Back To The Future: The Best Drugs To Magically Escape The Holidays
Your mini holidaze escape plan
Have you ever used an immersion blender while high? Just mesmerizing.
It’s potato leek soup season, and I’m on my third bowl and baking banana-maple muffins while powering through old episodes of Sex and the City. Because New York Magazine reports that there are orgies everywhere again (somehow, even better than before!) and it just seemed topical. Especially the part where Carrie’s credit card gets the chop because she can’t afford her designer shoe habit writing a weekly sex column. Shocker.
“Are relationships over or is this just the Whoring ‘20s in New York City?” she mused, taking another drag off her long-stemmed joint.
Like many Americans, I know I am not alone when I’m not crazy about the holidays. My inbox has been slammed with marketing emails leading up to this week since June and I’ve been ignoring all of them. Travel is a nightmare. The sun disappears by 4 p.m. And the sheer mention of Mariah Carey’s name is a triggering signal of the sharp descent into seasonal affective disorder.
Here in New York, passing 34th street seems less like a miracle and more like a sad prop in a tragic wasteland. Though, I can say that I did cross off my bucket list item of marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2019 simply by crashing the end of it.
As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time being a tourist in my own city, enjoying the return of art and immersive experiences. Shows. New restaurants. The disco. Cabaret theater. Futuristic dance performance. AI meets tech. People filing the streets, the click-clacking of heels pounding the pavement, getting high above the High Line, slinking into the depths of the subways, huddled into dark bars. Then, not leaving my house for 3 days because I start looking like Delta Burke in “Maternal Instincts.”
As a holiday season appetizer, a stream of art-meets-AI installations and immersive experiences addressing utopia-dystopia are lighting up New York City, from MAXLive and Subject by Memredux to The Stone Age and ARTECHHOUSE. Most of these events are very blink-and-you’ll-miss-them in the typical New York minute kind of way, but all envisioning extended or augmented realities suitable for escaping the present one.
Getting back into the real world means detaching from it at these some of these shows, where the topics du jour leave you thinking about questions such as: If you could choose to erase painful memories of the past with an experimental treatment, would you? How do ancestral histories tie within the future of the AI and the metaverse? Would you rather stay on the grid, or off of it? And why are we so obsessed with barreling into the future without making small changes to simply fix the present?
And just like that, the holidays showed up to remind us that another year slipped through our fingers.
I’m supposed to tell you that weed solves all problems and heals all wounds, but we know the truth: it’s useful for uplifting your mood, not erasing issues. That’s why my favorite thing about the holidays is the food and knowing it will all be over soon.
Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t make the best of it. One year, I filled a champagne fountain with an arak and beet cocktail from Brooklyn’s Miss Ada for Hanukkah, which felt like a very healthy-ish and relevant complement for latkes. (It was).
1½ ounces arak
1 ounce beet juice
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
4 leaves of mint
Muddle mint and add all liquids, shake hard with ice.
In our household, the tradition of what we currently know as “the holidays,” a.k.a. Black Friday / Small Biz Saturday / Cyber Monday / Giving Tuesday / Green Wednesday / Throw Yourself Off A Ledge Thursday had humble beginnings consisting of 8 shitty presents spread across 8 nights, eating a few fried potatoes and decorating a houseplant into a makeshift Hanukkah bush.
My grandma’s latkes leaned on a combination of Crisco and butter, making them extra crispy (recipe below). Somehow, with all the open flames it never turned into a more symbolic burning bush, though my mom’s long acrylic nails once lit on fire at my second-grade birthday party at the Coral Springs Pizza Hut.
Today, the modern holidays seem to be a repeat of Charlie Brown specials, football games I will not be watching, and manslaughter updates from the local Walmart.
Maybe you have a healthy relationship with your family and came even closer together during these troubling times. Maybe you cut them off a long ass time ago and are feeling REALLY GOOD about it. Maybe you’ve been so invested in your business, going so hard, and feeling like no one even notices, pinning your hopes and dreams on banking big this time of year. Maybe you went through a messy break-up or a bitter divorce. Maybe you’re lonely, and could use a vibrator, too. Maybe you need to confront your demons, your shadow, and come to terms with some self-acceptance.
You deserve weed, not a capitalistic existential pressure chamber.
Frankly, between all the packaging waste, my gut reaction is to tell you to buy nothing and go volunteer, make a crappy zine for your friends, donate to the New York Cares coat drive and The Lilith Fund, and give everyone a call, maybe giving some second chances to friends you lost in the emotional battles of the past few years, or finding some altruistic activity to invest your time with new friends.
But there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself and some of your favorite cannabis-loving friends with a gift that says, “Let’s slide through the next month into 2022.”
A quick consensus among my friends is that everyone is clinically depressed and looking for a ray of optimism. After a rough past few years, this is a good time to make some space and invite new people and things into your life. In case you missed it, here are 28 ideas to get started from my 2019 guide for GQ, and a few more favorites to throw onto your radar.
Also, I’ve decided to join in this mess by offering a little holiday special: subscribe now through November 28 and get 20% off forever.
Treat yourself and each other this holiday season with some recs of my favorite things, just like Oprah and Reese Witherspoon!
Best Drugs For Magically Escaping the Holidays
For the discerning joint enthusiast
Z’S LIFE PAPERS ($12-14)
Here’s an easy stocking stuffer: luxe rolling papers from Z’s Life. And they’re currently on sale for the holidays. I have tried many rolling papers, and these are definitely among the best. Not only are these booklets noticeably gorgeous in iridescent, leather and woodgrain texture magnetic cases that can easily slip into your pocket, but they feature slow burning, organic, and non-GMO papers free of additives that feel good between your fingers.
For the gal or guy on the go
SACKVILLE & CO. BURNER KEYCHAIN ($20)
Never leave your home without your phone, wallet, and keys outfitted with this sleek gold joint holder from Sackville & Co. or this mini version for $15. I’ve had this for the last two years and have never had a problem finding my keys, joint or a compliment for how cool it looks.
For the one always stealing your lip balm
KRIO MANGO LIP BALM ($10)
Protect your skin and your lip balm supply by stocking up on this eco- and budget-friendly stocking stuffer from Krio Skincare. Made with a combination of essential oils, including cannabis sativa, this rolls on super slick to keep your lips plump and moisturized.
For the powerpuff in your life
HOUSE OF PUFF LE PIPE ($32)
Do you have a friend who smokes Capri Lights? And they’re not even doing it to be ironic? Help them kick their tobacco habit by replacing it with a sleek hitter from New York-based, woman-owned company House of Puff, which has this adorable ceramic hitter that can slip into the handbag of the gal on the go. Pair it with a pocket ashtray made from silvertone brass and covered in Delaunay Lapis leather.
For the Self-Care Queen
KUSH QUEEN SWAMP QUEEN COLLECTION ($36)
Dip into a sensuous bath that smells like fresh rainwater with this spooky collection from CBD bath bomb company, Kush Queen. Treat your favorite friend to a bath, plus Swamp Queen CBD elixir with a gift that says “Fuck the haters, you deserve only the best.” Learn more about the brand with this profile in the last issue of Pipe Dreams.
For the ceramic connoisseur
MIWAK JUNIOR ($70-85)
Obsessed would be an understatement to describe how much I love these ceramic handpipes from Miwak Junior—and devastated would be the most accurate term to describe how I felt when I accidentally broke my pipe. Before the tragedy, it was among the smoothest pulls I’ve had from any bowl with a gorgeous design that any cannasseur can appreciate worthy of putting on your coffee table.
For the bud who wants to get baked
THE ART OF COOKING WITH CANNABIS ($29.99)
While I will never miss the opportunity promote the shit out of my own book, I nearly completely forgot that I contributed to another: author Tracey Medeiros’ anthology of cannabis-infused recipes from across America. The book features two of my recipes: an extremely potent shatter-infused mac ‘n cheese that is not for amateurs or the faint of heart, and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that will knock your socks off. There are also recipes from a line-up of fantastic chefs and tastemakers including Chef Jordan Wagman, Chef Michael Magliano, Jessica Catalano, Chef Kevin Grossi and Chef Maria Hines.
For the Sherlockian smoker
HEIR HANDPIPE ($120)
Here’s a mystery: why weren’t handpipes on my radar? I’ve been burning through so many joints I nearly forgot the power of a beautiful bowl until I received the latest PRESSBOX from sex-canna publicist Melissa Vitale featuring this sleek and sturdy handpipe from Heir that makes you looks like you’re ready to go solve a mystery. Heir also makes one of my favorite ashtrays that is a more affordable buy at $40 that’s super easy to clean and comes with a stainless steel tampering device for packing joints and picking bowls when you’ve outgrown dirty toothpicks. Made with stainless steel, zirconia ceramic, and silicone, there’s no chance of accidentally cracking this weighty pipe during a fumble like glassware.
For that Vape Lyfe
I’ve been using Vessel vapes for the past couple of years and objectively these pens have the smoothest pull, longest battery life, sleek exterior, and are currently on sale for 25% off. The Slate Wood Series features a 510-thread cartridge battery uniquely outfitted with real walnut wood and slate anodized aluminum powered by a high-quality 300mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery core and four settings. It’s long, wand-like appearance also discretely blends in with other pens, while its compact, hand-held and slightly more affordable Compass Series is an excellent companion.
For the High Roller
OTTO BY BANANA BROS ($149)
Rise and grind with an automatic grinder that packs into a dispensary-worthy cone within seconds. I first test-drove the OTTO in 2018 for Leafly, and visited their Los Angeles office in 2019 and loved how efficient and tight the roll was, particularly for those of you who might not be great at rolling or have mobility issues. Since then, I have learned that they’re now finding alternative uses for the device, which can make incense and spice mixtures.
For the very special Jew stoner in your life
GRAV LABS MENORAH ($399)
Give the gift of killing brain cells with an 8-bowl chamber $400 glass menorah bubbler from GRAV Labs. Honestly, this product kind of terrifies me as someone who has no interest in becoming a meme on the fourtwenty Instagram account. But if you have a very special Jew in your life who would plotz over this, this is a truly choice gift for the chosen one in your life.
For the terracotta fiend
SUMMERLAND SOME HITTER ($55)
With all the bells and whistles on every other cannabis product, there’s something to be said about the simplicity of these terracotta hitters and smokeware from Summerland. Ever take a hit and get nasty pullback? I’ve never had a problem with this compact chillum that blends in seamlessly with Boho terracotta incense burners like these classic ones from Paine’s. Pair it with a few packs or ball of organic hemp wick for a clean light.
For the sleek stash
SERRA CHILL BOX ($80)
This is hands down one of the best stash boxes on the market. This exclusive collaboration between Serra and Hemlock features a beechwood box with removable magnetic lid that doubles as a rolling tray, with compartments for your accessories and a removable angular trough for loading flower. More importantly; it’s a sophisticated stash box for the stoner with style.
For the skincare slut
LORD JONES ACID MANTLE REPAIR MOISTURIZER ($75)
There are a lot of CBD skincare lines out there, but the acid mantle repair from Lord Jones has served me well over the past year and a half. It’s thick, but soaks in without oily residue, featuring 250 mg of full spectrum CBD, sustainably sourced squalane, bisabolol, ginger and elecampane flower, and clinically tested to be pH balanced specifically for stressed skin.
For Sativa-Smooth Hands
OHHO DREAM CREAM ($60)
Hudson Valley brand OHHO landed in my lap earlier this year when they sent a care package of their full spectrum repair balm and CBD oil from Vermont. Since then, they’ve rolled out a whole Northeast cannabis line that includes this hand cream that smells like heaven and feels like a dream, featuring a blend of neroli, orange and bergamot, and infused with organically grown full spectrum CBD. A little goes a long way, so if you’re scared about the price tag, just remember that a dab will do ya.
Ready to GTFO?
My book Easy Weekend Getaways in the Hudson Valley & Catskills is out now everywhere books are sold. IndieBound | W.W. Norton | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Target
Best-Ever Latke Recipe From Carly’s Grandma
6 large potatoes
1 small onion
2 large eggs (maybe 3)
3-4 heaping tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
Crisco, for frying
Butter, for frying
Directions: Use food processor or hand grate (not blender) onions first, then grate potatoes. Chop roughly or else it will turn to mush/hash. Drain excess liquid. Mix egg, flour and salt. then add to onion-potato mixture. Drop by large spoonfuls into hot fat (she uses mixture of butter and Crisco) until brown on first side. Do same on other side, turning only once. Drain and serve with applesauce and sour cream.
Pro-Tip: Infuse the butter or oil with some cannabis to make your latkes extra magical.
FAQ: "How Do I Make Weed More Equitable?”
Interested in helping to right the wrongs of the past towards a more equitable future for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ forerunners? Check out these organizations;
The Last Prisoner Project: Let’s get people out of jail for minor cannabis crimes and help reform the War on Drugs.
Cage Free Cannabis: Make sure your weed is doing some good to the environment, economy and repairing communities.
Cannaclusive: Calling for racial justice in corporate cannabis.
Women Grow: Creating safe, inclusive pathways for women in weed.
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