A Beginner’s Guide to Pot

A Beginner’s Guide to Pot

There is a smell rampant in Los Angeles—it fills the air with a sweet, earthy, herbal and periodically “skunky” smell. It is the smell of Marijuana running through the airstreams of Los Angeles. It all began in November 2016, when the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) was approved and what was once illegal became legal — and it also became big business. Today, it is reported that there are thousands of unlicensed dispensaries and over 200 licensed. It is with this brief knowledge that we decided to ask an expert about pot. We turned to Geza Frey, Jr. for some answers:

During the lockdown and afterwards, as an industry how as the pot trade fared?

During the lockdown sales soared. The industry was booming and if you needed a job, the cannabis industry was the place for you. Cannabis workers weee labeled essential in the state of California. Since then, sales have slowed a bit and I know that a lot of brands/ dispensaries are in the red these last two quarters.

Where is the greatest concentration of dispensaries?

The Greater Los Angeles area but as cities and states begin to legalize and adopt cannabis, more and more dispensaries are opening. Some of my favorites are in DTLA, Venice, and Fairfax/ Melrose.

What determines price? There seem to be endless kinds of pot?

Indoor flower is the highest quality and most potent

Outdoor is more affordable and less potent

Indoor typically hits higher price points vs outdoor

There are also edibles, concentrates, oils, topicals and more.

What is the good stuff?

Everyone has their preferences and reacts differently to each strain. I love me a good indoor indica dominant strain in the Glue or OG family rolled in a leaf wrap with a glass tip. It’s my version of the canna-cigar

If you are a beginner, what would you recommend?

For beginners I would recommend starting with CDB products and than moving up to 1:1 CBD + THC and than go from there. There are a ton of options it’s best to start small and gradually build up a tolerance/ find out what strains you like the most.

What is the law regarding driving under the influence of pot?

If it is determined that you are driving well high on cannabis you can potentially get a DUI or DWI


Do they have statistics on the people buying as in age, etc?

This article breaks down some mind blowing stats when it comes to cannabis sales and who is buying (in the legal market)


Geza Frey, Jr. is a multi-talented artist that specializes in sneakers, fashion, cannabis, tech, sports, and lifestyle. He has worked both in front of the camera and behind the scenes in various global marketing campaigns over the last eight years.


Ask the Expert: Coffee Tips

Ask the Expert: Coffee Tips

In honor of National Coffee Day, Local LA Roaster and makers of family-crafted Don Francisco’s Coffee share three great coffee tips and some fun tidbits!

We tapped Lisette Gaviña Lopez, a fourth generation coffee roaster and marketing director for F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. the coffee roaster her grandfather founded over 50 years ago.

What makes a great cup of coffee?

Some don’t give a second thought to what goes into their daily cup of coffee. It’s enough to know that you just need a cup or two, or three, to get you through the day. But what goes into making a great cup of coffee? Lisette breaks it down to the basics:

“Coffee has two ingredients, coffee and water, so it’s important that these two main ingredients be high quality. You can’t take bad quality coffee and make it good. So be sure to use high quality coffees like those made with only 100% Arabica beans and also make sure that the water you use is free of visible impurities or any odors. For example, Don Francisco’s Coffees are all made with 100% premium Arabica coffee sourced from the world’s finest growing regions, including Latin America, East Africa and Southeast Asia from countries such as Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hawaii, Ethiopia and Indonesia among others.

Coffee is an agricultural product. It’s actually the seed of a cherry that is grown on a bush. It’s mostly picked by hand and goes through a fermentation process to remove the skin. But to develop the flavors and aromas of the coffee for brewing you have to roast it. At our zero-waste-to-landfill roasting and packing facility in LA, we produce more than 40 million pounds of coffee each year from the finest selection of 100% Arabica beans, each meticulously roasted to their peak flavor, and then packaged for consumers, foodservice partners and private-label customers. Attention to quality and consistency is also an important part of this process for us. But from a consumer perspective, your senses of smell and taste are also very important in identifying great coffee. Good coffee should be highly aromatic and smell sweet and floral, and even fruity, taste rich and flavorful with a good balance of strength, body and acidity.

What is the best way to store coffee?

Lisette says: “Keep it fresh and airtight.” This is a common question and many have their own take on it, but the best way to keep coffee fresh is in an airtight container and storing it in the freezer. But, if you’re drinking a few cups daily, you won’t have to worry about your coffee lingering around for too long. It’s also important to buy fresh coffee from the get go – whether at your local store or online retailer.

Another thing that people may not think much about is the role of packaging, which serves to protect the coffee, maintain its quality, and lock in freshness and flavor. Don Francisco’s Coffee bags are flushed with nitrogen and made with a foil barrier film and a built-in patented one-way valve system to limit any exposure to oxygen and keep our coffee fresh! For Don Francisco’s Coffee bags, the valve is that little button-like imprint with the castle on the front of the bag. Some may have noticed these little valves on the front of their coffee bags too. I’m proud to say that my family’s company, F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. pioneered the introduction of the one-way valve that is still used in every Don Francisco’s Coffee bag today. Pro tip: You can gently squeeze the bag and the valve releases the aroma to smell the coffee before you buy it.”

How do we preserve coffee for future generations?

In recent years there has been a growing interest related to coffee and sustainability and the fragile journey from seed to cup. It’s important to understand what sustainable practices are required to ensure that we never run out of coffee. After all, what is the world without coffee in it?

Lisette says: “If you care about coffee, you have to care about the environment. Caring for the environment is at the cornerstone of our family tradition and 150 coffee legacy – after all, the earth gives us coffee. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with more than 450 million cups of coffee consumed daily just in the U.S. That’s a lot of coffee to be produced every year, and the only way to get more is by growing it.

As a family and a company, we are committed to great coffee from seed to cup, and beyond – sustainability plays a big role in that. We’ve operated a zero waste to landfill plant for years, but are always looking for ways to innovate to meet the changing needs and preferences of our customers, while looking for new ways to minimize environmental impact.

Our company’s Direct Impact™ Initiative was built on the belief that promoting sustainability practices in our business decisions has a direct impact on the lives our coffee touches. But our business and community initiatives aren’t enough on their own; the consumer is a critical part of this process. This is why we partnered with recycling company TerraCycle to recycle packaging from two F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. brands, Don Francisco’s Coffee and Café La Llave which includes espresso capsules, single serve coffee pods (K-cup-style), and coffee bags.

Consumers can recycle bags and pods in four easy steps. To participate, register for the Coffee Bag and Pod Recycling Program at terracycle.com/gavina, collect your used bags and pods, print prepaid shipping labels, and mail in eligible items directly to TerraCycle for recycling. The Coffee Bag and Pod Recycling Program also gives participants the opportunity to donate to select charitable institutions based on points earned for recycling.

In addition to taking advantage of any recycling program, I encourage coffee lovers to find new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle all coffee products. Cups, capsules, bags, cans, and coffee grounds can also be upcycled in a variety of ways. Used coffee grounds can be reused to create homemade body scrubs, and even added to the soil on flower beds. In fact, our cans of Don Francisco’s Coffee can be repurposed to make beautiful pots for plants. And, because the cans are made of steel, they can also be recycled through most municipal curbside recycling programs.”

Lisette Gaviña Lopez – Coffee Expert

Tips to Present a Better You

Tips to Present a Better You

More than ever, we are communicating online—via Zoom, Skype, Viber, even FaceTime. While reality is a good thing, it can always be improved upon. We reached out to legendary Los Angeles photographer John Skalicky for some tips on how to make ourselves look better in the time of lockdown.

Ask the Experts: Relationships

Ask the Experts: Relationships

One of the hardest roads to navigate is relationships. But as Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us we decided to reach out to an expert for some advice on love, relationships and everything in between. We turned to Dr. Gregory Canillas, Ph.D., who provides couple retreats. You asked, we have some answers…


"For many, “inappropriate text messages” are considered a form of cheating. Even though it sounds like there has been no physical contact, engaging in that kind of flirting is still a breach of trust."

Dear Doc

My boyfriend broke up with me more than a year ago and I find myself still not over it—any advice on how to get past this?


Dear John,

Break ups are never easy. The “grieving process”  is different for everyone. For some, they move through it quickly, and for others it may take longer.  You are not alone.

The end of a relationship is an opportunity for growth and renewal. It offers us a chance to work on improving ourselves and reflect on what worked and what did not work in the relationship, so that we are better equipped for a new relationship.

 A shift in your mental energy away from the old relationship would be most helpful.  Take up a hobby that you have always wanted to engage in, volunteer with a favorite charity or re-connect with old friends. Think of it as a chance to create new experiences and possibilities. When considerable time has passed and the end of the relationship is still painful, some choose to engage in therapy so that they can process their feelings and gain more clarity.

Dear Doc,

My girlfriend has cheated on me in the past and swore she would never do it again, but recently I found some inappropriate text messages—am I jumping to conclusions,  should I say something?


Dear Angela,

Your admission that you were going through your girlfriend’s phone is a major red flag!  It speaks to a deep level of distrust in your girlfriend’s promise to be faithful.

For many, “inappropriate text messages” are considered a form of cheating. Even though it sounds like there has been no physical contact, engaging in that kind of flirting is still a breach of trust.

You need to have a conversation with your girlfriend. Express your concerns and how her behavior has impacted you.  Talk about issues of trust and faithfulness.  Why does this issue keep surfacing? And determine as a couple how you should move forward.  Keep in mind that there are many psychological studies that support the notion that if a person has cheated once, it is likely to happen again.

I am a 36 year old male. I have been dating my girlfriend for five years. When we first started dating we had sex several times a week. Sometimes we had several sessions in the same day!!! She began a graduate program a few months ago and often says she is “too tired” whenever I initiate foreplay.  Lately, our sex life has significantly declined.  I like sex and want it more frequently.  How can I get my girlfriend to have sex more regularly?


Dear David,

Have an open discussion with your girlfriend about your concerns.  Listen to her concerns.  Some couples agree to schedule a “sex night”, which is similar to the “date night” concept.  They agree to make time to have sex regularly and put that on their weekly calendar.  The planned sex night can create a sense of excitement and anticipation.  Because it is scheduled, many couples will make it special: they play mood music, light candles and other special touches.

For couples who have been together for some time, sex often becomes boring or routine.  Sometimes changing up the routine will ignite the passion that you had when you first met.  Visit an adult sex shop. It can be a fun and “naughty” field trip.  These stores often carry items that range from the mild to wild.  Decide as a couple how far you want to go.


GREGORY CANILLAS, Ph.D. currently serves as President & CEO of Soul 2 Soul, a company that provides couples and parenting retreats.  He is an Associate Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Los Angeles campus).  Dr. Canillas also currently serves as a member of the American Psychological Association’s Joint Task Force to Revise the Professional Practice Guidelines for Working with Sexual Minority Clients.

Dr. Canillas is a frequent presenter at regional, national and international conferences on LGBTQ issues,  relationship issues, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and psychological treatment of ethnic minority populations.

Previously, he served as a Program Director at several nonprofit organizations, overseeing the child and adult therapy programs and pregnant/parenting teen programs.  Dr. Canillas has also previously served as a Clinical Psychologist with the Department of Mental Health, and later as the Clinical Director of a family preservation program. Additionally, he served on the Commission on Youth and Families (Long Beach, California) for six years, a body that advises the Mayor and city council on issues of importance to children, adolescents and families in that city.

For more information https://www.soul2soulglobal.com

Ask the Experts: Beauty

Ask the Experts: Beauty

​Because it’s winter, what can I do about dry, flaky skin?

The best way to combat winter skin is to replenish lost moisture, as a result of cold weather and central heating etc..
I recommend using a hyaluronic acid serum. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the skin, an important lubricant and an integral part of tissue regeneration, holding up to a thousand times its weight in water.
Apply serum to clean skin morning and night before moisturizer. In the cooler months of the year, I recommend replacing lighter summer moisturizers & adding richer more emollient products into your skin care routine.
Facial oils are also an excellent way to soften and smooth dry flakey winter skin… warm the oils with your fingertips, press & lightly massage into skin to improve circulation.
My Pro tip:
For an extra moisture boost, add a few drops of hyaluronic acid serum to moisturizer, & massage into skin before applying an SPF or make-up or simply as an extra night time ritual before bed.
Exfoliation is equally as important as moisturizing to keeping skin hydrated and smooth.
Using an exfoliator 1-2 times a week (depending on skin type /sensitivity) buffs off old dead skin cells brightening the complexion and making product absorption much more effective.

My mascara always clumps. What’s the best remedy for that?

Before applying, I recommend wiping off excess mascara from the wand back into the tube (to save wasting product). this prevents a thick clumpy application.
Layering several coats of mascara & building up length & thickness slowly will produce gorgeous lashes & reduce flaking.
After applying mascara, gently run a clean spoolie/mascara wand over the lashes to separate & remove any clumps or flakes…
 The older a mascara get the drier & flakier it will become. If you are taking your make-up from day to night I recommend keeping the lower lashes mascara-free for the daytime which minimizes those pesky flakes through out the day.
When bumping up the look for evening, apply mascara to the bottom lashes for a wide eyed glam.
My Pro tip:
Always wipe clean the top of the mascara tube after use and make sure the lid is tightly screwed on. exposure to air will cause the mascara to deteriorate & dry out.

Can you recommend a good moisturizer that isn’t too expensive?

Depending on your individual skin care needs. Here are my selects of good quality affordable moisturizers.
Acure -seriously soothing SPF 30 Day cream (sensitive skin) $18.99

Meet Yolanda Price

Yolanda Price is a professional Hollywood make-up artist, she has been working in the entertainment industry for over 15 years . on commercials, promos, print, tv & film.
She has a passion for skincare and beauty. “My obsession starts with the canvas of skin and that’s just where the fun begins and the process of creating a look unfolds.
 Making people look & feel beautiful is such a rewarding part of my job”

Send it over! info@socalmag.com

Ask the Experts:Travel

Ask the Experts:Travel

If you’re travelling with a budget in mind, KAYAK offers a great service: find locations for travel based on location and price worldwide. Here’s how it works: Go to the flight section, under “anywhere” click and you wil find explore your options with anywhere search. Click on any price and it will give you the current price AND a forward look at upcoming prices. Deal of the day would appear to be Kahului, Hawaii. Also known as Maui, a roundtrip today would coast $338, roundtrip. If you like adventure and can afford it, you might take an expensive flight to Tolinaro in Madagascar for $3343.



Meet Zuke Oshiro

Zuke Oshiro was born in raised in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan, and moved to Los Angeles in 1999. While he had his own educational agency business, Zuke has continuously traveled around world, and writes for numerious publications and journals.

Ask the Experts: Real Estate

Ask the Experts: Real Estate

How many Open Houses does it take to sell a home in Los Angeles?

 For the past several years Los Angeles has been in a sellers’ market and homes have been selling in 30 days or less. In this kind of market, it might only take 1 or 2 open houses to sell a house. On Average, I would expect 4 – 6 opens houses to sell a house.

Open houses are a great marketing tool and help sell homes faster, but I would look at this question from a different angle, not as the number of open houses it takes, but the number of showings with qualified buyers.

In my experience, about half of open house visitors are not real buyers. You will get a few neighbors who want to see what is going on in the neighborhood, or homeowners looking for ideas on their next renovation project, and I know some folks that just like to go look at open houses on the weekend as a fun thing to do.

In a normal market, it takes about 40 showings with real buyers to sell a home. I find keeping track of showings is a better way to monitor marketing activity than the number of open houses. Only count the real buyers that attend the open houses.

Meet James Campbell

James grew up in a California Bungalow north of Beverly Blvd in Hancock Park. For most of his formative years, he lived in Minnesota until graduation, whereupon he packed his bags and moved west! James has been living in sunny Los Angeles for the past 10 years and sells real estate. In addition to helping clients Buy, Sell and Lease, James is active on the web with his real estate website Thebirdstreetblog. James is a guest contributor about real estate for SoCal Magazine’s new series “Ask an Expert”. Have a real estate related question? Send it over! info@socalmag.com