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#PotLunch Episode #53 How to Infuse Store Bought Snacks

February 25, 2021

Sometimes you just want an easy edible that you don't have to think a lot about. I hear you. The last few weeks that's about all I've been able to manage. Between seasonal depression and also the never-ending poo storm that is society compounded with the pandemic, it's been a miracle I've showered nearly every day. Some days that's all I can accomplish. 

I've seen a lot of folks around the interwebs infusing snacks that came from the grocery store. I thought it sounded too good to be true. It's not. It's incredibly easy. All you need is a little infused oil and an oven. 

You can watch me infuse cheetos, cheezits and chips on my youtube channel right now

Ingredients: 

  • coconut oil
  • cannabis
  • your favorite snacks

Tools: 

  • mason jar
  • sauce pot
  • strainer and cheesecloth
  • baking sheet

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Loosely break up your cannabis flower. Spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Optional: cover baking sheet with tinfoil.
  3. Place decarbed cannabis in a mason jar. Cover with coconut oil (I like to do 1/8th ounce of cannabis per 1/4 cup of oil). Add lid to jar, finger tight. Boil jar in saucepot full of water (start with the jar in cold water) for 1.5-2 hours (or longer it's up to you). 
  4. Strain out cannabis flower from the oil. 
  5. Turn oven down to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Take the desired amount of snack food. Drizzle as much or as little infused oil over the snacks. Toss to coat evenly. 
  7. Spread snacks on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake in oven for 30-60 minutes. Check on them every 10-20 minutes. They'll be ready as soon as they start to look dry again. 
  8. Eat and enjoy. 

See? Could that be any easier? 

via GIPHY

#52 Cannabis-infused Powdered Sugar

January 19, 2021

Episode 52 is an easy one. You've seen me do sugar a couple of times, and even brown sugar too. This is just an easy breezy extension of that. 

You'll want to get familiar with alcohol tinctures (I really like the method described in the pot pantry prep video). And then you'll want to make sure you have a strong blender, food processor or another grinder. 

Ingredients 

  • 7 grams Whole cannabis flower
  • 4 ounces Everclear, or other high proof grain alcohol
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Tools

  • Baking sheet
  • Mason jar
  • Cheesecloth and mesh strainer
  • Measuring spoon
  • Blender

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees. Roughly chop cannabis flower. Spread it evenly across the baking sheet (optional: cover with tin foil). Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  2. Add flower to mason jar and cover with 1/2 of the alcohol. Mash with a spoon, or seal lid and shake, for 3 minutes. Strain flower from the alcohol; return flower to mason jar; cover with the remaining alcohol; mash or shake again for 3 minutes. Strain flower from the alcohol and discard flower. Store all of the tincture in a clean airtight container in a cool dark place. 
  3. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread 1/2 cup sugar on a baking sheet. Add 1-2 tablespoons of tincture to sugar and mix well to incorporate. Bake sugar for 1 hour, checking/mixing every 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container. 
  4. Add sugar to a blender or food processor and blend it until it becomes a fine powder. 

How to Maximize Your High for Cardio

January 13, 2021

I’m a daily cannabis user, and as of March 2017, a total treadmill and gym enthusiast. I know it probably sounds antithetical, to the uninformed, to be both a daily user and gym rat, but here I am. And I’m not alone. 

Anecdotally, many cannabis-friendly folks have commented that getting high to workout can help you push harder, with less injury. I would testify to that myself, except I haven’t worked out sober since college (read: until last year, I hadn’t worked out since college). 

However, I can testify that I’ve learned a lot about how to use my habit not only to reward myself after the workout but as a tool to get through it in the first place. Today, I’m going to share some of those tips to help you take advantage of your high for a better workout. 

This first one’s obvious, but…

Stay Hydrated

This is good life advice in general, but especially true if you’re going to be smoking, vaping, or dabbing your cannabis before a workout. As you can probably guess, it is because of that dreaded dry mouth.  

Having experienced it on more than one occasion (I’m not great at following my own advice), I can attest that dry mouth onsetting mid-workout is an awful, terrible distraction. I don’t know about you, but I find trying to gulp water mid cardio and between hard breaths is difficult to juggle. 

There is truly a difference between just being thirsty at the gym and having dry mouth. Drink plenty of water before you get to the gym, and plenty throughout the day after. Dry mouth on the treadmill is a total buzzkill. 

Hot tip! If you do start to feel like you’ve got cotton for gums but don’t want to slow down, sip and swish some water around your mouth while breathing through your nose. 

Find the Right Strain

More commonly, indica strains are known for couch lock and laziness; sativas for their more motivating, and energetic high. But as we’ve become more educated, we all know that it’s really about the terpene profile.  I like something that will give me a little pep but also allow for some muscle relaxation. I want to make it out the door, but also push through some of the initial kinks and pains as I get warmed up. 

This is what works for me, after some extensive at-home testing. I suggest you do the same if you have the opportunity and the means. Since all bodies are different, you’ll likely need to try different strains to find your perfect gym recipe. Some people find indicas give them a better result at the gym because of the more obvious muscle relaxation. 

Edibles as an Alternative

There have been times that allergies have affected my lungs, but not enough to want to skip a workout. That’s when I break out my trusty vape. Or if I’m incredibly well-stocked, I’ll indulge in an edible. A responsible dose, just like smoking, will increase your pain tolerance, give you a zen-like focus, AND an incredible body high. 

Although edibles do require a little more planning, they’re also great if you’re busy and on the go. They’re discreet, with no smell, and require almost no time to consume, since they’re generally pretty small. 

As a general disclaimer, I do not recommend this to those of you who are new to edibles or cannabis in general. So if you’re new to the scene, and you’re worried about maintaining your current lung faculties or being discreet, try vaping instead, as it’s considerably less harsh than smoking or dabbing. 

Don’t Give In to the High

If motivation is your concern, I have a few tips to make sure you stay focused and get your booty to the gym. It’s all too easy to sit down to chief up and before you know if you’ve smoked three times and you’re deep in an Instagram rabbit hole. 

First of all, put on your gym clothes before your pre-workout smoke session. Why? Because there are few things as shameful as taking those running leggings off without having worked out. Trust me. I’ve lived the shame. 

Second, find the right music and start playing it now. Something that won’t distract you from your task, but will give you a steady beat to keep pace with. For the treadmill specifically, I love Spotify’s running playlists.   

Third, enjoy your workout and pay attention to your body. Many cannabis users find that they are even more in tune with their body at the gym. Specifically when it comes to maintaining good form. A high workout is a perfect time to focus on how you feel. 

No Matter What, It Still Comes Down to Mindset

If you were to get as high as you’ve ever been, but in your head, you are saying, “this workout is going to suck,” the workout is going to suck.* Furthermore, it is going to be even suckier because you’d rather be on the couch. Your legs will feel like lead. The gym will feel meaningless. Life will feel meaningless. 

If your head is in that space, just don’t go. Or lower your expectations of what a great workout looks like that day, put on those sneakers, and pack that bowl. 

*With all that being said, I do believe you can turn a, “meh this workout will be ok,” into a full-on Tony the Tiger, “this workout will be grrrrreeeeaaaat!” with the proper amount of high from a motivating strain (and especially once the endorphins from the exercise start to kick in). 

One last tip. Make sure you’ve eaten a good meal before you get high and get sweaty. I know a lot of folks love the whole intermittent fasting and fasted cardio. I do not recommend getting high and working out on an empty stomach, especially if it’s not something you typically do.

As always, please make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise or dieting program, whether you smoke weed or not. I am not a doctor, trainer, or a dietician. This advice is based on my own research and experience.

Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash



#PotLunch Episode 51 Cannabis-infused Beer Gouda Soup

January 12, 2021

Is there anything more comforting than a big ass bowl of something hot and cheesy? Don't answer. I already know. The answer is no. I've been feeling some kind of way about this beer and gouda soup from this restaurant down the street from me and I just knew it needed to be recreated with a cannabis-infused twist. 

I picked up a can of CERIA Indiewire IPA from the dispensary and got to work. The "beer" doesn't actually have any alcohol, and instead is infused with THC and CBD. It was an excellent choice as the IPA flavor still came through in the soup. You could use a regular beer instead, but I wanted to give this product a go (not sponsored, just wanted to try it).

This soup has about 30-50mg of THC per cup (actual 8-ounce cup) so it packed a bit of a punch. Especially if you're hungry and have no self-control when the food is good and hot (speaking from experience). My butter is intentionally high strength, but you could easily make less potent butter or mix stronger butter with non-infused butter to lessen your dose.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 ounces of Cannabutter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 12 ounces of Gouda, half smoked, half aged 
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can beer
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • paprika

Tools

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large saucepot or dutch oven
  • Small saucepot
  • Whisk
  • Cheese grater
  • Knife
  • Cheesecloth/strainer

Directions

  1. Make cannabutter. I like this method, but there are others like this one or this one
  2. Dice half of red onion. Doesn't have to be perfect. Just a rough chop will do. Add onions and 2 cups of milk (I used coconut, whole milk would be good as well), to a small saucepot. Bring milk to a low simmer and keep it there for about 30 minutes. Then strain out the onions and discard. 
  3. In a large saucepot or dutch oven, melt the cannabutter down over medium heat. Then, add flour to make a roux. Stir the mixture continuously to prevent burning.
  4. Once the roux has cooked enough to get rid of the flour scent and starts to smell nutty, you can begin adding your liquids. Start with the chicken broth, then beer, and milk. Adding each slowly and whisking to fully incorporate the roux into the liquids. 
  5. Add Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika. 
  6. Bring the liquid up to a low boil then add half of the grated gouda. Stir to melt and incorporate the cheese fully into the liquid. Once incorporated, add the remainder of the cheese and repeat. 
  7. Serve and/or store the remainder in an airtight container. Can be frozen for up to 6 months, or eaten from the fridge within 4 days. 

How to Figure Out Which Cannabis Strain is Right for You

January 5, 2021

When I was younger, I used to think that cannabis was cannabis. It was either good shit or bad shit. You got lit or you didn’t. There were no choices. It was whatever your dude was able to get that week. That was back in the good old days which are still very much the current realities for a lot of people in the US. Also one of the many reasons I live in Colorado and not in my home state. 

As more states and countries change their legal relationship with cannabis, a lot of you will likely find yourself completely blown away by the choices you’ll have at legal dispensaries (and even through less state controlled avenues, like home growing and legal trades between friends and family). You may even find yourself completely unsure about what to buy for your personal use. 

I know that I felt a little intimidated the first time I went to a recreational dispensary. 

“Do you want an indica or sativa?” 

Dude, I don’t know. I just want to get high and do my work. 

For a long time, that was my general thought process. And then one day, my husband and I were in the car, and I had just smoked something that was likely described as “energetic”, and I was freaking out. We were going way too fast (we were going the speed limit). We were going to crash (we weren’t). We were going to die in that car (we didn’t). 

When it happened a couple of more times I started to put two and two together. These “energetic” sativas usually meant I would be on HIGH ALERT in high stress situations. I’m bad in the car already. I don’t need to turn the anxiety up into overdrive. 

I started to keep a spreadsheet to track my consumption and how I felt from that consumption and I noticed a trend: hybrids and indicas that are described as mellow but uplifting are a better fit for me during the day than anything that says “energetic”. Energetic? More like hectic for me. No thank you. 

To make my life easier when tracking my strains I thought out a lot of options. A notebook made sense to a point. A random file in my note taking app or google drive was also an option. I finally built a simple google form that I could create a shortcut to on my phone and synced the responses to a google sheet. You can make a copy of that form by clicking here

If you want to make your own log on paper or in a document on your computer or other device, here are the criteria you should keep track of: 

  • Strain name
  • Cannabinoid Distribution
  • Amount you consumed
  • Method of consumption
  • The form in which the cannabis came in 
  • The terpene profile if known
  • Scents and/or flavors you noticed
  • How it made you feel 
  • Date and time of consumption 

Tracking your consumption like this doesn’t necessarily have to be something you do forever, but give yourself an opportunity to try a dozen or so strains. You want to try enough strains to get a basic profile of what works for you. That way when you go to a dispensary the next time and they’re out of your preferred strains, you can tell your budtender that you like spicy and earthy flavors with an energetic high; or I like mellow strains with a strong citrus flavor/scent. They should be able to point you in the right direction. 

Photo by Shelby Ireland on Unsplash

#PotLunch episode 50: Cannabis-infused Pomegranate Mint Mocktail Recipe

January 4, 2021

The holidays, and winter time, means a lot of people are giving copious amounts of love to hot drinks. 

Not me. 

I'm a little warm almost all of the time. The last thing I want is a hot beverage. Save the steam, Carol. Ice it or dump it out. (Side note, I will occasionally make an exception for a sleepy time tea and hot chocolate but I usually let my tea go cold). 

The other day I was thinking how much I wanted a mojito on the beach but I know that's not in my future any time soon. Then I saw a pomegranate at the grocery store and the rest is sort of history. The perfect winter cocktail with a cannabis-infused twist. 

If you give this a try, make sure to leave a comment down below. 

Ingredients

Tools

  • Drinking Glass
  • Spoon
  • Glass or bowl to smash the goods

Method

  1. This recipe assumes you have already prepared your cannabis tincture. I usually make grain alcohol infusions and you can find multiple recipes throughout my channel and blog. But the method shared in episode 46 is my preferred method and linked here. You must do this step first before the rest of this drink recipe. 
  2. Fill your glass with ice. 
  3. In your secondary vessel for smashing, add a small handful of pomegranate seeds, a couple of mint leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of tincture (or as much as you desire for a single serving), and top with a splash of soda water. Using a spoon, smash the ingredients together just enough to release some of the juice and flavor from the fresh ingredients in your glass. Pour the mixture over the ice in the other glass. 
  4. Squeeze half a lime into your glass and fill with more plain soda water. 
  5. Drink it. 

50 New Year Affirmations for Stoners

December 28, 2020

I’m not really one of those “new year, new me” types of people. To be honest, I find it tiring to be expected to give yourself a fresh start, a new diet, a new workout routine all because it’s the first of the year. Every day can be the start of a new year. 

However, I also feel like 2020 kicked my ass just like it kicked everyone’s asses. It was exhausting emotionally, physically, and financially for everyone. And I just thought it would be fun to lay out some affirmations for the new year specifically for all the lit ladies (and theydies) out there.

Let’s just continue to do whatever it takes to feel good about ourselves now and all throughout the next year, and decade, and century. 

  1. I smoke flowers and I won’t let weeds smoke me.
  2. Let all good green things flow to me in abundance. *money*weed*plants*
  3. There is no going low, only getting higher and higher.
  4. I’m smart. I’m creative. I’m beautiful. But I don’t have ALL the answers and I can fuck off. 
  5. Ok there is some going low, but only because they went lower.
  6. May my stash jar stay full and my mind stay open.
  7. Drink a glass of water. Wash your glasses. And smoke some weed. 
  8. You’re not shwaggy ass, seedy dirt weed your cousin Dave grows in his mom’s backyard, you’re the dankiest dank on the  top shelf baby and don’t you forget it. 
  9. You can’t make everyone happy, you’re not a free ounce. 
  10. Cry a river. Build a bridge. And smoke a bong on it at sunset. 
  11. Tell the voice inside your head to sit down and smoke a bowl. 
  12. If there’s green in my pipe, I’m doing all right. 
  13. Your vibe affects your high.
  14. The weak want revenge. The strong seek forgiveness. The high will ignore.
  15. Are you a genius? No. But can you find six ways to make a bong out of what’s in your bag? Yes. And in my book, that’s a win. 
  16. Why be low when you can get high? 
  17.  If you have to get high just to get by… that’s ok. 
  18. Be as gentle with yourself as you are with a new glass rig.
  19. You deserve to get high. Remember that. 
  20. Just believe that good weed is always on the way. 
  21. Be someone you’d want to sesh with. 
  22. I will not worry about things out of my control. But I will smoke about it. 
  23. I deserve love and weed in abundance. 
  24. People like smoking weed with me.
  25. I give myself permission to smoke when I need to. 
  26. I am worthy of all the cannabis the universe wants to offer me. 
  27. All conflict in my relationships will be handled calmly and respectfully over some damn good weed. 
  28. I don’t always have to win. But I do need to be high. 
  29. I refuse to criticise myself. 
  30. Feelings of happiness come naturally to me, and if not, there’s weed. 
  31. I am focused on enjoying life and I find happiness wherever I’m high. 
  32. I am grateful for everyone in my life who shares their happiness, love, and/or cannabis with me. 
  33. I look at life honestly and realistically. But cannabis helps me stay positive. 
  34. If it makes saying, “no,” easier, smoke a bowl first.
  35. I am calm, happy, content, and high.
  36. I can be wrong and that’s ok with me. 
  37. Highness is within my grasp. 
  38. The only thing higher than me is my confidence. 
  39. I attract money and cannabis into my life in abundance. 
  40. I will give myself space to make mistakes, grow, and learn. And I will have cannabis to help me through that growth.
  41. Cannabis makes it easier for me to listen to my intuition and follow my gut.
  42. I sparkle like the trichomes on the frostiest bud. 
  43. Everything will work out for me. And if it doesn’t, I have weed to get me through it. 
  44. I am happy, healthy, and high. 
  45. I accept everyone as they are, even if they don’t use cannabis, except for racists.
  46. My body is filled with healing energy whenever I inhale cannabis.
  47. I know, accept, and am true to my higher self. 
  48. My happiness does not depend on cannabis but it helps. 
  49. I am higher than my struggles. 
  50. I don’t have to fix everything immediately. I can sit and get high first.

How to Create a Pandemic Safe Sesh Space for the Holidays

December 21, 2020

Usually, around this time of year, I’m … well alone-ish. Until recently, Geoff and I didn’t have any friends here in Colorado Springs. Since we’re transplants from out of state, most of our friends and family live up and down the east coast. Compound that with the fact that we both work from home and I have thoughts about the type of people who participate in group hobbies for grown-ups (mainly that the type of folks who would do a group hobby like that probably aren’t the type of people I’m going to want to form long term friendships with)-- well it’s a little hard to make friends.

That’s a big digression from where this article is going to go and in the first paragraph? Wow, this is going to be a fun article. 

Where was I going? Right… even though I’m USUALLY ALONE this time of year (don’t worry in non-pandemic years there is family close enough to visit, and bonus I even like them), I know that a lot of you beautiful buds are used to spending the holidays getting warm with your family and friends through sharing adult beverages, and adult smokeables (i guess all smokeables are adult smokeables, aren’t they?). And maybe you were considering having a friend or family member over to have some kind of holiday-themed afternoon or evening together doing something… anything… that might make this holiday feel a smidge more normal. I’m not going to judge you for that. I’m someone who is used to spending time alone and I know how hard it can be. 

I am going to give you some tips for hosting a SMALL smoke sesh this holiday season as safely as possible. I think it can be done but you should use as much caution as possible. Your need to get high with other people should not trump the safety of your community. Let’s not be responsible for any super spreader events just to get lit, ok? Ok. 

Arrange An Outdoor Space

First of all, I do not recommend hosting an indoor event. I think we can all agree that an indoor event right now would be a foolish thing to try. If it’s too cold, then I recommend hosting a zoom smoke sesh or some other video conferencing service that you prefer. 

If it’s not too cold to smoke outside, gather up some outdoor seating and arrange a space for each of your guests to sit 6 feet apart from each other, grouping together seats for those who are arriving from the same household.

If you can, make a small table available for each seat/seat grouping. Be creative. You can use upside-down buckets or small trash cans as a makeshift table. You want to limit mingling. 

Don’t forget your lighting. If you can, rig up some floor lamps from outside (think the opening credits/them in friends). Tape some fairy lights on the wall of your house. Light some candles. Make it pretty.

Get Plenty of Blankets

Most of the country will likely be pretty chilly on any evening in December, make sure to provide blankets or some other kind of warmth for your guests. If your local laws permit you to, consider building a small fire (using a firepit to contain it safely), or getting one of those heating lamps (you may be able to rent one locally). 

If you don’t have enough blankets to share, or it’s unsafe in your area to have a small fire pit, make sure to remind your friends to bring their own spare layers.  

Hand Sanitizer And Snack Station

It is important to do what you can to keep everyone safe if you’re going to be hosting a gathering during a pandemic. I recommend setting up a pump bottle of hand sanitizer at a snack table. If possible, offer single-serve snacks. Otherwise encourage everyone to sanitize their hands before they take from any communal plates. Remind everyone that they don’t want to get their friends sick and definitely don’t want to get sick from their friends. Yes, you will totally sound like “the mom.” Oh well. 

For snacks, try to get a variety of things you know will hit anyone’s munchie tooth (munchie tooth? Is that a thing? yktfv). If you’re going upscale and classy, you cannot go wrong with a charcuterie board, but try to keep in mind how folks eat from a charc board (with their fingies). Consider making a mini charc board for each invitee. 

Everyone Gets Or Brings Their Own Piece

I always have plenty of flower to go around, but I don’t always have plenty of clean glass. If you love glass, you may have a pipe for every day of the entire year which will make it easy for everyone to have their own piece. If you’re more of a joint smoker, like me, you may need to remind your guests to bring their own lighters and glass. Hopefully, they already know you well enough to know whether or not you provide flower to your guests and bring their own. 

Additionally, I would try to provide ashtrays and pokeys for each seat/seat grouping. If you don’t have enough ashtrays to go around, I’ve made a few out of aluminum/tin foil that work perfectly for an evening. Just take a 12inch square piece of foil, fold the ends in towards the middle on all four sides, then fold up the edge about half an inch or so all the way around to create something of a square bowl.

Not Enough Glass To Go Around? Teach Everyone How To Roll Their Own

Since I’m more of a joint and blunt smoker, I’d be the type of person to provide everyone a pack of rolling papers and tips and host a small joint-rolling class for my friends and family. It is a fun activity and guarantees that everyone keeps their own spit in their own mouths. Also, I love teaching people how to do something new. 

Don’t know how to roll? Show them how to make a pipe out of a spent soda or beer can. That’s sure to impress your mom and dad. 

Merry Christmas (and happy holidays)...  ya filthy animals. Stay safe and clean out there.

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

Gift Guide for a Colorado Obsessed Stoner

December 18, 2020

It might be too late for a Christmas Day delivery but it's not too late to send some Colorado themed cheer to your favorite mountain-loving and cannabis smoking patron of locally made goods. 

I too have become a patron of locally crafted food, clothing, accessories, and decor since the start of the pandemic. So I have curated a list of perfectly easy, sure to please gift ideas from local makers from around Colorado. Including some of my favorite sweet treats from right here in Colorado Springs. 

Let's get into it. 

Wooden Colorado Christmas Ornament

@timber_mtn_craftworks

This handcrafted wooden Colorado ornament is an excellent stocking stuffer.

Vintage Tradition Tallow Balm

@vintage.tradition

I am personally obsessed with this product. I have one jar on my desk and one on my coffee table. I am determined not to have cracked hands this year. Obviously, it's not vegan friendly but it is environmentally friendly in that it uses material that would otherwise be trashed (and it's not easy trash to dispose of being tallow). 

Colorado Charc Board

@SparrowhawkCookware

For anyone who's a foodie and/or loves cheese a lot (who doesn't?).

Colorado Tote Bag

@SparrowhawkCookware

I mean this is the most obviously colorado stoner product on this whole list. How could I not include it? Additionally, it's available at one of my favorite stores here in Colorado Springs. 

Sasquatch Cookies

@sasquatch.cookies

These cookies are hyper-local to me but the wonderful thing about it is that they ship nationwide! 

Colorado Blown Glass

@maryblowsglass

Did you know that Denver decriminalized mushrooms? I bet your stoner Colorado loving friend does. 

Peak Profile Poster

@eclecticco._

I absolutely adore this poster. It's so subtle and simple. 

Mini Face Care Set

@eclecticco._

I haven't personally used the items in this set but I have used their super yummy smelling hand sanitizer spray. 10/10 

Mountain Cuff Bracelet

@eclecticco._

Love the simplicity of these cuff bracelets. 

Colorado Springs Map Flask

@shopyobel

I'm not much of a drinker these days but I might pick up one of these flasks just to carry some water around.

Bon Bon Bombardier Sweets

@bonbon_bombardier

Obsessed with Bon Bon Bombardier chocolate bars is an understatement. I love the pine salt chocolate bars so much. THey're currently not shipping any out of state orders but if you can hold out until January 2021 and don't mind late gifts, set a reminder. Oh and they're here in Colorado Springs as well (you have one more day for local delivery before Christmas or you can check out the limited selection at Eclectic Co. downtown).  

6 Tips for Reducing Cannabis Flavor in Edibles

December 11, 2020

One of the most common questions I am asked is: “how do I make my edibles taste less like cannabis?” And I get it. My partner is the same way. He would prefer it to not taste like cannabis. Although, I do find it surprising that people who can enjoy the flavors while smoking don’t like the flavors in their food. I also think it is partly to do with pairing the wrong strains with the wrong flavors. 

Since I’m still learning about terpenes and pairing myself, I’m not going to dive into that kind of advice. I do feel qualified at this point to give tips on reducing the overall taste of the cannabis in your edibles. 

Use Tinctures

I think tinctures are an underrated way to dose for the average at home edible maker. Tinctures are concentrated infusions made with grain alcohol, like Everclear. A tincture can host a much higher dose of THC or CBD per drop than oils. This means that you’ll need a smaller amount of the final product to get your dose. And less product means less taste. 

Tinctures are very versatile. You can drop a little under your tongue (ouch), or you can blend it into a drink or smoothie. It’s even the first step in making cannasugar. It can be as simple as a few drops in your coffee or more complex using the tincture to infuse an entire meal. 

Tinctures are a great option if your diet requires you to avoid fats and oil.

Infuse into stronger-tasting fats/oils

Look, I love butter and coconut oil as much as the next person but sometimes they’re not great options for masking the flavor of cannabis. Although butter has a flavor, it’s not as strong as say… bacon fat. That’s why I recommend using stronger flavored fats and oils for infusing. 

Bacon fat, olive oil, and sesame oil are great options for cannabis infusions. The flavors are strong enough to mask the terpenes in your cannabis. And can typically be used in place of butter or shortening (the fat, blended with butter), or other vegetable oils. 

I also recommend trying out these oils in your go-to recipes before testing an infused version, to make sure it blends well in your recipe.  

Make cannasugar

Cannabis-infused sugar, or cannasugar, is very easy to make. You need a cannabis tincture, and some sugar. Mix them together and then bake in the oven, low and slow.

What makes cannasugar especially appealing is the minimal amount of taste transfer. Especially once blended into another recipe (or a cup of tea). I’ve eaten it straight. I’ve used it to make cotton candy. I drink some in my tea every night. It’s my go-to edible consumption method and a staple in my kitchen. 

Straight out of the container, it does have a very mild hint of cannabis but that mostly melts away with the sweetness of the sugar. 

Use concentrated cannabis

It’s not easy to get your hands on if you don’t have access to a legal dispensary but wax is a fantastic option for making edibles. Wax, hash, and kief (that powdery substance that collects in that bottom chamber in your grinder) all have considerably higher concentrations of THC or CBD than whole cannabis flower, which means as I mentioned above about tinctures, less product. Less product = less cannabis flavor. 

Depending on the quality and clarity of your concentrate you could have 500-900 mg per gram. You could make enough edibles for a month if you’re a 10mg/day kind of person with one gram of concentrate. Not too shabby. 

Do the quick infuse method

I haven’t lab tested this method versus infusing for longer, but you can infuse in as little as 15 minutes (after you have decarbed your cannabis). 

Melt your butter down in a saucepan, get the temperature up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Add your cannabis to the butter and maintain that 200-degree temperature for 15 minutes. 

Then you can just strain and store your infused butter and use it as desired. 

Infusing for less time means that there is less opportunity for the plant waxes and chlorophyll to infuse into the fat. 

Make savory edibles instead

Finally, stop making dessert based edible treats. 

I know that desserts are easy and tend to cause less panic since most of us have been making box brownies since childhood but I think you’re doing your palate a disservice by continuing to use candy and dessert as the only vehicle for cannabis-infused food. 

Use cannabis as you would an herb or spice when you’re cooking dinner. Make an herb butter. Rub down your chicken with activated kief. Infuse butter and oil and just use it at mealtime like you would with not infused butter. 

Butter, oils, and fats are a part of almost every meal. Infuse it and use it and notice how much better cannabis goes on a steak or panfried tofu. 

Do you have any masking tips you would add? What oils or fats do you think have a strong enough flavor to overcome cannabis? Let me know in the comments below. 


Photos by Michelle Tsang and Alisa Anton on Unsplash

RECIPE: Cannabis-infused Salted Caramel

October 30, 2020

In episode 49 of Pot Lunch with Lo, I'm showing you how to make cannabis-infused salted caramel for a delicious fall snack: caramel dipped apple slices. 

For this recipe, I used the cannabutter that I made in episode number 46: Pot Pantry Prep

To make the butter, decarboxylate your cannabis in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Then add your flower, and butter to a mason jar. Add the mason jar to a large pot of cold water, and bring that up to a boil for 1.5-2 hours. If you need to add more water to your pot, make sure to add hot water (hot from your tap is fine). 

Tools

  • Medium-sized saucepot
  • Measuring cups, spoon
  • Whisk
  • Airtight container

Ingredients

Method

  1. Heat sugar over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepot. Use a pot larger than you think. Stir constantly to ensure it doesn't burn. 
  2. Once the sugar has melted completely, add butter one piece at a time and stir until it's fully incorporated until adding the next piece. 
  3. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, slowly stream in the heavy cream, stirring the entire time. Once added fully, let the mixture boil for 1 minute. 
  4. Remove from heat, add the salt. Allow cooling a bit before using. Store in an airtight container in your fridge. Gently warm up in the microwave as needed.

Possible uses

  • Dip apple slices into it
  • Pour into molds to make soft buttery caramels
  • Make caramel hot chocolate or salted caramel coffee 
  • Top your holiday pies or desserts with it

Watch this episode down below and don't forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube. 

How to Infuse Harvest Punch

October 23, 2020

Hey buds! 

This week on Pot Lunch I'm going to show you how to make a cannabis-infused harvest punch that is sure to make your friends and family beg you for more. This is an easy to make recipe and would be delightful dropped off in mason jars for a social distant Thanksgiving. 

For this recipe, you will need to know how to make an alcohol-based cannabis tincture. I prefer the alcohol mash method. Start by decarboxylating your flower in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your flower on a baking sheet for 45 minutes. Optionally, you can cover the flower and baking sheet with some tin foil. Place your decarbed flower into a mason jar, cover with Everclear, and then mash it for 3 minutes with the handle end of a spoon. Strain out the flower from the alcohol then return the flower to the jar, cover with some more alcohol and then repeat the process for 3 more minutes. Recommended but also optional: cook the alcohol down in a small saucepot over low heat. c

You can also watch this method in the Pot Pantry Prep video

Tools

  • Pitcher large enough to hold 14 cups of liquid
  • Measuring cups
  • Knife 
  • Cutting board
  • Large spoon 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Cannabis tincture made with alcohol like Everclear
  • 5 cups of Apple Cider or unfiltered Apple Juice
  • 6 cups of sparkling water
  • 2 cups of lemonade
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary 
  • 1 orange 
  • 2-3 apples

Method: 

  1. Add tincture apple juice, lemonade, orange juice, and rosemary to a large pitcher and mix well. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes up to overnight. 
  2. Remove pitcher from the fridge. Add sparkling water. 
  3. Slice orange and apples. Add to the pitcher. 
  4. Serve over ice with a garnish of rosemary in a cinnamon sugar-rimmed glass. 

Watch this video down below and don't forget to subscribe to my channel on YouTube. 

My 5 Favorite Shops in Downtown Colorado Springs

November 5, 2020

One of the things I worked on throughout the pandemic was shopping locally. From changing our Lowe’s trips to the locally franchised Ace Hardware to doing the bulk of our grocery shopping at the small butcher shop down the street and restricting our choices to what was in season locally. I wanted to do our best to keep as many dollars as locally as possible. It’s not always easy, but it has been very rewarding. It has also opened up our taste buds to some new flavors and dishes that we might not have tried otherwise. 

I’m also the type of person that prefers to shop in stores rather than online. That may come as a surprise as a millennial but it’s very true. In-store shopping is probably one of my favorite activities. Even if it’s just window shopping and longing for things that are out of my price range at the moment (but someday, someday).

So it will come as no surprise that for the holidays this year, assuming we still have holidays after the election, I’m going to do my best to source gifts from some of my favorite local shops here in Colorado Springs. 

Eclectic Co 

Eclectic Co is a fantastic shop downtown and a go-to of mine for gifts. They carry a wide variety of locally made accessories and jewelry, vintage clothing and housewares, and art. I love the selection and it’s a perfect place to shop for gifts this holiday season, especially if anyone on your list leans more feminine and earthy. Some of my favorite vendors in this shop are Two Wolves Vintage, Berry Good Goods, and Bon Bon Bombardier. 

Eclectic is absolutely my first stop for gifts for every occasion. From cute onesies for new babies in the family to cheeky enamel pins for my teenage siblings, to “COLORADO” souvenirs for our family back east; you are sure to find a perfect gift for you and your loved ones.  

Eclectic co is located at 214 1/2 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903. A new location just opened up in Old Colorado City 2518 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. 

Sparrowhawk Cookware

My second favorite shop downtown has to be Sparrowhawk Cookware. In fact, it’s officially the only place I’ll shop for cookware now. The store is packed full of any and everything you could possibly need in your kitchen. Every time I go in I’m amazed at what I find. It’s also impossible to not buy something when you enter. And there are plenty of options at a variety of price points. However, do not expect any cheap cookware. This is not that kind of store. You can find great bargains on high-end cookware but you can still expect to pay a little more than what you would see in the cooking aisle at the grocery store or on those budget sets at a department store.

I think the big selling point is the customer service in this store. If I need help, someone has already offered. When I’m ready to check out, there’s someone at the register (and often more than one person). Once I went in for some ramekins and when I brought 6 individuals up to the register, someone graciously went and found me six that were still boxed from their supplier so I could carry them out safely. 

Try getting that kind of service at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I won’t hold my breath. 

Sparrowhawk Cookware is located at  120 N Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

Living Room Plants

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Our new butterflies are here!!!

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There are a lot of places to buy plants, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place so full of plants the way Living Room is. It’s any budding botanist's dream come true. A neat feature about this store is that they have a free potting station so you can give your new plants a new home before you find the perfect place for it in yours. 

I picked up a bunch of plants from this store a few weeks ago and I’m already planning on going back for more. The plants remain healthy, vibrant, and happy in their new home. Having had some bad experience with plants from other nurseries, I was a little worried that they wouldn’t all survive the transition. I think that they’ve all survived has everything to do with the care they received from The Living Room before I brought them all home here with me.

Get washed in sunlight and bathe in the greenery here. It feels lush and luxurious and fresh. This is a great place to shop for all your green-thumbed friends. 

The Living Room is located at 22 E Rio Grande St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

Novis Mortem Collective

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Meet Novis Mortem Collective! . With only a couple hours left until our Grand Opening (I clearly can’t sleep for excitement) let me tell you what we are all about. . Novis Mortem Collective exists out of Novis Mortem and a collective of local artist (currently all women #womenempower) . We currently feature 3 jewelry artists and 3 painting/Illustrating artist besides Novis Mortem’s Ento-Taxidermy. . All of our items are either locally or state side made and include natural elements as well as a darker or more surreal subject matter. . We are currently at capacity but always accept applications for future features. . Hope to see you all @5pm . #womensupportingwomen #grandopening #downtowncoloradosprings #local #localartist #localbusiness

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Novis Mortem Collective is another great gift and art shop that recently opened downtown. It’s a little like a more goth/industrial Eclectic Co but has more of an art gallery feel. There was a copper snake rib bone pendant that really spoke to my dead thing loving heart (they are real bones coated in copper through a process called electroforming). I picked up a very cool electroformed mink jaw pendant on a leather cord and it’s become my favorite piece of jewelry. 

There were lots of interesting pieces in the shop and I’m looking forward to exploring more and taking a few home with me. The shop is perfect for shopping for those folks in your life who appreciate endings just as much as beginnings. 

Novis Mortem Collective is located at 22 E Bijou St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

Yobel Market

Yobel Market is a delightful shop that strives to source things that are ethically made and fair trade certified. The shop carries a wide variety of clothing and accessories for all genders. As a gift, my husband recently purchased a gorgeous leather handbag for me and it’s my new daily bag (and by daily, I mean weekly because I barely leave my home). It’s very well made and has a luxury feel without a ginormous price tag (although not necessarily a small one either but affordable enough when I consider how long something of this quality will last). 

The selection of handbags and hats is what really gets me excited (who doesn’t love a good hat?). I love knowing that the items are of high quality and fairly sourced. It’s important to me to make that a priority especially when it comes to giving gifts. It sort of reminds me of a woodsy Anthropologie. Perfect for that guy or girl who looks like they go hiking but doesn’t actually spend that much time outside (I’m kidding, Yobel Market lovers who hike please don't come after me, ok). 

Yobel Market is located at 11 E Bijou St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

In conclusion...

That’s where you’ll catch me shopping this holiday season (on the off-peak hours, in the middle of the week because IT’S STILL A PANDEMIC PEOPLE). I know that means I’ll need to plan early since most of my gifts go in the mail back to the east coast but I’m determined to get that done on time this year. I already got this list together so that’s got to mean something, right? Right. 




Tips for Hosting a Cannabis-infused Dinner Party

October 19, 2020

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to host a party at home. I miss it. I think the last opportunity we had to have a party was last year when we threw a little housewarming after we moved into our house. This house was made for entertaining. Laid out perfectly for a party both inside and out (even if there are some parts that need updating/fixing). It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with the house when we first saw it. 

I’m sure it’s unsurprising to learn that I’ve been dying to host an infused dinner party ever since we moved into this house. I had fully intended to spend the summer hosting friends and family for small gatherings full of infused treats. Unfortunately,  the pandemic sort of changed those plans. Even though I can’t hold the giant edible garden party of my dreams, I can share my tips for planning and hosting a small gathering of folks whom you feel safe sharing a meal with right now.

Make a plan

If you want this dinner party to go well, you need to make a plan. Start with the menu. How many courses will you serve? Will it be a proper sit down meal or more of a blaze and graze situation? Once you’ve figured out what and how you’ll serve the food, get together all of the recipes and resources. What can be made a day in advance? What can be made a week in advance (and frozen)? What parts of the recipes will be infused? 

Since you’ll likely be infusing the food yourself, make sure to start getting the infusions together in advance. Do you need butter? Tinctures? Coconut oil? Since all of those base infusions can be stored safely for weeks or months, make sure to get those out of the way early. Don’t forget to label your infusions with the strain name, type, and dosage. 

Make sure to also survey your guests on their dosage preferences during the planning phase, too.

Dose lightly

I’m going to sound fairly boring here, but I would opt to dose on the lighter side. Especially if you’re also serving any kind of alcohol (personally I wouldn’t serve alcohol but leave the option to your guests if they’d like to BYOB). And even more especially if you are unsure of your guests tolerance level or familiarity with edibles (you shouldn’t be if you surveyed in advance, but just in case). 

Stick to around 10mg per course per person, less if everyone is brand new to edibles, with the option to add more through toppings, sauces, or other additions. Since there will likely be other substances in the equation like smokeables, or alcohol, keep it low key. You don’t want anyone to have a bad time. 

Add CBD to counteract

If you are concerned that you may unintentionally overdose a guest, plan to have some CBD on hand. CBD is known to help reduce and/or balance the effects of THC consumption. CBD doesn’t need to be an integral part of your meal, but I think it is smart to incorporate it towards the end of the meal.

It’s a perfect addition for a dessert or speciality cocktail/mocktail. It doesn’t have to be a lot of CBD but 5-10 mg should help to reduce the psychoactive effects of the THC. 

Dose the dressings and sauces

Maybe this advice is a little strange. You can infuse anything you’re serving, of course. My thought process here is that while you can serve each course pre-dosed on the plate, infusing the dressings and sauces will allow your guests to up their dose on their own by adding a little extra to their plates. 

Know your strains and strengths

You should know exactly what strains you used and their strengths for the sake of your guests. You should probably also find out beforehand if anyone has any particular sensitivities to a certain strain (or certain types of strains). For an elevated experience, you should try to pair your strains with your menu by terpene profiles. This will help cover up some of the flavor of the cannabis flower that some people find unpleasant while still allowing those flavors to complement the meal. 

Mark dosage

Clearly label items with cannabis and mark what the dosage is. If there is activated kief in the seasoning on the chicken, say how much kief you used and what your best guess of dosage is for one portion. If it’s a sauce or a dressing, label how many MG per tablespoon. Don’t do any crazy mathematics, just go with your best estimate (and don’t forget to use the dosage calculator below). 

You want the infused dishes clearly marked so that there is no confusion for your guests. You may also want to give them small notebooks and golf pencils so that they can keep track of how much they’ve ingested as well. Might work, might not. Probably not, especially after a certain point

If you’re wondering how to label clearly, you could hang a large sign and use color coding (blue sticker= 10mg thc/tablespoon; red sticker = 10mg thc/cup, etc). You could go the fancy route with little cards on holders like a proper catering situation. There’s no wrong move here, just label that food and especially if your guests are self serving, buffet style.  

Allow your guests to self serve/dose themselves

I think this is an important piece of advice. If everything is clearly labeled, you’re putting it in their hands to control their dose. Hopefully everyone you invite has self control and knows themselves well enough to not go overboard. 

This is one reason why I also recommend sticking to dosing the sauces, gravies, and dressings. You can only use so much gravy before you’re full of mashed potatoes, you know what I mean? I think everyone can have a good time without throwing up in your bathroom, don’t you? You should do what you can to facilitate that. 

Make sure there’s plenty of space to get comfy

As dinner winds down, you may notice your guests are ready to just relax and enjoy the feast you prepared. Maybe they’re feeling a little woozy or sleepy and just not quite ready to make the trek home. Make sure you have some cozy space for everyone to enjoy the high together. Put on a funny movie, roll up a blunt, and enjoy the time together. Some of your guests may not be able to safely get themselves home, you should be prepared to host them for the evening or arrange for a DD if you’d rather keep your space to yourself (no judgements). 

In conclusion… 

Keep it simple and don’t overthink it. Any of your favorite recipes can be turned into infused dishes (but if you need help, hit that contact form on the contact page and I can walk you through it). 

How to make a cannabis-infused berry smoothie

October 16, 2020

Hey there buds! 

This week on Pot Lunch, I'm showing you how to easily infuse a simple berry smoothie with 1 tablespoon of cannabis-infused coconut oil. This is one of my favorite quick breakfasts. It's a pretty easy one, you just need a blender. 

As an additional note, if you don't have a very strong blender or are just using an immersion blender, omit the ice and replace it with more milk or some water and you should be good to go. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (your choice, I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • ½ banana 
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp infused liquid coconut oil

Tools

  • Measuring cups 
  • Measuring spoon 
  • Blender

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender. 
  2. Blend. 
  3. Drink.

How to Prep One Month of Infusions in One Night

October 14, 2020

I love taking edibles. But what I don’t always love is the time it takes to make infusions. Let’s face it, it’s kind of a project. While I’ve found that it’s a mostly hands off process, it is time consuming. That’s why I like to make multiple infusions at once. 

In this episode of Pot Lunch with Lo, I’m going to show you how I make a moth (or more) of infused ingredients in just one afternoon. all in all, this process takes about 3 hours with plenty of time to chill and smoke. 

For this round, I made 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of liquid coconut oil, and about â…“ of a cup of tincture. 

Tools you will need

  • Baking sheet
  • 3 mason jars
  • Large sauce pot
  • Mesh strainer
  • Cheese cloth
  • Spatula
  • Scale
  • Tin foil
  • Tea towel

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Liquid coconut oil 
  • Everclear or other high proof grain alcohol 
  • Cannabis

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roughly break up the flower and spread in an even layer on the baking sheet. If you’re using separate strains for each infusion, make sure to mark and separate them in some way. Cover sheet with tin foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cannabis come to room temperature before uncovering the pan. 
  3. Add butter and/or oil to a mason jar. Top with decarboxylated cannabis flower. Loosely seal the jar with the lid. 
  4. Place the mason jar inside of a sauce pot. Optional, rest jar on a tea towel. Fill the pot with enough water to come past the butter/oil and flower, but not so much that the jar is floating. 
  5. Bring water to a boil. Allow it to boil on the stove top for 1.5-2 hours. Make sure water doesn’t completely evaporate. If it does look low, add hot water only. 
  6. While the fats are simmering, place decarboxylated flower in a small mason jar. Add enough everclear to just cover the flower. Using the end of a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mash the flower for three minutes. 
  7. Strain cannabis from the alcohol using a cheesecloth lined mesh strainer. Add the flower back into the jar, cover with more alcohol, then repeat the mashing for an additional three minutes. 
  8. Strain cannabis from the alcohol again. Add all of the alcohol to a small sauce pot and gently simmer on stove top for about a half hour or until the alcohol has reduced by half. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. 
  9. When the butter and/or coconut oil are ready, turn the stove top off and allow the jars to cool enough to touch. 
  10. Once cool enough to touch, open the jars and strain out the flower using a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Store liquid oils in bottles. Amber or dark bottles are best, but as long as it is air tight and stored in a cabinet, it should be fine. Butter should be poured out into smaller molds for easier use. But any shallow container should work well. Store butter in the fridge once it had solidified. 

Pretty easy, right? You can watch the full method on my YouTube channel or embedded in this page down below.




How to Shop for and Buy Quality Cookware on a Budget

October 9, 2020

I’ve been pretty lucky in that my family has gifted me a lot of cookware over the years. When my grandmother was still alive there wasn’t a Christmas or birthday that she didn’t give me something to fill my kitchen with. At the time I was barely an adult and would often look at what she’d given me thinking, “Wtf am I going to do with a roasting pan? You’re the one who makes the turkey, Grammy.” Of course, she knew she wouldn’t always make the turkey, and here I am a decade and a half later, still roasting in that same pan. 

However, not all of my favorite pieces have come as gifts or hand me downs. Many pieces I’ve bought over the years on my own and on a small budget. Today I’m going to share with you some tips on how to find the best deals on quality pieces. 

Thrift stores 

There are a lot of things I wouldn’t buy second hand. Underwear, hairbrushes, and back massagers come to mind specifically (I shudder to think about the person who buys any of those things second hand, if that’s you, please email me your cash app). Cookware is not on that list. 

Thrift stores are a treasure trove of quality cookware. Especially cast iron skillets and griddles. Not sure why these are always well-stocked but they are. 

And not only is the thrift store a great place to shop for secondhand kitchenware, but it’s also so affordable. You obviously don’t get the guarantee that what you need will be available, but it’s always worth taking a look there first. 

Find a local cookware store and check for closeouts and sidewalk sales

The local cookware shop in my city, Sparrowhawk Cookware, always has amazing sidewalk sales and deals. Sometimes there is some overstock they need to get rid of; sometimes they were just able to secure a great price on otherwise high ticket items (like earlier this summer when they were able to get special deals on Le Creuset pieces). 

Follow those local shops on social media and pay attention to when they might have sales. You may find a deal of a lifetime on an heirloom-quality piece of cookware. 

Seach restaurant wholesale stores

This is kind of my special secret but there are a few online restaurant suppliers that have great prices on cookware. On some of the less expensive items you can expect pieces that are a bit more utilitarian than stylish, but they do the job and it’s affordable enough that you don’t necessarily care if they get messed up, dinged, or broken. This is a great place to look if you’ve recently moved on your own and need to replace or build your cookware collection from scratch. I’ve used Webstaurant before but there are others out there. Just be sure to look out for the materials and keep in mind that aluminum is lightweight and also a little on the flimsy side. But it works. 

Check discount stores

My favorite discount stores are Kohls and Overstock. Overstock is a great first place to check especially if you’re looking for kitchen appliances. I purchased a Kitchenaid Professional Series standing mixer a few years ago for less than the price of the not professional one. It was still a splurge but it was like half the regular price. I use it all the time and it was worth every penny. 

Discount stores are all over a great place to shop for deals. Kohl’s has an awesome selection of smaller kitchen tools like whisks, spatulas, and knives. In my opinion, they tend to be of high quality and lower in price, just the way I like it. 

Homegoods, Christmas Tree Shop, and TJ Maxx are also great options to browse, but I also think you’re more likely to find lower quality items at all three of those stores, versus Kohl’s or Overstock. 

How to tell if it’s good quality

Some items, you’ll be able to tell just by looking at or holding it. But to be sure you’re instincts are up to snuff, I recommend going to a high-end store and just checking stuff out. Pick items up and inspect them. Make notes about the materials of the whisks; the weight; the size. Check how the handles are attached to the pots. 

With some of the lower quality items, you’ll notice that the pieces are smaller and more flimsy. Or that handles are looser or feel less sturdy. 

It’s best to just go looking for the expensive stuff in a store where you can get your hands on it so you can compare. You don’t really need to spend the kind of money they’re asking for if you can shop for kindly used second-hand or clearance items. 

How to Safely Travel During the Pandemic

September 28, 2020

Back in July, my husband and I took a trip back east to visit our families and finally collect the last of our belongings we’d left either in my hometown in New Hampshire or at his father’s house in Tennessee. For obvious reasons, we did not make a big production about this trip (although if you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen some pics and videos on Stories). The whole trip felt like we were doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing. And we were doing something we shouldn’t have been doing but like many others, had two needs: to bring the rest of our shit home from each of our parents’ house, and to visit a family member who is in the early stages of dementia.

We also were operating under the assumption that everyone else would be working towards keeping themselves as safe as possible knowing that we’d been traveling. This was foolish because good luck telling your parents, “DON’T HUG ME!” after not seeing them for months or, like in my husband’s case, two years. 

Because this trip included both a ride on a plane and a two-day road trip, I feel pretty confident that I can give you tips about traveling during a pandemic and doing it safely. I think it’s important to note that I hope you don’t have to travel and to please use these tips only if it’s absolutely necessary. I do not think we should be traveling for fun, but I also know that things happen and some travel is unavoidable. Please be responsible no matter your reasons for traveling. 

Don’t Travel 

Yes, I’m going to be a total POS and tell you not to travel as the first tip. I know. It’s annoying I’m sure, but I really want to drive this point home. Do not travel unless it’s necessary. You don’t know how sad I am that I cannot take my regular trips back home to visit my family in New Hampshire. I miss them so much. And the short 3 days I was there in July was not enough to satiate me. Especially when I do not know when I will be able to go back. Trust me, not traveling weighs heavy on me as I’m sure it does for anyone who likes to travel or make regular trips to a beloved place. Stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary. 

Quarantine on both ends of the trip

I already know that if you’re able to quarantine on both ends, you’re lucky. I am lucky too. We both work from home so it wasn’t much of a stretch to do so. I realize this is not an easy feat if you can’t work from home and don’t have adequate PTO or wage to support that much time off. If you cannot swing it on both ends, you should do your best to keep a distance at your destination and still do what you can to quarantine when you get back. Any decent employer should pay you for that as well since we’re talking about an emergency trip, and not a fun one, right? 

Limit exposure indoors at your destination

While we were visiting New Hampshire, there really weren’t many places we could visit anyway. I only went into one store the entire time I was there and it was a small convenience store right on the border of Massachusetts when I was on the hunt for a New Hampshire souvenir lighter for one of the neighbor kids. Tennessee was a little different, in that more was open, and there were a lot fewer masks, but it’s also such a small community in the mountains that there’s really not much to do anyway except for farm, hunt, and hike. We did our best to stay outside when visiting our families except for my mom’s because we stayed with her. 

Bring multiple masks

Look I know there are some of you out there reading this wearing the same mask every single day and quite frankly it’s gross. Don’t do this while traveling. The mask I wore on the plane was DISGUSTING by the time I got to my mom’s apartment. If you fly, you are basically stuck in the mask from the time you enter the airport until the time you get to wherever you are staying (or your rental car). Our flight had significant delays and I ended up wearing that mask for over 13 hours.

I think you should bring at least three so you always have a clean one ready, but I think I packed about 10 total for us both (I personally find these masks very comfortable, not an affiliate link). I wanted some extras in case we came across anyone who needed one. We were originally planning on wearing them full time especially around his family in TN but we were able to keep a distance and stay mostly outside for the duration of the trip. 

Bring more hand sanitizer than you think you’ll need

This one is probably pretty obvious but I’m going to say it anyway. I was the type of person to carry it around pre-pandemic especially when traveling but this trip I carried multiples. I ordered some hand sanitizer solution from a local distillery at the beginning of the pandemic and was able to fill up a couple of travel spray bottles for easy and quick sanitizing. 

Get a travel bottle of hand cream too

I was very diligent about washing and sanitizing my hands while on the road. Which also meant drier hands than usual. I love Dionis hand cream and made sure to always keep a small bottle in my pack. Usually, I look forward to a break from dry hands when I go back east to visit. Especially in the summer. Not this time. So take my advice and do not forget the hand cream. 

Airplane and airport safety

We flew United and they gave each passenger a sanitizing wipe for their seat and tray. They did what they could to give people more space since it wasn’t a completely full flight. I did appreciate that although it didn’t matter for my husband and me so much since we treated ourselves to first class where there are only two seats per side, rather than three. They could have moved more people since there were quite a few seats up in first that were empty. 

They had prepackaged snack boxes to replace the meal we would have normally been served. I don’t know what they offered to the passengers in coach if anything at all. Our original plane had a mechanical issue so we had to get transferred to one that had been in the hanger (and was OLD AF) and was essentially empty, so there may not have been anything TO offer (even after a 3-hour delay). 

We flew out of Colorado Springs but had a stop in Denver before carrying on to Boston. The COS airport was nearly empty but that’s pretty typical for that airport. Denver was far more of a shock. It was very empty for DIA and hardly any of the restaurants or shops were open. 

With the exception of using the restroom, it was pretty easy to keep away from others and keep your distance. At least until we got on the plane. Then the usual pushing and line creeping took place. 

Somehow despite the delays and the extended time in our masks, pretty much everyone on the plane understood that we all have to wear them and to suck it up. The air travel ended up being the least stressful or concerning part of the trip. 

Roadtrip safety

Driving from NH to TN and then TN back home to Colorado was actually a lot more nerve-racking than I thought. More so than flying. There was a clear difference in COVID safety once we were south of New York. 

When I was plotting out our route, I was initially concerned that we would have a hard time finding places to stop for food, gas, and restroom breaks. Once we were actually on the road, I realized that concern was unfounded. The bigger concern was that we were driving through and stopping in places that DGAF that there’s a pandemic. 

On the way to Tennessee from New Hampshire, we stopped at a large chain restaurant in the DMV area and it was packed full of people. On our drive from Tenessee to Colorado, on the first day, we stopped at a small local BBQ chain in Missouri and we were one of the only people in the place. All that is to say, if you’re road-tripping and need a good meal, go out of your way to find a local place. It’s more likely to be less crowded. Additionally, do your best to stop for food at off-peak times. Like, go for dinner around 4 instead of 6. 

Another way we limited contact with other people on the road was to hit drive-throughs. It did lead to my husband eating McDonald’s like 2 or 3 times a day for 2 days but that’s on his bowels, not mine. 

Depending on the state, you cannot count on rest areas to be open, but several states had them fully operational. I tried to use the restrooms at the gas stations as those tended to be cleaner (especially if stopping at a larger chain gas station). I also kept the hand sanitizer very handy and used that when I got back into the car, no matter how hard I washed my hands in the bathrooms.  

Staying in a Hotel during the Pandemic

As for overnight stops on the road, we only had to stay at a hotel for one night and that was in Salina, KS which is more or less a town built as a giant truck stop (ok, I don’t know if that’s exactly true, but that’s what it feels like when you’re there; apologies to the people of Salina for the generalization). I don’t know if the hotel was doing its usual breakfast buffet situation, but because it’s more or less a truck stop, there was a very large, well-attended gas station/convenience store with a Starbucks on the other side of the parking lot where I got an egg sandwich. 

When we arrived at the hotel, we did not have a reservation, so my husband went in alone and made the arrangements while I waited in the car. Again to limit the amount of in-person contact for both us, and the attendant. Then we went in through one of the side doors closest to our room. It was late at night so we didn’t run into anyone. The next morning, the only other people we saw were the hotel staff. 

Since the purpose of staying at this hotel was just to crash so we could continue driving the next morning, I did not pay attention to which amenities were available. 

Staying at an Airbnb during the pandemic 

We also stayed at an Airbnb while we were in Tennessee. The town my father-in-law lives in is very small and we weren’t too keen on staying in the one little motel the town has. We wanted a little more privacy so we could smell the flowers, so to speak. Also, for the same nightly price for one little room at a motel, we were able to rent an entire cabin with a full kitchen and two bathrooms. This was probably the safest we were on the entire trip. 

The cabin was very clean, although I did give everything a wipe down in the kitchen just to be sure. And again before we left (which I would have done regardless of the pandemic). 

Again, since there really was not much else to do but enjoy the scenery, I felt very confident that we were unlikely to catch or spread coronavirus. Until we left and everyone wanted a hug. 

Using a taxi/limousine service during the pandemic 

To get to and from the airports on either end of the flight, we used a local “limousine” service both in Colorado Springs and in Boston. Because of the pandemic, both services were private vans with just my husband and myself and the drivers. Everyone wore their masks the entire time. We were able to sit further back in the van to maintain the 6-foot distance requirement. Both drivers were very appreciative that we booked their services for the rides. So make sure you support those local limo/van services if you do need to go to the airport. Especially if there are more than one traveler and suitcase.  The Uber driver isn’t going to put your suitcase in the trunk for you, you know. In Boston, I always use FlightLine, and in Colorado Springs I used Rocky Mountain Ride. This is definitely an expensive option and if there were better public transportation in my city I would have opted for that instead. However, I felt safe and comfortable in both vans and I will definitely do it again (hopefully not during the pandemic). 

Overall thoughts and recommendations

Like I said at the beginning, I wouldn’t travel if you can avoid it. I’m sure most rational people are nodding their heads reading this (and also wondering why I’m even saying it because you all should know already but anyway…). 

However, if you HAVE to travel, if it’s a shorter drive that can be done in a day, opt for that first. If it’s longer, I’d fly. As I brought up in the airplane safety section, United seemed to at least try to keep it clean and safe for everyone. They mostly did what they could to space passengers out. I can’t speak to other airlines but I’m sure there are 1000 articles out there comparing just that. I’d also opt for a private Airbnb over a hotel or other shared space if cost allows for it. Or self-quarantine before your trip so that you can safely stay with family or friends. 

Ultimately, it was expensive to travel during the pandemic. It was made more so by the fact that we needed to rent a cargo van to get home with our stuff, but that’s a story for another day (and hey, we have a table saw now). It was uncomfortable to travel during a time like this. It also made me feel like an absolute piece of garbage for doing something so carefree and selfish (but not so garbage-y that I can’t live with my choices either because I do feel that we were as safe as possible). 

And we *were* safe. As far as I know, no one we spent time with had COVID or caught it after we left. We are now almost two months out from our trip and I’m certain we didn’t catch it.

I wouldn’t trade the time I had with my family, especially all the nephews and our niece, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for any kind of traveling again any time soon. Traveling is already stressful and there’s no reason to make it even more so by traveling during the pandemic. 

How to make cannabis-infused cotton candy

August 21, 2020

I was lucky growing up that my hometown was in between a small but busy city (Boston) and lots of farmland and country living (the rest of the state of NH). That meant in the fall, we got to go to those seasonal fairs full of garbage food and lots of livestock (and probably even more bad opinions and ignorance but that's a story for another day). 

One of my favorite treats was of course cotton candy. I surely got my fill of over the summer anyway, since I grew up spitting distance from probably one of the last local amusement parks that are not owned by Six Flags (I know this is hyperbolic but it feels pretty true). But nothing beats eating some cotton candy and fried dough, while your nostrils are assaulted by the smell of manure and pig pens. 

Ok, lots of stuff probably beats that, but when I was a kid, it felt fun and magical. As long as I didn't have to smell the manure for too long. 

I digress, the real reason we're gathered here at this blog post is to get the recipe for this cannabis-infused cotton candy (or should it be CANNDY?). 

This one is a pretty simple recipe because it really relies on the equipment more than anything else. First of all, you're going to need a cotton candy machine, like this one from Lowe's (disclosure, this is an affiliate link). You're also going to need some flavored flossing sugar (also an affiliate link), although technically that's optional. 

The other main ingredient here is obviously the cannasugar. I'm not going to republish the cannasugar instructions, instead, I'm going to redirect you to episode 14 of Lunch With Lo. I also go over the method for making cannabis-infused sugar in this episode (watch down below). 

So to be fair, this is less of a recipe than a tutorial on how to use the cotton candy machine. 

To mix up my flavored sugar, I used 1 tablespoon of cannabis-infused sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flavored flossing sugar. For this episode, I mixed up two flavors, totaling 4 tablespoons of sugar, but the final cotton candy that you'll see at the end of the video was made with 2 tablespoons total. 1 tablespoon of the cannsugar and grape mix, and 1 tablespoon of cannasugar and orange. 

Once you've mixed your cannasugar and flavored flossing sugar, you'll just follow the instructions for your cotton candy machine. Mine can only take 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time. 

You can watch this episode below or watch the premiere with me at 3:30 PM MT on Friday, August 21, 2020. See you then!

How to use cannasugar to make infused lemon rose slush

August 14, 2020

I don't know about you, but I'm a PSP (Pretty Sweaty Person). And these hot sunny days of summer mean I need to keep as many cool treats on hand to keep myself comfortable. Sometimes that's some delicious coconut milk ice cream, sometimes it's the fruit I've kept in the fridge for this very purpose, and sometimes it's coming up with a random ass recipe in the middle of the week because you've got a bag of rose petals on hand. 

This week, I'm showing you that last one. 

If you need to get familiar with making cannabis-infused sugar, I'm going to direct you to episode 14 of Lunch With Lo. I do go over it in the video, but that is where you'll find the full method. 

This recipe also uses rose water. I made my own with 3/4 cup of dried rose petals and 4 1/2 cups of water simmered together on my stovetop until the rose petals looked diluted and pale. It took about 20 minutes. It's very easy to make, but you can also get it at plenty of stores. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cannasugar
  • 4 cups rose water
  • 1/2 tsp lemon flavoring
  • alternative: if you don't have lemon flavoring, replace 1 cup of rose water with 1 cup of unsweetened lemonade

Tools

  • measuring cup
  • ice cream maker (or two plastic bags, lots of ice and salt)

Method

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves (this can be done by heating the rose water in a microwave for a minute, or over the stovetop).
  2. Turn on ice cream maker and pour in the mixture. Allow to tumble for 15 minutes. 
  3. Store in an airtight container in your freezer.

Whipped Feta with Cannabis-infused Hot Honey

August 5, 2020

It's been a while since I've posted a new Lunch w/ Lo and I hope you haven't been too annoyed about that. To be honest, the state of the world has taken a bit of a toll on me and I just need a couple of weeks to gather myself. 

I imagine that's true for most people who can think and breathe. 

This week, I'm bringing you a super easy recipe that's sure to impress at a small socially distant summer gathering (I mean it guys, six feet, and wear your masks). 

For this recipe, you'll need to get refamiliar with infusing honey. I used 3.5 grams of flower and 1 gram of kief for the honey. 

Ingredients for Honey

  • 1 cup of Honey
  • Cannabis

Tools needed

  • baking sheet
  • small pot
  • cheesecloth
  • mesh strainer
  • airtight container

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly break up your cannabis flower and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  2. Add honey and cannabis to a small saucepot and bring to a low simmer for 1 hour to 1.5 hours. 
  3. Strain cannabis from honey and store in an airtight jar. 

Easy peasy! If you want to remove a step from making the whipped feta, you can also add your chili flakes and apple cider vinegar in the last 10 minutes of simmering your honey and cannabis. 

Now here's the method for making the whipped feta

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces sheep or goat's milk feta cheese (the kind in the brine)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Tools

  • small sauce pot
  • food processor or blender
  • measuring spoons
  • serving bowl

Method

  1. Pour honey into a saucepot and bring to a low simmer. Add chili flakes and apple cider vinegar and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes. Optional: strain out the chili flakes. 
  2. In a food processor, add all the cheese and yogurt. Blend until smooth. 
  3. Serve in a bowl with honey drizzled on top of the whipped feta with crackers, pita bread, or sliced fruit like apples or pears. 

This recipe was adapted from My Kitchen Little

#41 - How to infuse milks and make lavender honey posset

July 6, 2020

Three ramekins of Lavender Honey Posset, with smoke and lavender flowers and cannabis flowers in the fore and back ground.

In episode 41 of Lunch With Lo, I whipped up two versions of this delicious dessert from The Adventure Bite: Lavender Honey Posset

I'm not going to reprint the recipe from the Adventure Bite because I more or less followed it word for word for both the cream and the coconut milk versions, with the exception of using coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, and adding 1 packet of flavored gelatin. I also halved the recipe so that I wasn't stuck with 16 ramekins full of posset. 

I am going to share the recipe for infusing each kind of milk.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint of heavy cream OR 1 can of coconut milk (14-16 ounces)
  • 3.5 grams of cannabis flower
  • 1 gram of kief

Tools

  • Sheet pan 
  • Double boiler (or a sauce pot and a metal bowl)
  • Mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Airtight container for storage

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly break up cannabis flower and mix with kief. Place on a sheet pan. Covering it is optional. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  2. Allow cannabis to cool and come to room temperature. 
  3. Set up a double boiler and add milk. Stir in cannabis. Allow to simmer for at least one hour, but you can allow to simmer for as long as you'd like. Take care to add more water to the pot as needed. 
  4. Strain plant material from the milk through a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer. 
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

How to Make Cannabis-infused Duck Fat

June 6, 2020

This week I'm going to show you an easy way to infuse rendered duck fat. Duck fat is a great fat to have on hand. It's perfect for roasting juicy poultry with crispy skin. Use it for soft scrambled eggs. Or roasted potatoes. And if you're cooking up your own version of Chinese takeout at home, duck fat is absolutely essential. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup duck fat
  • 3.5 grams of cannabis flower
  • 1 gram kief

Tools

  • baking sheet
  • double boiler
  • candy thermometer
  • mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth
  • airtight container

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees. Loosely break up cannabis and spread on baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. 
  2. Add duck fat and decarboxylated cannabis to top of the double boiler. Simmer at 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit for 60-90 minutes. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature.
  3. Strain cannabis from duck fat through cheesecloth and mesh strainer. Don't forget to squeeze it. Store in an airtight container in your fridge.

How to Make Cannabutter Italian Cream Cake

June 6, 2020

A couple of months ago, when I was at the grocery store, I was idly strolling through the bakery when a slice of cake caught my eye. It claimed to be something called an Italian Cream Cake. I'm Italian and creamy, I thought to myself as I picked the plastic clamshell off the display. You're coming home with me, lady. 

When I got home I promptly googled "Italian Cream Cake" to find out if it's one of the many Italian things I've missed out on in my life thanks to not having access to that side of my family. 

Google informed me it was not an Italian thing I've been deprived of. It's actually a dessert from the Southern United States, possibly created by an Italian immigrant but not much else can be found out about it. 

Either way, it was just begging to be infused once I did some research. For the infusion, I used some of my Instant Pot cannabis-infused butter. You can find the recipe/method for that here

Ingredients for Cake

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cannabis-infused butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Method for making the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease cake pan (can make one deep 9" layer or you can split a second pan using tin foil and pie weights for one and a half 9" round layers). Line bottom with parchment paper
  3. In a small bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. Cream together butter, shortening, and sugar. Mix in eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and coconut. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 
  5. Pour into cake pan(s). Bake for 28-32 minutes.

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 1/2 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method for making the frosting

  1. Beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually add the cream as needed for a smooth consistency. 
  2. Mix in coconut and walnuts.
  3. Reserve some coconut and walnuts for sprinkling on top of the frosting. 
  4. Spread on cake. 

This is the BEST Way to Clean Your Glass Pipes Without Alcohol

April 24, 2020

With everything that's been going on, I saw that a lot of my fellow smokers were having a hard time finding isopropyl alcohol for cleaning their glass. Or if they could find it, they were holding on to for more pertinent needs than cleaning their glass (or maybe they donated to someone more in need). Regardless, I thought it was a good time to try out some new methods for cleaning my glass for when my own stash of rubbing alcohol runs out. 

I took to Instagram to ask my followers what their favorite way to clean without alcohol is. And then I asked on Twitter. And the responses I got were primarily "hot water". Or some variation of hot or boiling water and shaking and salt. 

So I decided to use my own knowledge about cleaning and figured I could arrange a bit of an experiment with a few different ingredients that most of us have in our kitchens.

I timed it perfectly too because between my husband and myself, there were plenty of pipes and pieces that needed a bit of a cleaning. 

One of the pieces I put straight into the dishwasher. It was a smaller piece, a bowl for a bong. This worked ok but missed a big spot on the inside of the bowl. I would not recommend this method if you don't have a basket/utensil caddy for your dishwasher. 

The second, most low maintenance method was simmering a bowl in a pot of hot water. This worked ok but it wasn't as effective as I expected. I placed the pipe in the water cold, then brought it all up to temperature together. You DO NOT want to add a cold pipe to boiling water (or a hot pipe to cold water). Gradual temperature change is the name of this game. 

The remaining three sets of pipes I used either: hot water and vinegar; hot water, vinegar, and dish soap; or just hot water and dish soap. 

I squirted dish soap directly down the mouthpiece and into the bowl for both sets that used dish soap. I boiled some water in my tea kettle, waited to hear the boiling stop inside of the kettle, then slowly poured it over the pipe with just dish soap, in a large plastic container.

For the two sets with half hot water and half vinegar, I used a large measuring cup to measure 2 cups of vinegar. I added 2 cups of hot water from my tea kettle then slowly poured that over the pipes in a plastic container. 

All soaked for 15 minutes, and there was one clear winner when it came time to rinse: dish soap and hot water. 

I was honestly expecting the one with dish soap and vinegar to work the best. That the dish soap and hot water won was a complete shock. I believe that it has a lot to do with the temperature of the liquid when it went over the pipe in the container. The hot water lost a lot of heat when it went into the measuring cup with room temperature vinegar. 

Check out the video below to see the results and tell me your favorite ways to clean glass with or without alcohol. 

How to Infuse Coconut Milk + Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

March 27, 2020

How are you doing, buds? I hope you're staying safe and you're able to stay home. If you're still having to work outside of the home, that likely means your an essential worker (or your boss is a dick), either way, thank you for your service to the community. I appreciate you, always have, and always will. 

This week on Lunch With Lo, I am going to show you how to infuse coconut milk and then I'm going to turn that coconut milk into a delicious dairy-free version of chocolate ice cream. According to my husband, this recipe tastes exactly like a fudgesicle. 

Infused Coconut Milk Method

Ingredients

  • 1 can of whole fat coconut milk
  • 3.5 grams of ground cannabis flower or 1 gram of life

Tools

  • Baking sheet
  • Saucepot
  • Metal/heat-safe mixing bowl that can rest on the saucepot
  • Alternate to saucepot and bowl: double boiler
  • Wire mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Airtight container

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Spread cannabis across the baking sheet (line sheet with a piece of parchment paper, tin foil, or silicone baking mat). Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. 
  3. Set up your double boiler and bring water to a very low boil.
  4. Open the coconut milk and give it a good stir. Empty the coconut milk can into your mixing bowl/top of the double boiler. Add your decarboxylase cannabis to the milk and whisk together. 
  5. Allow milk and cannabis to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Strain out cannabis through a mesh strainer and cheesecloth and store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 4 days. 

Chocolate "Fudgesicle" Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can of infused coconut milk
  • 1 cup of Almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sifted dark cocoa powder (or dutch processed cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (why not cannasugar)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (and how about cannabis brown sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Tools

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Hand blender/standing blender/mixer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Ice cream maker
  • Mesh strainer
  • Airtight container for storage

Method

  1. Sift cocoa powder into mixing bowl through a mesh strainer. Add all other dry ingredients and give it a quick blend. 
  2. Add wet ingredients and blend with a hand mixer/blender. 
  3. Cover bowl and chill in the fridge for 2 or more hours. 
  4. Add mixture to your ice cream maker and run for 15 minutes (or for however long is recommended by the manufacturer). 
  5. Store in an airtight container in your freezer. 

Small batch chocolate cannabis infused cupcakes (makes 6!)

March 6, 2020

It's my birthday! And while I don't really love cake and am not usually a very festive person, I totally felt in the mood this year and decided to whip up some infused cupcakes. Plus I still had some of that Instant Pot infused butter in my fridge and I really wanted to use it. Cupcakes with buttercream frosting sounded like the perfect idea. 

Unfortunately, I decided that using the IP for infusions is not the way to go if you don't like the taste of cannabis. Overall in both the butter and the olive oil, there was an overwhelming flavor of cannabis. 

These cupcakes were pretty good. I think I make have over cooked them just a little bit too long at 20 minutes. Or it could just be that it's an edible and edibles are kind of dry for some reason.

Ingredients for the cupcakes: 

  • 1/4 boiling water
  • 3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup softened infused cannabutter
  • 6 tbs sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs flour

Ingredients for the strawberry buttercream: 

  • 1/4 cup infused cannabutter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs strawberry preserves/topping
  • 1 tbs whole milk, buttercream, or almond milk

Tools needed: 

  • Hand mixer or standing mixer (or a strong arm and a whisk)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mis-en-place bowls (cereal bowls will do)
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cupcake pan or standalone silicone cups
  • Liners if using a pan
  • Pastry bag and tips or a knife or spatula to spread buttercream on the cupcakes

Method:

  1. Preheat oven too 375. Grease or line cups and set aside. 
  2. Mix boiling water and cocoa powder. Blend thoroughly. Set aside to cool. 
  3. In a small bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 
  4. In another larger bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and blend thoroughly. Add vanilla and the dry ingredients. Blend until just mixed. Finally, add the cocoa and hot water mixture. Blend until thoroughly mixed. 
  5. Spoon the batter evenly among six cupcake cups. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Allow to cool completely before frosting. 
  6. To make the frosting, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Add milk and strawberry, and beat until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks begin to form. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. 

This is such a great recipe to make a small batch of cupcakes for just one or two people to enjoy, or for a small gathering. 

How to Make Cannabis Brown Sugar

March 3, 2020

Brown sugar is an essential ingredient in any kitchen. Whether you like to bake or make your own sauces and glazes. It's needed in a variety of recipes. And now that I feel I have mastered the art of making cannasugar I thought it was time to take the next step and make my own cannabis-infused brown sugar. 

To make cannabis brown sugar, I pretty much just took my stovetop tincture recipe to make regular white cannasugar. After the oven drying process, you just add one tablespoon of molasses per cup of white sugar and blend it together. It's so simple to make and will give you even more possibilities for cannabis-infused foods. 

Ingredients

  • Everclear
  • Cannabis
  • Sugar
  • Molasses

Tools

  • mason jar
  • small sauce pot
  • cheesecloth
  • mesh strainer
  • baking sheet
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Roughly break up cannabis flower and spread evenly across a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes. Tossing once or twice to evenly cook. 
  3. Place the now decarboxylated cannabis in a mason jar and fill with Everclear until just covered. Loosely place the lid on the mason jar (EMPHASIS ON LOOSE). Place in a small sauce pot and fill pot with water until it reaches the same level as the Everclear and cannabis in the jar. Bring the water to a light boil and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  4. Strain the flower from your tincture. Allow tincture to come to room temperature before proceeding so as not to melt the sugar. 
  5. Preheat oven to 240 degrees fahrenheit. 
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 
  7. Add sugar to mixing bowl (amount depends on how much cannabis you've used, but in my experience, you should use at least a cup). Pour tincture over and then whisk/mix together until the tincture is evenly distributed. 
  8. Spread sugar and tincutre mixture across your lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Making sure to stir and mix every 20 minutes. 
  9. Once the cannasugar is dried, pour it into a mixing bowl and add 1 tablespoon of molasses per cup of sugar. Blend thoroughly.
  10. Store in an airtight container. 

Episode 33: Cannabutter and Cannabis-infused Olive Oil in an Instant Pot

February 25, 2020

This week I decided to put the Instant Pot I received for Christmas to the ultimate stoner test: can you use the IP to make cannabutter or cannabis-infused oil? 

I stumbled across some tips and a suggested method in a comment on Reddit. I do not remember the link but if you search for it in there, I'm sure you'll find the same instructions I am about to share below. 

Apparently you can use the IP to not only infuse your fats, but it can also decarb the cannabis too.

I was pretty impressed with the ease of this method. I also felt it didn't release the scent into my entire house, which was an added bonus. On the downside, I'm not sure the final product resulted in as potent of infusions as I have come to expect with other methods. 

For the olive oil, I used 1/8th of cannabis for 1 cup. At maximum infusion, I would have ended up with about 535mg THC. In the butter, I used 1/4th of slightly more concentrated cannabis. At the maximum, this was about 1600mg THC/cup. 

Ingredients:

  • Cannabis
  • Butter or Oil

Tools: 

  • Clean mason jar and lid
  • Instant Pot or pressure cooker
  • Mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth

Method: 

  1. Place cannabis in a clean mason jar and place lid on LOOSELY. You want it on so the lid stays on (so give it a turn or two) but you don't want it sealed. 
  2. With the canning rack inside of your instant pot, place the jar inside. Fill the pot up with water so that it covers the cannabis in the jar, but doesn't cause the jar to float. 
  3. Place and lock the lid on IP and make sure the vents are sealed. Pressure cook on HIGH for 40 minutes. Natural release or manually open the vent, it's up to you. 
  4. Carefully remove the jar and open the lid. Use pot holders or other protection as the jar will still be quite warm. 
  5. Melt butter and add to the jar (if using oil, it presumably is room temperature so no need to melt, unless it's coconut oil). Loosely screw the jar lid back on. 
  6. Place jar back into your Instant Pot, still using the canning rack, and add more water so that it comes up to the level of the butter inside the jar, but do not go past the max fill line. You should be safe to use more water as the weight of the oil or fat will weigh the jar down. 
  7. Replace the lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook on HIGH for 20 minutes. Natural release. Remove the jar carefully and with protective gear. 
  8. Once the jar is cool enough to handle, remove the lid and strain the butter through cheesecloth and mesh strainer. Store in an airtight jar/container. 

Episode 32: Cannabis-infused Dinner for Two

February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day, my stoney lovers! 

This week I went ALL OUT. This romantic and easy dinner for two (or 8), was made with infused olive oil at every turn. The best part is I made the oil in my Instant Pot. For the full instructions on the infusion method make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel because that video is coming next week. 

For my infused dinner for two, I made stuffed shells with tofu "ricotta", fresh mozzarella, and a nutty Parmigiano Reggiano. The sauce is an adaptation on a family recipe. For a salad, I tossed together some arugula, infused olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of the Parmigiano. And for dessert, I used that same infused olive oil to melt down some chocolate and cover a few strawberries. 

If you're wondering why I made tofu "ricotta" and still used real cheese, it's because of farts. Sorry if that's TMI, but it is true. 

For the stuffed shells recipe, I actually just grabbed this recipe from Bon Appetit but replaced the ricotta and the marinara with the following recipes. 

Tofu Ricotta Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1- 14-ounce Block of Firm Tofu, drained but not pressed
  • 2 tablespoons of Infused Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic (or 1 tsp of chopped garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons of Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh herbs like parsley or oregano

Method: 

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until broken up but not until it becomes a paste. It can also be done by hand or in a blender using a pulse setting.

Lo's Marinara, Small Batch

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can of Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes, prefer without basil but with is ok too
  • 1/4-1/2 diced Red Onion
  • 4 cloves of Garlic or 1 heaping tbs of Chopped Garlic
  • 2 tbs infused Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tbs Dried Oregano*
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes*
  • 1/4 tsp salt*

* Add these to taste. Start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up to what you like

Method

  1. Chop garlic and dice your onion. 
  2. Place sauce pot on stovetop and begin heating your oil over medium heat. Once oil gets a bit of a sheen to it, add your onions and allow to cook for about 1 minute. As the onions begin to look tender, add your garlic. Continue to saute until the onions begin to look like frosted glass. Lower heat to simmer or low. 
  3. Add in your full can of peeled tomatoes and begin adding your seasonings. The list above is more of a suggestion than hard and fast rules. So if you've never made a sauce like this before, I recommend adding your spices slowly until you find the right flavor for your tastes. 
  4. Cover sauce and simmer on low for 30 minutes to 3 hours. 
  5. Store in an airtight container and use within a week. 

#31: Maple balsamic dressing with cannabis-infused mayo

January 24, 2020

It's been a while since I showed off a more nutritious cannabis infused treat. This week, I took the infused mayonnaise I made in episode 30 to create a sweet yet tart dressing that is perfect for almost any salad or as a condiment for a tomato, fresh basil and mozzarella sandwich. 

Let's get into it. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of Cannabis-infused mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • Black pepper to taste

Tools

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Hand blender, food processor or whisk
  • Airtight container for storage

Method

  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl or blender pitcher/cup
  • Blend until thoroughly incorporated
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container 

Could homemade dressing be the easiest recipe? It might be. You can watch episode 31 now on Youtube or through the little window below. 

#30: How to Make Cannabis-infused Mayonnaise

January 10, 2020

Mayonnaise is a pretty basic ingredient in a lot of dishes. I know it's commonly given a bad rep because it's bland but that just makes it a good vehicle for other flavors. Mayonnaise can be used as a base for a salad dressing, for dips, and of course it's great on a sandwich. It's also made mostly with oil which means it's perfect for infusing with cannabis. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of neutral flavored oil (grapeseed is a good choice)
  • Cannabis

Tools: 

  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Cheesecloth
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Heat safe glass jar and lid (like a canning jar/mason jar)
  • Food processor, blender, or hand mixer

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 235 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Grind up cannabis and spread evenly on a lined baking sheet. 
  3. Bake cannabis for 30 minutes. 
  4. Measure a little over 1 cup of oil into your mason jar. Add the cannabis. Seal the jar (but not so tight you won't be able to open it later, it will tighten with the heat). Set the jar in a pot of water, making sure the water comes just past the level of the oil in the jar. Bring the water to a low boil for about an hour. 
  5. Strain the cannabis out through a strainer and cheese cloth. Squeeze out any excess oil. 
  6. Allow the oil to come to room temperature before proceeding. 
  7. Add water, vinegar, salt and egg yolks to the bowl of a food processor (or a blender). Pulse the food processor a few times to blend the mixture. 
  8. Turn on food processor and slowly begin pouring your infused oil through the top. You need to take this slow or the oil will not emulsify into the eggs. They do not want to mix. This will take about three minutes. 
  9. Continue blending until all the oil is thoroughly mixed. 
  10. Store in an airtight container (perhaps that mason jar you used to infuse the oil, just make sure you clean it first). 

#29: How to make cannabis-infused bacon

January 3, 2020

If you've been around the blog or the channel since the beginning, you know I'm a pretty big fan of infusing cannabis into bacon fat. So when I happened to come across a recipe to infuse the bacon directly, you know I had to try it. The original recipe was on Cannadish, I believe, but I changed some of the instructions as I don't believe you have to cook it as low and as slow as they recommended. I was correct in this belief. 

For this recipe, I used 2 grams of whole cannabis flower, and 1 pound of bacon. The cannabis was about 20% THC, which means that each piece of bacon was around 50mg. Although, with the amount of drippings left over, it was probably more like 25mg. Good enough to have at breakfast without completely ruining me for the rest of the day. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of thick cut bacon
  • 2 grams of ground cannabis flower

Tools

  • Baking sheet

Method

  1. Decarboxylate your cannabis flower in the oven at 235 degrees fahrenheit for about 45 minutes. It should look a little brown like when you empty your dry flower vaporizer, and it should be dry. 
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lay out bacon, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet. Evenlly sprinkle decarbed cannabis over the bacon. 
  3. Bake for about an hour, checking every 20 minutes or so that it is cooking evenly. Flip as needed. 
  4. Let cooked bacon drain over a rack or on paper towels. Strain leftover bacon grease on baking sheet into an airtight container to use in other recipes. 

If you're prepping the bacon in advance for breakfasts and what not, I recommend under cooking it a bit so that you can warm it up in a frying pan. 

#28: 15-Minute Butter Infusion Method

December 20, 2019

I'm doing things a little different this week and not so much showing off a recipe as I am showing how to take any recipe from any cookbook or website and turn it into a delicious cannabis-infused treat. 

The recipe in question is from The Kitchenista's Holiday Cookbook, which I highly encourage you to purchase and try out some recipes. The mac and cheese recipe alone is worth the price of the entire book. This is not a sponsored post, I just really love this cookbook. I infused the Eggnog Bread Pudding with about 400mg of THC. I also made only a half batch of the bread pudding because I'm the only one who is eating it.  

It's actually pretty easy to infuse any old recipe once you have the basics down. For this recipe, I tried a new-to-me infusion method which takes just 15 minutes after decarbing. 

Method for the infusion: 

  1. Decarb you cannabis in an oven that has been preheated to 230 degrees fahrenheit. Lay it out in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Melt butter in sauce pan over stove top. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Once the butter reaches 200 degrees fahrenheit, add the decarbed cannabis to the butter. 
    • Optional: add an equal part of water to prevent the butter from burning or browning.
  3. Maintain the temperature at 200 degrees fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 
  4. Strain out flower material and store butter in an airtight container. 

In my opinion, this quick method did work well. However, it was hard to tell if this helped reduce the cannabis flavor in the dessert. Mainly because there was not a huge amount of butter in the recipe overall, and there were a few other spices and flavors that were a little more pungent than the small amount of kief I infused into the butter. 

#27: Cannabis-infused Whipped Cream Recipe

December 9, 2019

This week's Lunch With Lo is a snack-sized follow up to the Infused Pumpkin Pie episode. That is right, I'm finally showing off how to make that cannabis-infused whipped cream featured on top of that beautiful, delicious piece of pumpkin pie. 

On its own, this whipped cream did have a strong cannabis flavor, but that dissipates when mixed with the pumpkin pie. I think this would make an excellent quick cake frosting, but perhaps it might make sense to add some stronger flavors. 

Check out the recipe below and let me know if you tried it out! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 TBS Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Cannabis (weight, and strain of your choosing)

Tools

  • Hand mixer, standing mixer, or whisk
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Cheese cloth
  • Mesh strainer
  • Measuring spoons
  • Baking sheet
  • Sauce pot
  • Medium to large sized mixing bowl

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Measuring and grind cannabis flower and spread on lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake cannabis for 30 minutes to an hour. Cannabis is done decarboxylating when it's a light golden brown color throughout. 
  4. Pour heavy cream into a small sauce pot and add the decarbed cannabis. Blend with a whisk. Simmer for 1 hour. 
  5. Strain flower from heavy cream, pour into an airtight container, and allow cream to chill 1-2 hours, or overnight in fridge. 
  6. In a medium-large mixing bowl add cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla then whip or whisk quickly and vigorously until small, soft peaks begin to form. 
  7. Store in an airtight container and mark with the same expiration date as the heavy cream carton. 

The Super Simple Salad Dressing Formula

December 5, 2019

I’m not going to lie to you and say that salads are tasty and fun and great to eat. I eat my salad in this order: greens first, saving all the cheese, nuts, and other goodies for last, so I can finish my meal with a smile. However, I do believe that a tasty dressing made to your liking will take that salad from a 5 to a 7.5 (out of 10). 

Additionally, when you tell people that you made the dressing yourself, should it come up because you’re in the break room at work or serving it to friends and family, it sounds cool and impressive. 

Making salad dressing is incredibly easy. You just need a bowl, a whisk, and a few ingredients you probably already have in your fridge or pantry. Having made about a dozen different kinds of dressings over the years, I’ve figured out the perfect formula for making dressings at home with what you have on hand.

The ratio is 3 parts oil/fat, to 1 part acid, with about â…“-â…”  of a part emulsifier/sweetener. Add herbs and spices to your taste.

Some additional tips: you’ll definitely want some mustard if you’re making a vinaigrette, but you can probably skip it if you’re making a creamier, mayonnaise-based dressing. 

Check out the graphic below for an easy visual guide to creating your own salad dressings.

Want to make it an infused salad dressing? Use the dosage calculator below to figure out your potency (usually a serving of salad dressing is 1-2 tablespoons). 

#LunchWithLo Episode 26: Cannabis-Infused Pumpkin Pie

November 27, 2019

I really love pumpkin pie. I remember the first time I tried it. I was in high school and a friend had made one in their culinary class (I was fortunate to go to a school with a strong vocational ed program, which is how I learned how to shoot, edit, light, and mic). They were floored I'd never tried it before (see my blog post about being a picky eater). If it wasn't for the fear of being labeled a picky eater publicly, I never would have tried it. But there was just the right amount of peer pressure and social anxiety brewing within me that I knew I had to at least take a bite. 

And it was then that I realized, desserts don't necessarily have to have chocolate. 

I also started making them whenever it was appropriate. Which, let's be real, is one month a year. 

Until very recently, I've always bought premade pie crusts, but with several allergies in my family/social circle, I've been working on making them from scratch. It honestly tastes better. And despite my cannabis infused version being a little less than beautiful, as you'll see in the video, it was kind of perfect tasting. Flaky, buttery, and crisp. 

I won't copy the recipes here, because I used two recipes, pretty much exactly, from Live Well Bake Often to make this pie. My only replacement was swapping in cannabis-infused butter in place of the regular unsalted butter in the pie crust.

You can get the pie dough recipe here

You can get the pie filling recipe here

Please note the dough recipe makes 2 crusts, but the filling makes only enough for 1 pie. 

To infuse the butter, I will go into some more detail. My goal was to get 100mg/slice, so I used just over 2 grams of kief (kief is the powdery substance that collects in that bottom chamber in your grinder; it has a higher THC potency than the flower on its own). I started by activating the kief using a process called decarboxylation. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees. Spread your cannabis out on a baking sheet. I prefer to line mine, but dealer's choice. Then bake it for 30 minutes-1 hour. 

If you're thinking that's a big window, it is. But it also dependent on how much cannabis you're decarbing and how finely it's ground up. If you're putting a half ounce of whole flower in there, you're looking at closer to an hour. If it's a couple of grams of kief, you'll bake for about 30 minutes. 

I used 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter to make up for the clarifying and loss of butter being absorbed by the kief. I did clarify it first, which is just removing the foam that forms from the milk solids and water when you melt the butter down.  

After clarifying, I added in as much water as there was butter (so about a half a cup), then poured in my kief. 

The water helps in two ways, first, it helps to filter the butter and cannabis so that you get a cleaner flavor. Second, it helps maintain the temperature of the butter so it does not get too hot. Water, boiling on a pot on your stove, will probably not break 212 degrees fahrenheit. Which is good because after 240 degrees fahrenheit, you'll start to break down the THC. 

I let this simmer, covered, on my stove for about 2 hours (although you can go longer). Then I strained it all through a cheesecloth lined mesh strainer, and allowed it to chill in my fridge. Once the butter was solid, I was able to slide it out of the container, dump the water, and pat the butter dry. 

Drying the butter is very important, especially if you're not going to use it right away. Water will speed up the decay process and likely lead to mold (and quickly!). 

You can watch this water/butter infusion process in full in episode 16

#LunchWithLo Episode 25: How to Make Cannabis-infused Banana Bread

November 21, 2019

In this episode of Lunch With Lo, we're making a classic, forever favorite: Banana Bread. The original recipe for this snack came from my husband's step-mother, who bakes a loaf for us to take home every time we go to visit. It's delicious and moist and dense and I love it. 

It's also an incredibly easy recipe to make, needing only a few tools. For the infusion method please head over to episode 3, the bacon fat episode, or episode 16, the water method

Ingredients: 

  • 2-3 ripe bananas 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of cannabis-infused unsalted melted butter
  • pinch of salt

Tools needed:

  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Standard loaf pan

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Thoroughly grease loaf pan with butter, shortening, or oil. Baker's choice. 
  3. Add all wet ingredients (melted butter, egg, and bananas) and sugar to bowl and quickly whisk together. 
  4. Add in dry ingredients (salt, flour, baking soda). 
  5. Whisk until fully blended.
  6. Pour batter into the loaf pan. Level out with a spatula or by lightly tapping the pan down on your counter. 
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  8. Let cool before trying to cut or remove from pan. 

That's a pretty easy recipe if you ask me.

#LunchWithLo Episode 24: Infused Roasted Beet Salad with Dwight Schrute

November 6, 2019

For halloween this year, I decided to dress up as Dwight Schrute. And then I thought I'd take it a step further by doing an entire episode as dear Dwight and make a delicious roasted beet salad (the original recipe can be found here). 

I made a few changes to the dressing recipe to make it cannabis infused. And definitely not vegan (sorry people, I know there are a few of you). 

For the dressing, I infused the bacon fat with about 1.5 grams of kief. I'm not sure what the dosage/salad would be, but the full batch probably had 500-700mg of THC. It's harder to tell since this kief all comes from the bottoms of my and my partner's grinder. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 22: Cannabis Infused Vegan Peppermint Mocha Creamer

October 11, 2019

This episode was a Facebook follower request that I just had to jump on. Infused coffee creamer. I decided to jazz it up and not just make a plain old creamer, but make a fall flavored favorite like Peppermint Mocha.

And since I'm extra nice, I even included a recipe below for pumpkin spice flavored creamer, despite my strong distate for PSL. I'm not going to bore you with a long winded explanation about why Peppermint Mocha creamer is tasty and good or why I picked it because I have a feeling you're really only here for the recipe and not my musings on the differences between peppermint and spearmint.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce can of whole fat coconut milk (or 2 cups of heavy cream)
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or 1 cup of skim/low fat milk)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup of Cannasugar (or regular sugar)
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • Up to 1/4 cup Infused Almond Oil - amount depends on your preferance and needed strength

Tools:

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Tablespoon
  • Sauce pan
  • Spoon
  • Airtight container for storage

Method:

  1. Decarb cannabis and infuse almond oil in a mason jar using the hot water bath method. 
  2. Add both milks (dairy or nondairy) and get them warm enough to melt the dry ingredients. 
  3. Once warm, add all other ingredients to pot and bring to a boil. 
  4. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer and whisk the mixture continuously for 5 minutes. 
  5. Strain out mint leaves and store in an airtight jar for up to a week in the fridge. 

Alternatives: 

Pumpkin spice:

For pumpkin spice, replace the cocoa powder and the mint with:

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: replace the sugar with 1/4 cup of maple syrup

Powdered milk version:

  • Replace liquid milk with 2 cups of powdered milk (or powdered coconut milk)
  • Replace sugar with powdered sugar
  • Replace mint leaves with mint extract
  • Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor

#LunchWithLo Episode 21: Infused Peanut Butter Truffles & Ways to Minimize the Edible Smell

October 7, 2019

It's that spooky season and I know everyone is pretty excited about it. So I thought it would be cool to infuse what I'm calling a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Taste-A-Like. It's not exactly a replica since, these little devils are ball shaped and not cup shaped, but they're pretty close to a similar flavor and texture. 

For this recipe, I used 5.5 grams of whole cannabis called Pineapple Planet. It's just what I had on hand but probably wasn't the best choice for this particular recipe. If I had made a raspberry truffle or something more fruit flavored, I think this would have been a perfect pairing. I'd opt for something a little more earthy tasting than fruity. Oh well, you live and you learn. I did end up with about 20mg THC/truffle which is perfect since I'll usually pop 2 or 3 at a time. They're very tasty so it's hard to eat just one. 

Further, as I mention in the video, I covered the cannabis when decarboxylating and I think that contributed to more of the flavor getting trapped in the cannabis. It's not necessarily a bad thing but it does seem like a lot of you prefer your edibles to NOT taste like weed. 

Which also brings me to some tips on minimizing the odor when you're infusing oils/butter to use in your edibles.

How to minimze the edible odor

  • Cover your cannabis when decarbing and LEAVE IT COVERED UNTIL IT COOLS. 
  • Infuse oils in sealed mason jars in a water bath
  • Use the water method for infusing butter

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Taste A Like Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Infused Butter
  • 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 2/3 cup Crushed Graham Crackers (about 1/2 a sleeve)
  • 1-2 cups Semi-sweet Chips
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Shortening or Coconut Oil

Tools:

  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Standing mixer
  • Cookie sheet or other similar flat surface (like a cutting board or serving tray)
  • Parchment Paper or Silicon Baking Liner

Method:

  1. Crush Graham Crackers in a food processor (or go old fashioned and put them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin, mallet, or mug).
  2. Add all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips and oil, into the bowl of a standing mixer* with the paddle attachment. Blend until smooth and roll into a ball. 
    *If you don't have a standing mixer, I recommend warming the butter and peanut butter slightly. Then mix by hand in a large bowl.
  3. If the mixture is sticky and warm, dust with more powdered sugar before rolling in balls. Or, if you have time, chill for a couple of hours in the fridge. 
  4. Use a teaspoon to measure out peanut butter mixture and roll into balls about an inch big. Set on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon liner or parchment paper.
  5. Once all rolled out, chill balls in freezer. Overnight is best but at least an hour. 
  6. Melt chocolate and oil in a double boiler. Aim for a runny consistency. 
  7. Dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate and place on another lined cookie sheet or large cutting board. Chill in fridge or freezer. Once set, store in an airtight container. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 20: Common Questions About Making Edibles

September 27, 2019

I can't believe we made it episode 20! Thank you for supporting my edible journey. 

This episode does not feature a recipe. I do apologize. If I had realized that this was going to be number 20 when I planned them, I might have done something a little more fun. This episode does, however, feature answers to some of the questions about edibles I hear over and over again. Like:

  • What is decarbing?
  • How do I calculate the dose of my edibles?
  • How do I make my edibles taste less like cannabis?
  • And, how can I feel better after taking too many edibles?

It's just a fun little sesh as I think out loud and do math in my head. I would like to reiterate, however, that I am not an expert, I have not been trained by a professional, everything I do and say is based on research I've done in my own time. I am mostly self-taught. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 19: Cannabis-Infused Basil Pesto

September 13, 2019

One of my favorite herbs has got to be this African Blue Basil I'm using in this week's recipe. I am absolutely obsessed with these big beautiful plants. I clone them constantly hoping to have a half dozen of them around my house (and to give away about a half dozen more). 

If you've never made pesto before, you should totally start. It's so simple and easy and incredibly flavorful. Plus, it's one of those meal pieces that can totally be riffed off of. This recipe is just a very basic suggestion. Play around with the spices, the ratios, and even replace some of the other ingredients. It doesn't have to be exact. That's the fun thing about cooking. 

This episode also includes a little bonus because I couldn't not try the pesto once it was done. I think if you ever make this, you'll smell why it must be tasted immediately. I threw together a little pasta side dish at the end to show you just how easy it is to use the pesto as part of a meal. With a salad and some seasoned chicken and you're just a dessert away from a tasty meal. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup infused olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano or romano
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Tools

  • Measuring cup
  • Food processor
  • Airtight container for storage
  • Cheese grater 

Method

  1. Prepare infused olive oil by decarbing your cannabis and then simmering your olive oil and cannabis in a water bath for 1-3 hours. Then strain out cannabis. 
  2. Remove stems from basil then add all ingredients to a food processor and let run until all the ingredients are broken up and the pesto looks pretty smooth. 

To make the pasta as shown in this episode you'll need a few more ingredients and tools. 

Ingredients for Pasta for 1 serving

  • Pasta
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (you can use cannabutter)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano 

Tools for Pasta

  • Pot
  • Pasta strainer
  • Large spoon for mixing

Method: 

  1. Cook pasta to instructions.
  2. Drain but reserve 1 tablespoon of the pasta water and return cooked pasta to the pot. 
  3. Leave burner heat on low. 
  4. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto, 1 tablespoon of butter to pasta and stir and toss until butter is melted and all the pasta is coated completely.
  5. Serve with some parmigiana on top.   

#LunchWithLo Episode 18: How To Make Cannabis Tinctures Two Ways

September 6, 2019

Cannabis tinctures are so versatile. You can use them to make candy and other sugar based edibles. You can take them sublingually (or under the tongue). You can reduce the alcohol to almost nothing to make a gel to fill capsules with. 

They're also a lot easier to make than I would have imagined. In this week's episode of Lunch With Lo, I'm discussing two different ways to make tinctures. One that requires almost no equipment (but a lot of time); and the other which I've kind of showcased previously in the Cannasugar episode. 

For either method you will need: 

  • Cannabis
  • Grain Alcohol , like Everclear
  • Airtight jar (mason jar is best)
  • For the fast method you will also need a small pot and an electric stove or hot plate

Method 1, the long way: 

  1. Decarb the cannabis in an oven preheated to 240 degrees fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes. 
  2. Place decarboxylated cannabis in jar then cover the cannabis with alcohol. Seal jar. Shake it up. Place in dark cabinet. 
  3. Shake once per day, every day for two or more weeks. Then strain out the plant material and store tincture in a clean, jar or bottle. Store in cool dark place. 
  4. Optional: simmer tincture over heat to reduce some of the alcohol and concentrate the tincture a little more. 

Method 2, the quick way, electric stoves and hotplates only:

  1. Decarb cannabis in an preheated oven at 240 degrees fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes. 
  2. Place decarboxylated cannabis in MASON JAR or other oven safe sealing glass jar. Cover with alcohol. Loosely replace band and lid, do not seal. Alternatively, place a coffee filter or paper towel where the lid would go and seal the band. 
  3. Place jar in small sauce pot with enough water to reach the same level as the alcohol and cannabis in the jar. 
  4. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the alcohol for about 30 minutes. 
  5. Strain the cannabis out, adding more alcohol to the jar if necessary. Store in a small jar or bottle in a cool, dark place. 

In my opinion you should go with the quick method because, why wait for two weeks for something you can have in an hour? Right? Of course, if you're using a gas stove or you don't have adequate ventilation, please don't do the quick method. You also shouldn't light a bowl or a blunt in the kitchen while you're cooking up a tincture because ALCOHOL VAPORS ARE HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. 

Let me repeat that: 

ALCOHOL VAPORS ARE HIGHLY FLAMMABLE. 

Don't get us all in trouble because you think you know better. Just open a window and wait 30 minutes to get high, ok? 

#LunchWithLo Episode 17: Infused Colorado Peach Iced Tea

August 30, 2019

Do you like your iced tea sweet or unsweet? I kind of like them both but it really depends on the day which one I would grab first. 

This recipe is definitely sweet. And it is also delicious. I took my cannasugar recipe to make some peach simple syrup to make this delcious, seasonal iced tea. Perfect for the last few scorching hot days of summer over the labor day weekend. 

Cannasugar is the only infused ingredient in this recipe so you really ought to go back and watch that episode if you're unfamiliar with the method. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Cannabis-infused Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of White Sugar
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 3 Peaches
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid (optional)
  • Fresh mint (optional)
  • 2 Iced Tea Bags (or however many you need to make 6-7 total cups of tea)
  • 3 cups Hot Water
  • 3 cups Cold Water

Tools

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Medium Sauce Pot
  • Iced Tea Pitcher/Container
  • Small Jar for Extra Simple Syrup

Method

  1. Make cannasugar, if you don't already have a supply on hand
  2. Add water, both sugars, and citric acid to medium sauce pot to start the boiling process. 
  3. While water and sugar is starting to boil, begin cutting up the peaches. Don't worry too much about size and consistency. It can be a rough cut, you're just looking to expose the flesh enough to get the flavor. You're not going to eat the peaches (well, you can but it's not going to be part of the drink). 
  4. Add peaches to sugar/water mixture and allow to boil for 20-30 minutes. 
  5. Begin brewing tea according to your iced tea box's instructions. 
  6. Strain peaches from the syrup. Measure out up to 1 cup of syrup to mix in to your tea. If you add 1 cup of syrup, that will equal about 1 tablespoon of syrup per cup of tea. 
  7. Chill and serve over ice with a sprig of mint. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 16: Cannabis-infused Butter Hack - Limited Equipment

August 23, 2019

This week I'm showing off a really cool hack I read about years ago that will allow you to infuse butter without using a strainer or cheesecloth. This is a great hack if you don't have all the tools and equipment to strain out your flower from your butter. This method will work with any fat that solidifies when cool (think coconut oil, animal fat, shortening, etc). 

I was really surprised at how well this hack worked. Since water and oil do not mix, as the butter and water cools, it separates. This I expected. What I didn't expect was how well it would filter out the cannabis flower from the butter making it easy to separate. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 grams of ground cannabis
  • 1/2 cup water

Tools: 

  • Small pot
  • Measuring cup
  • Wide mouth container to chill and store butter

Method:

  1. First, decarboxylate your cannabis in an oven that has been preheated to 240 degrees fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes (or until all the cannabis is a toasted brown color .
  2. Add water and butter in a small pot. Once butter has melted fully, add in decarboxylated cannabis and simmer for 3 hours. 
  3. Pour the butter/water/flower mixture into a wide mouth container and chill in fridge.
  4. Once butter has fully chilled, remove from container. Discard water or freeze and use for soup starter. Slice off the layer of flower. Dry any remaining water with a clean towel or paper towel. Store butter in airtight container. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 15: Infused Peach Lemonade Pops

August 16, 2019

I am coming to you with my tail between my legs because this week's episode is a big fail. I attempted to make infused peach lemonade pops with some deliciously ripe Colorado Peaches. And while I technically did get the peach lemonade part down, it was the infusion that went awry. 

My first mistake was decarbing my wax on parchment paper and not a silicone baking cup. 

My second mistake was waiting too long to get the warm wax into my recipe and not diluting it in some coconut oil or something like that. 

The third mistake was not having a blender and trying to do this in my food processor. 

If I were to do it all over again, I'd not do any of that. In fact, I'd probably make a simple syrup using my cannasugar recipe, and use that in place of the honey. Or just use the tincture in place of the wax. 

Like I said, a lot of mistakes were made. 

What was not a mistake was the pop recipe itself. That was perfectly tart and sweet. Exactly what you would expect from peach lemonade pops. And, it was an easy method over all. The hardest part was chopping up the peaches. 

Ingredients: 

  • 4-5 medium peaches (about 2lbs)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 cups of water
  • Decarbed wax, or 2 tablespoons of infused oil (coconut or almond oil is best)

Tools: 

  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Blender
  • Popsicle Molds
  • Optional: citrus juicer (but you can use your hands instead)

Method: 

  1. Pit and slice peaches. Peeling optional.
  2. Squeeze juice from 2 lemons. 
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. 
  4. Divide into your popsicle molds and freeze. 

As I discuss in the last five minutes or so in my video, there are a lot of ways that this recipe could actually work. You could replace the water with infused almond or coconut milk (or even whole cow's milk, although I'd omit the lemon juice if you go the dairy milk route). You can infuse milk with the same method I used in the bacon fat video.

I think that diluting the wax with oil, and decarbing in a silicone baking cup, would have saved this whole recipe, exploding food processors aside. If I do it again, I'd try this method first. I'm also interested in trying a creamier pop with infused dairy free milk so be on the lookout for that. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 14: Cannabis-Infused Sugar

August 8, 2019

As soon as I found out you could infuse sugar with cannabis I knew I wanted to try it out. It sounded so easy and after trying it out myself, I'm inclined to believe that's true. 

The hardest part was finding the Everclear because I've literally never even seen it before. Because of the type of people who I've seen drink it, I assumed it'd be found on the bottle shelf. And yes, I did know people who drank Everclear. Please don't be one of those people. It's not for drinking. 

Making cannasugar, if you have all the ingredients prepped, takes only an hour. The time consuming aspect is making the tincture. There are a few methods to make a tincture, I'm only going to share the way I did it. If you want other methods (especially if you have a gas stove or would use an open flame to do the water bath, the vapors from alcohol are highly flammeable). 

Ingredients

  • Cannabis, amount and kind of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup Everclear or other 190 proof grain alcohol
  • 2 cups of sugar

Tools/Supplies

  • Double boiler set up (smaller pot in a larger one)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Spatula
  • Optional: candy thermometer

Method:

  1. Start by decarbing your cannabis in the oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Turn down your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add decarbed cannabis to your double boiler then cover with Everclear. Simmer in double boiler for 20 minutes. Watch over it so it doesn't spill but otherwise you can be pretty hands off at this stage. 
  4. Strain out the plant material from the alcohol. You should be left with a bright green liquid. 
  5. Measure out your sugar in a bowl. Add the tincture and mix until evenly light green and moist. 
  6. Spread sugar out in an even layer on cookie sheet then place in oven for 1 hour, checking every 20 minutes to stir/make sure the alcohol is drying out evenly. 
  7. Store in an airtight container and use in place of boring regular sugar. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 13: Infused Caramel Corn

July 26, 2019

Caramel corn is such an easy, delicious snack to make and it's even better when infused. The combination of salty and sweet is a hard one to beat. Not going to lie, I ate this whole batch of kief infused caramel corn in about a week. No self control, what can I say. *shrugs*

The great thing about this recipe is that the caramel sauce can be used to candy up almost anything you can imagine. And it only takes a few minutes and few ingredients to get it right. 

This is a fast recipe, so make sure to read through all of the instructions and have all of the tools and ingredients handy before you begin. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 bag microwave popcorn, the more buttery the better
  • 1/4 cup of infused cannabutter (check this recipe for the infusion method)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Tools

  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Small pot
  • Spatula
  • Measuring Spoon
  • Measuring Cup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Make popcorn, then spread out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  3. In a small pot, combine butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup. Combine thoroughly and allow to boil. 
  4. Once it starts boiling, let it continue to boil for three minutes. Don't stir, just set a timer and walk away. 
  5. At three minutes, remove the pot from the heat then quickly stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Blend and stir until the caramel is a consistent light brown color.
  6. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and turn the popcorn over to coat as evenly and completely as possible. 
  7. Put cookie sheet in the oven for 1 hour, checking every 20 minutes to toss and continue to even out the coating. 
  8. Allow the caramel corn to cool a bit before breaking it up into smaller pieces. 

This recipe makes about 7 cups of caramel corn. I dosed them at 100mg/cup. But if I was making this to share with friends, especially those who don't use edibles much, I'd cut that down to about 20mg/cup. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 12: Cannabis Infused Horchata Pops

July 19, 2019

When one of my Twitter followers suggested that I make frozen horchata pops, I was a little hesitant. To be honest, I can only think of trying horchata maybe a couple of times and it's not really a dish of my culture, so I wasn't sure if I even should try it. 

Then I did a little research and realized that horchata has roots in several cultures and it's an incredibly easy drink to make. It's also a deliciously fresh tasting drink that really just should be frozen from the get go. 

This recipe is adapted from one I found at My Latina Kitchen. In that recipe, there's water added. I opted to omit for a creamier end product. Additionally, I noted in the video I added only 3/4 cup of almond milk but below I've noted twice that amount. That's because once I tasted this experiment, I realized it did need a little extra liquid that would have come from the water. I felt that water would create too hard a popsicle. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Rice
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Almonds
  • 1 stick of Cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 can (6 ounces) of Evaporated Milk
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Infused Almond Oil

Tools:

  • Food processor
  • Mesh strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Ice pop/popsicle molds

Method:

  1. Soak rice, almonds, and cinnamon for 5 hours (or overnight if possible) in water in a bowl. Cover or place in fridge. 
  2. Strain the rice mixture from the water using a mesh basket. 
  3. In a food processor or blender add all the ingredients (rice mixture, sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, almond milk, and infused almond oil), then blend until completely smooth. 
  4. Pour mixture into a container with spout then transfer to your pop molds and freeze.

Confessions of a Former Picky Eater

July 18, 2019

“You have such will power.” 

An office worker in my elementary school said to me when I turned down a fancy chocolate in a fancy box. I laughed, understanding what she meant, even at 9 years old (which hello that's fucked up), but knowing deep down inside the real reason is that I was nervous about the taste. That I wouldn’t like it and I’d have to show another adult just how picky of an eater I was. 

Picky enough to turn down free chocolate in the 4th grade. 

If you’re not a close friend or family member, you may not know about my complicated relationship with food. For the first two decades of my life I would only eat a handful of things and I would not try anything else no matter how hard the adults around me forced it.

Thanks to peer pressure and essentially being too broke to refuse free food of any kind, I’ve long since changed my ways. I vowed to always try something new if it’s presented. Also because I still harbor a little left over shame from all those years of saying, “no,” to everything that the anxiety of facing pushback or teasing drives me to at least have a taste. 

I’m sure a lot of your reading this can relate to being a picky eater as a child. But I’m guessing most of you probably outgrew it through parental force a lot sooner than 20 years old. My mom took a very liberal approach with me and just let me eat what I wanted (which was primarily, cheese, bread, fruit, and peanut butter). Plus the typical kid friendly snacks like pop tarts, pringles, and the occasional piece of candy. My pediatrician told her I’d eat like normal eventually. Which is true, I eventually did; but in my opinion that was bad advice.

I would eat cheese burgers ONLY from McDonald’s and only if it didn’t have pickles. Never off a grill. Never from Burger King or Wendy’s.

I would only eat one kind of deli ham but not the delicious glazed ham my mom would make at the holidays. 

I missed out on basically all of my grandmother’s turkey dinners and turkey pies and shepherd's pies. 

Memories of holidays are all a little tainted by some adult making a comment about what I wasn’t eating that day. 

Looking back, I admire my determination not to cave to pressure from adults who weren’t my mom. 

It wasn’t until I was around fellow young adults in college that I started to expand my horizons. I was lucky to find myself in a friend group with people who were from all over the world or who had travelled all over the world (holy moly I was way out of my socio-economic class). And for the most part they were kind in introducing me to new foods. Further, admitting that I was so particular about what I would and would not eat was increasingly becoming more embarrassing. For all the determination I had as a child, facing adults head on about my eating habits, I felt it completely deflate the first time I had to eat in the cafeteria in college and confront my friends about my limited diet.

My mom deserves a lot of credit for sticking up for me and letting me just eat how I wanted to. Even if it did lead to a monstrosity of a sandwich one afternoon at a lake in which she didn’t bring the mayonnaise (probably because of a no glass rule at the park) for my cheese sandwich and didn’t bring jelly for my pb and j. When I wouldn’t eat either alone, she improvised and slapped the cheese on a peanut butter sandwich and a disgusting secret favorite was born. 

Guess it’s not a secret anymore.

I think it was very bold of her to do what everyone told her not to do. She trusted her gut. Food was not a fight worth having with her kids (and luckily, she only had to have that fight with me; my brother would eat whatever was in front of him). It’s not like I was stuffing my face with candy.  

However, if I could go back in time and tell my mom, “I’m your daughter from the future, make me eat like normal, please,” I would. 

It’s not like I was necessarily unhealthy. I was chubby and soft, but that had more to do with the fact that I’d rather lay on a blanket in the grass and read and make art all day than run around the neighborhood than the food choices I would make. 

Like sorry I don’t like stinky cooked vegetables ok? I still don’t. I’ve learned that I prefer my veggies fresh. But good luck getting me to learn that when I was a kid.

#LunchWithLo Episode 11: Kief Infused Hummus Recipe

July 12, 2019

I am so excited about this week's episode. Hummus is one of my favorite snacks. Whether I'm slathering it on some pita or munching on some carrots, it's a staple in my home. I don't know why I didn't think of infusing it sooner since it's incredibly easy to make and the high fat content makes it an excellent vessel for cannabis. 

I used this recipe from Epicurious as a starting point, but veered a little off. I omitted the lemon juice in my video, but I do recommend adding it in for a smoother consistency and to add some complexity to the flavor profile. 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 16-ounce can, or 2 cups, drained chickpeas, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 cloves (or 2 tablespoons minced) Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • Optional: Juice of 1 Lemon

Tools:

  • Spatula
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Tablespoon
  • Food Processor or Blender

Method:

  1. Infuse oil with cannabis of your choice (something with a lot of Pinene or Limonene would be good). Start by decarbing your cannabis in the oven and then follow the method in either the Bacon Fat episode, or the Honey episode
  2. Add all ingredients, with the exception of the reserved chickpea water, into your food processor or blender and turn it on.
  3. Once the ingredients are mostly blended, add water a little at a time. 
  4. When it looks and/or feels like it's the right consistency, scoop into an airtight container or bowl to serve. You can garnish with fresh parsley if you feel so inclined although it's not necessary. 

It's Time For A Giveaway!

July 10, 2019

It's DAB'S DAY!!! Hooray! 

If you're unfamiliar, it's a "holiday" similar to 4/20 except today we honor all things concentrates. Because if you flipped today's date (7/10) on its head, it would read OIL. I don't really dab unless someone brings a rig over to my apartment but I do always have a little wax to stick in my Kiln (a small ceramic chambered e-cig attachment made for waxy, oily concentrates). 

This giveaway is actually several weeks in the making as I had recorded and prepared all of the content only to lose the SD card two days before I was set to go live. Talk about a gut punch. 

To enter this giveaway, please head over to my instagram and find the image with the kitchen tools (it looks just like the one at the top of this page). Follow me, like the post, and leave the appropriate emoji comment. For extra entries, tag a friend in the comments. 

For up to 100 additional entries, head over to this page and subscribe to my email list (don't worry, I only email once/week, if that), and my The Weed Tube channel

GET EXTRA ENTRIES HERE

Contest closes at 11:59 PM Sunday, July 14th, 2019. Winner will be announced next week via email newsletter first, then on my Instagram Stories. 

One winner will receive: 

This contest is not sponsored nor endorsed by any person or entity other than myself. 

5 Tactics to Get Through a Bad Edible Experience

July 9, 2019

I don’t want to sound too braggy but I’ve not had a bad edible experience yet. I’ve always been a little apprehensive towards substances in general and have always erred on the cautious side when it comes to cannabis edibles. However, I’ve seen a handful of friends have a bad time with either edibles or smoking to know what you need to do in the event of a bad trip.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not permanent, it won’t last, and you just have to keep calm.

Take a few deep breaths

Breathe in and out slowly and deeply and remind yourself that this is going to pass. It might feel a little scary and overwhelming right now, but it will pass.

Drink some water

I always find ice water the most refreshing when I’m feeling a little bit too messed up, but whatever feels good to you. Ask a friend for help if you’re feeling like you can’t do it on your own. No judgements, it happens.

Get comfortable

Whatever you need to do to feel comfortable, do it. Laydown on the floor if that’s what feels good. You might be feeling dizzy or light headed so it’s a good idea to just be still.

Be prepared for puke

I’m not saying you’re definitely going to throw up, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Put a new bag in your trash and bring the bin near your comfortable spot.

Sleep it off

Really the best move here is to lay down and go to sleep. By the time you wake up the spins and paranoia will have passed and you can get on with your day. Albeit probably a little bit groggy than you started.

#LunchWithLo Episode 10: Kief Infused Honey

July 5, 2019

At the suggestion of Peter/@ChronicKryoatics, I am sharing my version of Honest Marijuana Co's Cannabis Infused Honey recipe. The main difference between my version and theirs is that I am using, you guessed it, kief rather than whole flower. 

For this infusion, I decarbed 2 grams of kief in an oven for about 30 minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit. I put the kief in a cheese cloth sack, placed that in a jar that seals air tight, and topped it with a half cup of local honey. I screwed the lid on but not too tight, then placed that inside of a crockpot with enough water to cover the honey in the jar. You don't want the jar to float around in there. 

Set your crockpot on low (the 8 hour or 10 hour setting) and let the heat and THC do it's thing. I recommend leaving your honey for at least 3 hours, but letting it run the full cycle of the crockpot wouldn't hurt it either. 

Once time is up, just pull out the cheesecloth bag, squeeze out the excess then use the bag in your next cup of tea. 

A note on dosage: 

If you make this recipe as written above (2 grams of kief, and a 1/2 cup of honey), you'll end up with roughly 40mg of THC per teaspoon. If you're new to using edibles, and want to try this recipe, you should either cut the amount of kief down to 1/2 gram OR bump it up to 2 cups of honey. I recommend the latter in this case because honey doesn't really go bad, and it's sometimes easier to work with larger amounts. If you use tablespoons instead of teaspoons, go with 3 cups of honey and 1 gram of kief. 

5 Easy Fixes to Get Back into Your Routine After a Slump

June 25, 2019

I think it’s very important to take time off. You need to recharge and relax. It’s just as important as getting things done. We are not machines, but even if we were… machines break down from overuse, too. However, as easy as it is to sit down and give yourself a time out, it’s equally as hard to get back on track. Especially if you let that break drag on a little longer than you intended. Or the energy to complete regular day to day activities just isn’t there yet.

Sometimes what we need, and what we intend, don’t always line up.

If you’re here, maybe you’re having trouble picking up where you left off. That’s perfectly fine and wonderful. First, I want to commend you for taking the break you needed. Good job! Second, let’s get you back into the swing of things.

Start with just one of the things you’ve been neglecting

Generally when I am off my “good” routine, I’m way, way off. I’m not exercising my mind nor body, nor eating in a balanced manner, nor following through with my skincare routine, especially at night. One derailed good habit snowballs into another until suddenly I’ve eaten takeout every single night in a week and I can’t quite place why I’m both tired and not sleeping. Oh right. When it feels completely overwhelming to get back into your old beautiful routine, just pick one good habit to reintroduce into your life. Whatever one you want. I always pick eating better because I really like cooking. It does bring me joy to make a good meal and that endorphin rush helps seal in the habit of eating well at home.

Create a simple reward system

Make a small goal, set at time frame, and then pick a little reward. Maybe you know you should eat a good breakfast every day but that means waking up 15 minutes earlier and it’s been hard to commit. Make a promise to yourself that if you can wake up 15 minutes early every day you work this week, then on your next monday (whatever day Monday is for your schedule), you’ll stop for a coffee and bagel at your favorite shop on the way to work. Then make it two weeks. Then a month.

Sleep with your blinds/curtains open

Let the sun wake you up for a change. It might feel really great to be gradually woken up in that way instead of shaken out of bed by the screech of your smartphone. Plus it’ll totally switch up your normal morning routine.

Change your old routine altogether

Maybe you are in a rut with your routine because your routine sucked. What’s a better time to experiment with your schedule than when the old one stops working? Pick a different way to start your day each day of the week. Maybe one day you wake up and go straight for the kitchen for breakfast. The next you start it with some yoga before a shower and breakfast, and on another you start right in the shower. The day(s) is(are) yours! There’s no reason you have to do anything in any particular order as long as you get where you need to on time.

Stop being so hard on yourself

Most importantly, even if you slack off for the next ten years, there are worse things you can do. Give yourself a break. You’re probably doing better than you think you are and you deserve some credit. You’re still alive. You’re still here. And you matter regardless of how well you stick to your desired routine. Falling into a slump and skipping the gym or not vacuuming as much as you think you need to isn’t the end of the world. And to be honest, no one, besides you, is really paying that much attention to whether or not you’re following through on whatever schedule or promises you made to yourself. It’s ok to change the due date on a personal goal. It’s ok to make it easier to accomplish. You can always try again.

The Do's and Don'ts of Attending a Comedy Show

June 25, 2019

My first date with my husband was seeing Bill Burr at Comedy Works in Denver. Both of us are kind of obsessed with stand-up. It’s our thing. There are few comedians we don’t enjoy. Together, we’ve seen some incredible acts. Legends like Dave Chappelle and Dave Attell. And nearly every funny woman who’s come through Comedy Works: Chelsea Peretti, Christina P, Ali Wong, Nicole Byer, Fortune Feimster. I’ve never left a show with a bad thought of the comedians who gifted us with their talent.

What can, and has, ruined a show are other members of the audience. In this article, I’m going to share some tips for newbies heading to their very first comedy show.

Don’t:

Yell at the comedian

You’ll never be as funny and you’re setting yourself up to look like an asshole and a fool. The entire room will laugh at you and think you’re an asshole and a fool. Your friends and family will make fun of you for the foreseeable future, if they continue associating with you at all. And on top of all that, you’ll probably get kicked out too.

Use your phone during the show, for any reason

Receiving a call? Go outside. Feel the need to record because #picsoritdidnthappen? Go fuck yourself. Really. I mean it. Just go fuck yourself. When you see a comedian perform, what you’re watching is art in progress. It’s one of the few art forms that requires an audience while you work it out. If you saw the first draft of Starry Night you’d probably think “it has potential” like some smug asshole. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, a comedian will show you a first or rough draft of a joke, please respect that by not recording the process. Take your picture outside of the venue if you really need all your instagram followers to know you saw your favorite comedian.

Disrespect the staff of the establishment

I mean, if you want to get kicked out, I suppose it’s worth a shot to completely shit all over the folks who are going to be bringing you your drinks all night. They’re probably funnier than you too.

Sit in the front and leave early

This is the ultimate asshole move. I mean leaving is probably better than sitting up front with a pout on your face, but you’ll probably get called out by the comedian if your whole party leaves in the middle of the show. Don’t be that person. If you think you might not enjoy the act, sit in the back. Most clubs are small enough that even the back of the room is still pretty close to the action.

Do:

Laugh as loud as you want

I mean, sure, I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous laughter, my own included, but it’s never as offensive as someone thinking they’re worthy of heckling the headliner. Everyone is there to laugh, so let it out, my friend.

Speak when spoken to

Although I’ve mentioned multiple times that you shouldn’t speak or yell or make any noise other than laughter at a comedy show, if the act is looking for audience participation, go ahead and participate you little extrovert. Add post content

8 Essential Tools for Making Edibles at Home

June 10, 2019

I don’t want to brag or anything but I think I’m becoming kind of an edible expert (see the nearly dozen episodes of Lunch With Lo, but also, I'm using "expert" lightly). And I’ve figured out that to make good infusions for at home edible creations, you really only need 8 tools (well, besides the cannabis and whatever other ingredient you’re infusing).

It's incredibly easy to begin making your own cannabis infused edibles all you need is a few hours and the following tools.

Mesh strainer

A mesh strainer is essential for making infusions at home. It will collect any plant material as you strain your infusions and gives a good base for your cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth

Cheesecloth is nice to have but you can make infused butter or oil without it. I’ve used paper towels in its place but you’ll get a better, cleaner result with cheesecloth.

Candy Thermometer

You’ll want a thermometer to make sure your infusion doesn’t get over 240 degrees Fahrenheit. After 240 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll start to degrade the THC

Small pot

This is what you’ll infuse the oil/butter in. Bonus, if it’s oven safe, you can use it to decarb your cannabis in it. Otherwise you’ll also need

Cookie sheet or baking dish

To decarboxylate the cannabis flowers or kief or whatever material you’re using.

Bowl or large measuring cup

I prefer a large, 4-cup liquid measuring cup to strain my infused oil into. I place the mesh strainer on top, line it with cheesecloth, then pour the oil and flower mixture right into the measuring cup.

Butter molds and/or airtight containers

I use silicone reusable cupcake baking cups to create molds for butter and fat. Mason jars or old salsa jars for oil, honey, and other more liquid substances.

Scale

A scale that measures in grams because you’re definitely going to want to measure your plant material before you decarb and infuse it into oil.

If you're lucky, you'll have most of these things in your kitchen already. If you don't, I'm doing a giveaway on my instagram beginning on Friday, June 14, 2019 which features many of the items listed above. Make sure to follow now and turn on notifications so you don't miss it. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 9: THC Infused Bacon Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 7, 2019

One of my favorite desserts/snacks are chocolate chip cookies. I like to take it up a notch by throwing bacon fat in there. It's saltiness balances out the sweetness of the cookie and chocolate. The ultimate delicacy when you're feeling the munchies creep on. 

For this recipe, I used a standing mixer because it's easier. But if you don't have one, you can still make this by hand.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soad
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheet.
  2. Soften butter and bacon fat enough to be blended.
  3. Add butter, fat, both sugars, the egg, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl and cream together. 
  4. Once creamed, add flour, baking soda, and salt to bowl to mix. If mixing by hand, add dry ingredients slowly. 
  5. Add and blend in chocolate chips. 
  6. Divide dough into 9 or 12 equal parts.
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove when cookies look almost done.

#LunchWithLo Episode 8: 3 Ways to Use Infused Olive Oil Without Cooking

May 31, 2019

This week's episode is a shorty little snack sized episode (have you all caught on to the pattern yet?).

I've got three smart ideas for using up your infused olive oil (or any oil, but olive is preferable in at least two of these examples). First, bread dipping oil. I like using a finely grated parmesan, a drizzle of balsamic, and spices like salt, black pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

Another way to use it up is to spin it up into some mayonnaise. Olive oil mayo makes a great base for creamy salad dressings and to brown up your bread for a gourmet grilled cheese.

Finally, make a simple vinaigrette. An equal part of olive oil and balsamic make an excellent dressing on any salad.

Now you don't even have to watch my video. But you still should!

The Go-Getter's Guide to Getting High

May 27, 2019

Are you a high achiever who wants to achieve the ultimate high? That is being one of those super duper #productivestoners you see all over the ‘gram. Whether you’re completely new to cannabis or you’re an occasional toker who wants to incorporate it more into your daily routine, this article has all of the tips to make sure you stay focused on your goals and moving forward.

This guide is for go-getters who want to make cannabis a part of that journey from concept to completion. Cannabis can help you tune into your body when you’re working towards a fitness goal. It can make boring, repetitive, but necessary tasks more bearable. It can make your creative flow more free.

But it can absolutely make you sleepy, slow, and sluggish if you’re not paying attention or using it in the wrong way for your body and mind.

Know Your Limits

Whether you’re new to cannabis or consider yourself a seasoned professional, it is important to know at what point you become uncomfortably high. And whether or not a wake and bake is going to completely throw your day off. If you’ve been smoking or vaping or edible-ing for a while, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what your limits are.

If you’re a newbie, however, it would be prudent to use your free time to experiment. Keep notes on your phone in your preferred note taking app. I made a Siri shortcut to add an event to my calendar whenever I smoke. In the event description, I note the kind (indica, sativa, or hybrid, and the name). In the past, I’ve used a Google Form, which I created a shortcut for on my phone’s home screen. There are even notebooks made for recording the kinds of cannabis you consume.

I prefer keeping a time and kind record only because typically any cannabis I have consumed has little to do with my level of motivation for the day. That knowledge comes from years of smoking. However, you should track any and everything you think of so you know whether or not cannabis affects your productivity or mood.

Reframe Your High

It’s easy to think that smoking makes you lazy, but there are tons of high performing, highly productive stoners. There are enough of us that the stereotype of stoners should really be the opposite. If you’re worried that you’re going to be stuck on the couch after getting high, maybe don’t get high on the couch. Stand up and use a bong. Dance around while you enjoy a joint.

Switching up the scenery or even just your position can help reinvigorate you and ensure you don’t lose your whole day.

And then when you’re finished smoking, don’t go sit on your couch. Or your bed. Or any other comfy surface. Unless your plan for the day is to do just that (which I encourage and hope you have the privilege to be able to enjoy a day or two off every week). I know Steve Harvey says rich people don’t sleep but Maury says that’s a lie.

Stay Focused On Goal

Keep your eyes on the prize, my friend. Whatever your goal is, cannabis will make accomplishing it even better. From making otherwise mundane fitness training more bearable, to increasing focus on creative projects, cannabis is 100% a performance enhancer, in my opinion. As long as the focus remains on the end results or milestones.

Don’t forget to track your progress towards your goal alongside your cannabis consumption. Maybe you’ll find trends.

Make Microdosing Your Friend

Microdosing is kind of having a moment and for good reason. Small amounts of THC or CBD can help you take the edge off the day without dulling your response. You can microdose orally, through edibles (2-5mg doses), through vaping (usually a small e-cigarette type of device with disposable cartridges) or using a very small pipe (often called a one-hitter or bat).

One edible portion or a hit or two off of a vape or small pipe will be just enough to get the therapeutic effects without slowing you down.

Keep Moving

The best piece of advice I can give to a go-getter who is beginning to introduce cannabis into their routine is to keep moving. That’s why I’ve already suggested this tip earlier in this article. If you’re concerned you’re going to feel sluggish or lazy after smoking cannabis either don’t do it (save it for bedtime, there’s no shame in this!) or make sure you can remove all temptations to be lazy.

“An object in motion stays in motion,” right? Same goes for your cute, amazing body and mind.

Keep up the great work. You can do anything you put your mind too (but admittedly, some of your journeys will be more difficult than others so don’t compare your progress to others as best you can).

#LunchWithLo Episode 7: Roasted Potatoes with Infused Olive Oil

May 24, 2019

I love potatoes as a side dish. To the point that we eat some version of this dish 3 or 4 times a week. This week, I decided to infuse some olive oil with THC to kick my dinners up a notch and roast my potatoes with that, instead of just plain old olive oil. Guess what, it tasted just about the same as my non-infused version and it's super easy to do. 

I don't measure anything and I suggest you do the same. For this recipe I just used one small bag of baby potatoes (the colorful kind), and seasoned with salt, black pepper, onion powder, parsley, and paprika. I did measure the olive oil (1/4 cup) because I wanted to be sure of the dosage (about 225mg THC total for the full pan, around 60-65mg THC per serving). 

Directions: 

  1.  Preheat oven to 425 or 450 degrees fahrenheit. Go hotter with bigger potatoes, cooler for small ones.
  2. Thoroughly wash your potatoes.
  3. Quarter the potatoes if they're baby potatoes, if they're larger ones you'll want to cut them in half the long way (if there is a long way) and then quarter each half.
  4. In a bowl (or on the baking sheet), toss potatoes, oil, and spices (to your taste preference). Toss thoroughly so all pieces are coated.
  5. Bake on bottom rack in back of the oven, for 25-35 minutes. Check every 5 minutes from 25 on if you're worried about burning. 

The end result should be a potato wedge that is crispy on the outside, yet soft on the inside. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 6: Box Mix Magic

May 17, 2019

This week's episode is a quickie all about turning those box mixes at the grocery store into edibles. I love cooking but not everyone has the time, or energy to bake from scratch. No judgements here. Being able to cook at home all the time like I do is a privilege that I haven't always been able to enjoy due to time. 

Plus, there's no reason to make life harder if you don't need to and these box brownies are perfect when you need a sweet infused treat. Just watch your dosing if you're going to eat all of it. 

#LunchWithLo Episode 5: Infused Poppyseed Dressing and Arugula Salad

May 9, 2019

You guys, I am so excited about this week's episode of Lunch With Lo. I'm finally bringing you a full, delicious, stand alone salad that's actually perfect for lunch and the warming weather. 

I know it's a salad but it is decidedly not vegan or vegetarian friendly because I used the infused bacon fat from episode 3, however, you can easily replace the bacon fat infusion with vegetable oil in your dressing (I'm going to recommend olive oil, but it's your choice). 

I actually eat some version of this salad most days for lunch. Not always infused though.

I also say in the video that the total dose of the full batch of dressing was only 150mg, this was a mistake because I don't understand measurements. There was probably closer to 1000mg in the full batch. Oops. Don't worry I was fine, that was more what I was going for. But that meant each salad had more like 100-200mg/serving. If I were to make this for a friend who doesn't smoke much or take edibles, I would have made a significantly less potent dressing closer to 150mg/bottle. 

Infused Poppyseed Dressing Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs infused bacon fat (or oil of your choosing)
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard (or healthy squirt of regular yellow mustard)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • Optional, and recommended if you're not using candied nuts or something particularly sweet in your salad, a drizzle of honey
Method:
  1. Finely grate or chop the shallot and add to blender cup
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to blender cup. If using bacon fat, make sure to melt before adding to blender. 
  3. Blend until creamy and smooth. 
  4. Note: If you don't have a blender, or immersion blender, or food processor, you'll need to chop the shallot as finely as you can manage and then you can whip it all together with a whisk in a bowl.

Arugula Salad for Four: 

  • 6-8 cups fresh baby arugula
  • 4-6 oz sheep's milk feta in brine
  • 1/2 cup poppyseed dressing
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup candied pecans

#LunchWithLo Episode 4: Using Up Leftover Infused Butter

April 22, 2019

If you've ever ended up with a small amount of leftover infused butter, you may have struggled to find a good use for it. Have no fear, friends, because I've got a tasty, quick recipe for you to use it all up: candied nuts.

Just melt together an equal part of butter and brown sugar (1 to 2 tablespoons of each per cup of nuts) into a smooth syrup and then toss with a cup of your favorite nuts and lay them out to cool on some parchment paper.

Candied nuts make a great snack on their own, but I also love using them on top of a salad or baked goodies.

#LunchWithLo Episode 3: Kief Infused Bacon Fat Recipe

April 12, 2019

This week’s episode of #lunchwithlo is a super easy method for infusing butter, fat, and oil with cannabis. I used bacon fat, but you can replace that with any fat or oil that you prefer (as I mentioned several times in this episode, lol). I like using bacon fat because I hate to dispose of it and it makes for a tasty salad dressing base. Also, it’s great to grease a cookie sheet for chocolate chip cookie.

This episode was also the first one I ever recorded so I learned a lot about what to say and not to say in each video. I promise that in the future, these episodes will be a little more linear and clear. You will get an excellent visual representation of the infusion method, that’s for sure.

I’m including the full recipe and directions in the text below. I am working on figuring out captioning my videos but this whole process is pretty time consuming as it is and I haven’t made it a priority. If you’re hearing impaired, I am sorry for that. I know there are tools out there to make adding captions faster, I just need to find one that works with my tools and my budget.

Kief Infused Bacon Fat Recipe

I’m going to provide instructions to make 10mg servings. If you want to follow my lead in the video because you’re experienced with edibles, double, triple, or quadruple (or more) the amount of cannabis for the amount of bacon fat below. If you just want to make larger batches, double all of the ingredients.

Supplies/Tools:

  • Small pot
  • Baking sheet or pan
  • Bowl or large measuring cup
  • Mesh strainer
  • Paper towel or cheesecloth
  • Rubber spatula (but a spoon or something will work too)
  • Mold to chill fat
  • Airtight container to store the finished product

Ingredients

  • â…“ c Bacon Fat
  • 1 gram of kief (or 3.5 grams of finely ground cannabis flower)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Layer kief or flower in an even layer on a baking sheet or dish. Bake for 20 minutes, if kief, 35-40 minutes for whole flower.
  2. Take a hit and wait.
  3. Melt bacon fat in a small pot on low heat. Stir in the kief or flower. Allow the mixture to cook on low heat for 3 hours or longer. Stirring every 20-30 minutes. You don’t want it to boil or smoke so keep an eye on it.
  4. After 3 hours, remove the fat from the heat and allow to cool before straining.
  5. To strain, place a paper towel or cheesecloth inside your mesh strainer, lay the mesh strainer over a bowl or large measuring cup, then pour the fat/cannabis mixture into the strainer. Press into the cannabis with your spatula or spoon to get as much of the fat out. If the fat is cool enough, continue to squeeze with your fingers to get the last little bits out.
  6. Pour into molds to cool, then store in an airtight container for future use. If stored properly, it will last in your fridge for at least 6 months.

How to figure out how much thc will be in your butter or fat

Let’s work with the assumption that your flower has 20% THC. If you’re using kief, as I did in the video, you’re looking at closer to 50%. For each gram of flower, at 20% THC, you’d have 200 mg of THC. Some of that will be lost in the process of cooking your butter and decarbing the cannabis, but it’ll be pretty close. Maybe 150mg.

It won’t take a lot of cannabis to make something fun. I used a lot of kief in my video (four grams), which probably made the final product somewhere around 1750mg. I used half to make a 12-ounce bottle of creamy poppyseed dressing. Since I only use a few spoonfuls on each salad, this high dosage makes sense. It’s usually one of the only infused ingredients in the salad and one entire tablespoon is about 36mg of  THC.

#LunchWithLo Episode 2: Lickit Lollipop Review

April 5, 2019

This week's episode of Lunch With Lo is all about my favorite edibles in Colorado: Canyon Cultivation's LickIt Lollipops #thcsweetlife. 

I'm calling this one a snack sized episode because I didn't make anything, I'm just showing off someone else's tasty treats. However, this episode is actually longer than my last episode. Oops. Guess I talk too much. 

In the future, Snack Sized editions of #lunchwithlo will be shorter and easier to digest. 

Like last week, I was NOT SPONSORED by any of the companies or products I mentioned in this episode, I just genuinely like these lollipops and The Green Solution

#LunchWithLo Episode 1: Lavender Gin & Tonic with DRAM CBD

March 29, 2019

I'm so excited to officially launch my cannabis focused cooking channel: Lunch With Lo. This has been a year in the making. And really, maybe even my entire lifetime in the making. 

The first episode is a super simple sleepy time cocktail packed with some CBD, lavender simple syrup, and the only good gin out there, Hendrick's. This little glass packs a punch and is sure to get you ready for bed. 

The Science of the Munchies

March 6, 2019

One question I frequently hear from people about my cannabis use is how do I reconcile that with my desire for physical fitness. There's a reason why people associate cannabis use with never ending, unhealthy snacking -- because cannabis makes everything taste and smell better. It does trigger a hunger response.

Which is one reason why I won't keep my favorite lactose free ice cream in the house on the regular.  

It's common knowledge that consuming cannabis can increase your appetite but I didn't know why. Thanks to the folks over at Marijuana Doctors, now I know and you do too:

Infographic provided by Marijuana Doctors

science behind the munchies

I'm going to transcribe the information from the image here for the visually impaired:

The Munchies According to Science

This visual highlights some of the most popular scientific explanations behind the munchies. By using naturally occurring neural networks, THC can increase our sensitivity to scents and flavors to convince the brain that it's starving. 

How Cannabis Triggers the Munchies

THe cannabinoid compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds to and activates cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1) in humans and animals to increase appetite.

Below this text is a cartoon cannabis leaf with glasses on, smiling, and standing in front of a chalkboard with the chemical symbol for THC, like a little scientist/teacher. 

CB1 Receptors Responsible for Appetite

THC fits into CB1 receptors that are part of the brain and body's natural endocannabinoid system. They are found across various locations. 

Below this text is a diagram of the human body with labels pointing out parts of the body where the natural endocannabinoid system are found. 

Forebrain: enhances food palatability (the front, part of your brain where you'd find your forehead)

Basal Ganglia: enhances eating pleasure (found above the ears)

Hypothalamus: regulates appetite and food intake (found just below the basal ganglia slightly behind the ears)

Stomach and Small Intestine: regulates ghrelin, the appetite stimulating hormone (found in the center bottom of the torso)

Solving the THC and Appetite Puzzle

THC Changes the Function of Neurons in Your Brain

THC activates a subset of neurons called proopiomelanocortin neurons (POMCs) in the hypothalamus releasing a chemical: beta-endorphins, which stimulates appetite and cravings. 

Neurons that normally play a role in feelings of satiety become the driver of food intake when exposed to THC. 

Study conducted by Yale University, lead by Tomas Horvath, professor of neurobiology.

Accompanying image: cartoon cannabis leaf with lines on belly indicating that it's hungry and/or making noise

THC Makes Foods Smell and Tase BEtter

THC Stimulates the olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain responsible for recognizing scents. 

Mice dosed with THC significantly increased the ability to smell food and eat more of it. Because scent and taste are closely related it likely allows us to better taste flavors. 

Study conducted by The University of Bordeaux, lead by Giovanni Marsicano

Accompanying image: cartoon cannabis leaf licking it's lips and smelling something delicious in the air

THC Promote the Release of Dopamine

THC was found to increase the release of dopamine in the basal ganglia to enhance the sensation of pleasure-- that come as a result of eating while high. 

When THC is present, your body receives an extra rush of dopamine from the food you're eating. 

Study published in Neuropharmacology, lead by Maria Antoinette De Luca, PhD

Accompanying image: cartoon cannabis leaf munching on some pizza

THC May Actually Stimulate Hunger 

THC increases the levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone that speeds digestion. 

Ghrelin is also responsible for creating the sensation of hunger that plays a part in metabolizing carbohydrates, which might be why THC causes craving for carbohydrate rich substances. 

Study published in Journal of Biological Chemistry, lead by Barts and the London School of Medicine.

Accompanying image: cartoon cannabis leaf looking up lovingly at bread, french fries, and a croissant/all the carbs

Munchies For Medicine

THC appears to convince our brains that we're starving, which can be especially helpful for weight gains and appetite stimulation in people suffering from a variety of illnesses: 

  • cancer
  • HIV/AIDS-- a study published in the journal of Pain and Symptom Management found
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrom

97% of HIV patients reported improved appetite with medical cannabis treatment

Accompanying image: a collage with a microscope, cannabis leaf, rx pills, and other little nondescript, but science-y flourishes. 

A New Kind of Health Care

www.marijuanadoctors.com

Sources: Smithsonian | Examine | Futurism

Valentine's Day Gifts for Your Stoner Sweetie

February 5, 2019

I’m not going to lie and pretend that Valentine’s day is something I actually care about because I don’t. Like most holidays, it’s another day to me. I’m like a thousand times more excited for the day the community pool opens in the spring than I am about Valentine’s Day.

Yet, I’m not going to leave you high and dry this V-day. I have some fantastic ideas for a stoney valentine's day. Also, my winter holiday stoner gift guides were well received on Pinterest. I’m capitalizing on that. Yup. Shameless I know.

Without further ado, here’s some valentine’s day gift idea for your stoner sweetie.

Cannabis getaway

Photo by James Walsh on Unsplash

I always forget but there are several states with recreational cannabis dispensaries. There are not a ton but more than the first two (Colorado and Washington). Plus Canada. If you’re looking to go big for Valentine’s day, a cannabis tour is an excellent way to celebrate.

Engraved zippo or grinder

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

You can engrave any metal grinder at a local engraving shop. Buy a quality grinder at a local head shop; then, search Google for an engraver near you. If you go with a Zippo, there’s a service right on their website that allows you to order a custom engraved lighter. Easy, right? Stumped on what to engrave it with? A classic heart with initials is always a good choice and doesn’t ruin a tree.

A fancy dab rig/enail

Dabs are hot right now. A beautiful fancy dab rig and a gram of their favorite concentrate would make an excellent gift. I love these rigs at badassglass.com. Or you could go big and digital with one of the Dr. Dabber Enail Rigs. Blast it right into the future.

A bouquet of flowers

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

But not like a regular bouquet. A cool bouquet.

A bic lighter subscription

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I don’t know about you but I run out of lighters often. I’m great about hanging on to them but they only last about two weeks around here before we need a new one. Bic actually has a fantastic subscription service. You can set how many packs of five lighters you want at any interval you would need them. Subscribe them to this and every time they have a lighter (which will be always) they’ll think of you. Order your Bic lighters here.

Make an infused meal

Photo by Luiz Hansel on Unsplash

Believe it or not, you can make pretty much anything an edible. Not only desserts. If you start with a potent, infused butter or oil, you can whip up an entire dinner. I recommend doing some research to learn the ins and outs of creating an infused cooking oil or butter. I am working on my own infused recipes but I will say it’s very easy, you need some time, patience, and an open window or two. This recipe for cannabutter on leafly is a good start. You can replace the butter with vegetable oil but keep the temperature in mind when infusing. You do not want to fry the cannabis.

Gift basket full of their favorite stoner snacks

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

This one is fun and easy and great if you’re both crafty and on a tight budget. Stoner snacks are usually on the cheap side or easy to steal (kidding don’t do that, but if you do make it Walmart).

A fancy dapper wooden pipe or something like it

This pipe from Cedar and Finch looks like something Ron Swanson would be smoking out of and thus it deserves a place on this list for those masculine type stoners.

A heart-shaped crystal pipe

If the Lidl Wood Pip was for the masculine, this pretty heart-shaped crystal pipe is feminine opposite. And its heart shape on further proves it’s meant for your valentine.

Privy Peach CBD Lube

If you’re going to make it a sexy night anyway, you might as well splurge on some CBD infused personal lubricant. Privy Peach’s lube smells like chocolate, relieves tension and discomfort. Making for a relaxing, pleasurable experience.

An entire workout wardrobe from Stigma Activewear

If your partner is a stoner who likes fitness, you MUST fill their gym bag with some Stigma Activewear gear. I only wear their gear to the gym and it’s some of the most comfortable gym clothing I’ve ever worn. The pieces are all high quality and wash and wear well. Don’t forget to snag your 20% off discount with my code: JUSTHIGHLO

I guess it’s time to go shopping now, huh? Let me know what you’re doing for your stoney, red eyed lover in the comments. I won’t buy my man anything but I am considering sending myself a bouquet ses just to keep him on his toes.

Happy valentine’s day!

P.S. are you on the hunt for some yummy snacks to graze on after getting your blaze on? Download my recipe guide: Blaze and Graze, healthy stoner snacks. It’s free with your email subscription.

Main Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

How you are effing up your engagement on Instagram

January 31, 2019

Marketing on Instagram can be kind of an enigma. It feels like just as you’ve finally figured out the secret to gaming the algorithm-- boom, they change the algorithm. I think it feels that way because it is that way. Just as businesses and marketers figure out how to leverage these changes, Instagram becomes aware of them as well and they change it intentionally. After all, if we’re gaming the algorithm to get our brand out there, we’re not paying to play and they’ve got bills.

However, in all my years of experience as a social media consultant, I’ve noticed one thing to always be true, across all platforms:

CONTENT IS QUEEN.

Algorithm changes won’t hurt you too much if you’re posting shit that your followers want to see. We all want to blame algorithm changes or things beyond our control, but a lot of times those algorithm changes can just bring to light our own weak content plan.

In my experience, there are six main factors that will affect your engagement on Instagram.

1. You’re not replying to comments

Maybe it feels or sounds like a hassle to you but if someone took the time to write a comment on your post, you should reply. Just say a quick, “thanks!” I am guilty of not following this advice. Life can get in the way and sometimes Instagram can be an afterthought. Just take a few minutes each day to reply to all left in the last 24 hours.

Now if you regularly get dozens of comments, this advice will be tedious, but you should try to reply to 5-10 if you’re looking for growth.

2. You’re not engaging with other accounts

One sure fire way to make sure your posts are showing up in your followers’ feeds is to like and comment on their photos too. It’s funny how that works, but I do believe that Instagram rewards genuine participation (more on the genuine bit later).

This is such an important aspect to your engagement. If you’re looking for growth you need to reach out to your followers and spread the love you’re getting and want more of.

3. You’re not leveraging stories

As an experiment, I didn’t make any posts on my main feed for almost two weeks and only posted to my stories. For a lot of folks who are actively trying to grow their followings, the thought of not posting for that long probably induced some panic about losing followers and engagement. Wrong.

While I didn’t increase in followers, I was able to maintain the number I had and as a bonus, when I did post again in the main feed, I maintained the same organic engagement I had before the break. I also didn’t use many hashtags for outreach purposes in my stories, and I believe if I had, I would have seen an actual increase in followers.

The moral is Instagram Stories matter. And even if you need a break from the curated perfection of the feed, Stories are meant to be unfiltered, low key, and fun. You don’t need the level of attention to detail.

4. You’re following to unfollow

You are doing yourself a huge disservice when you’re following accounts just to unfollow them when they reciprocate. First of all, it’s annoying and disheartening for the other account. Second of all, it makes it that much harder for your content to get seen by those new followers.

Take a look around at some accounts that have a ton of followers but are only following a few hundred. Then do the engagement math. A lot of time less than 1% of their followers are liking and commenting on their posts. There’s no point in having 100k followers if you can’t even break 1000 likes on a post.

5. You’re using automation to like or comment

This is a practice that Instagram has routinely discouraged. Just don’t do it. Please. You will absolutely screw yourself over in the long run. It literally will only take you 10 minutes a day to just scroll through, like some posts and leave a comment or four. This brings me back to that genuine content thing. You need to just be a real human, even in your likes and comments. Instagram absolutely can tell where you’re liking and commenting from, even if it’s in your web browser.

6. Your content is plain old missing the mark

Finally, as I said at the very beginning, content is queen. If you’re doing everything else technically correct and you’re still not seeing growth in engagement and followers, the only thing it can come down to is your content.

If you want to figure out how to create better content for Instagram you can do a few things:

  • First, a content audit. Go through all of your posts from the last year, or if you post a lot maybe just the last 3 or 6 months, and see which ones got the most likes and comments. If you have a business account, you can get this information through Insights. Make more content like the successful posts.
  • Poll your followers in a post or using the poll feature in Stories. People are surprisingly willing to tap those little yeses or nos.
  • Research what other similar accounts are doing. Find accounts with various following sizes who post a similar type of content and see what seems to be working for their pages

And that, folks, is how you’re very likely fucking up your Instagram engagement and it probably has nothing (or little) to do with algorithm changes.

If you’re looking for more information on finding your audience on Instagram, or any social media site, for your business or blog download my free workbook: Finding Your Audience.

Main photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash. Pinterest graphic Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash.

I lost 45 pounds using cannabis

January 29, 2019

Throughout the course of 2017 and 2018, I lost over 45lbs. And I did it while smoking, and eating a lot of cannabis. Like… a lot. Of course, it was not smoking that made me get in better shape. It’s not like there’s some new coughing cardio.

Should I do more dabs? Are there any dabs and abs classes? Is that a thing? It should be. You can email me to license this idea.

Anyway…

Last year I wrote about all the things I learned losing the first 35 lbs. In 2018, I lost another 10. I haven’t looked much at my scale since I hit that mark. I don’t even remember when I hit that mark. To be frank, when I had to buy a size small winter coat last year, I kind of stopped caring. I realized my focus had shifted to increasing speed and strength in the rest of my body.

Cannabis has played an integral role in helping me stay focused on my goals. Throughout 2018, I used it as a motivator and as a recovery tool. I made it a point to document especially towards the end of the year. I incorporated edibles into my recovery routine with more consistency in the Fall.

Cannabis as a reward

If you have the opportunity, I find smoking right before a run to be one of the best moves you can make, with one caveat. Smoking before a run can lead to a sluggish first mile or two. But, once your endorphins start to kick in you are on top of the world. I find the sluggishness to be especially pronounced with an indica strain.

I also like knowing there’s a bowl waiting for me when I get home because #mymansthebest and he preps it for me. It’s an excellent reward. So yes. I’m saying smoke before you go and smoke when you get back. You’ll feel awesome. Give your body a good stretch between hits.

Another way I like using cannabis as a reward is to pack a bowl, and then do a set of something, taking a toke after each set. Sometimes it’s a quick free weight circuit, sometimes it might be 25 squats. Do your reps then take a hit and start again.

Cannabis in recovery

If you think I’m putting all this weed in me for fun you’d be right. Jokes aside, I do use cannabis for it’s medicinal properties, even though I am not medical patient. Turns out for most people who use cannabis, it’s both a recreational and medicinal plant/hobby.

2018 was the year I started taking CBD. I bought any CBD tincture or edible I thought sounded interesting. Starting at The Green Solution and then settling on DRAM Dose. I like micro-dosing a little of DRAM’s adaptogenic drops with an equal dose of THC if I can.

I went into trying CBD with low expectations. I didn’t think it would work for me. I thought that everyone who loves it was overselling it. I don’t think it’s a cure all but CBD has helped relieve both pain and anxiety. I’ve made headaches go away with The Green Solution x Canyon Cultivation CBD lollipops. I’ve slept with more peace since I started taking DRAM +CBD Sweetgrass drops.

I use edibles as well. 100mg will give my body a wonderful, relaxing reset. Relieving any tension in my back, hips, and shoulders so when I go to the gym next I’m ready to kick ass.

Cannabis and my future health and body goals

My goals this year are to continue running as much as I can. I want to run 300 miles. I want to bike 300 miles. I want to run 10 miles straight. I want to add another 10lbs to each of my dumbbells. I kind of want abs but I’m not sure I want to sacrifice all that food I love. All the good stuff.

I do want to continue to build muscle and strength. That’s my primary goal. I want to be able to run a marathon even though I won’t. You know I want to feel strong enough to be able to, in case I ever need to. In like an emergency or something.

I did run a 10k (which is 6.2 miles for non-runners in the United States). I want to run 10 miles this year. It would feel like such a huge accomplishment for me. I have never run that far in my life and I want to do it.

I’d also like to try my hand at the Manitou Springs Incline a couple more times. This time without an unrealized sprained ankle that I will make a hundred times worse. I would like to complete it in less time than the first time (which was about 90 minutes). I’d like to do it in 75 or so.

I’m definitely going to work on my nutrition plan this year. Before my January financial cleanse, I was a little lazy and irresponsible at dinner time. This led to more fast food than I would like. I did maintain my fitness regimen, but that helped keep my jeans from getting too tight.

More data

I am also going to take a more dedicated approach towards tracking what I’m ingesting and when and how it helps in 2019. I would like to be able to measure my progress. I want to make a more direct connection between my health and my cannabis use. This includes finding a doctor who won’t judge me for the use and will work with me in how I want to treat myself and my body.

I can’t wait to update you on how I achieve these goals throughout the year. Be sure to follow along on my Instagram and Twitter for updates. And please let me know what your goals are in 2019 for your health in the comments below.

Holiday Cards for Stoners

December 13, 2018

I have a love/hate relationship with greeting cards. I love getting them in the mail but tbh, as soon as I open it I think, how soon is too soon to toss this? I digitize them before tossing, I’m not made of ice (more like slush). I also display them on an old whiteboard rigged with wire and binder clips until they’re visibly out of season. However, I will continue to send them as often as I remember because they’re incredibly thoughtful and nice and who doesn’t like getting some good old fashioned snail mail (or hand delivered card)?

While I’ve covered tons of potential gift options for your consistently stoned friends and family, cannabis-themed holiday cards are a little harder to come by. I didn’t let that stop me from bringing you some appropriate holiday ready canna-cards to top your gifts off with.

Let’s Get Baked!

Say no more! 

Let’s Get High Under the Mistletoe

Kushcards cannot be mailed with the goodies for which it is made to fit (unless you're in Canada, I suppose). But it does make a nice treat for your local friends and family.

Roll With It

KushKards didn't leave out your Jewish friends either (even though it's a little too late for this year). Although I can't imagine anyone complaining you gave them a joint a little bit late. 

Let’s Blaze for the Holidaze

Blazing for the holidays is probably your stoner friend's plans already. 

Stoned Christmas Card Pack

When you've got a bunch of stoner friends (or you are the stoner friend), this pack from Tribe Tokes is perfect. It comes with 3 designs and 12 cards and envelopes. Better stock up on the stamps. 

Disclosure: Once again, I was not compensated for sharing any of these products or companies. I am just sharing because they're cool and relevant. 

Gift Guide for Travel-Loving Stoners

December 10, 2018

I know LAX just made headlines with their new cannabis policy (you can take it with you), but in my experience, that’s been the case at a lot of airports in the United States...if you’re not a total jackass and agents aren’t profiling you because of your skin color.

The big thing is to hide it in plain sight. Like when I was still smoking cigarettes and slipped a couple of painstakingly rolled joints into an open pack. Or slipping a small glass container with a gram or two of wax into my cosmetics bag. Edibles are also easy to take on a trip, for obvious reasons.

The following products are great for maintaining discretion while you’re on the road. They also make excellent gifts for your travel-loving stoner friends.

Smell Proof Backpack

This backpack makes an excellent carry-on and it’s carbon lining helps keep all the smells in. Whether it’s a few grams of some dank ass shit or a stinky sub your mom wouldn’t let you leave home without it’s contained.

K-Stick Supreme Concentrates Vaporizer

I really don’t like to fly with flower. I try to not check bags and stick to a carry on so while space is an issue, the odor can be a little strong and red-flaggy. I love bringing wax, however, and a small pen like this one slips away easily with the rest of my vape stuff.

Maple Dugout Kit

Dugouts are great for day trips and hiking. They’re small enough for your pocket and have a spot for everything you’d need for a quick smoke break. You can get one at almost every smoke shop and questionable convenience store. However, if you’re ready for a stylish adult looking upgrade, go with this gorgeous maple wood kit.

Smoke Buddy Junior

Technically you can do this with a toilet paper roll and a dryer sheet, but if you want something less wasteful or you’re still hiding your cannabis use from your parents this holiday season, this smoke buddy will do the trick.

Smelly Proof Bags

I don’t know if these are actually more smell proof than a freezer bag, but I applaud the creativity in their name and packaging.

Burn Bud Multi-Tool

A lighter holder, grinder, bottle opener, wick holder, bud dispenser, poker, and container all in one. If there’s a swiss army knife for stoners, this would be it.

Pax 3 Bundle

This little bundle from 420 Science is perfect for a traveling stoner.

Roll Uh Bowl Collapsible Bong

Personally, I wouldn’t travel with something like this because it’s going to be a pain to clean for the trip home, but it’s great for a weekend away or for clumsy folks who maybe you can’t trust with glass.

Jane West Collection The Tube

The perfect classy dube tube to carry your joints and one-hitters in style, while protecting them. Also, this would look completely innocuous in your cosmetics bag, just saying.

Wax Wallet

If you don’t have a silicone wax container already, get out there and get yourself one. For real. I was using the glass containers that The Green Solution packs their wax into for sale and then I got a silicone one and realized how much wax we were probably wasting. These little wallets are great for everyday use anyway, but I found them particularly alluring as they look a lot like the other things in my cosmetics bag.

Odor Eliminating Spray

I don’t know if this particular product smells good. But a small odor eliminating/room refreshing spray isn’t a terrible idea to pack, especially if you’re staying in a hotel with a no smoking policy (if you’re going to break the rules at least be thoughtful about it, right?).

Disclosure: Once again, this post was not sponsored nor endorsed by any of the companies/products mentioned above. They're just cool and helpful products.

Gift Guide for an Activist Stoner

December 7, 2018

I don’t have a silly parody today for you. But I do have a few gift ideas for your stoner friends who are vocal about injustice and inequality. They’re probably a little harder to shop for because they probably object materialism, capitalism, and are actively boycotting multiple companies and organizations.

Kind of hard to shop for these dedicated activists. Thankfully I’m here, and I’ve got some ideas on how to treat them right this holiday season.

WOMENWEEDWIFI Glitter Stunna Camo Jacket

WOMENWEEDWIFI is a collective of women artists of color who work to educate others on the benefits of cannabis and create space for woc in the legal cannabis industry. In addition to being an all-around badass group of women, they also create and sell clothing and accessories that are bound to become statement pieces in any closet.

Something Local, Reclaimed, Recycled, or Handmade, and Useful

Local handmade goods and vintage finds are sure to be a hit with your socially conscious stoner friends. Handmade soaps, candles, jewelry, and clothing are hidden all over your town in local shops. If you’re in Colorado Springs, might I suggest checking out Eclectic Co. and Pike’s Peak Market, both spots are full of beautifully curated locally made goods that are sure to delight.

Grow Bags

There’s a pretty good chance that a socially conscious person might be living in a smaller space (it’s good for the environment!). They might also love to fill their patio or other sunny outdoor spaces with potted plants. Or perhaps they grow cannabis. These grow bags are great because when the season changes and your pots are empty, they can be cleaned, dried, and folded away for storage until next spring.

Make a donation on their behalf

If physical possessions aren’t really their thing, consider making a donation on their behalf to an organization that supports something your woke stoner friend believes in. If they’re truly “woke”, they’re probably well aware of and care about, the racial disparity in who controls legal cannabis and who are serving prison sentences for cannabis. Here are a few organizations working to change that, and would be a great place to make donations in your friend’s name:

Disclosure: Once again, I was not compensated for this post or to discuss any of the companies or products listed above. 

Gift Guide for Cannanerds

December 6, 2018

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but this DND is keeping my eyes full, and since there's no place to go, let the dice roll let it roll let it roll. 

Today's #stonergiftguide is for the nerdy stoners you know and love. This is a hard and very specific type of person to shop for and it was very apparent that there's not a whole lot of crossover between a traditional nerd and the stoner community. Which was an honest a surprise since I know A LOT of nerdy stoners. 

iLight Dual Arc Lighter

I'm sure you've seen cigarette lighters like this but I bet you've not seen on meant for lighting bowls and bongs. This little sucker is battery powered and rechargeable. Not to mention windproof! Also, it sounds like a lightsaber when you turn it on. For a limited time, these are 30% off grab one now!

THC Molecule Poster/Print

Diagrams of molecules are aesthetically pleasing and this THC poster is no exception. It's a subtle yet very clear sign you're a stoner nerd. 

Say Perhaps to Drugs Teeshirt

Hey, some drugs are fun. Like cannabis, for example. 

Magnetic Cannabis Poetry

As a full-blown, but still fairly young, adult, I once had a set of children's letter magnets on my fridge with which I would write out gross messages to my roommate and my boyfriend. These magnets would have really upped my game. 

Pot Head Plates

I'm always down for a good pun (see the tattoo on the back of my neck) and these plates take the cake (they'll also hold your cake). I don't know who the man is in the center, so it's probably someone problematic and for that, I apologize but I love the concept. 

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for any of these recommendations I just genuinely love them. 

Gift Guide for Witchy Weedheads

December 5, 2018

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a big giant sack of weed. 

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two giant sacks of weed. 

On the third day of Christmas... you know what, I think you know where this is going. 

Behold, my wonderful, witchy, wistful, weird, and womanly weedheads, today's gift guide is for you and your holistic crystal loving friends. 

DRAM Dose CBD Drops

CBD has become an essential part of my self-care routine and these CBD drops made with adaptogenic herbs are a perfect addition to your witchy friend's meditative practices. Made in Colorado but ships all over the USA. 

Rainbow Crystal Pipe

This crystal pipe would make any witchy altar complete. 

Stoned AF Zipper Tarot Bag

It's sold as a tarot bag, but something tells me that your pipe or nectar collector and some goodies would fit in it just right. 

4 and Twenty Unicorn In Training Cones

These cones are whimsical and fun and perfect for that witchy femme on the go. This is an excellent stocking stuffer for your favorite little, stoned magick maker. 

Cannabolish Odor Removing Candle

It'd be nice if we could snap our fingers and POOF! make some smells go away. Whether it's a bad smell or one that might tell too much truth about your after work activities. Since we're unable to, this odor removing scented candle from Cannabolish is the next best thing. 

Women Weed Wifi CBD Anointment Oil

I can't describe this any better than the copywriter at Women Weed Wifi, so I won't: "CBD-rich Anointment Oil is designed to attract prosperity and self-love to the wearer, along with blessing the senses with it’s relaxing & invigorating aroma as well as healing benefits of hemp-based CBD."

Disclosure: I was not compensated by any of the companies or brands listed. I just genuinely like these products. 

Gift Guide for Your Fit Stoner Friend

December 4, 2018

Dashing through the snow

in a brand new pair of shoes,

the fitness stoner

goes running this afternoon.

The thirst is very strong

for a freshly packed up bong

but first it’s time to sweat it out

I cannot finish this song.

Today’s gift guide is for the fit stoners in your life. As they “bravely” defy cannabis stigma by using the plant to enhance their active lifestyles.

Stigma Sportsbra

I’ve already sung the praises of this bra here. It’s incredibly comfortable and sexy too. Don’t forget to snag that discount code above.

F*CK Stereotypes Tank

The fit stoner in your life goes against all the stereotypes a less educated person might think about cannabis users. They should sing it loud and proud with this great workout tank from Stigma Activewear. Don’t forget to use code JUSTHIGHLO at checkout for a nice little discount.

Hydroflask

Cottonmouth or not, fitness enthusiasts always need a nice cool drink of water. With the Hydroflask, it’ll stay cold longer than it’ll last.

Vegan Stoner Cookbook

Whether or not your #fitstoner friend is a vegan, this cook book is full of yummy nutritious snacks that will help curb the munchies without feeling like a glutton. Some are so good you’ll still feel like a glutton but it will definitely be worth it.

Ice Pipe Mold

Usually, folks who are into making fitness are also kind of sweaty sometimes. Give them a fun way to chill out and cool off with these ice pipe molds.

Disclosure: although there is a discount code listed at the top of this post, none of the products listed here are paid endorsements. The discount code is just a nice discount for you because I truly love these products.

Gift Guide for Your Chic Stoner Auntie

December 3, 2018

Jingle bells, Batman smells, your aunt is fucking high. She was going to write a song but her pipe is still outside.

So go get it for her will you? With the holidays approaching, I thought it would be prudent to share some great ideas for gifts for your favorite stoner. Today I've got 5 awesome gifts perfect for that fashionable, stylish, chic cannabis user in your life. The one who kind of flies under the stoner radar (until you check out their instagram account). 

Limited Edition Stash Jar and Ash Tray Set

Every adult stoner needs a cool stash jar. For some, an empty candle jar will do, for others, it's classy custom pieces all the way and Fashionably High has you covered with gorgeous pieces for your tray.

Origins Hello Calm Hydrating Face Mask

Winter means dry skin for a lot of us thanks to the cold air and harsh temps. Your cool aunt will love this mask meant to calm and nourish. Bonus it's made with cannabis oil and smells amazing.

Milk Makeup Roll Blot Papers

This is a fabulous 2 for 1 product great for the boss lady on the go and wants to carry as little as needed. 

Erbanna Smell Proof Bag

Erbanna makes the most beautiful stash bags that you can carry day and night without making every white guy with dreads call out after you, "dude... did you smell that? hehehehehe."

Kandy Pens Donut Vaporizer

Look, if you don't have a concentrates vaporizer at this point can you even call yourself a cool stoner? Yes, you can, but you're totally missing out. Kandy Pens carries several kinds of vaporizers designed to fit your lifestyle. This donut style is perfect for stoners who want both a great hit and stealthy style. 

Disclosure: None of the companies or products mentioned are paying me for any of my gift guides this season. They were curated by me based on either my experience with the product or similar products. 

The Problem with Plants Over Pills

November 15, 2018

I have a bone to pick with the cannabis industry, especially the influencers and educators. As we collectively work together to help end the stigma a lot of cannabis users face, it’s important not to transfer that stigma to other groups of people. Yet, every single day that I log in to my various social networks, I see at least one person touting the “plants over pills” rhetoric.

I’m going to be blunt about this type of message: it’s dangerous, harmful and ignorant.

I’m very happy that there are people out there who have found cannabis as an acceptable replacement for all of their pharmaceuticals, but that’s not going to be the case for a lot of people. There are a lot of cannabis users who will always have to take pills. You exclude them every time you #plantsoverpills.

Beyond possibly hurting someone’s feelings or excluding some, you could be causing serious harm. Let’s just say, you have followers with an illness that they need to take daily medication for. Every day though, they log on to Instagram and see you spouting this nonsense about how cannabis is only medicine one needs. The #plantsoverpills phenomenon could push them to the point of thinking they don’t need those pesky little life-saving pills anymore. We have a responsibility to be kinder and more thoughtful than this.

I get the desire to use a catchy hashtag/phrase like “Plants Over Pills”. It is short and sweet and so succinctly describes your mission. However, we have a responsibility to not miseducate, and it is rare to see a disclaimer reminding folks not to take “Plants Over Pills” literally. Or to consult a doctor before changing ones regular medication routine.

I agree with the underlying principles of the Plants Over Pills movement (if that’s what you want to call it). If one can limit the amount of medication they are taking, and still feel good and healthy both physically and mentally, then that’s a win. However, #plantsoverpills on its own passes the stigma cannabis users have faced onto those who need pills to live. How is that right or fair?

We can all do better than this. We need to do better than this.

How one chooses to care for themselves is up to them. Rather than forwarding the stigma on patients who are also using prescription pills, we should be lifting them up and supporting them; not excluding them. We are all in this together. You can still be an all natural, hippy-dippy, cannabis-using educator, influencer, or brand, without ostracizing the very folks who likely need, and would probably love, your flavor of cannabis education.

Furthermore, as great as cannabis has been for my health and general wellness, there are simply some things that it’s not going to cure. While CBD, and smoking cannabis, has helped me with my anxiety, for others it could do absolutely nothing or worse, exacerbate it.

Cannabis is not a cure-all for everyone. Let’s stop pretending that it is. Otherwise, you’ll start to sound like a snake oil peddler.

Roadtrip Recap: Where We Went and What We Did

November 13, 2018

There are a lot of shitty things about taking a road trip. It’s uncomfortable to be in the car for hours at a time, sometimes for several days. There is a lot of crappy, not-so-great-for-you-food because it’s kind of hard to travel with enough salad for three days in a cooler. Which leads to digestive issues. Then there’s sleeping in strange places. And not getting enough sleep because you want to hit the road early the next day so maybe, just maybe, you might spend 8 full hours in the next hotel.

It’s one of the most literal definitions of, “it’s not the journey it’s the destination,” I have ever experienced.

And yet, my husband and I continue to do it. Year after year. As shitty as it can be, it always ends up being a blast. We’ve done the Colorado to East Coast drive so many times that we’re almost experts at it.

For the first two weeks of October, we hit the road visiting our families in New Hampshire and Tennesee.

Our first 2 and a half days were spent driving, with the ultimate destination being with my family in New Hampshire. We left Colorado on Wednesday, a little after 4 pm and arrived in New Hampshire around 10:30 pm on Friday. It might have been closer to 9 pm but of course, as soon as we hit the Mass Pike we hit traffic. It had been smooth sailing for about 1900 miles up until that point.

The timing of our trip was based entirely around making it to the North East in time for the Reebok Boston 10k for Women. That happened on Monday, October 10th. My dad asked me to do it with him back in April when we all went to Disney. He wanted to run it in honor of his late wife, my stepmom, Kim. It was her favorite run and this year marked 5 years since she passed.   

It was an absolutely incredible experience. I felt so inspired by all the other women running. Especially those running with impairments. I kind of felt like a piece of shit for wasting my body for so long. But it also felt empowering to be out there and complete it.

The best part was absolutely seeing my husband, sister-in-law, nephew and my brother’s oldest friend by the finish line cheering us on. Then when my nephew ran out to run the last little bit with us, oh Jesus. I am still riding that high almost three weeks later.

It was a short stay in New Hampshire and before I knew it we were on the road again to Tennessee to see some of Geoff’s family. With a quick pitstop in Centralia, PA.

Everything on the web says there’s a coal fire burning underground here that started burning in 1962 and could continue to burn for another 250 years. However, several folks commented on my slightly sarcastic Instagram post about “risking our lives” on Graffiti highway that it wasn’t burning. Do with that what you want. I just would err on the side of caution. It was cool to see. Nothing crazy special. I kind of regret not bringing spray paint, but not everything needs to be stamped, ya know?

It was a long drive from New Hampshire to Tennessee, so I was so thrilled when we finally got to our AirBNB. I got freaked out as we vaped on the porch that night and had inadvertently awoken all the baby cows who were staying in the field just 10 or 15 feet from the porch. I tried to make friends with them, but I wasn’t able to get a good pet in. Maybe next time.

His dad and step mom live in a picturesque, farming mountain town in Tennessee. Geoff organized a little family reunion down there since he and I have been married nearly 6 years and I still hadn’t met any of his siblings. They all live all over the country, in addition to significant age gaps between them, and it unlikely we’d cross paths at one of their parents without intentionally organizing it.

It was so lovely to meet a couple of his siblings; unfortunately even with planning, shit happens and not all of his siblings were able to make it. Maybe next time. Geoff even met his young niece and nephew for the first time, and that was pretty freaking cute. I also learned that if you take two kids to a McDonald’s Play Place, set their food out on the table and tell them to just eat when they’re hungry. They’ll do exactly that. But it will take an hour.

It was another short stay in Tennessee, too. Just three days and we were off again. We made record time from Tennessee back to Colorado. We left Sunday morning around 9 and we were in our apartment on Monday a little before 3 pm.

We stayed in Salina, Kansas on both our first and last night out. If you ever stay there, the La Quinta and the Holiday Inn Express are only a $10-15 difference. Spend the extra money and go to the Holiday Inn Express. I’m usually very pro-La Quinta. I’m a rewards member and everything. But this one, in particular, is not good. Hopefully, they’ll get a renovation soon. That was a long weird digression, but to be honest, I was a little high when I wrote this.

What’s the longest road trip you’ve ever taken? If you’ve never taken one, where would you go if you could? Leave a comment below.

The Ultimate Multi-day Road Trip Preparation Guide

October 30, 2018

I don’t mean to brag but I’m kind of an expert road trip co-pilot. My husband and I make almost all of the trips we take together via car. Actually, of all the trips we’ve taken together, only one was not by car. He’s a bit fearful of flying, and I don’t really blame him.

Road trips are long and boring and hard on your body. But they’re also fun and exciting and it’s a wonderful way to at least learn what the landscape is like all over the country. Spoiler alert, there are a lot of farms and cows next to the interstate.

There are a lot of variables to consider when planning for your multi-day road trip. This article is going to discuss what I’ve discovered to be best practices in planning and preparing for a road trip like this. Every trip is different, so feel free to riff off of this. The only thing I can tell you without a doubt is that the best parts of the road trip are when you reach your first destination, and the last one. Home.

How far is your trip? How far can you go in a day?

The first thing you need to figure out is how far your trip is total, and how far you can go in a day or in a certain number of hours. For this trip, our drive out was a little over two thousand miles, or about 30 hours driving.

In my experience, a 30-hour drive needs to be split up over 3 days. Especially if only one person is driving or if no drivers are that comfortable driving at night. I also know that for every 12 hours of driving, you will need to add another hour to an hour and a half for stopping for gas, stretching your legs, and getting one decent meal.

How far you can get in 12 hours depends on where you are in the country. If you’re out anywhere from Nevada to Ohio, 12 hours is going to get you pretty far. The speed limit is a lot faster out on i70 in Kansas than it is on i90 in western Mass.

Usually, I’ll plan out the full route in Google Maps, and then break it up into however many parts makes the most sense for us. I zoom into the map to about where I think the break is and look for a decent sized town. Then remap my route from my starting point to that first city, then from there to the next, and so on. It takes a few tries and some research. I want to ensure that wherever we’re headed will have plenty of hotel options without having to stray too far from the interstate.

For example, for this trip, we traveled from Colorado Springs to Southern New Hampshire. Since I was well aware of both mine and my husband’s needs and limitations, I knew that two 12 hour days and a 6 hours day was more than doable. We decided to leave in the afternoon after work and knock the 6 hour day out of the way. That put us in Salina, Kansas. We split the remainder of the drive in half. 12 hours (831 miles) in the car the next day to just outside of Columbus, Ohio. And another 12 hours (798 miles) from there to New Hampshire.

As far as hotels go, I always research the options using the Orbitz app, but I won’t book until we’re an hour or two away because things can happen on the road. 800 miles is a long way and there is always the chance you might not make it to your stop. Like, one time, we drove out to NH to pick up my cat who I’d left behind when I first moved to Colorado in 2011. We thought we could make it home to Colorado in two days. My husband was like, “Fuck it, I can drive for 16 hours.” We were a little under 300 miles from home near the border of Nebraska and Colorado when the cat was like, “I can’t make it 16 hours you dumb assholes.” And he peed all over Geoff’s newly leased BMW.

On the upside, there’s also a chance that you make a better time than you expect and there’s another city in the next 70 miles with more hotel options. If you stick to the interstate, you’ll find plenty of options for hotels nearby your exit, as long as you’re aware of where the larger towns are along your route.

How to pack

I prefer to be prepared all the time. My husband makes fun of me but I’ve saved the day with my corkscrew and purse lighter on more than one occasion (including on this road trip). However, I don’t like to carry heavy things so I’m careful in my preparation.

I had to pack a large suitcase because I wanted to make sure I had the right clothing for anything the weather threw at us. October in a lot of the United States can bring unexpected early snow or summer-like hot temps, sometimes in the same city.

I decided to pack my large suitcase with all of the clothes, shoes, and coats I might need during our trip. I brought 6 pairs of shoes, only one pair didn’t get worn. I needed my running sneakers for the race, and my Doc Marten boots for the hiking we planned to do in Tennessee. The other three pairs were a pair of ankle booties, Van slip ons, a pair of sandals and a pair of ballet flats (those were the ones that didn’t get used).

Honestly, if it hadn’t been for all the shoe requirements, I probably could have downsized my suitcase.

In order to make the quick hotel stops on the way out and home easier to deal with, I also packed my small “personal item” sized duffel bag. In there I packed all of our toiletries, makeup/skincare, some clean clothes, and chargers for our phones and vapes. This made the entire hotel stay so much less stressful. First, we weren’t lugging a bunch of stuff into the hotel just for one night. Second, we didn’t have to deal with the stress of “did we get everything out of the hotel” the next morning.

Usually, we’d bring our cooler inside too to swap out the ice and drain the water, but we got lucky it was cool enough outside and we weren’t carrying anything that would spoil if it got too warm.

If your initial destination is going to require a night or more in a hotel just to get there, I strongly suggest using a “carryon” to get you through those short stays.

What food to bring

This was the first trip that we brought just the right amount and the right kind of snacks for the car. In the past, I’ve tried to bring deli meat and bread and produce and large “value” sized chips and crackers. Like we’re leaving for a year and might not get to eat again. You know what happens when you bring too much, or too impractical food? It goes bad and you have to throw it away.

This trip, I decided to go with less. We brought a large cooler for some cold drinks and cheese. Also, we knew we’d probably leave my father-in-law’s house with as much frozen corn as we could fit. But most of the snacks we brought were shelf stable. I also brought some food in anticipation of our Airbnb in Tennessee, that was all shelf stable, too.

I decided that if we really need something on the road, we’ll just have to buy it. There are grocery stores in all of our destinations, and convenience stores every few miles between here and there. We’ll survive if I don’t bring a pound of sliced deli turkey.

Here’s a list of what we brought and why:

  • Beef jerky - we like meat and it’s easy to eat in the car as a driver
  • Cooked bacon - I cook two pounds every week or two for us to heat up for breakfast. There happened to be four pieces left so I tossed them in a bag to eat in the car. Not sure if it’s ok to eat cold but it tasted great.
  • Baby Bel wrapped soft cheese - I’m not going one day without cheese and these are great because even if they end up swimming in your cooler, the wax protects them and you can still eat it.
  • Variety pack of single serve Nabisco snacks - these were for my husband mostly. He loves cookies and this giant box I picked up at Costco was perfect. He’d just pull out a few little bags for the back seat and then the box remained in the trunk, safe from accidental crushing.
  • Jar of peanut butter - peanut butter is life.
  • My favorite tortillas - I brought these for the peanut butter and to put scrambled eggs and cheese on for breakfasts.
  • Candy - first of all, who doesn’t bring candy on a road trip? My husband regularly buys boxes of full-size candy bars from Costco, so it was a no-brainer.

How to be a good co-pilot

My husband does all of the driving on our road trips because I actually don’t have a driver’s license (I didn’t need it in Boston and it was cheaper to just get an ID and now it’s been 11 years and I need to retake my test). Since he’s doing the hard work, I make sure to be the best co-pilot possible.

How do I accomplish that? I start by making sure I can reach all of the food the driver might need. I also make sure that my purse has anything one might need in the car. From hand sanitizer to ibuprofen to a spare phone charging cable.

I also try to keep an eye on time and the speed at which we are traveling to estimate when and where we might make our next stops for dinner, gas, and to stretch our legs. And then input those stops into our navigation app when necessary. To be honest, most everything you need on the road can be found without needing navigation if you follow the signs on and off the interstate.

Essential apps

There are three apps that made this trip a little easier.

First, the navigation app we used, Waze, is absolutely essential. It will warn you when there’s traffic and give you an estimated time in traffic. Alert you to police, debris, and closed lanes. It’ll even divert you out of the path of traffic if and when it can.

The next app we get a lot of use out of is Roadtrippers. You can input your trip and it will find you a route and give you tons of options for stops along the way. Whether you’re looking for some local food or some weird ass giant ball of yarn, you’ll get that information on Roadtrippers. I generally use it to find food. On other trips we’ve found some weird little local places to eat at. This trip we weren’t as fortunate and ended up indulging in a lot of casual chain restaurants, but it was still helpful.

Finally, there was Orbitz. I love the search and sorting functionality of the app. I don’t always book through the app itself, but it was helpful to see what the options were in each of the cities we planned to stop in. Plus the reviews are helpful and you can see options on a map so you can choose one close to the interstate.

I made a mistake not to trust the reviews on our first night out and went with a La Quinta because they tend to be pretty consistent and my family long been loyal to La Quinta. We ended up staying in a hotel that smelled a little like a freshly shampooed dog. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world, it was just old and needed updating as the reviews said. On the way back, we stayed in the same city but opted for a higher rated hotel. We stayed at a much nicer and newer La Quinta the second night and were completely comfortable (and no wet dog smell).

These are all of my best tips and tricks for making the planning of your road trip a breeze. I’d love to hear what kind of tips you have or what you’ve done to make your road trips easier. Leave a comment below or send me an email.

How to Translate Your Cannabis Business to Instagram

September 18, 2018

One struggle all businesses have, in the cannabis space or not, is trying to figure out how to visually translate their brand into an Instagram friendly format. As a cannabis or cannadjacent business, you have additional struggles with censorship, making it even more important for you to think outside the box when it comes to using Instagram to connect with potential customers and lovers of your product.

In this article, I’m going to cover some of my Instagram planning basics to help you translate your business for the ‘gram and give you the framework to always have something to post.

Categories

Before you start posting, I want you to make a list of the broad topics you’d like to discuss or showcase on Instagram. It can be as many as you’d like, but for consistency’s sake, I’d keep it under 9.

Here’s an example for a retailer in the cannabis space:

  1. New Products
  2. Promotions/sales/events
  3. User testimonials/features/stories
  4. Behind the scenes at our company
  5. Employee Spotlights

These categories, 1-5, would be recycled on repeat in your Instagram grid. Take a look at the diagram below to help you get an idea of how it would be laid out.

These category buckets will be the framework for your Instagram grid. Breaking everything up into categories will give you an opportunity to work on content in advance, and you’ll be able to batch your Instagram posts, so everything is ready to go on the day you’re going to post.

Planning the grid

When it comes time to create your grid, I suggest using a third party app (I like to use Color Story, but Planoly gets rave reviews as well) to get a visual sense of what your profile page will look like when you make a new post, and not just what the post itself is going to look like alone in the feed.

You might not think much about creating a cohesive looking profile page, but it’s actually just as important. There are a lot of ways you can approach this.

You can make some nice patterns with your images to create a very cohesive look on your feed. Like this:

Or if you’re particularly clever, dedicated, and skilled in design, you can have a profile that looks like this:

I would like to say I’m dedicated enough to build my feed out a month in advance, but I like to leave myself some room for promotions or any influencer sponsorships that might come up. I also will never be so deliberate to build a feed that looks like the one above. I like my profile to feel a little more organic, while still structured. If I were building a retail brand of some kind, I might work more on some collage type of feed.

I suggest at least having a general idea what the current week is going to look like on Instagram using a planning app or tool of some kind.

Sticking with the schedule

While I don’t visually plan out Instagram posts that far in advance, I do work on the content of the posts a month at a time. I plan out all of my ideas and how I’m going to tie my posts back to this blog and make sure I have a good balance of all the topics my followers are potentially interested in.

I don’t always stick to the specific posts I write down at the end of the previous month, but this gives me a good backlog for future use. Most of the content I post is evergreen, giving me a lot of leeway to reuse my ideas at a later date if it just doesn’t fit with the flow of the week, for whatever reason.

To stick with my grid, I use Trello to input all of my post ideas for the month, schedule them on the Trello calendar (which gets synced to my Google Calendar), and post when it’s time.

I firmly believe that you should build flexibility into your plan. You should encourage whoever is running your Instagram accounts to do the same. Sometimes, you’ll need space to respond to something that’s culturally relevant for your followers. You don’t want a rigid editorial calendar.

What works best on Instagram?

I know you’re probably looking for a specific answer. But beyond visually appealing photos with bright colors and aesthetically pleasing flatlays, you’re going to have to find out for yourself what exactly works for your brand on Instagram.

Here’s what I can tell you to point you in the right direction towards figuring it out. Instagram skews heavy on the non-men under 30. If you’re actively pursuing that demographic, you’re in the right place. Ask some non-men under 30 what works. Either by following some on Instagram, polling them with yes or no quizzes in Instagram Stories, or just through simple trial and error. Do not send unsolicited messages of any kind, it will get you banned.

There you have it, folks. That’s how I’ve translated my business to Instagram and they’re my best tips to help you translate yours. Don’t be afraid to make some missteps. If a post doesn’t work, you can always archive it or delete it later.

Let me know in the comments below what you do to translate your business to Instagram. What’s worked? What hasn’t? And if you leverage any of the tips I mentioned above, please send me an email and let me know how it works.

My CBD Experiment

September 13, 2018

As you can probably deduce from the title of this article, I finally tried CBD for the first time ever. Before I get into my “experiment” and the results, I want to say that this will not be a scientific article by any means. It will be entirely full of anecdotes and how the different CBD products I used helped me out in my specific case. I also do not take any prescription medications on a regular basis. I recommend that you talk to a real doctor or do some actual research before you start taking anything new especially if you’re already taking any other medications.

Here are some resources to get you started:

What I Hoped to Relieve with CBD

I was kind of familiar with the supposed benefits of CBD, but I honestly didn’t have high expectations of relief. As it stands, I can take like 60 mg of thc edibles and literally feel nothing, so I was expecting kind of the same with CBD. All bodies are different, after all.

I have been looking for something to help relieve pain from the gym and my scoliosis (which causes all kind of pain/tight muscles in my back). I am also looking for something to treat some minor anxiety (especially in the car). I knew that many people have found relief for both of these things with CBD products, and since cannabis is already part of my routine, it made sense to try it out.

In the past, I had tried a CBD dominant flower strain from The Green Solution called Rubicon, but because I was expecting to get high (because of the method of consumption) it ended up being a little frustrating like a never-ending dry hump. Fun but ultimately not how I wanted to finish.

Products I used

Since I am a very loyal The Green Solution customer, I picked up every CBD product they carried (sans flower, obviously). There was a tincture, a lollipop, and a dissolvable, tasteless powder for drinks.

Their natural CBD tincture (natural refers to the flavor), was my first try. It was the obvious choice since their other tinctures have become a staple for me. I actually broke it open and tried it before we headed home because it’s a 60-mile drive there (long story), and I am an awful, anxious passenger. It’s a 10:1 CBD: thc mixture made of oil and contains 100mg of CBD total in the bottle. You can take it sublingually (under the tongue) or add it to drinks or food. I’d recommend coffee, or mixed into a salad dressing.

The next product I tried was Ripple’s dissolvable THC. It looked like it’d be perfect for post gym tightness. It comes in a container with 10 little packets. You can add it right to your water and it adds no taste or calories (although it will leave it a tad cloudy looking). It’s a 1:1 mixture with 5mg each of thc and CBD per packet.

Finally, since I’m such a huge fan of Canyon Cultivation’s Lickit Lollipops, I scooped up 4 of their new CBD lollipops made exclusively for The Green Solution. They’re sour apple flavored (and super sour on the outside). These are also a 1:1 ratio with 5mg of CBD and THC each.

The Results of Using CBD to Treat Anxiety and Muscle/Back Pain

My expectation of having no effect at all was way off base. I found a lot of relief from using CBD.

I had a rough couple of weeks at the end of July and early August and I was happy to have CBD to get me through those stressful days. I also found relief when riding in the car. The anxiety was definitely dampened and more manageable. I think that it was also a relief for my husband as my stress has to increase his stress and then it’s just a vicious cycle of anxiety feeding off each other until we get home.

The biggest surprise was that it helped my back pain so much. I had a spasming muscle under my shoulder blade that was one wrong move from keeping me immobile for a few days. I took some of the tincture and, after some time passed, I realized the pain had dissipated.

My biggest complaint is availability. Since I started using these products, most have remained out of stock in the last several trips to the dispensary. So I’ll be on the lookout for alternatives until I can stock up on tinctures and dissolvables.

Have you tried CBD before? I’d love to hear what your experiences have been. Leave a comment below and let me know. Or contact me here.

The Complete Guide to Content Batching

September 11, 2018

I have a secret. I do not fret when it comes time to publish new blog posts. I can post two a week every week for at least the next 3 weeks. How can I be so confident, you’re probably wondering while maybe also hoping that I fail a little bit (it’s ok, I get it)? I do a little thing called content batching. 

WTF is content batching?

Well, content batching is pretty much what it sounds like. You sit down and write everything you need to write for an entire [insert time period]. Maybe for you, it’s a week. Maybe it’s 3 months. Maybe it’s a certain number of posts. It doesn’t really matter. The point is to do similar kind of work for as long as you possibly can. Think of it as a blogger’s version of an assembly line.

In my application, I write all of my blog posts for a month in one or two long bursts. Often times it gets split up into two 3 hour sessions, since that’s about when I need a real break and take walk around my apartment, for my physical health.

Right now, this is being typed in the middle of August. Friday, August 17th at 7:42 PM, to be precise. Most of the blog posts you’ll see here during the month of September were written over the course of this particular weekend, assuming I can stay motivated for several consecutive hours.

It’s all in a good plan

In order to make content batching work, it all comes down to having a great plan. You can’t set aside time to write for 3-6 hours with no idea of what to write about. I break up the biggest tasks into one per week so by the end of the month, I’ve got all eight blog posts ready to go.

The basic structure of the month goes something like this:

  • Week 1: choose your blog post/article topics and schedule on calendar time spent: about 1 hour
  • Week 2: write your first drafts for each post time spent: 4-6 hours
  • Week 3: collect creative collateral for your posts like images, links, video embed codes, etc time spent: 1-3 hours
  • Week 4: edit posts for spelling and grammar, then load them all as drafts, or publish with future dates, into your content manager/blog software time spent: 1-2 hours

The idea of writing 2 blog posts every week is, quite frankly, daunting for any business. This system takes some of the stress away.

But how do you come up with 8 new blog post ideas?

Coming up with fresh ideas all the time is probably a post for another day. I will get into detail about how I make it a little easier when it comes time to pick my article topics.

While I mentioned in the last section that I finalize my article topics in week 1, I don’t wait until week 1 to come up with ideas. In the back of my analog planner, I keep a section just for blog post ideas. One page for each of my general blog topics. When an idea strikes for an article, even if it’s half of an idea, I write it down on the appropriate page. Then when week 1 rolls around again, I’ve got enough ideas to fill out my editorial calendar for the next month.

Even if one or two of those article topics aren’t particularly inspiring at the moment, when it comes time to write the posts during week 2, I’ll have had enough time to either come up with a completely new idea, or I’ll have figured out a way to remix the original idea. Also, sometimes it’s better to just write something out even if you’re not necessarily feeling it because you have plenty of time to edit and rework it later.

How do you know how long it’ll take to write all of those posts?

I time myself. I use And.co for invoicing and expense tracking. It also has a handy time tracking feature. So you can bet your ass I take advantage of that not just for billing, but to keep track of how long I spend on tasks. That’s how I know it takes me 4-6 hours to write all of my blog posts for a month.

Timing myself has allowed me to schedule my content writing on days that I know I’ll be able to write for at least two hours. Two hours will put a hefty dent in my editorial calendar.

The tools I use

While I do a lot of the creative planning in a paper planner, I rely heavily on apps to keep everything I am working on organized. Particularly Trello and Google Docs.

My editorial calendar board gets used heavily. During week 1, I input all of my blog post topics, schedule them on the days I want to publish, and then create and attach a Google Drive Document. I can view them all on the calendar view (a Trello Power Up) to make sure the order makes sense.

When week 2 rolls around and it’s time to get to the actual content writing, because I’ve created and attached a Google Drive Document to each of the cards, I can just open up my board, choose a card and click right into my Doc.

When it comes to finding and creating images for each post, if I didn’t take the photos myself, I search on Unsplash or create something in Canva or Adobe Spark Post.

Final Thoughts

Content batching takes some practice and a lot of planning, so don’t try to go all in and think you’re going to write 8 blog posts tomorrow. I know the desire, but take a step back and train for it. It’s like a marathon. Start with writing two blog posts at once and work your way up from there. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated if you struggle. Since it’s not a daily habit, it will take more work to make it part of your planning and schedule. Stick with it and you’ll soon be singing the praises of batching content.

Stigma Activewear Limited Run Sports Bra Review

September 7, 2018

I love a good independent brand. So earlier this year when I stumbled upon Stigma Activewear, I literally couldn’t wait to lose enough weight to justify buying new workout gear. It’s hard to run when your leggings are exposing your very sweaty undies to the rest of the fitness center. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors.

Since then, I’ve been pretty dedicated to their brand (they even made me a brand ambassador). So it’ll come as no surprise to you that when they launched the pre-order for their new, limited run sports bra, I had to snap it up.

Stigma Activewear Limited Run Sports Bra photo by Lo Oliver

First Impressions

It felt like I waited forever for that shipping notification so I was practically salivating by the time I got it. It looked so pretty online. Upon opening the package, I felt a little deflated. The material and construction are incredible, but I felt a little self conscious at the padding and all the mesh. It had a lot more padding than I was expecting.

I also was concerned that it was going to actually hold my breasts in place. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to be snug because it’s got a bit of a loose stretch to it.

My final concern set in a little late, and it probably should have been something I thought about before buying it. The zipper on the back, and it’s necessity, means that there will be some days I won’t be able to put this on or take it off without help. My shoulders and arms are not that flexible some days. Luckily, my partner is usually home to help but it is something I have to keep in mind.

Thoughts After Several Wears and A Wash

Like all of Stigma’s stuff that I own, this bra washes up beautifully. But I recommend following the instructions and using a lingerie bag.

Stigma Activewear Limited Run Sports Bra photo by Lo OliverStigma Activewear Limited Run Sports Bra photo by Lo Oliver

Also like all of my other Stigma gear, it’s incredibly comfortable. Jesus it’s so comfortable. The sports bras I’ve been wearing are utter garbage in comparison. The material wicks away sweat. The mesh provides you with a nice cool breeze, even under another shirt (I usually wear mine underneath my Stigma side cut tanks when I’m at the gym).

It moves with you and doesn’t ride up or chafe. The material is so super soft. I just kind of want to wear it all the time. The padding makes a minor difference in your chest size, but I didn’t find it to be as bothersome as it looked like it would be. I have not tried it without the padding, because I feel it gives additional support that I want especially on the treadmill. Basically, it feels like you're being gently held and supported without feeling like you're being strangled or you're going to lose an eye. 

I did find it to be easier to take off and zip up than I initially thought, but there have been a couple times that I needed help unzipping it. So it’s not for you if you have stiff shoulders for whatever reason and you won’t have consistent help around to get it off.

Finally, since I am a brand ambassador for Stigma, you can get 20% off your purchase with my code JUSTHIGHLO. I do not get compensated for your purchase, it’s just a discount for you. That’s how much I love their clothing.

How to Find a Job in Legal Cannabis

September 4, 2018

Did you know that, while still a small percentage overall, the legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Colorado? It’s also an incredible industry for women, with 36% of company leadership roles being held by women (versus 22% across all other industries). That means there are a lot of opportunities for ladies who love weed and management. It's still a pretty white industry, but there are organizations like Minorities for Medical Marijuana that are actively working to change that (also, if this is an issue you care about, please consider becoming a monthly donor).

I’ve been wondering what it would take to find and get a job in the cannabis industry in Colorado.

Get Licensed

In order to work in the cannabis industry in Colorado, you need to get a MED Occupational License. MED stands for Marijuana Enforcement Division. The application process is invasive and cost prohibitive, especially to the communities who were most directly affected by cannabis prohibition.

In order to get licensed, you must:

  • Set up an appointment with the MED Office
  • Pass a background check
  • Be a Colorado resident
  • Get fingerprinted
  • Pay $75-$250 application fee. No refund if you’re not approved.

Job Board Websites

Once you’re actually licensed, finding a job in the industry can be pretty easy, depending on what department you’re looking at and/or have experience in. You can find job listings for the cannabis industry all over your favorite job listing websites.

Ziprecuiter, Monster, and Indeed all have jobs listed in the cannabis industry. There are also cannabis industry specific job boards like Brue JobsVangst and 420careers. Furthermore, there are often job listings in the industry on Facebook and LinkedIn so don’t forget to look there too.

Networking Events

There’s also the old fashioned way to break into the industry and that’s by going to industry networking events, if you’re already in the state (or any state that has a legal cannabis market).

Women grow is an incredible organization that has chapter meetups all over the country. It’s a great way to get to know people who are already in the industry and get you an in on any job openings. I personally think it’s much harder work to get in this way, because all millennials have social anxiety it seems like, myself included, but ultimately the pay off is much better. Not only will you have a great in with the company but you’ll have the start of a social circle.

Start An Ancillary Business

Finally, if getting licensed is not for you, or unattainable for you, there are ways you can still be involved in the cannabis industry without directly working for a dispensary or growing facility. You can work for or start a company that provides ancillary services.

Although they may sell or produce something that exists in this weird legal limbo, cannabis companies still need a lot of the services all businesses need. Packaging, graphic design, copywriting, social media marketing, cleaning services, IT support, software development, etc.

When you start to consider all the possible ancillary services one could offer, you see that there are endless opportunities to get involved in legal cannabis.

What kind of job would you want in the legal cannabis space?

Why it's Smart to Rent Your Clothes

August 30, 2018

After losing over 40 pounds over the last year and change, I was in desperate need of an entirely new wardrobe. My closet was a shell of its former self as I had to give most of my clothes away. No point in keeping things that I don’t plan on wearing again. And if I do plan on wearing them again, I hope that it’s far enough in the future that it would all look very, very dated.

I love wearing clothes that are on trend. I love wearing new clothes. I love rotating my wardrobe for different seasons. I also like maintaining the comfortable cushion in my bank account and the thought of having to drop several hundred, if not thousands, on new clothes. I’m cheap, ok. I know it. It partly stems from having been so poor for so long that I’m still getting used to the idea that I can afford these things. That I deserve to have clothes that fit and aren’t torn.

Once I got over the whole spending money thing, I had to rethink where I wanted to shop for my clothes. My go-to places used to be fast fashion spots like forever 21, and H&M, and the like. Even though I really love the look of the clothes at stores like that (and, let’s be honest the price), the quality is terrible. Good luck washing anything and having it come out even looking remotely like it did when you bought it.

I asked my friends on Instagram what their favorite stores were and I was blessed by one friend (thank you, Michelle <3) who told me about Asos. Which turned out to be the perfect place to find all of the basics. Plain tees and tanks galore. In every cut imaginable. In every size imaginable. Ethically sourced and made at a price point closer to H&M.

I loved my first order so much I ended up immediately subscribing to the $20/year 2-day shipping offer. Worth every penny.

But I was still hesitant to fork over money for some of the more trendy pieces I kept scrolling past. The prices made me a little uncomfortable. Especially once I considered that the trendy pieces just aren’t going to last. Even if they never fall apart, eventually that cut out shoulder top is going to look like it came from 2018 and it’ll stay in the back of my closet until it either no longer fit or somehow comes back in style again in 20 years. Nevermind the fact that I simply don’t want to fill my closet up just to have a full closet. I actually quite like that my side of the walk-in is mostly empty. I kind of want to keep it that way.

It’s hard trying to be a fashionable, but also fiscally responsible person.

That’s where clothing rental came in and saved my unstyled booty. It probably took hearing two dozen Le Tote ads on various podcasts before it finally clicked that this could be the solution to my problems. A constantly rotating wardrobe and consistently empty closet. Um, yes, please.

One thing I really appreciate is that they don’t just send you clothes based on the size, but on your measurements. It does open your eyes to how truly bogus clothing sizes are, and I’ll never rely on them again to compare my body to anyone or anything else. I’ve had clothing show up, in one tote, that was an xs, medium, and a 6. But it all fit. If you give them your accurate measurements and use their recommendations when swapping items out of your tote, you will only get clothes that fit you.

Tote Swap allows you to swap out any or all of the items they’ve picked for your next tote. When you select an item to swap in, it will tell you that a size might be too loose in your chest or waist, for example, or, as is often the case for me, too long. Trust their guidelines. I’ve had a few too long items because I thought Le Tote was wrong.

One thing they don’t advertise, but I personally think Le Tote should make a big deal about is the fact that you have less laundry to do. That’s right. You send that sh*t right back dirty. I’ve gone from doing laundry every week to about every 2 weeks. In fact, I’m doing so much less laundry I’m actually separating my whites for a bleach wash.

In the three months, I’ve been a subscriber, I’ve worn probably about $2100 worth of clothes and I’ve only paid $180 to use it.

Oh, and my closet is nice and tidy.

If you want to give it a spin, use my link to get your first tote free (if you sign up through my link, I will receive a $25 credit towards clothing purchases when you complete your first month).

And here are a few of the outfits I've worn since becoming a subscriber in June: 

How to Choose Email Marketing Software

August 28, 2018

After getting my Instagram account disabled recently (that is a story for another day), I have been even more focused on building my email list. There are a lot of great reasons to have a mailing list, but the most important one, quite frankly the only one that matters: you own that list. If every single one of your social networking sites went down tomorrow, could you still keep in touch with your followers?

I bet for a lot of new entrepreneurs the answer is no. And that should scare you, especially if you’ve got thousands of followers on a particular platform.

I’m also guessing that one of the reasons you haven’t ventured into email marketing is because it feels kind of foreign and you don’t even know where to start. Which is understandable. You might even think you’ll be priced out of using email marketing software. Or that your business or blog is too small for email marketing.

First of all, it’s not as hard as it looks. And if you’ve used Wordpress before, you can probably figure out your new email marketing software. Secondly, if you’re just starting out, there are completely free options out there. My favorite email marketing provider, MailChimp, is free for the first 2,000 subscribers with 12,000 email sends per month. Finally, your business is not too small to get started with email marketing. It’s actually a great time to get started so you have time to learn while your list grows.

This article is going to discuss some considerations you should take when choosing an email marketing solution.

Price

First, you probably want to consider the price you’re willing to pay. If you are just starting out, most email marketing providers have free plans, or at a minimum, offer 30- or 60-day free trials.

I am a little biased towards MailChimp since their forever free plan is… free and offers such a big buffer before you’re in a paid account. By 2,000 subscribers/month if you can’t afford their cheap paid tier ($10/month), you have bigger problems to consider about your email marketing efforts.

Other consistent favorites across the web include Constant Contact (60-day free trial, plans start at $50/month), Get Response (30-day free trial, plans start at $15/month), and Aweber (30-Day trial, plans start at $19/month).

Features

The next things you’ll want to consider are the features. You’ll want something that will allow you to design beautiful emails, of course. You’ll also want something that provides detailed analytics.

Other nice features to have are custom fields for sign up forms; integration with your blog software, content management system, or e-commerce software; list segmentation, so you can send targeted emails to specific buyer types; integration with paid placements on social media and search engines.

I recommend trying a few out to learn which one you find easiest to use as well. If the interface is confusing you, then you’ll be miserable every time you try to use it.

Automation

Further expanding on desirable features, one feature that I don’t think you should skimp on is automation. Especially if you’re planning to use marketing emails to sell online courses and/or upsell services to your audience.

Automation makes it so much easier to stay in touch with your email subscribers. For example, instead of just sending one simple welcome email, I might send 5 over the course of two weeks that slowly introduces a new subscriber to me and my business.

This not only gives me a bunch of opportunities to connect, I don’t have to dump a bunch of new information on a newbie at once. This is an especially useful tactic to use when you’re offering a free product or download with their subscription to your mailing list.

Privacy Compliance

If you love your customers and followers as much as you want them to love you, then you should care that the software you’re using is protecting the data you’ve been trusted with.

Most providers will tell you how they safeguard that information. You should know how they do that before choosing a platform.

Integrations

Finally, you’ll want to find an email marketing provider that will integrate with your content manager or blog software. If you’re using Wordpress, Shopify, or Squarespace, you’re in luck because pretty much all the “good” ones will work with your site. If you’re using something else, you’ll want to do your research.

If you’ve used email marketing software before, drop your favorites in the comments below and let me know. If you think I missed a key consideration in choosing email marketing software, tell me how wrong I am, too.

Finding Motivation After a Setback

August 23, 2018

The end of May and the entire month of June were pretty rough for me. I unknowingly sprained my ankle by stepping off a sidewalk curb the wrong way and then further worsened the injury when my cousin challenged me to do the Manitou Springs Incline with her.

My sprain caused me no pain. It just felt like it needed to crack or something. That’s why I didn’t think much about doing 2000 vertical feet over .9 miles with a 3 or so mile hike back down the other side of the hill. It wasn’t until later that night when my right foot was almost twice the size of my left that I realized I had probably injured myself.

"Ok, I guess I’m taking some time off," I thought.

A week went by and the swelling had gone down considerably. Still, no pain so I thought, I’m probably ok to do some light walking around. A friend came in from out of town and we headed over to the Garden of the Gods to walk around for a bit. Big mistake. My ankle was so swollen when I got home that evening.

At this point, I’m kind of panicking. My brother and his family were coming to visit the following week and I had so many fun things planned. I wanted to go hiking. I wanted to take my nephew to see some dinosaur fossils (which we did do). We also had a family gathering to attend. I took another dreaded week off from the treadmill.

I was ok with taking the second week. My mind was distracted with getting my place ready for my three favorite people. By the time their arrival date came, I was sure my ankle was healed. By their third day here, my ankle was a nightmare. I’m an asshole, too. I didn’t take care of it while they were here. I mean would you? My nephew gives me so much life that I honestly didn’t care.

Once they left, and I was faced with the reality of my situation, I started to feel helpless. I went about 5 weeks total of moving from my desk chair to the couch and my bed. Just to stay sane, I’d remind myself repeatedly, “at least you CAN sit all this time.” I was begging my husband to take me to the grocery store. Or let me do the laundry. I had to avoid the stairs as much as possible, but the only way out of my second-floor apartment is via the stairs.

I did become increasingly pissed off at how inaccessible these apartments are. I’ve said it since we moved in here, that these places are not accessible at all. Like our apartment building technically has a disabled parking spot but there’s no ramp in the curb from the parking lot to the ground level apartments.

Every day that passed by that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, I became more annoyed and agitated and my brain just felt cloudy and mad. I just could not shake the feeling that I was going to destroy all of my progress. That I was going to fail. The recently purchased sneakers, that were practically just begging to be broken in, were going to just sit in my closet forever. Embarrassing me every time I stepped in there to get my suitcase or swap out my sandals for boots.

I felt defeated.

When my ankle finally started feeling better, I let the fear continue to guide me. I was so certain that my injury had derailed everything I've accomplished thus far. I figured I probably slowed my time way down. That I wouldn’t be able to lift the same weights anymore. That’d I be weak and tired. I was clearly putting on weight (I didn’t).

I didn’t want to be seen at the gym. I was scared to put on the clothes I was receiving from Le Tote.

I had to have a lot of pep talks with myself. “No one is going to know if you’re slower or weaker or fatter except for you. No one is paying that much attention to you at the gym. Not even your own domestic partner is going to notice.”

And also, if someone is paying that much attention, WHO TF CARES?

Right? Right! Who cares? Why should I care? What does it matter? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter if I sit on my ass all day long or if I get to the gym and put a couple miles on my soles.

And that’s what motivated me to get back in there. Realizing that it literally doesn’t matter. Funny that I got there from “nothing matters” but that’s the kind of person I am. If nothing matters then you should just do whatever makes you feel good (as long as your good feeling doesn’t come from making others feel bad because your impact on others does matter).

If it feels good to relax, do it. If it feels good to run a marathon, do that. Ultimately, that’s all that does matter while you’re alive on earth.

Not Everyone's Going to Like Your Message and They Shouldn't

August 21, 2018

The biggest trap any entrepreneur falls into is thinking they and their business can please and serve everyone. You can’t. And you shouldn’t want to. Pleasing everyone is boring. Especially when it comes to social media and creating digital content like blog posts, YouTube videos, and digital downloads.

It is one of the hardest things to mentally overcome, because for many entrepreneurs their business is them and their life, and we all want to be liked at the end of the day. I want you to resist the urge to Leslie Knope your brand.

via GIPHY

If you’re a fan of Parks and Rec, then you probably remember the episode when Leslie’s running for city council and overheard one man in the focus group say he didn’t like her. She filled a three-inch binder with a dossier on the guy and tried to win him over by inviting him to a meet and greet bowling event (his favorite activity). It completely backfired, until she decided to say, “screw it,” and just be her honest self, knowing not everyone is going to like it.

Learn from Leslie and use her revelation for your own brand.

How do you find your true audience?

First, ask the right questions. Survey your current audience and learn about what they do for work; what their family life is like; what problems they need help solving; what do they like to learn about from you; what products or services do you offer that solve their problems?

Are you starting from scratch with no audience (or a very small one)? That’s ok too. Use a brand or celebrity or influencer or even just someone in your social circle who, in your mind, is someone that you’d want to work with. And then answer those questions as if you were them.

It seems like a silly exercise, but it will give you focus.

Do your research

Search for other brands that are in your industry and demographic. Then check out what they’re doing. Follow their social media accounts; subscribe to their newsletters; watch how they’re interacting with their customers. It’s ok to get inspiration from what other brands are doing, just don’t copy them (this should go without saying, but…).

Find a relevant Facebook group and participate in it like one of your customers. Active groups are INCREDIBLY insightful. Just don’t go in there to sell (unless it’s a group that allows it, in which case, it’s probably not going to be that helpful).

Pay attention to the accounts you’re following on your social media channels as well. If you’re following your clients and customers, you can learn what they’re into and how your brand can fit into their life.

Spend a few hours doing to research. You want to know exactly who your ideal customers are. You want to be fluent in them. And you should be aware that who they are, will constantly change as your business grows.

I wanted to make it easier for you to find that focus, so I’ve put together a handy guide to point you in the right direction and find your audience. Get it free here with your subscription to the mailing list.

Review of Canyon Cultivation's Lickit Lollipops

August 16, 2018

Edibles are my favorite way to consume cannabis. They’re discreet, easy to use, and if dosed correctly, can set you up for a fantastic and productive day. I love taking 10-20mg before a long writing session. It gives me just enough focus to stay on task and opens up the creativity flow a bit so I can really get things done.

One block I have with writing is that I am dyslexic and also a perfectionist so every typo I make I’m backspacing to correct, or correcting as I go, rather than just letting it all flow out and running it through Grammarly when I’m finished. Which would be a more time effective workflow. When I’ve given myself a little slap of the edible thc, however, I find those typos are much easier to ignore and move past so I can write more.

This is important to me as someone who truly loves optimizing my time and “working smarter not harder”. With THC I can write about 500 words every half hour; without I’m writing at about half that rate. My focus just isn’t there and I’m distracted, as I mentioned, by all the careless dyslexic typos I make.

So a few weeks ago when I saw Canyon Cultivation’s Lickit Lollipops, I knew it was going to be perfect for my late night writing sessions (background/side note: nearly all of the articles on this site were written between the hours of 7 pm and midnight, and it’s not because I’m a mom or am super busy, that is just when I feel most creative).

The Green Solution has only carried two flavors each time I’ve purchased: Boysenberry and Strawberry Lemonade. Boysenberry is your typical “blue” flavored candy. Sweet, a bit tart, but all good. Strawberry Lemonade is coated in a sour patch kid type of flavor that will make your tongue pucker and mouth water. It was a little hard to get through the sourness, but once I did it was pretty close to an actual strawberry lemonade flavor.

One thing that really struck me with these lollipops was the size. It’s about the same size as any lollipop. Like the ones that come in a strip of clear cellophane. Perfect size. This sets it apart from a lot of other edibles I’ve tried. Most of the 10mg edibles I’ve seen look like a sample sized cut of pastry you’d get at Costco or the grocery store. Which makes them kind of a letdown. Cue Little Mermaid: * I WANT MORE*.

These being an appropriate, expected size make them just perfect for anyone. New and experienced users alike.

As for the effects, wow. First of all, for only 10mg, it consistently surprises me with how effective it is. I don’t feel super when I’ve taken one, I can describe it like what it feels like when you smoke for the first time during the day. However, I consistently do something careless when I’m in the midst of it. For example, about two hours after eating one last week, it was time to take my dogs out to pee one last time before bed. My husband handed me a leash. I waited while he hooked up a leash to one dog, “mine” was in the kitchen, still finishing his dinner. As soon as both dogs were at the door, I unlocked it and we all headed outside. It wasn’t until the leash clip swung with too much force from behind me before hitting my dog in the ass did I realize I forgot to clip it to him. Luckily, he stops right at the grass at the bottom of the stairs so he was easy to wrangle.

As someone who takes a lot of edibles and uses tinctures, this effect of the lollipop was surprising. Especially since it’s such a small dose. This is also why I tend to keep them to nighttime use when I know I am not going to use the stove or leave my home again for the evening. I don’t think I’d burn the place down, but I do fear to make careless mistakes. There are a lot of ways not latching the leash to the dog could translate to making a mistake in the kitchen that, at a minimum, could be costly to fix.

The main draw is that I’m so much more focused when it comes time to writing articles and ebooks for myself and clients. Sitting down and writing for 3 or 4 hours straight is an easy feat, and I can do it night after night with Lickit Lollipops. I’m curious if its effectiveness has something to do with the amount of time it takes to get the full 10mg in you if you’re actually licking or sucking the lollipop versus a chocolate or brownie. That’d be a fun research study for an actual scientist to do, and I’d love to volunteer as a participant. If anyone is out there listening.

Bottom Line

I think these are fantastic little edibles. They’re great for experienced users and for those who are new to edibles altogether. I gave one to a family member who generally doesn’t use cannabis and they loved the effects (but it did make them a little sleepy). I wouldn’t recommend trying them for the first time when you have something to do, particularly if you don’t take edibles typically. It’s great if you want to have some focused creative time, or just want to lay on your couch and cuddle your pet.

How to Choose the Right Social Networks

August 15, 2018

Is your business on EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE? Is it not on any? Stop what you’re doing. Today I’m going to tell you how to choose the RIGHT social media channels for your business.

If you’re on none, that’s great! You’re starting with a clean slate and I bet you’re brimming with new ideas. The middle section of this blog post won’t pertain to you, but you should still read it, so you have the tools ready for the future.

If you’re one of the other types of businesses that reserved your business name handle on every single social networking site you’ve heard of, I get it. I bet you’re exhausted trying to keep up with all of them, but you’re scared to let go because you think you’re supposed to be on every site.

I am here to relieve you. You don’t need to be on them all. In fact you probably shouldn’t be. Let’s talk about how you can narrow your focus when it comes to channel so that you can truly serve your customers.

Your Ideal Customer

Before you can settle on the right social media channels, you need to know, inside and out, who your ideal customers are. If you’ve done your research, and/or are already an established business, you can probably list off a few characteristics of your ideal customer.

For success, you should know them inside and out. You should have a very clear picture of who they are. Without knowing this, moving forward is pointless (psst, check out this free ideal buyer worksheet to help you articulate who your ideal customers are).

Your business can’t serve everyone, and it never will. Trying to target “everyone” will lead to an inconsistent, incohesive, and boring brand. So if you want to be boring, go on and target everyone.

Website Traffic

Assuming you’re not starting from scratch, you probably have a website, and hopefully analytics tracking (if you don’t, please go set up a website and install Google Analytics). You may even already have social media profiles that you’re chugging away at. That’s awesome news, and you’re amazing.

Now, open up your analytics software, and check out which social media network is currently referring the most traffic. Set your dates for the last month, the last three months, and the last year to see if there’s any change in which source referred the most traffic. Or which source led to the lowest bounce rate.

There are obviously a lot of other factors to consider than just the number itself. Like, did you focus mostly on one particular network over those time frames? Did a rather neglected network bring in more traffic than you expected? If you have enough data, you may be able to see a trend, which will give you direction and focus for your social media strategy.

Network Demographics

Finally, the third piece of the puzzle (it’s a small puzzle), is knowing the general demographics of each individual network. While Facebook and Youtube have a pretty WIDE audience (68% and 73% of internet users use each platform respectively. That’s a lot of effing people.

You can learn more about the demographics of the various social networks over on the pew internet site, here. I’d just be regurgitating their facts, and honestly, you should dive a little deeper after reading anything I write here on this blog.

You’ll be nailing your social media marketing once you compare these three pieces of information, and deciding which channels will be a breeze.

5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Community Better

August 9, 2018

Believe it or not, you can make a difference in your community. Even as a regular, non-activist citizen, there are things you can do. Both online and off, you can make an impact and make your city or town a better place to be for everyone.

Here are 5 things that I’m doing to actively make my community a better place.

Support local businesses

If you live in a rather developed suburban or urban area, you probably have a ton of options for local businesses that aren’t huge national chains. Support them whenever you can. Friends coming into town? Hit up your local brew pub. Need to grab a few snacks for that smoke session you’re planning? Go to the bodega instead of 7/11.

You’ll never be able to fulfil all of your needs with local businesses, but replacing some of those trips will help put food on your neighbors’ tables and that is worth something.

Don’t participate in a dog pile local facebook page post

Local Facebook groups are so helpful. You can learn about new businesses; chat with your neighbors about what’s happening; get notified about events.

It’s also an awful hellhole where the local trolls love to come out and play. Sometimes it’s fun and harmless. Like in my hometown’s group, there was this long running troll about coyotes in town. It would provide occasional comedy on otherwise boring posts. But a lot of the time it can turn into needless dogpiling on people who made an otherwise minor faux pas.

Like asking an obviously already answered (or easily answerer) question. Or complaining about something innocuous. May you never make an innocent, if annoying, post in your local facebook group. And if you do, you better have a tough skin.

Or, you could do what I do and just… keep scrolling. Let people ask their annoying questions and keep the negative dogpiling to yourself.

Confront racists, sexists, lgbtqia-phobes, etc.

With that being said, both on and offline, you should absolutely confront the racists in your community. Whether they’re marching with a tiki torch, or they’re making subtly ignorant comments, it’s important for us as white people to call it out and let those people know, “we don’t do that in our community.” No one should get the benefit of the doubt. Racism is pervasive in our communities, we should all be determined to speak out in its presence.

Take a deep breath and remind them that we don’t do that here. We don’t speak like that here. We don’t think like that here. We don’t act like that here. They’ll get the message to at minimum take their garbage thoughts somewhere else.

Donate locally and directly

I like being charitable, but I also get annoyed at the red tape, and inflated salaries that inherently come with large organizations. Rather than making regular annual contributions to organizations like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, I search for opportunities to donate to gofundme campaigns, and donors choose campaigns, and even directly to individuals I find through various groups. It’s not tax deductible, but that’s not why I do it.

I take the same philosophy with donating my gently used clothing and household items. Opting to donate to local thrift stores that provide direct help to the community (and aren’t anti-lgbtqia, like The Salvation Army).

Do something nice for your neighbors

Watch for opportunities to help. Maybe you see your elderly neighbor trying to get something out of their car, offer to walk it to their door. Maybe there is a family that’s had a recent trying time and could use a homemade meal. Drop one off in a styrofoam cooler. Ding dong dinner, bitch. Did the trash truck come today? Drag your neighbors bins back to their spot before they come home. Little acts of kindness that will have a ripple effect. “Really nice pranks” as I like to call them.

Let me know in the comments who you’re going to “prank” first.

Navigating Social Media Censorshop for Cannabis Entrepreneurs

August 7, 2018

Over the last few months, I’ve been testing out Instagram and Facebook ads to promote this blog, which is as I like to say “cannadjacent”. If you’ve been following me all this time, you’re well aware that I frequently post about cannabis products and the therapeutic benefits I’ve experienced.

I’ve learned a lot about what is and is not acceptable to pay to place in those feeds when it comes to cannabis and cannabis-related products. And it’s kind of… ridiculous. I cannot tell you how many times one of my ads was denied, but if I simply removed the word “cannabis” from the post text it’d be approved almost immediately.

I’ve broken down some tips for using social media as a cannabis entrepreneur, in hopes to provide some guidance to all cannabis and cannadjacent businesses trying to make social media work for them.

Advertising/Paid Placements

While a lot of experts out there might say it’s nearly impossible to run a cannabis-related ad on social media, I’m here to tell you it is possible… with a lot of stipulations.

The most important thing you can do is familiarize yourself with each platform’s advertising guidelines. You can pay to place cannabis related posts into the feeds of potential Facebook and Instagram customers, as long as it’s an awareness based ad, rather than selling or promoting the use of products. It’s a pretty fine line, but if you stay away from directly using the words “cannabis” or “weed” anywhere in your post (including in your URL, or anywhere on the linked page, if the ad directs users to your website) and the sale of specific products, you will probably be in the clear.

You might be thinking, how tf do I advertise my products without advertising my products?

Well, you don’t. You can advertise the lifestyle aspects of your brand. You can advertise educational information. You can advertise inspiration stories about people who use your products, and even why they use your products.

I’ve successfully boosted posts, on Instagram, that are cannabis-focused, by following a couple of rules:

  • Never use the word cannabis, or weed, in the post caption.
  • Never promote purchasing the product itself. The product is an afterthought. A very subtle afterthought.
  • Focus on awareness and education.
  • Use influencers (which we’ll talk about a little later).

Instagram and Facebook give a lot of leeway when it comes to the actual photos. For example, I was able to boost this post below with no issue. Surprising, considering the caption.

I wasn’t expecting it to be approved, given the content, but it’s a fun little story and again, I’m not directly advertising any products. I’m just raising brand awareness for this blog (hi)!

Regular Posting

When it comes to just posting on your business page on any social networking site, you can be freer. You can show off your products, and talk about use. You can even use more obvious, open terms, like cannabis.

However, you should still keep this to a minimum. I know it’s not what you wanted to hear. And I know that it sets the bar kind of high. You’re going to need to be creative when it comes to promoting your company on social media. Realistically, your social marketing plan should include a hefty dose of getting potential customers off your social media accounts and enrolled in a mailing list that you own.

Countless marijuana influencers and businesses have faced account shutdowns and deletions over their content. That is something you should keep in mind and plan for because the ban hammer swings fast and harshly when they decide your account has to go.

There have been instances in which established accounts were DELETED, not just suspended, deleted because the content was deemed against the ToS. You do not want to be a victim, but if you are, wouldn’t it be great if most of your audience was also on a list that you own?

Leveraging Influencers

Yes, influencers are a real freaking thing. And they’re probably here to stay. I know it’s a whole new world out there when it comes to marketing, but is it really that different than having any other celebrity or notable person hawk your wares? The only difference is the playing field and the number of players.

Getting influencers to post about your products or company or even events is not as hard as it seems. And you can use that budget you were going to use for paid ads for this instead. Depending on local laws, you can gift some of your fantastic product in exchange for a review; you could give some local influencers a tour of your facilities for a behind the scenes look; you could provide discounts to influential customers and clients. The larger and more influential they are (generally they can prove this in some manner, so don’t just take someone’s word for it because they have 100k followers), the more you’ll have to pony up, but the pay off can be huge.

Additionally, influencers allow you to get around the paid placement restrictions and introduce your brand to a TON of very targeted new customers.

Finally, it can take trial and error to figure out the right formula for talking about your company and products on social media. Go slow and err on the side of censorship. Focus on creative education and awareness-based posts that talk more about the benefits of using cannabis, than the actual using of cannabis. And most importantly, work on building your community off social media.

Tips for Throwing a Cannabis Friendly Summer Party

June 21, 2018

With Memorial Day and Juneteenth behind us, and July 4th and Labor Day just a lick away, I thought I’d share some of my tips for having a cannabis-friendly summer party. Maybe you’re a seasoned smoker, maybe you just want your stoner friends comfortable at you outdoor shindig, either way, I hope you learn something fun and I help you have a fun, safe, cannabis-friendly event.

Designate a Safe Space for Consumption

If everyone who is coming to your cookout or party is over the age of 21 and is a cannabis user or doesn’t mind to be around cannabis, you can just go about your merry way.

However, if your party is like most, the crowd will probably be kind of mixed. Maybe you or some of your friends have kids who will be in attendance. Maybe your great aunt is coming and doesn’t like being around any kind of smoke. Maybe some of your smoking friends prefer to smoke away from the non-smokers so as not to be rude. Maybe they feel uncomfortable smoking in front of your children even though you don’t.

That’s why it’s so important to create a space for consumption. Maybe it’s in your garage, while the party happens in your backyard. Maybe it’s a nice cool room in your dwelling. Maybe you set up a little tent with snacks and seating just for the adults. Hang a sign, “NO KIDS.” Here's a free sign you can print and hang up (pictured below). 

Be Prepared

If you’re trying to be a thoughtful, attentive host without having to run around throughout your party, please follow these instructions.

Buy two packs of lighters. Leave one out and open in the adult section. Hide the second one somewhere nearby (maybe in a bag under your snack table) for later on when people pocket the first pack.

Clean your glassware and grinder. Or, if you’re totally new to cannabis/just trying to make your smoking friends comfortable, head to your local smoke shop and pick up a pipe. If you’re in Colorado Springs, I can’t recommend Freaky’s enough. While you’re there, pick up some papers, too.

Set all of your smoking goodies out on a tray in the adult section. Don’t forget an ashtray or ash receptacle of some kind. Label it if it’s atypical.

Make sure the cannabis-friendly area has comfortable seating. Prep a cooler with ice and cold drinks. And don’t forget the snacks.

Keep it simple with individually wrapped snacks (like small bags of chips, or crackers), low maintenance finger foods, and snacks like nuts.

Making Non-Smoking Guests Feel Comfortable

Even though cannabis might be legal in your state, many still have strong feelings about that. If you’re worried that having a cannabis-friendly event might make some guests feel uncomfortable (or combative), I’ve got a few tips for that too.

First, let everyone know up front. When you send your invites, include a note that says, “This party is cannabis friendly. Come to check out our new canna-lounge.” Or something like, “Smoking allowed in the designated section”. Or maybe something less dorky or clinical. You can figure it out.

Second, you should probably have some idea of who might have an issue with it. Speak to them directly and let them know you understand if they don’t want to participate and you won’t hold it against them.

“Hey Joe, I know you have strong feelings about cannabis legalization but I do have a lot of friends who’d like to unwind at the BBQ on Saturday with some cannabis. There will be a separate smoking section, but if that makes you uncomfortable, I respect your choice to not attend.”

Finally, enjoy. If you’ve never smoked before, I can’t recommend a better first time than when you’re full of delicious, perfectly grilled food, various cold salads, and a couple of beers, surrounded by people you really like.

Extra Touches

If you or your attendees are experienced cannabis users, and you can afford it, I have to suggest that you treat yo’self, and everyone else to some delicious dessert edibles.

Popsicles like this one from The Green Solution are perfect to serve at the end of a hot summer day. And dosed at just the right amount to get the head high of having smoked a bowl first thing in the morning. Just make sure to keep them in a freezer and out of sight of small hands. I usually wrap my goods in a plastic grocery bag and shove it high in the freezer.

If you’re thinking a little more classy and adult, these truffles, also from The Green Solution, are delightful. Chill them in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) and serve just as it starts to get dark.

I will update this as I continue to party my way through the summer. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments or by sending me an email.

How to Realistically Pack for 7 Days in a Personal Item

June 19, 2018

I did something that I thought would be impossible a few weeks ago. I went to Orlando for a week and packed everything I needed in one, kind of small bag. There were a few reasons I chose to do this: first it seemed like a fun challenge; second, I was flying on a budget airline and I’d rather pay the money to upgrade my seat than pay for a carry on; and three, my last day of the trip I’d have to carry everything around all day in the hot sun.

How did I do it? You’re probably wondering. Hell, I’m still wondering how I did it. The main trick was to take less than I wanted to. And that’s what every single packing tip on youtube and Pinterest will tell you. Right after roll your clothes (I’m going to roll my eyes). The second trick is that if you’re wearing it, it doesn’t count as a personal item. In planning ahead, I figured if I absolutely had to, I’d wear my camera. I also ordered this adorable fanny pack from Asos to hold my plane necessities and to use at Disney.

The truth is that this was not easy nor fun. Not only did I have to worry about the bag size (Frontier Airline’s personal item size limit is 14” by 18” by 8”), but also the overall weight of the bag because of the whole walking around all day on my last day of travel. As little as I thought I brought, it was probably still too much. The bag was still heavy enough to leave my shoulders tender and bruised by the time I finally got on my plane home.

Keeping the weight light ended up being a blessing and a curse. I was able to pack more clothes but ultimately ended up being disappointed because I didn’t have my laptop and couldn’t back up my camera photos as easily. I did pick up this card reader for my iPhone but once the card started filling up it took forever to load the photos to pick quick shots to share. To keep it lightweight, maybe next time I’ll pick up a bunch of 16 gig cards instead of one 64 gig card.

My destination played a big role in keeping my bag light and small. I traveled to Orlando at the end of April and I probably don’t have to say what the weather was like but I’m going to anyway: it was fucking awesome. Shorts and bathing suits and a couple of tanks don’t take up much space in a bag. Furthermore, the rental I stayed in came with a washer and dryer so I was able to cut my sock and underwear budget in half. Also, since it was a low key family trip, I didn’t have to bring anything too fancy that might become unwearable after 6 hours in an oversized purse.

I only brought two pairs of shoes. My new running sneakers which I wore on the plane and two days at Disney (I broke them in and I even got a 20 minute run too, score!), and these sandals. As for clothes, I packed two pairs of shorts, a skirt, two tank tops, a tee shirt, a pair of legging shorts, two sports bras, 6 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks, three bikini tops, two bikini bottoms, and a romper. On the plane, I wore a pair of jeans, a tank top, a normal bra, a hoodie, and a super light raincoat. And there was actually still enough space in the bag to fit the hoodie and raincoat.

It was actually the other “stuff” that became a little overwhelming. The clothes and the sandals barely took up half the bag. It was the toiletries and cosmetics that really set the bag over the top. If I were to repack for that specific trip, I’d take much less makeup. I could have gotten away with just my PUR cheek palette and used that for simple eye looks at night. Instead, I took that and two more eyeshadow palettes. Too much. I don’t think I used the eyeshadow palettes at all. Mostly because it was a relaxed family trip. Also, it was humid af down there and my regular makeup routine would have just bled off my face into a puddle on my shirt.

I was smart and made use of as many of my small Ulta sample as possible. From perfume to my face wash. I went with the smallest of everything I could. My liquid bag was still bursting. I did learn, after scouring the TSA approved item list, that wet wipes and baby wipes are allowed and DO NOT count as liquid. So, even though I don’t usually use makeup wipes, I bought some Clean & Clear makeup removing wipes to replace my regular oil cleanser. And, I soaked a bunch of cotton pads with my beloved Mario Badescu Glycolic Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion and tossed those in a ziplock bag to save even more space in my liquids bag.

Additionally, even though I didn’t take my laptop or iPad, opting to use my iPhone as entertainment, I did still have quite a few chargers and various electronics. My camera and 24mm lens were the heaviest and largest. After adding in the charger, spare battery, and the extra 18-55mm lens, my bag looked pretty tight. Plus I had my phone charger, and my vape equipment, which included the vape itself, a ceramic RDA, a titanium coil RDA, four batteries and a two-bay charger.  

Ultimately, I will boil down my experience into 5 tips:

  • Go somewhere warm because smaller and lighter clothes take up less space
  • Bring as little as possible (you’ll probably find that you still bring too much)
  • Skip as many electronics as you can
  • Wear the big stuff on the plane
  • Dig out those samples you’ve been hoarding from Ulta

What crazy things have you done to save money while traveling? Have you ever regretted leaving something behind in the name of packing light?




How I Blend Digital and Analog Tools for Productivity

June 4, 2018

I don’t know how people get by in life without planning and listing and replanning and relisting their entire lives. My partner is like this (although, I suspect that he partly gets away with not planning because he knows I’ve always got it covered, lucky). While I’m generally very tech-heavy, I still rely on a paper planner/notebook to plan and jot down new ideas.

There are a lot of reasons why I find this beneficial. One is that I really need to write out my notes and thoughts by hand in order for it to stick. I tried just using different apps to handle all of my needs, but ultimately, things would get forgotten and lost in the shuffle. I also find that sticking to strictly digital methods of managing my time leads to a lot more of me saying, “I can do it tomorrow.”

It’s a lot easier to change a due date or a calendar appointment when you can just drag and drop it onto tomorrow. I am a little ashamed to admit that it took me too long to realize that I needed a notebook and planner, but I’m glad I finally understood that I need to use this method.

While I was working out my needs, I tried so many different apps and methods. But ultimately, I narrowed it down to Trello, Google Calendar, and Google Drive. Below you’ll find descriptions of how I use each of these apps, in conjunction with my physical, analog planner.

Trello

Initially, Trello was kind of intimidating. I didn’t really “get it”. Once the “kanban” method was explained to me though, I hit the ground running. It has a lot of flexibility, and you can create shared boards (which is incredibly helpful for our grocery lists at home).

My main use of Trello, outside of maintaining our shopping list, has been as an editorial calendar. I enter all of my content ideas into the first list, and move them to the right as they enter each stage (In Progress, Ready to Publish, and Published). Each content idea lives on its own card, I set a due date (the publish date, typically), and the set my view to the calendar. As seen below.

How I incorporate my planner

For the grocery lists, I just write a to do in my planner to remember to update the list for the week.

When I’m planning my content, however, I usually just start a list on my dot grid sheets and write down whatever pops into my head. Some of the ideas are garbage, but some are pretty great. I take my most inspired ideas and add them each as new cards in my editorial calendar blog post list.

Google Calendar

I like getting notifications and reminders to help keep me on schedule. I have recurring events to remind me to publish my blog posts; to go to the gym an adequate number of times per week; to check on my plants. I also add long-term events and appoints. Meetings with clients.

You know, all the normal shit one might use Google Calendar for.

One feature I love in the ios app is the goal setting feature. There’s something satisfying about telling Google you completed your workouts or chores or reading goals.

How I incorporate my planner

It will likely come as no shock that I will sometimes write down my events and meetings in my planner first and then enter them into GCal after the fact. However, a lot of times, I’ll do it in the opposite order. Especially when it’s an appointment happening more than two weeks from the date I make it.

Google Drive

Google Drive is probably the app I use the most. I draft all of my posts in Docs. I make long-term plans in Sheets. As I wrote about in this post, I also use Forms quite a bit.

I used to use Evernote to write all of my notes, but it started to feel silly to have two apps that basically do the same thing. Especially once there were dedicated Google Drive apps for ios mobile devices and even more so when I considered that Google offers unlimited storage for Google Drive documents.

How I incorporate my planner

My Drive is wicked organized, with folders on folders on folders. My laptop drive is the same way. This allows me to keep my planner a little less focused on structure (outside of the daily/weekly calendar), since I generally use my notes as a jumping off point for digital documents in Drive.

Digitizing the Handwritten Notes and Agenda

Finally, I write on paper a lot. I was using daily agenda pages from Cube Appeal, which I really love the layout of, but ultimately has led to a lot of wasted paper. Starting in July, I’ll be using weekly pages.

My binder is an inch and a half thick, and 5.5”x8.5”. Space is at a premium. Instead of hanging on to the previous month’s pages, I now use Google’s Photoscan app to snap a near scanner perfect image of all of my notebook pages and then organize them into an album in Drive. If you upload compressed versions of the images, they won’t count against your free space in your Google account.

One benefit to this is that I don’t have to worry about hanging on to a year’s worth of notes, and I always have my old notes with me.

I would love to hear what your productivity tools are. Please leave a comment with your favorite apps and supplies below.

Can I be in a #squad?

May 29, 2018

I have to get something off my chest. It’s like… really hard to make friends as an adult. Especially if you’re an adult without kids and who doesn't go into an office every day or have any co-workers. Most of the people I interact with in person are people who are serving me in some way (waitstaff at restaurants, delivery people, cashiers, the maintenance staff where I live, etc). And most of the people I interact with over the phone are being served by me.

Or they’re my family.

That’s right. I’m a grown adult with no real adulthood friends. I’ve accepted this and it’s ok. I have my animals and my partner and my siblings and my mom; and the occasional check-in/on by/of childhood friends.

But sometimes it’s not ok. Like when everyone’s all hashtag squad and I’m like hashtag fomo. I’ve never really felt insecure about my body or my mind, but boy do I feel insecure about not being likable or not having friends. Social situations create a ton of anxiety because I pretty much let something ignorant or not well thought out slip out of my mouth almost every time I leave the house.

For example, one time, shortly after we moved to Colorado Springs, we were looking for a place to buy some legal recreational cannabis in town. Turns out, there are no recreational dispensaries in this damn city because, despite the voters’ wishes, the city council decided not to proceed with issuing recreational licenses, but I digress. In our web searching, we found that there were some cannabis clubs in which you could purchase a pipe or bong (which we needed) and could receive some kind bud as a gift. Technically a grey area in the law.

We walk into this shop, and instead of just letting my husband do the talking like I normally do, I interrupt the kind young woman behind the counter, who was about to politely let us down, with a loud, “We know the deal.” Which we clearly did not because there had been a recent crackdown on these types of operations (see the grey area above) and they were no longer offering their gifts with purchase.

Or how about on my birthday when I offered to take two very nice women’s photo outside of the restaurant because they were struggling to take a good selfie with both them and the exterior of the restaurant, and then demanded that my cousin’s boyfriend “get to work” and take the picture. To be fair my hands were full, but what I should have said was, “do you mind, taking their picture because my hands are full?”

See, it's embarrassing to be around me.

So I know why I don’t have many friends and struggle to make new ones. I’m kind of an idiot. And I’m socially awkward. And I smoke too much cannabis, I hate wine, and I laugh at farts.

I think I just need a lot of time to warm up to new people. Or that I need to come with a disclaimer when meeting new people in person: “makes a good first impression, but terrible second-tenth impressions, then it’ll get tolerable”.

I’m not alone in these feelings. There are countless articles out there on the interwebs about millennials feeling lonely. Just type “millennial sad” into the search bar on medium. I don’t necessarily feel lonely. I’m never alone. My man is literally sitting less than 2 feet from me right now. I just would like a small circle of people whose houses we can rotate through on the weekends smoking, lightly drinking, and laughing.

Writing that out made me realize I had that when we still lived in New Hampshire with my brother, sister-in-law, and their friends.

Key word being their. I know they love me, but I’m not in the group chat. I know my place. I’m the “sister of”, as it probably should be. I should have my own friends, too.

I want to state: I don’t feel sad about it. I am a little jealous, but I’m not sad.

I’m not sad because I know I have a lot of great qualities too when I’m not being a total asshole. I know enough to be incredibly useful in a variety of situations. I consume and remember a lot of information. I try to stay relevant in a conversation.

I love stand up comedy. To me it is art.

If we ever got stuck in the wilderness, I could build a shelter and keep us warm. I pretty much always have a lighter, so we could eat too. I can sew, knit, and crochet.

Speaking of things I always carry: 2 pens, a pair of rubber gloves, gum, and oil absorbing sheets. Because in my mind, I’m still living out some Harriet the Spy fantasies.

Oh, I can cook. I’m a great cook. I can follow almost any recipe and well, but I make up my own too. I’m occasionally funny. I am a problem solver. I’m resourceful (ask me about the chicken coop I designed out of an old wooden table and chairs).

I’m trying to dismantle my own attachment to a white supremacist system and help my friends and family do the same. I am not a glass half empty, half full person, I’m just thirsty and thankful there’s any water at all.

So what’s a person like me gotta do to be part of a #squad?

The Best Fitness Apps, In My Opinion

May 23, 2018

In a previous blog post, I wrote that I wouldn’t share my specific diet or workout routine that I “followed” to lose 40 pounds and get healthy. I’m still not going to do that. However, I will share some of the tools that helped me stay focused on my goals, and track my progress.

First, let’s talk about the apps that I love for the actual workouts. I have three apps I use in regular rotation: MotionTraxx, Nike Training Club, and Yoga Studio.

MotionTraxx

MotionTraxx is my absolute favorite training app for the treadmill and elliptical (there are also workouts for bikes, too, but my legs are too short for the one in my fitness center). The workouts are separated by time (20, 40, or 60 minutes), and feature a recorded guided workout with a great soundtrack. This app, and even more specifically Amy Dixon’s workouts, were the reason I was able to keep going to the gym.

The downside is that after a year of being a subscriber, they didn’t add any new workouts. I did the same workouts for most of the year before I started getting bored with them. It was worth it (also, check Groupon for a deal on a year subscription if you decide to buy).

Nike Training Club

This app was essential over the winter when it was too cold for my liking to walk to the gym (it’s way too close to drive there). There are workouts with and without equipment, making it easy to workout anywhere.

One big draw is that you can set up a training plan that takes into account your schedule, your goals, your fitness level, and your available equipment. The app will remind you about your upcoming workouts each day and will track your progress.

Furthermore, NTC has benchmarking workouts so that you can track your progress regardless of whether you’re following the training plan. The benchmarking aspect makes this an essential app for your health journey.

Yoga Studio

One of my fitness goals was to control some of the pain issues in my back and neck. And while running and lifting weights has helped a lot, I have tried to incorporate some yoga when I can. It’s really not my favorite thing to do. I’d rather run and lift weights (and that’s saying something because running sucks). However, when I have done yoga, I prefer to do it in my own home (no one needs to smell the inevitable farts). That’s where Yoga Studio has been very helpful. They recently switched to a monthly subscription model, so I may be in the market for a new app (because if I’m going to pay monthly for it, I want to do my research).

It’s a video-based app with helpful audio narration that gently guides you from pose to pose. The music is soft and pleasant, very much like what you’d hear while getting a massage.


Now let’s talk about the three apps I use to track my progress. Fitbit, Runkeeper, and Google Forms/Sheets.

Fitbit

I have a Fitbit Alta HR which in and of itself has been instrumental in getting my ass out the door and moving. Whether it’s going to the gym or taking my big dog for a hike. It’s kind of silly that it took a damn device to help me make these changes, but I did.

I think Fitbit needs to make a bigger deal about their app. The devices are fantastic, but it was the app that really helped seal the deal for me in terms of making these lifestyle changes. My Fitbit has a heart rate monitor which has helped me better track my sleep patterns, my peak and resting heart rate, and the improvement in my heart health. When I started, my cardio fitness was rated average, almost a year later (now), I’m in the good-very good range (leaning towards very good).

The cardio fitness tracking has been so exciting to watch. I am just blown away by the impact just two hours a week has made (and that’s definitely an exaggeration).

Runkeeper

If you’re running and not using Runkeeper to at least track the mileage on your shoes, you’re making a mistake. Most of the features in Runkeeper are free to use (and if you want an alternative to the paid features, for free, stick with me until the next section). It has a live tracking option to auto-sense your runs, walks, and hikes (and other types of forward moving exercises). It compares your workouts to show if you’ve made progress by week, month, and year. It also tracks how much distance you’ve traveled and your pace. However, the free version lacks some of the more in-depth analysis that you may want.

I mostly have used Runkeeper for the shoe tracking aspect. I put about 400 miles on my last pair of shoes and boy did I feel it by the end. Runkeeper will inform you when your shoes will start to feel worn down and remind you to make sure they’re not hurting you.

Google Forms/Google Sheets

While I found Runkeeper incredibly helpful and insightful, it is really made for tracking outside runs. So I will usually input my treadmill stats into a google form that spits the data out into a spreadsheet so I can compare my workouts by mileage, time, heart rate, and type. Click here to make a copy of the google form. Please be sure to make a copy and save it to your own Drive account before editing this form. 

I also created a Google Form and Sheet to track my weight and measurements. I actually haven’t input anything into this form in quite some time because I stopped caring so much when I got about 10 pounds away from my goal weight (right around the time I wrote this post). You can grab a copy of that here (again, please make a copy before editing).

To make it easy to use, I created a shortcut to both forms on my home screen and I just made it a habit to track my treadmill workouts in the form. I do enter the runs again in Runkeeper, but that is mostly for the shoe tracking feature.


Are there any fitness apps that you love for working out or for tracking progress? Let me know in the comments. And if you have any other fun, weird, or different uses for Google Forms, tell me about that too.

Moms on Weed

May 14, 2018

I’m not a mom, but I know some moms. And I definitely know a bunch more through friends and friends of friends. The mom network is never ending and it grows by the minute. I figured I’d take advantage of that network and ask a question that I’ve always wondered: what’s it’s like to be a mom who uses cannabis?

Occasionally, I’ll put myself in those shoes and contemplate what it would be like. Ultimately all I know for sure is that my relationship with the plant would change in a big way. I put together a short survey for the mom network to talk about their experience with cannabis, what kind of fears and stigmas they face, and whether or not their kids know that mom has a secret.

Granted the sample size was pretty small but all of the moms agreed that wine drinking moms have easier; nearly all were using it to make their lives more enjoyable, whether through alieving physical pain, treating anxiety and depression, or increasing creative output; and even maybe most importantly, every mom felt like it made them better parents.

One of the things I learned was that there were stigmas and legal consequences faced even in legal states. One mom told a disheartening but all too common story when asked if she felt she had to hide her use:

“Abso-fucking-lutely. I don't feel like I have to hide it for my kids but I have to hide it from my friends, colleagues, my daughter's therapist and any other official agent or mandatory reporter. I live in a completely legal state I am a documented medical patient and I feel unsafe every day that I will be outed as a cannabis user. Not only does this potentially damage my reputation as a mom it also potentially could derail my professional credibility (because of stereotypes people have about what they think people who are stoned all the time are like and that our work is less competent and efficient.”

The stigma of being a cannamom was the biggest concern overall. Hiding their use is a part of their daily lives. Despite the fact that all of the respondents are of legal age and using cannabis legally in accordance with state laws, remaining in the closet is a common thread.

“...I absolutely feel as if I have to hide it which I hate .. also people should keep in mind that just because weed may affect one does not mean it affects the next in the same way.”

Other moms explained that it felt lonely, which I think a lot of femme cannabis users can relate too.

“There’s just not enough canna moms around here that can understand my lifestyle choice,” Leia, in IL, told me.

I think the biggest surprise in of the survey was that most of the moms had had conversations with their kids about cannabis. I assumed it would be a hidden bit of information that she’d drop on her children when she found their first bag of stems and seeds in the laundry. Maybe it's what my mom would have done if she was a cannamom herself. But I was wrong. 

Z said her kids have always known.

“My kids do know. They are 17 and 18 though. I started the conversation with them about cannabis with them in 4th-6th grade and came out to them as a cannabis user in middle school.”

And, as I mentioned at the beginning, I think the most important part of this survey was learning why these moms use cannabis. Which I think gives a pretty good look at why most of us are users as well, parent or not.

How and why do these moms use cannabis?

Stress.
- anonymous

“I use because it helps me to set aside my emotions and use logic.”
- anonymous, CO

“To ease anxiety and depression. To relax after work and for creative endeavors.
- Z, CA

“I use flower, oils, and edibles. I have used it for years for my anxiety but in the last 4.5 years I use it for PTSD symptom control.
- anonymous, OR

“Help my anxiety. Focus my ADD. Manage my pain. Sometimes as a sleep medication sometimes as a morning stimulant like coffee. It really is, to me, a complete miracle to my health. And admittedly sometimes I use it to relax and socialize too. With people that I do know use cannabis I am a little more open but for those who aren't parents I've actually been judged by other cannabis users about being a mom who uses cannabis and that sucks too.”
- anonymous, MA

“I smoke mostly out of convenience— cost— and how quickly it seems to help. I started initially using cannabis for my chronic pain but soon realized that would help ground me if I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack, I found myself sleeping much better. So now I would say I smoke to stay pain-free and sane.”
- Leia, IL

This survey reminded me that the pro-cannabis movement still has a lot of work to do. It's all fine and good that states are legalizing use and possession and regulating a legal market, but what about the societal implications for moms who use cannabis? What about professionals?

What about the mostly black and brown people who are still serving sentences for what would be now considered legal activities? 

Why is it acceptable that I can walk around DISNEY WORLD with a nice, cold, alcoholic drink in my hand but if I went to the smoking section and lit a joint I'd be arrested? Won't someone please think of the children? 

We have a lot of work to do so that everyone can enjoy the kind of freedom that I feel as a cannabis using white lady without kids. Everyone deserves that. 

Are you a cannamom? Leave your thoughts in a comment below. Or if you’d like to remain anonymous, feel free to fill out the survey too.

Simple Skincare for Oily Skin

May 9, 2018

I know I post on Instagram fairly regularly about my new found love of fitness, and the health journey I’ve been on over the last year or so. However, trying to be more healthy was not the only thing I was working towards in 2017. I was also working on my skincare routine (and some other shit too but we’ll get to that some other time).

My skin has been on a roller coaster ride the last few years. I think the all the cross country moving and a lot of unhealthy habits led to some seriously problematic skin. My skin is oily naturally but suddenly it was looking tired, old, patchy, and broken out.

I did a lot of research. There’s an informative subreddit which I highly recommend as the place to start your search if you’re on your own quest to find your own perfect skincare routine.  

But if you have oily skin that’s showing signs of aging, and you’re a little lazy (it’s ok, I am too), the following distilled skincare tips are an excellent starting point.

Make glycolic acid your friend

If you have oily and acne prone skin, I cannot recommend glycolic acid enough. Glycolic acid, or AHA, is found in lots of skin care products at various concentrations. It’s a chemical exfoliant and works great on oily and congested skin. If you have never used it before, it’s best to patch test first and integrate it into your routine slowly. Especially if you’re using a product with a high concentration of AHA/glycolic acid.

I use two products with glycolic acid. Both from Mario Badescu. One is a toner, their Glycolic Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, that I use once or twice daily. The other is their Glycolic Gel, which is only meant to be used once or twice a week. I also focus the glycolic gel on my most oily areas (primarily the t zone), and keep it off my cheeks/under eye.

An added benefit of Glycolic acid is an improvement in the appearance of fine lines. My skin literally glows now that I have added AHA.

Sun protection is key

This was a step I always skipped in the past. Now that I live in Colorado again, where it’s pretty sunny, I never skip the sun protection. I believe it’s helped keep additional aging at bay or at least slowed it down. I also take the sun protection to my eyes and make sure I have sunglasses on whenever possible. Not just because I want my eyes to be protected, but because I squint in the sun and squinting always deepens my brow crease, even if it’s just for a few hours. Over time, it’ll add up.

I use an oil-free moisturizer from Mario Badescu if I’m not wearing makeup or I’m not going to be outside much. If I am wearing makeup or want to look a little more put together, I love Origins Ginzing Tinted Moisturizer but unfortunately, it only comes in one shade.

Skip the physical exfoliants

If you’re using aha or bha in your regular skin care routine, you really don’t need the physical exfoliants. In my experience with physical exfoliants, I end up breaking out a lot more. I’ve read that physical exfoliants can be rough on the skin and even push dirt into your pores and cause worse breakouts.

I do think these products have their place. My skin can get dry, especially on my cheeks during the winter, and I will not hesitate to use an exfoliator to get the flakes off. But it is not a part of my regular routine.

Find a good spot treatment

This was something I didn’t know I needed until I purchased it from Ulta on a whim. Origins Super Spot Treatment has been a lifesaver. I still have a compulsive desire to pop my pimples (but please don’t make me watch videos of that act on youtube, please), but I can now at least wait 24 hours to see if the spot treatment works (guess what, it generally does).

Not only does the spot treatment help give me a little more patience when it comes to messing my face up even more, but it actually does work. This spot treatment has a high dose of Salicylic Acid that dries up the blemish almost overnight. And if it’s not completely gone, it’s at least calmed down enough to cover if you’re feeling self-conscious (and it’s totally ok if you are!!).

Fall in love with eye creams

Finally, make eye creams your friend. This has made the biggest improvement in my under eye area. They’re still a little dark but since I’ve added an eye cream to my routine the skin is less crinkly and much more elastic.

I switch between three different eye creams depending on the day and my desires. I love Origins Ginzing Energizing Eye Cream but it doesn’t work great with Tarte Shape Tape. There are some serious separation issues. Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream, on the other hand, works fantastic with Tarte Shape Tape but ultimately feels a little greasy when worn alone. I also use Origins Dr. Weil’s Dark Circle Under Eye cream but it’s a tad bit on the pricey side for daily use.  

Find A Good Night Moisturizer

I switch up my night time moisturizer depending on my need that day. If it’s feeling dry or I’ve exfoliated recently, I’m going with an oil. I use a dupe for the Farsali Rose Gold Serum. I also really love Erno Laszlo’s Firmarine Lotion, but it’s also a little bit pricey for daily use. If my skin feels normal but need some moisture after washing, I always reach for Origins Ginzing Gel Moisturizer.

I went way more in depth than I intended, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about this routine too. And let me know what products you love for your skin type in the comments below. 

Why I'm Not Sharing My Diet and Workout Routine

April 12, 2018

When I began my fitness and health journey, I never expected that my friends (real and online) and family would look to me to lend advice. Yet, it happened. And at first I was like, “holy shit, this is so cool.” And then the anxiety set in, and I think rightfully so. Because what the fuck do I know?

For most of my life, I only ate a literal handful of items. Cheese pizza, Kraft mac and cheese, Scrambled eggs with ketchup, Cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly or Fluff sandwiches, Grilled Cheese, Quesadillas, french fries, and very specifically McDonald’s Cheeseburgers (and absolutely NOT cheeseburgers made at home). I eventually added in chicken tenders and nuggets.

Unintentional peer pressure in middle school got me hooked on Caesar Salad (I didn’t want to look like the only weirdo on the Girl Scout trip not eating the Caesar Salad at California Pizza Kitchen in the Pru, no way, no how). Yet, I continued my aversion to trying new foods until my early 20’s when my budget and more peer pressure, this time intention from loving new friends in college (and I say that sincerely) forced me to try new things. However, I still didn’t have bacon until I was almost 30.

In a way, I kind of think it was a blessing. As an adult, I’ve been so willing to try any new foods, because I don’t ever want to miss out on something like bacon again, that I continue to shock my close friends and family at what I’m willing to shove down my gullet. Particularly my mother.

My longtime food aversions have played a huge role in my “diet” in that I didn’t follow a particular diet plan when I started on my health journey. I am never going to restrict what I eat beyond not overeating. I track what I eat using the Fitbit app because I need the guidelines, but I don’t deny a sweet treat here and there. I eat pretty well and balanced. Some days better than others. I cook and eat at home 90% of my meals. And I tend to cook from scratch because as I’ve mentioned before, I have certain privileges and freedoms that allow me to do that. I am lucky and thankful to have the time to do that.

And because I’ve taken such a non-methodical approach to eating, it feels wrong of me to advise anyone on what to eat. I’ve sort of subscribed to the philosophy of eating as many whole foods as possible and eating the shit when I occasionally feel like it. I’m not a carb fiend, so it’s easy to avoid the over-processed garbage that is full of unnecessary sugar. I don’t eat a lot of candy (except when it’s Cadbury Mini Egg time).

I know it’s a weird time to be alive. Eating right is hard when you’re short on time and convenience is necessary. We’ve made it even more confusing with cherry-picked data from studies that makes you think that a diet full wine and chocolate is going to let you live forever. Or that GMO’s are going to murder your whole family. And if you can’t eat organic, you might as well eat McDonald’s.

And then everyone and their mother are literally selling supplements and meal/exercise plans that are “guaranteed to work” with very convincing before and after photos. Neglecting to inform you that, assuming you are generally healthy, any DIET OR EXERCISE PLAN WILL WORK if you stick it out, the longevity of the results aside. Of course, if you believed that, why would you spend half a paycheck on portion control containers, protein powder, and exercise plans you could create on your own or find for free with a little research.

Eating right is not complicated-- if you can ignore all the noise and bullshit and can avoid the temptation to use someone else’s plan as a template for your life. In my previous post about this health journey, I mentioned that restriction would have meant failure for me. And I think that might be true for a lot of people. Moderation has been key in making this work. I have made some replacements and have removed things like sugar from my coffee but I don’t feel like I’m going without. In trade, I’ve lost weight at a slower pace than I would have liked, but I think it’ll make it that much harder for me to go back to my unhealthy ways.

I do think that because of my past issues with food and eating, I had already adopted a much more balanced approach to my meal times. What really made the difference in the journey, for me, was actually measuring out food (especially stuff like cheese, meat, and condiments), maintaining a 250-500 calorie deficit per day, and adding a lot of cardio to my life.

When it came to exercise, I was a little bit lost and took a slightly more methodical approach. I did my research about running and form and reducing injury. Mostly, I was very interested in keeping track of my progress and strength. I use a Google Form and Spreadsheets to watch the changes. Until the last month or so, I had only done moderate to hard cardio for 90-120 minutes/week. I added weight training to get more definition to my arms and shoulders since my legs and abs get plenty of attention from the running. I use the app MotionTraxx for treadmill workouts and to keep things interesting. But I didn’t follow any particular plan here, either. Just used the goal setting features in the Fitbit app. I started with a goal of 30 minutes of activity per day, five days per week.

Although, in my opinion, you should seek health advice from actual health professionals (doctors, dietitians, licensed trainers, an expert you trust), I understand that there are still going to be a few of you who are like, “TELL ME MORE, DAMMIT! I WANT YOUR PLAN.”

To those, I will not give you my plan but I will give you three pieces of advice:

  1. Do your research. I mean it. Read and read. Find good sources, like articles and written by actual doctors and scientists. This is a great article to start with.
  2. Make food at home and add more vegetables to every meal. Fresh, frozen, canned, it doesn’t matter as long as the ingredients are simply: vegetable of choice, and maybe water. Make meal prepping a thing you do if you’re low on time during the week. No joke, I work from home and eat at my desk in my office, but I still prep my lunch salad a week in advance. I’ll even cook enough chicken and sides for 2 or 3 meals at once for my husband’s and my dinner.
  3. Move more. Find a way to add a little more movement. Maybe you wake up 15 minutes earlier for work. Maybe you use half your lunch break. Maybe you do 10 squats every time you go to the bathroom. It will add up.

Finally, stop comparing your progress to that of others. Instagram is especially deceptive because you see the side by side progress shots and it feels like it happened in the blink of an eye. Reality is that if those results are real and true, it took that person a lot longer than it looks like or even sounds like. Every health journey starts long, long before the first work out or lifestyle change. The only similarity between you and another person on a health journey is that you’re both on a health journey.

It's My Recipe for Self-care, Not Yours

April 5, 2018

I have a lot of privilege in my life. I work from home. I have no kids. My husband and I are finally making a comfortable amount of money. The struggles of the past still nip at our heels, but I have real financial freedom for the first time in my life. I have a lot of flexible time to do (almost) whatever the fuck I want, whenever the fuck I want.

I say all this, not to brag, but to give some context for the rest of this blog post because it’s about the activities and rituals that have become my self-care essentials. I feel the need to give a disclaimer that this is my version of self-care, and shouldn’t, and can’t, be a template for yours.

If you google self-care, you’ll get a lot of images of cats, teacups, motivational quotes, and staged photos of thin, beautiful white ladies doing yoga. I’m sure for a lot of folks, that’s the perfect prescription for a bad day. For me, not so much. I like iced tea, sure. And I’ll do some gentle stretching when my body needs it, but it’s definitely not happening in a class or in a studio full of curated knick knacks and/or goats.

My kind of self-care can be distilled into 5 M’s: movement, meditation, marijuana, masturbation, and massages.

Movement

The first thing that I need is exercise. I didn’t know this until last year. I used to roll my eyes at all the gym rats on all my feeds and now I’m one of them. A year into my health and fitness goals, I’ve not figured out that my brain needs the physical movement just as much as my body does. Whether it’s fitting in a few quick squats or getting a sweaty run in, my mind quiets down a bit and gives me more focus for the rest of the day.

Meditation

I kind of hate to say I meditate but it’s become a surefire way for me to fall asleep quickly and soundly. I cannot meditate sitting, I have to do it lying down. Otherwise, I spend the entire time thinking about not slouching (but sitting up straight is a challenge for me as well). Making the meditation basically just a waste of time.

At night though, with the dim blue light of the tv flickering at the other side of the room, I shut my eyes and count my breath (in one, out two), until I get to ten and start over again. At night, laying in bed is when I start to obsess about past awkward social interactions. Like, when I was at the local roller skating rink in middle school and was trying to flirt with a boy and he told me his birthday was August 7th and I said, “that’s almost like mine, March 7th.” No, it’s not almost like yours, Lo. That sort of panic-inducing reflection of the past would have kept me up for an extra hour before I found this meditation technique.

Marijuana

Surprise, surprise, I use cannabis as a part of my self-care ritual. It is kind of a crutch in some ways. I am not ashamed to admit it. In the same way that alcohol is at night, or coffee in the morning. It helps me manage my anxiety in social situations. It helps me when I’m depressed. It enhances my great moods too. Certain strains give me motivation and focus, and others help me forget.

Cannabis also helps me stay away from alcohol which tends to make all of my negative qualities worse and intensifies anxiety (because I will probably say something ignorant or selfish and will never forget it).

Masturbate

The original self-love! If you like having sex and having orgasms and aren’t masturbating, please schedule some time to do so immediately. I am 100% serious. Having sex is probably my favorite stress reliever, but if my partner is unable or unwilling, I can always count on myself. Instant mood turn around in under 5 minutes. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. And if you can’t figure it out, that’s ok, might I suggest heading over to adamandeve.com?

Massage

This is probably the most privileged thing I partake in on the regular, but as someone who had scoliosis and chronic back and neck pain her entire life, it’s become an essential indulgence. Also, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the actual service and being treated like a real lady of leisure for a little while. I’m sure in the same way others enjoy getting their hair cut and styled, or a facial, or a mani/pedi.

What I found most surprising in my journey over the last couple of years is that what plays the biggest role in my attitude and approach to life is how my body was feeling. When lacking exercise, my body would feel restless and my mind would be on overdrive over analyzing my exchange with the checkout clerk at the grocery store. I could probably use an actual anti-anxiety prescription too, but I’m not ready yet.

That’s what self-care looks like for me. What does it look like for you? Let me know in the comments below, or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. Add post content

The Love Letter

February 13, 2018

Oh, Valentine’s Day. You’re here, again. And tbh, like most years, I don’t give a fuck. I am very much of the mindset that, like most holidays, it’s stupid, but I am not here to shit on the day, or on anyone’s excitement. I do think all the pink and red decorating that one aisle in the grocery store is fun and warm. It is a nice way to break up the drudge of winter.

And after hearing my 3-year-old nephew’s excitement about making “Valentimes cookies”, I’m kind of feeling all warm and squishy. Thanks, kid! And those feelings are making me want to share one of the grandest gestures of love I’ve ever received.

It’s probably not what you’d expect. It’s not a fancy date or trip or even being spoiled with gifts of any kind. My husband is a lovely and loving man, but like me, he’s a little too pragmatic for your typical acts of romance. It’s one of the things I love about him. If I want flowers, I can buy them myself. I don’t need him for that (I do need him for reaching the top shelf of the cabinets, but I could just buy a stool).

Our random acts of love come in the form of ordering pizza instead of cooking; packing me up a pre-cardio bowl; taking both the dogs out so the other one can keep working or sleep or whatever; sitting 3 feet away from each other banging away on our keyboards every single day; spending too much on dinner; splurging on pastimes, like comedy shows, makeup, and electronics; scheduling a massage for the other one just because. We do all the lovey-dovey shit, it’s just not necessarily dictated by a calendar.

It’s just like, “oh, it’s Tuesday? Let’s go get spoiled.”

My husband is also an extremely talented software developer. When I met him, he was working for himself, running a business making custom websites and software. Our early relationship was a whirlwind, and before I knew it, I had moved in and was helping him get shit done.

Since he was doing most of the maintenance for his clients’ sites, and he loathes WordPress, he built his own content management system. It was nice and worked well. However, it was very clearly built for him, and not for anyone else to use. I was very comfortable with simple HTML and CSS, WordPress, and even Drupal, but I felt like I needed a manual to use his CMS.

It was almost too simple to use when it came down to it. But ultimately, as someone who was an on again off again blogger and marketer, I thought of a million ways to make it better. So I told him.

One of the other things my husband is very good at is taking my advice.

Before I knew it, he was making plans for an entirely new content management system. He was obsessed with it. He’s still obsessed with it. Every single step of the way, he asked for my input. How should this work? How about that?

“It needs email marketing, or the forms need to sync to MailChimp!!” I exclaimed with exhaustion one night. Less than a week later, boom. MailChimp integration.

“Can you put a clear cache button in the menu?” I told him, late one night, our eyes red and bleary from silently staring at our screens for far too long.

“It’s already in the next version,” he replied. I love hearing that the most. Whoa baby, talk about anticipating my needs.

After 4 years, it’s the longest love letter I’ve ever received. It’s also the only living love letter I’ve ever received, perhaps in existence. This page you’re reading right now lives on his love letter. This entire website, in fact (and this one, this one, and this one).

It’s easy to get annoyed when he’s clacking away on his (MECHANICAL) keyboard until 3 in the morning. Then I remember, he does that for me. All those feature requests. All the updates. All the late, late nights. For me. For him too, because his clients love it, and it’s also one of his hobbies in addition to his work, but it’s got my name on it.

If you want to check it out and tell my man what a beautiful piece of software his love letter is, go here.

#WCW: To My Fitness Friends

February 7, 2018

“It’s been a few days, where’s your gym selfie, Lauren?”

As I read my friend’s words via SnapChat, I was equally excited that my friend had noticed and horrified that someone was noticing.

When I first began my health and weight loss voyage, I started tentatively posting gym selfies to my SnapChat story for accountability purposes. Why SnapChat? Because it was easy, for one, and two, because that is my smallest audience. I didn’t want to post on Facebook, fail, and have 500 people know about it. Instagram was too curated and I again was concerned with the failure fallout. And Twitter, while I have plenty of followers, they seem unengaged.

And so, SnapChat it was.

I diligently posted my sweaty gym selfies. 3-4 times a week, about every other day. Then I skipped the gym for a couple of days in a row. I forget the reason, it honestly didn’t matter.

Up until I received that message, I didn’t think anyone was really paying attention. I figured, they’re probably numb to it or annoyed (one person was both and told me as much, lol). Everyone seems to be on a fitness kick lately. I don’t know if it’s my age group, or if it’s just part of our culture now, but everyone’s wearing leggings and doing squats it seems like, so why pay much attention to that fat girl who hasn’t run seriously since high school.

That message kind of changed my life. She just became my accountability partner. In a simple, understated way. I knew someone was cheering me on.

I went back and re-read my post about what I learned through my weightloss journey (which continues, by the way, I’m not finished), and realized I forgot to mention the biggest lesson I learned: it takes a village. I needed support from other people, and I didn’t even realize it until three people just stepped up to the plate, completely by accident.

And with that, I’d like to shower these #wcw’s with a little gratitude. And appreciation.

To Laura, thank you for being the first person to believe in my gym time. And for always being so helpful and supportive. I’m lucky to have you as a friend and especially lucky I’ve been able to call you one for more than half my life.

To Susan, thank you for your kind words, advice, and giving me someone to chase. I love how you love to run. And your general energy and positive attitude is something to aspire towards. (Also, Susan is raising money for Canines for Service. Click here to donate.)

To Beth, thank you for having started your own health and fitness journey around the same time. It feels like we’re in this together, even though we’re far apart. It’s been comforting knowing that you’re out there sweating it out too.

As you embark on your own journey, whether it’s health journey, or some other personal goal you’re trying to accomplish, look for the supportive people in your life, and cling to them. Support them right back. And don’t forget to thank them. Like I almost did.

Setting SMART Goals for Personal Growth

January 19, 2018

It’s a new year and that means we’ve all got a list of new goals to strive towards. Right?

Maybe not necessarily new goals. Maybe you’ve just adjusted the goal posts for the goals you worked towards last year. I don’t participate in the New Year Resolution thing. I can appreciate the whole “new year, new beginnings” thing, but I don’t think you should postpone working on yourself or your life in the name of the new year.

The day you want to start working on something new is the best day to start.

And that’s why this post is coming almost three weeks into the new year and wasn’t published on January 1st.b

Last year, I kind slipped into giving myself a goal to accomplish (link to weight loss post), and I didn’t even get to set that goal until April. As the months wore on and I continued to make progress, I was like, “Shit! You REALLY can do anything you set your mind to.”

Probably shouldn’t have taken me 30 years to learn that since I’m supposedly a “smart person” (I’ve been told, you can draw your own conclusions), but here we are.

As a former digital marketing nerd, I very much like setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. If you’re setting goals that aren’t SMART, how are you ever going to be able to track your progress?

Maybe you’re thinking, “why the fuck do I need to track my progress?” And to that I’d say if you’re not tracking your progress, how will you know when you finish? By feeling? By smell?

Using the SMART method of goal setting, you’ll also be able to break your overall goal down into smaller bite-sized mini goals.

Example time.

One of my goals is to read more this year. It’s an admirable goal but it basically means nothing on its own. Read more than what? More than last year? How many more? I can’t measure “more”.

Here’s a SMART version of that goal: I will read 2 books per month this year.

To be perfectly honest, I think 2 books/month is kind of a reach, but it’s doable. Especially once I get into the habit of nightly reading, once again. I am already certain that I’ll barely get through one book in January (Fire & Fury, because I don’t consume enough political news already). However, it’s will be one more book than I finished the previous month. And it will be that much more motivating to complete 2 books in February.

How do I measure and track my progress?

I use a variety of digital and analog tools to stay focused and on track with my goals. If you don’t already have a Google account (there are people who don’t have Google accounts?), you should go sign up now.

Spreadsheets are my friend. They should be yours too. More specifically, Google Sheets that are auto-generated through my own custom Google forms should be your friend.

I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair amount of time on my phone, so I just saved shortcuts to all of my Google forms to my home screen.

One of my SMART goals for 2018 is to run a 10-minute mile by the end of the year. I set up a form, pictured below, that would let me input the incline, duration, average heart rate, max heart rate, average mph, top mph, distance, and calories burned (all the stats the treadmill gives me). I also included a field for “notes” so I could add what kind of running I did. You can also grab a copy of this form for your own use here.

Sometimes I do specific workouts on the treadmill with the help of Motiontraxx, sometimes I just run. I didn’t want to get stuck comparing the two. If I’m going heavy on inclines, my speed is going to be at least a half mile/hour slower than if I’m running on a flat plane. Which is also why I don’t pay for something like RunKeeper (although I do use the free version). It doesn’t give me the freedom to compare ONLY my 2:1 interval runs. I need the specificity, dammit.

The form is just convenient. The real magic happens in the resulting spreadsheet where I can really dig in, compare my runs, and track the progress.

For tracking my weight loss, I have another form to input my chest, waist, and hip measurements, and weight. And I made a pretty chart to show the inches lost.

[insert image of weight loss chart]

I may or may not track my reading digitally, however, I will make a note of it in my planner (a less structured version of a bullet journal using mini loose-leaf binder paper). My handwritten planner pages are also digitally archived in JPG form at the beginning of every month. Additionally, I have a goal set up in Google Calendar to read for at least 15 minutes a day, five days per week, which will allow me to track my progress there as well.

I like the idea of these goal pages for a planner for tracking habits and goals if you prefer a more analog approach.

What do you think?

Is this a load of shit? Maybe for some of you. A couple of years ago, I’d probably think the same. Yet, here I am.

Are you going to set any SMART goals this year? What are they?

What I Learned From My Weight Loss

January 11, 2018

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of me being one of those “gym people” was laughable. Like, yeah fucking right I’m willingly going to the gym. Is there free weed and Hendrick’s Gin there? ‘Cause even then, LO-FUCKING-L.

One day, not quite a year ago, my husband and I passed through the grocery store pharmacy and I saw one of those blood pressure machines and I ran to it with the glee of a 4-year-old on Christmas morning.

This wasn’t just any old blood pressure machine (what even is the proper name for those? Is that right?), this one also weighed you while you sat there. Now I knew I had put on a little weight since the last time I had weighed myself several months prior, but I thought I was a good 8-10 lbs lighter than the number I saw pop up on the screen.

174 lbs.

At my height of just barely 5’4”, that is a completely unhealthy weight to be. To be honest, the weight I thought I was (165-166 lbs) was unhealthy. The real kick in the pants, though? Was that at that weight I was heavier than my husband, who is just over six feet tall, by about 25-30 lbs. While I do believe there is some truth to weight being just a number, and my husband is very thin for his height, I’m also pragmatic and realistic enough to know that I was completely unhealthy.

The number on the scale was a big red flag for me. There’s a history of heart problems on both sides of my family and I know that there is a direct correlation between being overweight and exacerbated heart problems. I also didn’t ever want to be that close to 200 lbs again; been there, done that.

Continuing my lifestyle the way it was meant I’d either kill myself, or I’d end up on a restricted diet for my later years. No thanks. 174 lbs is the heaviest I’d been since my freshman year of college. I have spent most of my adult years a good 10-15 lbs lighter than that.

So I made a change. I broke out my sneakers and started hitting the fitness center in my apartment complex. I started so slow on that treadmill. I couldn’t break a 16-minute mile for the first few weeks.

I pushed myself a little harder each time I went to the gym. I bought a used Fitbit on the Facebook marketplace. I started measuring my food and tracking it in the Fitbit app. I made sure to hit 5 workouts a week and 40 minutes of activity every day. I downloaded app after app to help me train better and get stronger at home.

Suddenly, going to the gym didn’t feel like such a chore. I looked forward to it. I’d get antsy if I didn’t go. I’d pace around my apartment, my husband passing me bowl at the end of each lap to keep me motivated, just to get a few extra steps in before the day was through.

Most importantly, I learned a lot about my body, what it means to actually be healthy, and how to live life moderately. I’d like to share a couple of those lessons I learned in this journey, and my goals going forward.

Diets don’t work (at least not for me)

In my opinion, almost every “diet” out there is complete garbage. I think we all know a person, or maybe we are that person, who jumped on a fad diet and lost a ton of weight only to put it all back on and then some.

I can’t get on board with excluding entire food groups from my diet. One, it would never work for me. I like the occasional cookie, or bowl of fake ice cream (I can’t have real milk). Two, I was such a picky eater as a child that the thought of excluding any food group seems like a step backward for me. Three, it’s proven(1)  not(2) to last(3). 

I want this hard work I’m putting in to last and that means having a “diet” that actually works for me. Which is no diet at all.

Also, I think I should end this section with a caveat that I am not a sugary, sweet tooth type of person, and I think that certainly gives me a stronger base. If I had to quit or cut back on sugar, I might have had a larger obstacle before me.

Make Smart Substitutions

My no-diet-diet has worked perfectly for me. But calorie and macro counting made a the biggest difference. 

Additionally, I made minor substitutions in my meals. Instead of an egg and cheese on an everything bagel, I use Thomas' Mini Bagels (less than half the calories/carbs), and a half serving of shredded mozzarella, with one runny egg.

I’m also a sucker for a deli meat sandwich, but I substitute my sandwich bread with these whole grain wraps last year and there’s no going back. I also use them for tacos and quesadillas. And my husband doesn’t even mind. They’re the softest non-white flour tortillas I’ve ever tried.

The other big thing that has made a difference is actually measuring out portions. I used to just sprinkle as many cranberries and walnuts into my lunch salad as my heart desired that day. Now I use two spoonfuls of each. Those little guys can add up to a lot of extra calories. Instead, I replace that void with extra spinach and shredded carrots because guess what guys -- there are like no calories in fresh, raw veggies. Same deal with the sheep’s milk feta cheese I use. It lasts a lot longer now, which is nice for my wallet.

By tracking my calories (and the split between carbs, fat, and protein, also known as your “macros”), I get a good idea of just how much splurging I can do at the end of the day or the end of the week.

Consistency truly does pay off, but don’t feel guilty about missing a day or two

I’ve tried the working out and eating the right thing before and I either didn’t push myself hard enough because I was scared to fail, or I didn’t stick it out long enough to see the results.

What made the big difference for me this time around was that I stuck to it. Even if I had a bad day, I’d just start again the next. I realized that it didn’t take me one day to get fat, and so one day of neglecting my newly adopted healthy lifestyle wasn’t going to completely derail me unless I let it derail me.

I’ll tell you, that realization was one of the most freeing thoughts in terms of how I was approaching my body and my health. It gave me the allowance to indulge as long as I got back on track the next day.

This mindset made it easier to be consistent. To keep showing up. Especially because by showing up at the gym, actually putting in the work, and pushing myself meant I’d get even more opportunities to indulge.

Like when I went to visit my family and hometown in October and inhaled a 2 lb chicken parm on a pita pocket. Didn’t feel one bit of guilt about that shit. Not at all.

Oh and how about I can run a minute in 13 minutes now, instead of crawling at 16. And I don’t lose my breath walking to the car. #winning

My body has completely changed

One thing I didn’t realize is how much your body changes based on the amount of fat and/or muscle you have. You know I didn’t think I was that fat, but looking at the before and during photos and I can see that yes, I was in fact fat.

Loved ones never want to tell you that you got fat but they’ll notice when you drop 10 or 20 lbs.

I have muscles now. Ab definition. Definition in my arms. My legs have always looked pretty muscular so that hasn’t changed. But the areas where I carried the most fat (my midsection) are totally transformed. My arms don’t round out wider than my shoulders. My face is so much slimmer. Jaw sharpened, as well as my collarbone.

I look at pictures of myself from a year ago, 6 months ago even, and I don’t recognize myself. And that has got to be the most jarring aspect of it all. It’s hard to not recognize yourself. I’ve only lost 35 lbs, I can’t even imagine the mindfuck that is losing 50 or 100 or 150 lbs.

It’s still hard to shop for clothing

I honestly thought that I’d have an easier time to shop for clothing in a smaller size. That’s not the case. When I was bigger, I had a hard time finding jeans, because of how I carried my weight, but I’d be fine for most other clothing items.

I recently realized my bras were a little loose and it was time for a smaller band size. I trudged over to Kohl’s since they usually have good prices. They don’t have my new bra size in the store. The women’s department had the right cup size but not band size and the Junior’s department had the opposite problem. Weird. I went to Target, same deal.

It was then that I realized that in-store clothing shopping is a stupid joke unless you’re a very specific sized person (which is not a busty but small-ish person). Specialty shop it is. Fuck me. I still haven’t made that trek yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

What does 2018 hold for my health journey?

While last year I focused heavily on specifically losing weight and building my endurance, this year I’d like to focus more on strength. I’ve struggled with scoliosis and bad posture for a long time, and in my case, it could be corrected, if only slightly, with stronger core muscles, shoulder muscles and chest muscles. I’m going to be very focused on building strength in those areas, and hopefully, help to correct my posture and the twisting happening.

Additionally, I’m going to work on getting my day to day diet a little bit more healthful by making sure I’m eating more veggies at both breakfast and dinner (lunch I’ve got squared away). I want to increase my water intake, too. And hopefully, reap the benefits of nicer skin in the process (as stepping up my skin care regimen is also a goal this year).

One final thought…

I am not a dietician, personal trainer, doctor, nor any kind of health professional. So like most random blog posts you’ll find on the internet about health and fitness, you should take my advice with a grain of salt.

If you really want to get healthy, I recommend talking to your doctor first and find out what will work for you. Or at the very least, do a lot of research online using scientific sources. Don’t fall for clickbait or hype. Pay attention to how you feel and adjust your goals and diet accordingly.

Finally, if you’re truly curious, I will happily put together another post that details what foods became my staples, and what kind of workouts I’m doing as I continue down this path of health and fitness.

Honest Review #PureClayMyWay

November 20, 2017

I remember the first time I saw my mom wearing a mud mask around the house when I was a kid.

“Can I try it too?”

And a love of pampering was born. Mud masks have become a staple in my skincare routine, especially for my oily t zone. So I was thrilled when I was asked to participate in Influenster and L’Oreal’s campaign. I received L’Oreal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser and the Pure-Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask for free in exchange for my honest review and opinion.

I love using this cleanser when I have a breakout or can feel a breakout coming on, but it’s definitely too drying for my skin (combo if you were wondering), to use every day. It absolutely makes a difference for those little spots that pop up and helps dry them out in no time. I saw a visible improvement the next day. It does make my skin feel soft and clean, albeit a little tight and dry.

I use the mask about once a week. And as a spot treatment for breakouts. This helps so much as well as making my skin feel so soft and smooth. It is not as drying as the cleanser, but you wouldn’t use this every day anyway. Also, can we talk about the color of this mask? I mean, it’s kind of horrifying yet at the same time desirable as an actual skin color the way it reflects in the light.  Just me? I get it. I’m weird.

I wish you could feel how soft my skin is after using this mask, but even if we were in the same room I wouldn’t let you touch my face anyway. So I guess, you’re just going to have to test it out for yourself.

I’m extremely interested in trying out some of the other varieties of the mask, particularly the exfoliate and refine mud mask. I don’t know if I’d repurchase the cleanser again, just because my skin always feels too tight after using, but the mask hit it out of the park and I will definitely buy it when I run out.



Are Instagram Shadowbans Even Real?

November 13, 2017

If you’ve spent enough time on Instagram, you’ve probably come across a few posts that go something like, “Help! I’ve been shadow banned! Please follow, like and comment on my posts!” You probably see a lot of these posts if you’ve done any follow trains to boost your Influenster score. I know I do.

Generally, I roll my eyes and keep on scrolling.

Regardless of differing opinions on whether or not Instagram is actively shadowbanning accounts (the official statement from Instagram is that no, they are not shadow banning; users say otherwise, and I would have to agree), the reason I roll my eyes is that these posts are obvious like grabs.

And shame on the original poster for tricking people into thinking that will actually help you.

It won’t.

All the experts recommend two major ways to get over a potential shadowban:

  • One, shut up and take a break from the platform. I know, it sounds harsh, but trust me it will help you the most.
  • Two, rethink your strategy. You have most likely been engaged in some spammy practices, like using irrelevant hashtags, being overly promotional from a personal account, or editing posts after getting a lot of likes.

When most of us think of spam on Instagram, we’re reminded of those annoying comments, “FOLLOW FOR ALL THE FOLLOWERS!!!1!!!1!!!!!”, but there a lot of sneaky ways in which a post can become spammy. Knowing what it looks like, will help you, not only identify bad new followers, it will also help you avoid making these mistakes unintentionally and avoid becoming shadowbanned. Here are some Instagram Spam red flags:

  • Claiming to have been shadowbanned.
  • Tagging your post with every possibly trending hashtag, even though it has nothing to do with your post.
  • The point above is especially true if you’re promoting a product. Just stick to the hashtags that make sense.
  • Using too many hashtags. Stick to under 11, if you can help it. I know it’s hard to not want to go all the way with the hashtags. Resist the temptation.
  • Editing your post caption, especially after you’ve received a number of likes. Edit for grammar and spelling before you post or let your mistakes live on forever. Trust me on this. I made this mistake and my engagement severely dropped. Don’t be like me.
  • Adding hashtags to a comment. You think it’s clever at first, and then you realize it fucked you right over. Stay away from your comments unless it’s to reply to your adoring fans (and in my case, “fans” means mom).

And that’s all you really need to worry about when it comes to shadowbanning on Instagram (and also not being a gross, spammy asshole who will get unfollowed). If you add great content without hashtag hi-jacking, you’ll see your likes and new followers grow.

Origins GinZing Review

September 7, 2017

If you're anything like me, you've probably struggled at one point or another to find a skin care routine that works with your skin, rather than against it. I mean, who hasn't? 

This year, particularly, has been full of issues when it comes to my skin. Between moving to a much drier climate last November and my own self-imposed decision to find a "better" skin care routine (which included over using certain products), my skin decided it had had enough. 

I learned that my skin is dehydrated. Which means it feels dry and tight when I get out of the shower but is still very oily at the end of the day. 

That's where the GinZing Gel Moisturizer has become a life saver. It seemed like every moisturizer I tried prior was ultimately making the oil problem (and subsequently acne) worse. My skin would feel super soft but looked like absolute shit after a few weeks. Not the case with Origins GinZing Gel Moisturizer, at all. It smells amazing and just disappears into your skin. It's lightweight and makes your skin feel hydrated. I've already purchased a second jar and I'm only about half way through the first. 

I also tried Origins eye cream and facial scrub cleanser from the GinZing Line and I have to say that while I do like the other two products, there wasn't as much of a wow factor as with the moisturizer. The scrub has the same scent as the moisturizer and does an effective job at cleansing, I just still prefer my regular cleanser. I did like it for my arms and my bum where I'm also prone to unevenness and occasional acne. 

The GinZing eye cream did throw me off a little upon first opening the jar because of the color of the cream and the lack of scent, but I do think it helps perk up my eyes in the AM and is a welcome boost of moisture for that delicate under eye area at night as well. I will probably repurchase this as well. 

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