Wellness Festival: THE GOOD FEST
I was SO excited to see The GOOD Fest make it's west coast debut this year! I had followed along last year as some of my favorite friends and influencers traveled back East for the event and was thrilled to see them hosting an LA edition! I attended the day-long wellness festival with my friends Kruti and Michelle (pictured center) and met up with the beautiful Carina and Chiara Wolff when we got there. It was a day filled with wellness panels, yoga classes, crystal meditations, great snacks and inspiring women and it was AMAZING! We started the day with a meet and greet brunch for VIP gals with treats from Simple Mills and Live24k after picking up our track passes, then assembled in the Main Room for a brief chat from the founders before getting the day started.
The afternoon was split up into 5 different tracks, so depending on which track you picked, you had a customized day of panels, group activities, and female-led session. I picked Track 4, which included the following sessions throughout the day:
Session 1 - Food Freedom Panel with Jordan Younger, Talia Pollack, Jess Sepel and more
Session 2 - How to Have GOOD Sex with Shan Boodram
Session 3 - YOGA: Jordan Younger + Sophie Jaffe
Session 4 - Modern Approach to Ayurveda with Sahara Rose
We arrived around 10 am and didn't leave until about 6, so it was definitely a full day. Each activity lasted about an hour, plus some time for lunch, shopping at the wellness marketplace inside the festival, and talks from a few different closeout speakers. Pictured below are the iced turmeric lattes from the meet and greet brunch in the morning, a shot of Jordan Younger from our yoga session, a lil' selfie action and a shot of the food panel I attended, as well.
The first event I attended in the morning was actually shopping the marketplace, where I bought a crystal and tried alllll kinds of samples, plus ogled plenty of gorgeous yoga pants and tops. Everything was pretty reasonably priced, but I wasn't there to spend much money. I did however buy a yoga block because I've been needing one and they we're pretty cheap. And it's cute!
My second session was the Food Freedom Panel with Jordan Younger of The Balanced Blonde, Lynn Chen of The Actor's Diet, Jessica Sepel of JS Health, August Vega - the founder of Malk, and Talia Pollack of Party in my Plants. Talia and I are pals so I was especially excited to see her onstage and squeeze her afterward, and I have followed Jordan forever, so I was super stoked to meet her and tell her how great she is. She was just as grounded in real life as you'd hope, and the food panel was super interesting. Each lady talked about what Food Freedom meant to them, along with some of their stories on getting a healthy, happy place with food.
Next up, and in the same big, beautiful main room, was the How to have GOOD Sex with Sexologist Shan Boodram session. And it was FANTASTIC! Her energy and straight up real knowledge dropping was both impressive and entertaining to watch. She talk about a few different topics but essentially encouraging your partner to do what you like and need with real, open conversation. She was rad. So was her outfit, haha.
After that was my third session, Yoga taught by Jordan Younger and Sophie Jaffe. I was super excited to do some yoga and take it from people I really admired. I sat in the back of the room and mostly enjoyed it, though Sophie was sick so her section seemed a little short. Fair enough! It lasted about 30 minutes, and then we headed into the next session, which was also my last: Modern Approach to Ayurveda with Sahara Rose. I have had very little introduction to ayurveda but have been interested in learning more for awhile, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much info Sahara was able to cram into our short session. I felt like I walked away with a great into on the breakdown of basic ayurveda and a desire to learn much more.
After our final session, we headed back downstairs for a catered lunch from Sweet Green (YUM!) and then back to the main hall for the final speakers. It was a fantastic day - seriously full of so much fun, health and wellness, and I met so many babes I've only had the pleasure of interacting with on IG. If you're interested in checking out their upcoming events, including the next GOOD Fest in Philly, check out their website and follow them on IG for the DL on upcoming events! I'll definitely be attending again next year - I had a dang blast and met so many new, fun, incredible women! See you then, babes.
WHY MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN IS (DEFINITELY) OUR FAVORITE PLACE
Alex and I have been going to Mammoth together now for nearly 8 years - but he's been heading up to Mammoth to camp and fish with his family since he was just 5 or 6. It's always been kind of a magical place for him, full of childhood memories with his brother and parents, and when we started dating he started taking me up for summer trips, too. I immediately fell in love with the whole lakes region - it reminded me of the perfect combination of Maine and California. The warm, lush summers and occasionally bitter cold winters, four full seasons, tons of wildlife - it really is the best of both worlds!
We started heading up every summer to camp around Lake Mary, bringing the dog, a tent, and all our gear with us, spending our days hiking and paddling through the lakes. I event spent my 25th birthday celebrating in Mammoth! There's always plenty to do for an outdoorsy couple like us, and if the weather is good - and since were in California, it usually is - we can also rent bikes or take trail runs with the pup. It's the perfect summer vacation. And the best part? It's pretty freaking rad in the winter, too. We'd been going up for a few years together before we finally decided to make the drive up in winter to ski and play in the snow. The first trip up we made in the winter time, we headed out almost immediately for a hike in the snow near Tamarack Lodge and got engaged (!!!). Yup, Alex proposed in the snow! We'd made so many trips up at this point that it had kind of become our special place - and after that sweet memory, we loved it even more. This year we wanted to head up on a different kind of trip...because Alex was turning 30! Instead of just camping for the week or skiing for the weekend, we hit up Mammoth Lakes Tourism to see what kind of other fun activities we could have fun with. They helped us fill our weekend with fun adventures and they recommended some great eats and scenic views along the way! Also they are SUPER nice - if you have questions or need great cross country ski trail recs, give 'em a call.
We rented a car for this trip so that we could make our way to a few fun pit stops on the way up and could more easily keep all of the winter gear we were dragging up with us contained. We got a pretty early start and packed the car full of snacks and gear, including our skis, snowshoes, and poles. Alex had spent his bachelor party a year earlier in Mammoth and had made a stop with the boys at a place called Fossil Falls. Full of cool glacial rock formations and great photo ops, he had told me all about it afterwards and I made it the first official stopping point on our way up the 395 North. We pulled over at Fossil Falls about 2 hours into our trip, took a quick pee break and then traipsed around the rock formations, enjoying the views and taking photos. I even crawled up into a crow pose on top of a small rock formation and totally freaked my husband out. So much fun!
We jumped back on the road for another hour or two before arriving at the Manzanar National Historic Site, the concentration camps where 110,000 Japanese Americans were held during WWII. Alex had been through the tour before but not in years and I never had, so we took the time to stop and do both the walking and driving tours of the area. It was hard to read some of the stories, but important. It was incredible to see how the people inside survived and made their spaces habitable. The cranes in the photo above are from the memorial at Manzanar - they had hundreds, maybe thousands, of paper cranes in chains lined along the memorial.
We made one more stop on the way up to Mammoth, in the city of Bishop. Alex needed to renew his license and we knew the line would be super short, so we swung in and we back in the car within 10 minutes. We headed over to our favorite little juice bar in Bishop, Eastside Juice, and got ourselves some simple but super satisfying acai bowls to well our hunger until we got all the way up to the mountain. They totally hit the spot, so we got back into the car, bumped our Always Sunny playlist and made the final hour-ish drive up to Mammoth from there. We climbed another 3,000 ft of elevation in the last part of the drive and my ears were popping like crazy!
We drove into and through the cozy little downtown of Mammoth Lakes and right up onto the mountain as soon as we arrived. We knew the road up the not-skiable side of the mountain was still open, if only up to Tamarack Lodge, and Alex insisted on testing out the AWD to see if we could find some ice. As we neared the lodge, Alex lit up - there was ice, if only a bit. Growing up in Maine, I learned very early on about safe ice and skating on ponds - and I promise, this one was safe. The ice formations were beautiful, but the ice was nice and thick on the side of the lake we were on. Alex threw the car into park, grabbed his skates from the back seat and ran down onto the ice. He's only skated a handful of frozen ponds in his life, and they still light him up! He threw his skates on and started taking laps, and I ran up to the car and grabbed his pocket stick and puck to fool around with. When I got back to the ice, some small kids had also made their way onto the ice. We skated around, playing with the puck and impressing the smaller kids for about a half an hour, as we the sun set. The kids cleared out and we had the lake all to ourselves. Such a perfect first afternoon in Mammoth!
After skating we headed back down the mountain to Mammoth Lakes proper, the downtown region at the base of the mountain where all the restaurants and ski shops are located. This area is just down the hill from Mammoth Village, the shops and restaurants located closest to the lodge and base of the mountain. We were staying at the Sierra Nevada Resort and Spa, a lovely little 4-star spot right off the main road in the center of town, so we parked and lugged our gear into the beautiful, classic old ski lodge entryway to check in. The thing about Mammoth - and this check in was no exclusion - is that everyone is SO NICE. Maybe it's because it's a small town, maybe it's because they know almost everyone who comes and goes, but either way - just wonderful, friendly people everywhere you go. After checking in and falling in love with our old-ski style room, we bundled up and walked about a quarter mile to the Garden of Eat'n Cafe for a vegetarian curry dinner. A super small place but super cozy, we were one of only two couples in for dinner that evening. We each got the curry plates with lots of water on the side (extra hydration is totally necessary is higher elevations!) and then walked over to the one real grocery store in the lakes, Von's, to grab some kombucha before heading back to our room for the night.
The next morning we were up early so I could get over to the Yoga Lab studio in the Village to teach a yoga sculpt class at 8 am. It was so much fun - but I hadn't counted on the elevation in the workout and was totally exhausted midway through. Luckily I only had a few students, so I was able to sneak back and grab all kinds of water breaks! Even though we'd just gotten a killer workout in, Alex and I had agreed to go skiing after class, so he scooped me up and we grabbed a quick round of vegan breakfast burritos from Stellar Brew, our favorite place natural food on-the-go in the Lakes region. We ate, threw on all our gear, and made out way up to the mountain. It's not a long drive up from the Village, just a few miles really, but you'll need to find parking and walk or shuttle to the lodge and lifts. Not hard, just a heads up if you're dragging your gear - wait for the shuttle to your lot and you won't have to hoof it.
Lucky for us the weather was beautiful, sunny, and in the mid-50's. Crazy great weather for the first week in January, though admittedly at this point the mountain still hadn't gotten it's heaviest dumps of snow. It's much less green up there this month than it was last month - just in time to celebrate the Winter Olympics! We ended up ditching a few layers pretty early on in the day - we were literally skiing in sweatshirts in January. It was amazing! Pictured below is the view from the top of one of the east side lifts.
We're big fans of glade skiing and while the lack of snow prevented us from getting too deep in the woods to explore, we were able to find some cool off-the-trail paths while we were our way back and forth across the mountain. We have a real love for chair 12 and started there, on the east (and far less busy) side of the mountain, before working our way to the left side of the mountain, nearer the main lodge. We stopped at about 12:30 for some lunch and unfortunately had forgotten to bring much more than a granola bar between us. Luckily we found a salad bar and veggie burger on the menu at the lodge, plus a couple of kombucha's, and we split them slope side, watching people take on the unbound terrain park.
We skied for the rest of the afternoon until the chairs closed at 4 pm - which was good, because it started getting pretty windy and far colder around that same time. We went back to our place at the Sierra Nevada Inn, showered and relaxed for a few hours before heading to Petra's Bistro in the Village to meet Mammoth Tourism rep Miles Weaver for dinner. Miles not only works with the board to greet and hang with visitors like us, but is the head of photography for Mammoth Mountain, which means he's in charge of all photo operations on the mountain, and even handles his own special action and event photography. It was an incredible meal - one of the better ones I've had in a long time - and Miles was great company!
Our 2nd full day in Mammoth was also Alex's 30th birthday, so we decided to celebrate with a hike up to Mono Lake, our favorite spot to visit in the summer months. The problem? You had to hike to the base of the hiking trail itself - about 2 miles - in the windy cold; once you arrived at the hiking trail, the snow deepened so that even our snow shoes couldn't keep us afloat. We had been trying to get up to the trail, above the snow line and up to Mono Lakes in hopes that it was frozen and we could use the skates we'd brought on a nearly untouched ice surface. Obviously, we did't get that far. We had to give up a little up the trail and head back, but after the hike up we were exhausted anyway - and secretly I was kind of glad we didn't need to hike another 2 miles uphill in the snow and wind. We headed back down the railway to Tamarack Lodge, stopping at the spot where we got engaged 3 years ago to snap a few photos, smooch and reminisce on being married for 6ish months already.
We headed back to our room at the Inn for a quick lunch and knew we still needed to find some ice for Alex's birthday. He wanted to skate so badly - and it seemed like it should be cold enough! We had hope. So we tracked down some locals and asked for the best spots to look for skateable ice. We got some solid recommendations, but only a couple within about an hour's distance. June Lake was the first and closest we'd heard about, and wasn't far from Mammoth Lakes village - about a 30 minute drive north. We hopped in the car with our skates and followed the signs up to the June Lake Loop, a road that follows a series of small lakes ponds around the Southern Rim of the Mono Lake Basin.
When we got to the lake we could immediately tell it wasn't frozen - the wind was literally blowing small waves across the surface of the lake! But since we'd driven that far, we decided to get out and explore. We ditched the skates and parked the car at the top of the narrow gravel road (road is generous - see the rocky path below) leading down to June Lake and near the June Lake Marina. It was gorgeous with or without the ice, and we so enjoyed walking along the rocky beach line and snapping pics of the brush-covered marsh. As we pulled back out onto the roadway we realized we were just a few miles south of the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, and decided to continue our trek up to see the famous 'salt glaciers'.
Guys - I was BLOWN AWAY. Just when I thought I'd seen all the beautiful places, we stumbled upon this gem of a place. It's other worldly, like a movie set depicting some alien planet; I couldn't get over first how beautiful it was and second, the unique the mix of terrains, fauna and salt formations that made of the preserve. We walked around for about a half hour with our jaws in the sand, in total admiration of the stillness and tranquility of the super cool place we had found. There was only one other family walking around and after we exchanged photos, we quickly separated and had the place to ourselves. The walked along the preserve as the sun was setting, which added even more magic to the visit. We snapped tons of photos and hung out until almost dark, then headed back to the car and back into Mammoth Lakes. We were getting hungry at this point but since we hadn't found ice - and I had promised Alex we'd skate for his birthday - we decided to make a quick visit to the always frozen Mammoth Ice Rink right in the heart of downtown Mammoth Lakes. It was a cute spot, full of families and kids skating on a well lit but rarely resurfaced rink, and me and my hockey-playing husband had no trouble skating laps around the crowd. We skated for about 45 minutes, until my legs were too tired to keep going and Alex was ready to find some birthday dinner.
Again we traded our skates for snow boots and this time headed just up the road from the rink to the Mammoth Brewing Company for dinner. Alex had also visited this place during his bachelor party weekend at the mountain 6 months earlier, so we decided to head over for a few drinks and delicious greasy bar food to celebrate my dude turning the big 3-0. Lucky for me they had house brewed root beer on tap, so I sipped one while we waited to order food at the in-brewery food spot, The Eatery. We ended up ordering a host of deep fried things, but most notably the tots. Oh mannn they were great! Giant, puffy, fried potato puffs with some kind of spicy seasoning, a crispy outer layer and a bunch of dipping sauces. It was reallllly good. Almost got a second order, good. Almost. Afterwards we headed back for an early night to bed. We had connected online with a local photographer and agreed to meet her at sunrise for a photo shoot.
There was one last thing I had really wanted to do this visit to Mammoth, and that was find and enjoy some of the local hot springs. When I mentioned this to the photographer, she agreed to show us a local spot that morning, so I was stoked for the session. We got up super early and bundled up in the dark - it was only 13 degrees out, though warmer than we had expected before the sun rose. We met our photographer, Jade [Jade Woo Photography] at a secret spot and had an incredible time watching the sun come up as we shot romantic photos in the brush. We made our way to Wild WIlly's Hot Springs after finding a few local ones totally packed (even at sunrise!) and stopped down to our suits for some gorgeous in-water shots that are super steamy and just for us. We also got a ton of gorgeous, totally bundled up photos, too! Jade really wowed us with the quality of these shots - we cannot wait to work with her again the next time we're up there. And the hot springs were AMAZING! One of the coolest things I've ever seen/ done. Ever. Hands down. Hot Creek is located nearby and while too hot for swimming these days, it does feed all these smaller nearby hot springs year round. It was so fun being in hot tub-temperature water while icicles formed in my hair and on Alex's beard. After over an hour soaking in the mineral-rich springs, we layered back up and headed back to the hotel for warm showers and to pack up. We checked out and headed back toward home that afternoon, making one last Eastside Juice pitstop in Bishop before we left town.
Mammoth - the mountain, the lakes, the village - has become such a special place to us. We talk about the someday that we'll bring our kids there, and how lucky we are to both love spending so much time there. Between the winter skiing, snowshoeing, and skating and the summer biking, hiking and camping - there's literally something for everyone. Even if your kind of activity is just grabbing a beer and hanging out until après ski! Get yourself up there and enjoy some the crazy natural beauty, it's literally everywhere you look. Swing by the VisitMammoth.com for upcoming events, travel info, snow conditions + to plan your next trip!
*DISCLOSURE: We partnered with Mammoth Lakes Tourism to create this post. They comped our room and helped arrange our activities for the weekend as well. Regardless, we LOVE Mammoth and would've spent the time there anyway. It's the greatest place on earth.*
My Vegan Bachelorette Weekend!
Hi friends! This post has taken me a lot longer to write than it probably should have, between my crippling anxiety that dealing with this particular event gave me and the fact that my wedding was Saturday. If you wanna see some sneak peeks from our gorgeous, perfect wedding (posts coming soon!), check out my instagram page + story. If you're interested in reading more about my anxiety attack and how I am learning, in an ongoing way, to deal with it, you can check out my recent post on both subjects here. If not, then I'm going to dive right into this post and focus on the good: because that's really how I'd prefer to remember it! It wasn't a perfect weekend, but it was pretty great, and I'm really lucky that I had people there that had my back.
The weekend kicked off in a caravan to Palm Springs and a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum to see the new Jeffrey Gibson installation in the sculpture gardens. Our ultimate goal that afternoon before our AirBNB check-in would be to visit Desert X, his other running installation just a mile from where we were staying in PS. The sculpture garden was really neat, and I particularly loved the amount of blown glass artwork they had - so cool to see!
After the museum we headed a little further into town to the Palm Greens Cafe, one of my favorite places to grab a meal whenever I'm in town. They have a great, super vegan-friendly breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu, plus a board full of fresh juices and smoothies that'll keep you cool in the hot desert weather. My favorite is their Pineapple Jalapeño Cucumber juice - it's sweet, spicy, and super refreshing. We met up with most of the rest of our group at the restaurant for lunch, and texted final grocery and alcohol orders to the stragglers meeting us at the house later. At this point I was getting super excited to see where we'd be staying and to finally head over to the Desert X exhibit. We headed to the AirBNB for check-in, and were a little surprised at how small it was; cute - totally! But also super much smaller than it looked in photos (isn't that always the case?) and a little dingier. But it would do the trick! It was a strange setup - like a house with most of the rooms combined, plus two attached in-law apartments. A strange structure that made for even weirder sleeping arrangements, but it had a pool and hot tub! Not even the semi-creepy on-property manager (yeah, that definitely wasn't in the listing) could kill the vibe.
We split into rooms, my sister and I splitting one of the larger and more personal in-law apartments, and then headed back to the outskirts of town towards Desert X. The exhibit is basically a large house made entirely of mirrors - and it is super cool! Only about half the group made the trip, but we all thought it was rad and made sure to get plenty of cool photos. I mean, we had to! It was incredible to be alone in an entire room of mirrors - which you might've seen behind the scene footage of if you're following my instagram stories. 😉
Since I want to be super transparent and honest with you guys, you should know that I was lucky enough to have some really great brand support the weekend through product donation from the following brands: Dandies, Eat Pastry, Harmless Harvest, YumEarth, Organic Gemini, Tater Tats, Larabar, Ozery, Juicero, Hippeas, NadaMoo and Utopia Farms. I want to give them all a HUGE shoutout for being involved and for sharing their products with us for the weekend. They kept us fed, hydrated, full and ready to party, and for that I am so thankful. I love and support ALL of these brands, and recommend their products for real: no paid advertisement needed!
The snacks made the weekend a freaking blast - and saved us a bunch of time and money. Our fridge was fully stocked - it was truly a thing of beauty. I wish I'd gotten a better picture, but the lighting info ur AirBNB was total crap - lots of shade to block out that hot desert sun. There's a picture of every product on here, but the Ozery + Juicero (in the bottom right of the first photo set) are unlabeled - though were maybe the most eaten products! 😝
We loved using Organic Gemini's tigernut-based protein for our morning smoothies along with some fresh fruit (especially those that indulged in alcohol the night before, haha!) and munching on Larabars all day long between meals to keep us full-time on healthy fats. The Harmless Harvest and Juicero kept us hydrated around the pool, and the Dandies, Eat Patsry, YumEarth and NadaMoo made delicious desserts! Most of the attendees had never tried Hippeas before and they were and instant hit at the party. Utopia Farms provided the medicated edibles - which was AWESOME for me because I don't really drink, and Tater Tats gave us the temporary tattoo entertainment!
The first morning we woke up and everyone was a little hungover - except me - so I practiced a little yoga and made morning smoothies for the group. The rest of the day was the perfect pool day - lots of sun, drinking, poolside snacking, and floating around in fruit-shaped inflatables. I brought along a tie dye kit and we made rad, very nineties souvenirs take home. Turns out you can get a super easy, 30-dye kit with easy apply nozzles at Michaels for like $20. It was so worth it! The evening was a blur of games of Cards Against Humanity, late-night hot tubbing, and some serious dance sessions. We headed to bed late and got up early the next day for our 11 am check out. Everyone was sleepy, a little hungover, and tired of being in the sun.
Lots of long and loving goodbyes later, we were on the road home. I was exhausted from the weekend emotionally and physically, and was so ready to get home to see (my now HUSBAND!) Alex. We cruised back past the Cabazon Dinosaurs and home. Over - a great weekend. My tips? I've got a few!
And once it's all over, just remember - no matter how it goes - you are that much closer to marrying your partner and that part is so, so worth it. A snapshot of the crew below - thanks to all my friends for sharing my bachelorette weekend with me!
Top 5 Vegan Finds at the 2017 Cannabis Cup!
Alex and I had the pleasure of attending our very first Southern California Cannabis Cup last weekend at the San Bernardino fairgrounds and had a total blast. We really didn't know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised when, after following respected magazine account High Times on instagram, we saw that tickets were reasonably priced. So we bought them! We arrived in the afternoon (the event went 3 pm to 11 pm) and got checked in pretty easily, barely bag searched, and sent in to get wristbands. Anyone could get in with a ticket, but to get into the sampling + smoking section, you had to have proof of your medical rec on you. After getting into the inner sanctum (and the sampling tents!) we started seeing similarities between this event and something like Expo West. It's basically the same idea - an expo of all the growers, sellers, and products hitting the market in one place, for people who consider themselves connoisseurs. There was everything from flower and bud to smoke, to crumble and shatter to dab, to edibles from every corner of the stoner culinary world - including some really great vegan ones! We scoured the show, taking the occasional dab and sucking down CBD water to stay hydrated, looking for the very best, newest vegan, GF, and better for you edibles at the show and found some really great ones. Scroll down for my list of the best in show - you may find yourself a new must-have treat!
1. Mary Jane Juice Co. Fresh-pressed Juices + Nut Milks
We found the Mary Jane Juice Co. nearly last at the show (pictured above 👆), but we're so glad we did! They had a sampling of at least 6 flavors at the show, but these two were the stand-outs for us; the 100 mg Vanilla Almond Milk and the 200 mg Ancient Healing Tea. They're both low-sugar, vegan, and totally raw, plus each packs a hearty cannabis punch to help sure whatever's ailing ya! The milk, smaller in dosage size, was $10 and the tea was $20, but it would also be more than one serving for most people. These drinks are packed with good-for-you-ingredients so you can reap the pain relief benefits of the drink along with the inherent nutritive value of the drink itself. They're guilt-free, great on the go, and taste great - no weird marijuana aftertaste. Find more info on their Instagram!
2. Cheef Naturals Chews + Super Fruit Bars
Okay guys, all terrible branding and racism aside (the name Cheef and their branding at the show -- white girls dressed as Native Americans -- realllllly needs to be reconsidered) these edibles are really phenomenal. They're one of the only edibles I've seen on the market with a focus on being super, super healthy. I'd tried their super fruit bars before and loved how they tasted like a raw, flax-y granola bar. The high was great too, but it just felt so nice to eat an edible that aligned with how I eat the rest of the time. The coconut caramel chews are a new product, very similar in texture to Cocomels, but infused with marijuana. And packing a hearty THC punch with 5 doses (100 mg) per chew! Find more on their products here.
3. Half Lit 25 mg THC Pops
These pops just get cooler and cooler! Not only do they taste great, pack a solid little punch, and are made with organic ingredients, but when you finish this pop you can recycle the stick by PLANTING it! It contains cannabis seeds, so when planted and watered will turn your trash into a big, beautiful plant. I love this idea! Such a clever way to cut waste and encourage recycling. Just make sure that if you plant the stick, you live in an area where you won't get in trouble if you get caught. Be smart friends. (Here in CA we are allowed to keep plants, but please check your laws before you plant anything! Duh. 😝) We picked up a pineapple and watermelon pop for later, and hope to start seeing these at more of our local dispensaries soon! Find out more about them here.
4. Zendo Infused Peanut Butter
This was one of my favorite product from the show, and maybe the one I'm most excited about for other people to try. It's literally just an infused peanut butter, which each packet 1 oz packet containing a 50 mg serving of THC (hybrid strains). It's the perfect healthy snack, literally containing just all natural raw peanuts and cannabis. With no added sugar or weird ingredients, this edible is perfect for people looking to stick to a specific diet or who have to eat healthfully because they're not well. Plus, it packs a great punch of protein! (If you have to do chemo and can't get a lot of food down, this may be a great option as well.) This same company also makes a similar single serving packet of coconut oil, perfect for eating raw or cooking with. I can't wait to slather this stuff all over my morning toast, add it to my smoothie, and make a soba noodle salad using this for the peanut sauce. It's so versatile! Find more at ZendoEdibles.com.
5. Cali Gold Genetics Cannabis Infused Body Butter
This booth caught our attention as we were walking by because they were one of the few advertising as a VEGAN product - which we loved, and of course stopped to check out. These body butters are made with quality, moisturizing ingredients like cupuacu butter, kokum butter, cannabis infused coconut and olive oils and vanilla infused jojoba oil, and rubs on super thick and emollient, but not greasy. There are 4 different types, all designed to alleviate pain, inflammation and irritation and to protect and nourish your skin. It's amazing stuff! I actually talked to the woman at the booth for awhile about my psoriasis and she explained that she actually started making these salves as an alternative to medicated psoriasis creams for her boyfriend. I've started using it on my psoriasis on my thighs and have been loving the results - super moisturized and no flaking! Find more about their salves other website here.
Brentwood Home - $275 Sleep Wellness GIVEAWAY!
Brentwood Home is a Los Angeles-based team of artisans and fabricators making some really healthy, comfortable, ethically-sourced products. I fell in love with them originally when I stumbled upon their meditation pillow and then got it for Christmas. It's filled with buckwheat husks and is seriously the most comfortable thing - it totally aligns my spine and has made me meditation practice something I actually look forward to! When they reached out about trying their all-natural pillows, I was SO down! Brentwood Home has been making home and bedding essentials in Los Angeles for over 30 years. From design to development to manufacturing, they handle it all. From natural latex to organic cotton, they make sure your home is taken care of. Think about it, friends – we spend about 1/3 of our lives in our BEDS! To me, it’s important that they’re as natural as possible. Many mattress and bedding companies use chemical fire retardants, phthalates, and heavy metals when manufacturing and processing their products. Those can’t be good to breathe in through the night, right? The good news is Brentwood Home doesn’t use any of them, and that makes me feel like I can sleep safe and sound. Even better? Their products have a 120-night sleep guarantee and a 25-year warranty! That's why I've teamed up with the folks at Brentwood Home for this awesome $275 Sleep Wellness bundle giveaway, with bedroom essentials that’ll change the way you sleep. Read on to win!
We all know that getting a good night's sleep is a necessity for boosting your mood and banishing under-eye circles, but did you know it can also improve your memory, help curb inflammation, keep a healthy weight, and can even help you live longer? Most of us aren't getting enough, and the sleep we get is disjointed and full of tossing and turning. If your pillows and mattress suck - and more often they do than don't - then it's time to upgrade! In this sleep wellness bundle, you’ll receive four pillows that will have you more excited than ever to jump into bed! Two Latex/ Kapok pillows are filled with all-natural latex ribbons that have a responsive feel that provides uplifting support, combined with a silky-smooth plant fiber called kapok. They’ll be the perfect fit for people who switch between multiple sleeping positions, as they easily mold to your neck and head. The cover is made of organic cotton, grown without toxic pesticides or fertilizers, so you can sleep safe and sound. The winner will also receive two Molded Latex Pillows that are bouncy, resilient, and molded to perfectly contour your head and neck. They’re made with healthy materials for your sleep, like a 100% organic cotton cover, and they’re certified free of synthetic materials by the Eco-institute. While Alex prefers the latex/ kapok combo, I've been seriously loving the next support of the molded latex version. It's so nice to have pillows we can BOTH finally enjoy!
Plus, I love that Brentwood Home keeps their production process as close to their home in California as possible. They operate their own factory, which gives them complete control over the production process. From design to development to manufacturing, everything they do is in-house and up to their own standards. By eliminating middlemen and shipping directly from their factory to the customer, they’re able to cut manufacturing costs and pass the savings on to you and me. I also love how much California inspires the actual design of their products. It’s clear in the neutral colors, modern design, and eco-friendly materials, plus almost everything is named after a West Coast staple or landmark. California has always been first in line when it comes to environmental regulation, implementing policies that are eventually followed by the rest of the country - nothing says California living like being green!
So, want to WIN these awesome pillows for yourself? You can enter by simply entering your email below! We'll choose a winner and email a winner on Wednesday, 2/8 - so be sure to check the email you provide! International entrants welcome. Good luck!
Whether you win or not, be sure to use Brentwood Home Discount Code OURHOME on your next purchase for 10% OFF!
Dr. Raw Organics - Medicated Edibles Review
Okay, guys. This will quickly become one of those 'if you don't know, now you know' posts for a lot of you. And for some of you, it'll be more like uhm, duh! If you know me personally, it's probably the latter. Before I totally shock you with my grand exit from the green closet, let me just remind you that this is my choice. You can make yours. I am very pro-choice, and I want to offer these reviews both for people who may medically need the products and would like an honest review before they try 'em, and because medical marijuana is now legal is 28 states and DC and frankly, it seems like everybody's enjoying it. One more quick note - this is very much a safe space for questions and discussion, but no hate. I'm happy to indulge curiosity but never douchebaggery.
That said, I live in California, which was well known for it's Emerald Triangle long before last month's election. Weed, mary jane, marijuana cigarettes - whatever you call them, it's very available and widely accepted here. I've had my medical marijuana card for years to help with hunger and essentially help to break my battle with eating disorders. Seriously - it helped me calm down and get hungry enough to stop worrying, which is what I really needed to ultimately overcome my consistent binge/purge/starve cycle. While I will always stuggle with it, it's been a solid 6 years since I 've felt those really awfuly urges in full swing. And that is amazing for me.
If you're still reading, you're probably at least curious about self-healing with and exploration of marijuana. And I'm so glad, because it is such a great, natural alternative to prescritpion medications. (Obviously check wih a doctor before trying anything new!)
Besides increasing my hunger and appetite, marijuana helps me sleep more deeply, deal with aches, pains + PMS, and regulates my stress levels. I'm a big fan, but also understand that for many, including myself, smoking simply isn't the best or easiest option. Luckily, with states legalizing left and right, producers have gotten more creative with how to deliver to medicine to your system. Nope, you no longer have to smoke a joing or take a hit off a germy, passed-around water pipe to feel it, friends. You can eat, sip, suck, swallow and rub it on, instead! That sounded really innapropriate, but seriously - you can medicate just by sucking on a hard candy!
When I attended the Women GROW Conference in LA last month, I was lucky enough to meet (in-person!) several companies that are pioneering healthier, easier to enjoy edibles. Most companies are still making sugar-packed sweets like brownies, gummies, and cookies - so if you're actually very sick or simply are avoiding sugar, gluten or dairy, it can be tricky to find edibles that you know you will enjoy and that would leave you in a sugar crash three hours later. When I first met the folks at the Dr. Raw booth I was immediately interested. I could see right on the packaging that they were offering up some totally vegan, soy-free, gluten-free products -and even some that were sugar-free, too!
Dr. Raw Organics is based in Southern California and makes a range of products - both THC-based (the part of marijuana that makes you feel mentally stimlated - i.e. 'high'), and CBD-based (the part of the plant that is for purely pain relief. You'll get NO high from this.), so they have something for everyone. Their team of herbalists has been handcrafting organic, non-GMO edibles for over a decade, and they always potency test for consistent results you can trust. They make their own tinctures, balms, oils, hard candies and range of baked goods (not ALL are vegan), which you can peruse on their website. At the conference, they were whipping up fresh hard candies, and I immediatey loved how simple and yummy they were. Because they contain both THC + CBD, they offer more a hard-hitting pain relief. I have a pretty high tolerance - I usually ingest about 50 mg~ when I want to get 'high' or feel some serious pain relief. These hard candies start in 10 mg portions, so you can start small and without messing your entire day up. Of course, as with any new medication, prepare to be home the first day so you can see how your body reacts. Better safe than asleep on your desk at work!
I ended up getting a little care package sent to me from them later, since I was so in love with all of their vegan options! We've found some great vegan things at dispensaries before, but usually they're full of crappy ingredients, so I was so so happy to open it and find all of the goodies pictured here. We're tried the candy hearts, in multiple dosages, the 1:1 balm, and the raw bites. The 1:1 balm is a cocoa butter topical analgesic, great for aches and pains. It works much like arnica to help soothe the tender area and provide relief, and I love it for my sore neck, after yoga, and on any place that just feels not good - I slathered it all over my cracked fingers after my trip to Maine and it worked wonders - plus it smelled great!
The raw balls are a great option for more pain or in a case where you can really relax. They contain 50mg of THC per ball, so most people should start with half a ball or less. I can pop a whole one, but it definitely leaves me feeling sleepy and verrrrrry relaxed about 2 hours later. They are made with organic, gluten-free steel-cut oats, infused coconut oil, ground peanuts, cocoa powder, flax-seed, cinnamon and a touch of agave nectar. The small portion size gives you the perfect indulgence you crave, with just the right amount of medicine.
The butterscotch-flavored candy hearts are my favorite. So easy to just pop one in your mouth and very discreetly medicate! They are made using seasonal, certified organic fruit and veggie based flavorings and colorings, plus they come in two dosgae sizes. Each regular Candy Heart contains 10mg THC and 1mg CBD and there are 10 Hearts in a package – so 100mg total. Each 1:1 Candy Heart contains the perfect dose of 5mg CBD and 5mg THC, also containing the 100mg total as well.
Whether you're just getting interested in the medical cannabis industry or you just really love edibles, I highly recommend searching these guys out. They have a convenient product locator on their website and offer free samples to curious consumers. Dr. Raw Organics are offering some of the highest quality, certified tested products out there right now, and we love supporting a company like that. Visit them + get more info at DrRawOrganics.com and on their IG at @Dr.RawOrganics!
New Products + New Favorites from Expo West 2016!
Expo West 2016 has officially come and gone and OH MAN were there some awesome things to see and eat! I spent 3 full days there this year - one more full day than last year, and it was so worth it. I feel like I saw nearly everything possible and tasted everything I wanted to - some things more than once. Here I've rounded up the best of the best (in my humble opinion) and the best of the newest products at the show to share with you guys. Some of the products are on the market already and some will be coming out later this year.
My top favorite of the show - the STUNNER - was the brand new vegan aquafaba-based mayo from Sir Kensingtons. It comes in a regular and a chipotle flavor, an it is TOO DAMN GOOD. It's totally soy-free, which is perfect since I'm off soy completely now, and tastes bette than any other vegan mayo I've tried...which I think is nearly all of them. It's my new fave BUT won't be on the market officially until summer. At Expo they were serving to with French fries, which was absolutely delicious, but I can't wait to try it in potato salads, on sandwiches, and in dips and sauces! Seriously, my fave new product at this year's show. I seriously cannot wait for you guys to try it!
I've really been trying to eat a few less desserts and watch my sugar intake lately, so seeing these new tart flavors but Hail Merry made me SO happy! Their mini-tarts are rich in healthy fats and flavor and have half the sugar of the regular tarts, plus are bite-sized for easy portion control. The Strawberry Rhubarb was my favorite flavor, but they were all quite good. Hail Merry also debuted a new Salted Brownie macaroon bites flavor and two new bean-free hummus's made from the nuts they also use for the tarts. I loved meeting the people at their booth, they were all so kind and made me feel even better about supporting them. They rock! Also - how rad would those sweet potato tarts be for Thanksgiving? Dessert = made!
My favorite drinks from the show were a toss-up between these new Matcha Almond Milk and Ginger Almond Milk drinks from Califia Farms (left) and these new Fermented Botanical drinks from Clearly Kombucha.
The drinks form Califia Farms are creamy, rich, and a delicious and brilliant alternative to regular nut-milk flavors. The matcha is my personal favorite, but the ginger is a very close second. They are light and sweet and for someone who doesn't regularly drink bottles of nut milk, I love these flavorful alternatives. There is also a thick coconut version, but it didn't taste extraordinary to me. These are available NOW so keep an eye out for them!
The new botanicals drinks are the perfect fermented drink for someone weary of the strong flavors of kombucha or the caffeine in iced tea. They are lightly carbonated and sweet and taste so great - there's nothing else like 'em. Clearly Kmobucha knocked it out of the park on these ones. My favorite flavors were the Lemongrass and Strawberry Milk Thistle but they come in at least 4 more flavors. Look for them on shelves soon!
These products were our favorite unexpected finds of the weekend. The products from Yai's Thai were so incredibly spicy and delicious. They all had a unique flavor and great heat to them, and we fell so in love they let us take a few sample bottles home. These sauces are better than literally ANY other Asian hot sauce (you know the ones) on the market right now, but only for those who really truly LOVE the spice of a good Thai chile. We later found out they started in Maine, my home state, which gave them extra bonus points in my book. Worth buying for sure!
Sheese is a soy-based cheese (off limits to me, but I tried it anyway) out of Scotland, that I;ve seen all over the internet but never in the US. Turns out they just don't have great distribution here yet (hence why they were at the show), but their products are all really good. They come in a variety of flavors and types, and they've really got a great product. Request it in your local stores!
Upton's Jackfruit has been on the market since last year, but this new curry flavor they're releasing is a delicious addition to the family! Its a flavor I would've been hesitant to try on my own, but I love how they paired it with simple brown rice at the show - it would make an easy weeknight meal for sure.
Upstairs, Gardein was sampling their soon-to-be-released breakfast pockets made with Follow Your Heart's vegan egg and Field Roast's chao cheese. They were so good - I would definitely eat them regularly if not for my soy-intolerance. They would be a perfect on-the-go hot breakfast! Look for them this summer.
These were two totally new to me drinks. First the Sapp brand: maple water is seeing a surge of popularity in the market the last two years since coconut water has come out and become so popular. They are similar in texture and lightness of taste, and are equally hydrating. Like maple and coconut water, birch tree water has its own healthful properties, and has a super lightly sweet flavor - much like the Sapp brand name suggests, it tastes reminiscent of tree sap, but in the best way. I really enjoyed these drinks and the packaging and would definitely buy them in the future.
Teaonic is a line of cold tea drinks designed to aid in healthful bodily function in some way or another. They offer a drink for digestion, skin, liver, adrenals, weight, hair and nails, and the brain, as well as a femininity tea. I got the gut version, made with chai tea, since I always seem to have stomach issues. It was unsweetened, which I preferred and was a smaller bottle, so I didn't get stuck drinking it all afternoon. It was actually really good, and did seem to make my belly feel nice after drinking it, though I'm sure I'd need to keep it up for long-term effects. I'd try it again!
These drinks all fall into the category of things I've tried before, but love too much not to share. Farmhouse Culture makes some of the best sauerkraut on the market - their smoked jalapeño flavor is life-changingly good. Their Gut Shots are equally as awesome, and a smart way to use the healthy, probiotic-packed juice from their fermented products instead of dumping it down the drain. The liquid is filled with a ton of good-for-you bacteria and has a yummy, spicy kick that makes your whole stomach feel good after drinking it. I drink a shot every morning before breakfast and whenever my tummy feels a bit off. It is my GO-TO probiotic product!
I've said it a million times on instagram, but I'll say it here too: I love me some Mamma Chia! They make the best chia-packed drinks out there, and these energy drinks are an excellent addition to their line, They're a little tangier than the regular drinks and are a great coffer-free alternative to that afternoon slump.
Daily Greens makes some really fantastic green juice. They have a bunch of flavors, but this Renew flavors packed with watermelon juice + greens, so it not only tastes great but is super hydrating. Plus, the packaging is lovely. You can find these at Whole Foods and Sprouts for sure, and hopefully more chains in the future!
I had seen the Bixby Bar once or twice at Fresh 'n' Easy before they closed them all down here, but had never tried one. As soon as I realized they were made in Rockland, Maine I knew I HAD to get my hands on one. This bar was TOO GOOD. Salty and sweet and rich - super indulgent and satisfying. Also totally GF and organic. They come in several flavors and I would definitely buy them again. I think they're available at Whole Foods!
Oh Alpendough...so good, so only available in Colorado. I'm really hoping they get their distribution opened up because it was AMAZING, especially since it was all gluten-free as well. Big fan, and will be a big customer when it makes its way to California!
Organic Gemini has taken a little-known tuber, the tiger nut, and turned it into a soon-to-be-sensation and one of my favorite products at Expo two years running. They 'milk' the nuts into a creamy, rich, lightly-sweetened drink and add cinnamon and one of 8 flavors. They are MIND-BLOWINGLY good. And super good for you, too! We have a recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Smoothie made with tiger nuts if you're looking for a recipe to try for yourself.
Rawpothecary is another juice company we love that is all about drinking straight from natures pharmacy. Their creative juice blends taste incredible and began as a treatment for her fathers illness. The Holla Pîna flavor is my favorite!
LoveGrace is a juice company based in New York. I happened to meet the owners at a vegan party in the Field Roast suite after Expo one night, and they hooked us up with some of their juices and smoothies. The Cacao Smoothie was super good - rich, sweet, satisfying - like a healthy milkshake! But ever more I loved the Yerba Mate Herbal Energy drink. It was mixed with nice so it was sweet and tasted like a spicy lemonade, but gave me a ton of morning energy - which was exactly what I needed to get through day 3! They have a ton of juices in their line and ship to your door, or you can visit one of their locations in NYC!
Temple Turmeric is a company I really love. They make a great product and turn turmeric into a normal, taste-good drink. I love all their flavors, but could;t get enough of this spicy Pure Fire Tonic. It has a billion (literally - it say so on the bottle) probiotics in it, and wakes your digestive right up. My insides felt clean and refreshed after drinking it, and I daresay it even gave me an energy boost. I'll definitely be buying these regularly!
I know that these Chia Pods are a tad expensive to always have in the fridge, but I got to take home these free ones from Expo this year and I am loving them! They're great on the go or when you just don't have the time (or enegery) to make your own chia pudding - even though its pretty easy to DIY. But these awesome little snacks come in 8 flavors and are easy lunchbox food, which sometimes is the only think you want to eat. Yum!
I had heard about Little Secrets dark chocolate candies (super similar to M+M's) all over expo and told I had to get over there. When I finally did I tried like 4 of the flavors before realizing only 3 of them were vegan. Whooooops. Anyway, the dark chocolate ones are totally vegan and totally delicious. Again, had to go easy on them because they do contain soy, but they tasted so much like the real thing - but way better and less full of artificial ingredients. I would definitely use these for entertaining non-vegan guests - they'd never know the difference!
Last party attended at Expo was at the Hope Foods booth. They were debuting their new green chile guacamole - which I can confidently say is the ONLY packaged guac I'm comfortable eating - and sharing mini margaritas with everyone. I'm not a big drinker but definitely needed one after walking around for 10 hours at Expo. Also - the people at their booth were so FUN! We even got hat that read 'Nice Spread'. Ha! 😉
Overall it was an excellent experience. I got to bring some friends along this year and show them the ropes, plus I met a ton of great people working for great companies that I am really happy to support. Oh yeah, and I think I visited the Daiya booth at least 6 times for snacks - you can see their mac 'n' cheese samples below. And Tim (@veganfatkid) is also down there. Expo is like the biggest blogger get-together ever, we all have way too much fun hanging out together and munching the day away. Plus the after parties are rockin'! We're talking full vegan taco bar, here. We can't wait until next year! Until then, which products are you most excited to see hit the shelves?
Last Friday we held our very first, soft-opening of our new plant-based taco pop-up, Tacolepsy! Held at Green Bliss Cafe in Downtown Fullerton, we started at 7 pm to a line out the door - which was FANTASTIC! We were serving up 3 specially plant-based tacos, fresh from the oven Mexican chocolate cookies and fresh cantaloupe aqua fresca. I started prepping the food the day before, but did most of my chopping and prepping that Friday, so the food was as fresh as could be. It was certainly interesting making such a large amount food for one event - we made enough to serve up about 300 tacos and sold out around 10 pm. Glad we didn't have too many leftovers, though!
So what'd we serve up? Here was our official menu for the night. Everything was gluten-free (except the cookies), and the hit of the night was definitely the Jackfruit tacos, with the Loaded Potato following closely behind.
Since we were so busy and didn't get to snap a ton of pictures, here are some great shots of the tacos from people who came and shared on instagram. Follow us @Tacolepsy to stay up to date on upcoming events + future menus!
My favorite part? Having all my favorite people there to help + support me...oh and of course, eating tacos! We had a blast hanging out and serving up tacos to old and new friends with hearty appetites, and we can't wait to do it again. We're planning on starting a once-monthly pop-up in the same location starting again in April, but of course we'll keep updating our social media pages to share upcoming events. For the latest, you can follow us @Tacolepsy on Facebook + Instagram. And if you're ever strolling around the OC and spot the below sign -- you found us! Thanks again to everyone who came out, we can't wait to do it again soon!
25 Things I've Learned at 25