skinade collagen drink

WEEK ONE – February 26 – March 4

Yum! And whew! Its four o’clock in the afternoon and my first box of skinade just arrived – of course I had to try it right away. Yum! Because it’s delicious, and Whew! Because I’m so glad it tastes good as I’m planning on having it daily for a three month trial.

So who am I, and why am I doing this? My name is Rachel and I’m always personally interested in health and nutrition. And professionally as a website and graphic designer, I like to stay up to date on high-end beauty treatments as many of my clients are in the lifestyle and/or beauty industry. I’m turning fifty next month, an age which I think is great for experiencing something like trying a collagen drink to help skin hydration – I have plenty of aging, sun-damage skin to test skinade upon.

I purchase all products mentioned below from clients. And, full disclosure, I learned about skinade from my client Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics who carries it, and I did not pay for the first month’s samples I am taking during this trial.

I’m not changing my usual routine with the exception of a daily serving of skinade. Hair care from Halo Blow Dry Bar – Rene Furterer shampoo and conditioner. For my face, I wash with whatever is on hand and if in the shower, I use a Clarisonic. AM, I use SkinCeuticals C.E. Ferulic and PM, Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum. And morning and evening, I use Hayes Valley Medical Skincare Restorative Moisture. Once a month I get a facial with microcurrent from Olive Branch Spa.

Finally, I use a lot of sunscreen – year-round. Hayes Valley Medical Skincare BB Cream Perfection 6-in-1 Cream, SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense, and ColoreScience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen – all from Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics.

Back to that first peachy sip of my first skinade . . . such a nice clean flavor. The other flavor is unique – mangosteen I have to presume as it’s a taste with which I’m not too familiar. I’ll look forward to each daily drink.

By day seven, my face feels like I just had a facial, with softer, suppler, and hydrated-feeling skin. And in general, my skin all over feels softer – elbows even!

I took a peek at and read that most people felt there skin was more hydrated and soft by day 4 to 6. Yep! Me too! It says that by days 10 to 14, “skin is more smooth, radiant, glowing and more uniform.” Well I hope I continue upon this path!

WEEK TWO – March 5 – 11

I love that I’m getting an extra dose of Omegas 3 and 6 in this product as I’m a vegetarian. And yes, I know the collagen in skinade is sourced from fish scales – not vegetarian – but I figure by the time they are processed down to chains of amino acids, it’s just biological components.

Wednesday – 4am hot flash! Silver lining is that I had my skinade close and it was very refreshing and distracting. Plus, I figure, drinking it in the early hour’s means the best absorption as tummy empty and nice long time until my morning green tea caffeine which hinders Vitamin C efficacy. But no, I don’t plan to set alarms for daily pre-dawn wake-up for my collagen drink.

WEEK THREE – March 12 – 18

I’ve been getting compliments on my skin – overall healthy glow. I’m still enjoying taking skinade each day. The travel sachets are so convenient. I have a stash at home and also in my purse. Usually I take at home, in the evening with my iron pill. A few times, I’ve poured the sachet into a glass at a restaurant. And they are energizing when added to a water bottle during a hike.

I’m noticing the changes to the feel of my skin. Since my teens, I’ve had acne scars along the sides of my eyes and mouth. Usually I can feel little indents and roughness, but I can’t feel them anymore, just smooth skin.

WEEK FOUR – March 19 – 25

Five days in the Mohave Desert! Usually my skin instantly feels different in the dryness. Plus, I’m camping and did not even bother to bring my usual skin care products and am mostly just splashing water and applying sunscreen layer after layer. My skin felt great – hydrated in a way it never is in the desert.

Another pleasure is the feeling when applying sunscreen – my skin is smoother. Lotions seem to glide on.

WEEK FIVE – March 26 – April 1

It’s been one month. I believe my skin is more uniform. Here are a few before and after photos. The fine lines next to my eyes are less deep.

WEEK SIX – April 2 – 8

I met with my client, Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics and it was fun when Linda saw my skin. She thought I’d been using topical products that were working, but actually the only change is the skinade. Her comment was glowing!

WEEK SEVEN – April 9 – 15

About this time, I noticed I had not been sick with a cold I always get around March. Maybe the added vitamins in skinade are helping?

WEEK EIGHT – April 16 – 22

I’ve been in the high desert of Utah since the 9th – including hiking around Moab and Arches National Park – and my skin feels great. It never does here. Every other visit, I’ve had unpleasant dry across my cheeks and lips. Also, when visiting here, I usually get breakouts, but none this visit. My skin is smooth and even.

Red Cliff Lodge and Arches NP

I’m also wondering if skinade is effecting my over-all hydration, as I usually get nose bleeds in the desert and at higher altitudes, but none on this trip.

My fiftieth birthday! Feeling good. Loving my skin right now. I’m going to be back in the Bay Area soon and will order more skinade to complete the three months try-out. Then I’ll take “after” photos.


This job of ours brings us in contact with special and amazing things and people all the time. And if that’s not enough to be grateful for, our job – being self-employed – gives us freedom to take off from our desks and pursue special and amazing things. Here’s one example.

Many of you remember Kathleen Neves from when she worked at SkinSpirit. This year, she’s hiking the Pacific Crest Trail – all 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada. Wow! We’ve been excited since she announced her plans last year. And we’ve been self-styling ourselves as her trail angels as she hikes through “our” territory between Tahoe and Truckee.

(Catch up on her journey so far and adventures to come at: You can even sponsor her at with gifts of as little as $10 going towards laundry, food, and showers.)

We were there to meet her on July 19th at the Donner Pass Truck Stop where the PCT crosses under Hwy 80.

Whew – 8000 feet up, in the smoke-filled air, at nearly 100 degrees – and she had hiked eight miles on the rocky and steep terrain already that day! So we had to do our best to spoil her and return her to the trail the following day clean, well-rested, and well-fed.

We were so, so lucky to get a walk-in rate for a lake-side condo. Lake swimming!

Kathleen wanted In-N-Out Burgers and root beer – done! (Along with a hot shower and toiletries.)

In the evening, we drove into Truckee and met her trail partner, Pierre-Luc AKA Grit, and John took us out for a big dinner.

The following morning, the smoke really settled over Donner Lake:

John made eggs, pancakes and bacon to fill the hikers. We rested and enjoyed the lake. I even had some time to get in a lake-side sunscreen Instagram post for Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics:

We dropped Kathleen and Grit off at the PCT – mission accomplished.

We are grateful to all our clients who helped us to work around this little trip – changing their schedules and working with the short notice so we could meet someone who is hiking so far. Thank you. And thank you, Kathleen, for being THAT PERSON who charges after adventure and works so hard towards such an incredible goal.


Halloween Marketing

John and I have been making sure to seek out balance between work and relaxation as we ramp up to marketing’s silly season over the next few months. (Are you ready?)

On Friday, we headed to Santa Cruz for lunch at the Crow’s Nest and a walk on the beach. Here’s John chilling out with some new friends.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

And remember, all work and no play makes everyone stressed and grumpy!


Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is not a service we offer, although we’ve enjoyed doing it for friends, like this recent wedding at Slate Creek Goat Farm in El Dorado Hills.  Our album uses photos we both took.

One wedding service we offer – and love to do – is signage for the event.

Signage for a wedding in Scotland:

Signage for Santa Cruz Mountain wedding:

We also have the opportunity to work with clients who offer wedding services.  Please consider them for any upcoming nuptials:

Gleim the Jeweler

Halo Blow Dry Bars (With the help of Hope Patricia Daly Public Relations, we just pulled together this fabulous guide, “All the Days to I Do” to help brides with their timeline.)

Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics

Palace Cafe Catering (We just launched this beautiful new site for them.)





Holiday Marketing

A gentle reminder from Rachel that now is the time to start thinking of the holiday season.

And then for those of you who like a heavier hand, here’s your “I told you so.” Every year, around September, we remind our clients to start prepping and ordering gift bags, greeting cards, holiday decor, gift certificates, gift tags, posters, etc, and plan your online marketing: e-mail campaigns, seasonal web site changes, and AdWords campaigns. And then each year in November and December we get a slew of last-minute projects for which clients end up paying rush shipping and printing rates. (Reminder of our rush project policy.)

Are you sending cards, party invitations, and/or gifts to your clients and partners this year?  Let’s get on that too!

Selling gifts?  Check your inventory and the lead times of items you wish to stock.  From October on-wards, order fulfillment and shipping from your vendors may take additional time.  Also, be sure you stock plenty of festive packaging and shipping supplies if you plan on mailing items.

No stress, added costs, and drama this year — let’s get started on marketing’s silly season work now! We’ve plenty of ideas and sources for product.

Here’s some key dates to keep in mind…


Halloween, Monday, 31th


Daylight Savings, Sunday, 6th

Veterans’ Day, Friday, 11th

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 24th

Black Friday, 25th

Cyber Monday, 28th


Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Wednesday, 7th

Green Monday, 12th

Festivus, Friday, 23rd

Hanukkah, Saturday, 24th through Sunday, January 1st

Christmas Day, Sunday, 25th

Boxing Day | Kwanzza, Monday, 26th

New Year’s Eve, Saturday, 31st











Happier By The Minute

Congratulation to Stacey on the launch of her new company.  Thank you from Rachel and John for hiring us for WordPress site customization and for some graphic design work.

Happier By The Minute is about giving us all the support we need – based upon Stacey’s experience and training in the field of positive psychology – to be happier.  All in one minute video sessions.

Stacey, and her Chief of Happier Operations, Kathleen, have done an amazing job dealing with all the intricacy of starting a new company.

Check it out at:  Or at Rachel’s favorite:  It’s a minute well spent!



Keratin Cut Color

Thank you to long-time clients Brandau Brandau and Halo Blow Dry Bar for giving me unusually controlled hair!  My usual is an unruly mop of curls and frizz.

Ten days ago, I got a Keratin Treatment at Halo.  It has totally changed my hair – I can see why so many women are obsessed.

Before that Kerrie Brandau gave me the great colour and today George Brandau gave me a cut and blow out.

Thanks also to Halo for the Jane Iredale lips and mascara and SkinSpirit for the face make up.

Love that I get to enjoy the services and products of so many of our clients.


Video for Websites

Yes, getting video on your site can help search engine optimization (SEO) and visitor experience, but done wrong, it can hurt SEO and the impression you give to visitors.  This post will hopefully answer frequently asked questions about using video on a website.

You may also be interested in our post on creating your own YouTube Channel – a must.  As soon as you have a video for your site, also post it to your YouTube Channel.

(See the videos in our header graphic at:


The best code to use to play the video on your site is your own.  But this requires development time and money.

Many developers save time and money by using YouTube’s free embed code.  It’s very fast to copy and paste this into your site, but there’s a big downside.  Once the video finishes playing, recommendations on other related videos hosted on YouTube will be displayed.  This can drive visitors away from your site, and even worse, it can recommend video by your competitors, driving visitors to them.

As you can see, we recommend avoiding YouTube’s embed code for a good reason.  But we know that budget also has to be taken into account.  One idea, if budget is an issue, is to use the YouTube embed code and then as soon as the budget allows, switch to your own site’s code.


We’ve ranked five main ways video can be used on a website – number one is the optimal and most beneficial – to number five, the anti-SEO, bad, bad way.


Develop your own, original, and unique videos, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.

Unique content reigns as the king of SEO due to the high ranking search engines (including YouTube) give it.  It’s also going to provide your visitors with a true idea of your business and add credibility.  Of course, the downside is the high cost of video production, although with an iPhone/Pad and basic video editing software, just about anyone can produce their own video content.


Use video with permission, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.

An example of this is using the video created by a vendor and downloaded to your possession with permission – say with granted access to their brand box.  Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.*  But it is still valuable for user experience and adds credibility and caché to your site.


Use YouTube video without permission. Using YouTube’s “embed” feature, grab the video code and place it on your website. (Note that some video content producers turn off the embed feature completely so this might not even be possible.)

This opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter. YouTube does actually seek out and punish copyright infringement.  Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.*  You’d have to feel strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.


Use non-YouTube video without permission. It is possible to “lift” video off of other websites, but it usually is not easy and requires advanced HTML and video skills.

Again, this opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter.  You’d have to feel really strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.


Linking to the video on another site, including YouTube.

By doing this, you are driving visitors off your site.  Who knows what they may be distracted by on this other site – including your competition.  You also have no control over the page containing the video.  If the video’s URL is changed, you’d have a dead link on your site.  If the video is moved, you could lose the content.  Out-going links have no SEO value.

Did we miss something?  Still confused?  Ask John.

*One way to help SEO if you go this route is to put the video on a separate web page, rather than putting it in-line with other content.  At the least, that additional page will increase the size of your site which can help SEO.