal to them most.  Even better, some spas allow you to purchase gift certificates online – instant gratification – and you don’t even have to leave your house to retrieve the gift!   This may not be as inexpensive as the other options, but you can also catch some amazing spa deals at high-end luxury spas for a fraction of the cost on sites like Travelzoo, Spa Week, and Groupon to name a few (be sure to read all the fine print though when purchasing voucher deals).

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Spa Bunny enjoying Pure Vida in Costa Rica

 

Travel Bliss – nothing says a “time-out” like a getaway.  Whether its a tropical trip to a warm destination with a beach, a cozy retreat to a ski lodge, or a local overnight getaway to a B&B, time away from your normal surroundings always provides an opportunity for rejuvenation of some sort.  Check out deals on sites like Travelzoo, LivingSocial, Jetsetter, or your favorite hotel’s website to plan your next travel bliss escape.

I’ll be talking more about each of these “time-out” gifts on future Periscope broadcasts, and posting pictures on Instagram, so be sure to follow @confessspabunny.  Happy Holidays!

 

 

Sex and the City – Ladies Day Out Volume III – Savory Selections: Wit & Wisdom

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In the words of Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. Each “Sex and the City: Ladies Day Out” (LDO) dining experience, whether breakfast, dinner, or brunch, is intended to stimulate and delight each of your five senses in an environment intriguing in sight, with socializing sounds, and scrumptous scents, which evoke a culinary temptation to touch and tantalize your tongue.

This LDO restaurant selection has a name most fitting for the diverse and multi-generational group of women attending.  For a group like ours, dining at a spot named “Wit & Wisdom” seems to perfectly blend in with the life experiences and personal stories of these lovely ladies. Called a tavern, though it looks nothing of the sort, this modern American restaurant exudes a uniquely elegant ambiance most fitting for the luxury hotel it resides in.

Named in Baltimore magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants” issue as a Gold Medal winner, this Four Seasons charmer boasts large windows overlooking the harbor, gorgeous waterfront views, and streams of natural light to the dining area.  The chic lobby, breathtaking bar, and classy décor provides the perfect backdrop for rounding out this LDO weekend. Created by award-winning chef Michael Mina, Wit & Wisdom serves “comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist”.

The weekend brunch menu is filled with both buffet and a la carte selections ranging from Brioche French Toast, Farmer’s Market Frittata, and a Smoked Salmon Bar.  The ladies are set to enjoy a picture-perfect Sunday cuisine before indulging in an afternoon of pampering and relaxation at the Four Seasons Spa, located only an elevator ride away!

With a visually stunning layout, intimate settings, and satisfying savory selections, Wit & Wisdom receives H.I.S Incorporated’s Grade A+ rating as a designated dining venue for the upcoming LDO event. For more information on this Harbor East Baltimore restaurant, visit the restaurants website at:  http://www.witandwisdombaltimore.com/