09.05.17

Today's Bride 2017 Cover
HILARY TENZING // HUES OF BLUES

I got to photograph in the most stunning of spaces in the newly design Claremont Hotel and have it published on the Cover of Today's Bride Magazine!

A Note from Wedding Designer & Stylist, Cindy Danbom of Bella Notte Events
There are times as a stylist when the stars align and you are granted all of your wishes for a styled shoot. This is one of those dreams. The Claremont Hotel, now owned by the Fairmont Group, has recently undergone an extensive, stunning remodel. Nestled in the Berkeley Hills, like a beacon of the East Bay, the Claremont Hotel offers jaw dropping views of the bay and San Francisco skyline. The vibe is immediate, and elegant.

Our sexy couple first met over martinis in the South of France. Both in town for the Cannes film festival and crossing paths, he was definitely shaken and stirred! The Hilary-Tenzing room is a most stunning shade of blue, rich but not overwhelming. The design of the space has a very sleek, strong masculine feel, think James Bond. The only thing that can best 007 is a strong sexy woman.

Our amazing leading lady wears an effervescent floating taupe gown by Tara LaTour, who makes stunning wedding couture for the cool kids. The woven bodice includes braided straps, and the softest, airy skirt you can imagine. She is strong and sexy, while the same time being feminine and delicate. A sultry, smoky eye is topped with a sparkling headpiece by Marie Elena. Everywhere she goes she can't help but be noticed.

There isn't anything more appealing about a man than confidence. Our groom, clean-shaven, sporting a well tailored Hugo Boss slim fitting suit, is relaxed and ready to welcome guests with a signature martini.

The long sleek black table welcomes guests with lush jewel toned florals, delicately balanced in pedestal mercury glass vases. Mixing metallics with pewter napkins from La Tavola, brass candlesticks, and gold flatware makes for a most refined presentation.

The coup de grĂ¢ce of our shoot is the stunning 4 tiered cake. A playful mix of shapes and textures capturing both the hottest styles, with marbling and watercolor strokes in gold, we couldn't have asked for a more glamorous ending.


Design + Styling Cindy Danbom, Bella Notte Events

Photography Jennifer Skog

Location Claremont Hotel

Florist Petite Petal Co

Table Top Accessories Trunks & Tales

HMUA Lindsay Skog of PMA & Studio Le Reve

Dress Salon Kinsley James

Dress Designer Tara Latour

Head Piece Maria Elena Headpieces
Tabletop Stuart Event Rentals

Models Katrina Eden
David Kaitidis

Calligraphy Pretty Please Calligraphy

Cake Batter Up Cakery

Linens La Tavola








wedding style, wedding design, california wedding, styled shoot, seductive
bi-racial couple, beauty, magazine cover, bride and groom, skog like vogue
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08.28.17

SECOND CHANCES
by Maria Chang

As more and more ladies open up we will be sharing their stories. This is the story of a Woman who has gone against the odds to create her own life. And for the last decade she has opened my mind and pushed me to do things I've never thought I could. I need this woman by my side. I respect her wisdom, crave her positive energy and adore every ounce of her. Ladies & Gents, the other half of @MJLifestyle & CannaFEVER, Maria Chang.

"I believe in the wisdom of plants. I believe in the healing power of Cannabis. My relationship with the plant medicine is very personal but my story is a very common one. The story of many women in America.

I came to this country as a child refugee, my family had nothing but the clothes on our backs. We survived by the generosity of many along the way. Some gave a lot, some gave a little, but their gesture of generosity instilled in me a great sense of gratitude and appreciation for their choice to help us. It taught me that generosity is a choice, that kindness is always an option. Having this mindset, I was determined to make a success out of my life. I was determined to reciprocate so much faith put on us by all those who helped us. I was given a second chance and I was not going to waste it.

So I went into hustler survival mode at the age of 17. I left my parents house, bought my first home by the age of 21, founded my own company, and had a dream job. I became the American dream. The price I had to pay was to spend my twenties in a hamster wheel. I failed to realize that I was making myself sick in trying to prove my worth to the world. I suffered from undiagnosed Endometriosis and a Carcinoid tumor for 10 years, doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. Plagued by extreme pelvic pain, I was put in a cocktail of pain killers (opioids) and antidepressant medications, until I developed a high dependency. The meds made me feel worse physically and emotionally and I spiraled down a rabbit hole so deep that my only option was to attempt suicide. I survived the attempt and it was my wakeup call, another second chance. Through all of this, I manage to keep afloat, to hide my depression from others. I felt so lonely.

As part of my treatment, I began to use cannabis to help me kick the opioids addiction. It jump started a journey of self-love and well-being. It helped me quiet my mind and I began practicing meditation regularly, that lead to a yoga practice and the study of Tantra. Step by step, I began to feel better. I was able to enjoy life again. It was a five year process of intense introspection and I learned to make myself a priority for the first time. I had to unlearn so many bad habits; the kind of habits that are hammered into womens mind like selflessness and sacrifice. We are told that we must give up all pleasure and stop pursuing our passions in order to take care of all the people around us. We are wives, mothers, daughters, sisters; all those wonderful titles that come with a lot of responsibilities and expectations& and the woman gets lost. The woman gets put last.

My journey is far from over. I am happy to say that I am healthy, clear of mind, and living my highest self to the best of my ability. This state of being allows me to focus on myself, to look forward to continue learning, and playing. Free to explore my desires, my femininity, and my sensuality. Shamelessly asking the most important question& What do I want? Thanks to Cannabis, I am now in touch with the Goddess within me. The woman that I was mean to be&

Empowered, in charge of my mind and body, and expecting more second chances." - Maria Chang, PMA




cannabis, branding, cbd, anxiety, depression, cannafever, women
empower, photographer, girlboss, feminine energy, mjlifestyle
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07.13.17

MJLifestyle Product Review
Quim Rock

With the Cannabis Movement in full swing here in California, we've been really excited to be a part of the growing community! Several months ago, Maria and I started a new Instagram project. Originally it was a place where we could share our new work within the Cannabis Community while remaining anonymous. Having just moved back home from Kansas, mentally, I still had a lot of fear of judgement and just wasn't ready to expose my shame. As months passed and with a ton of encouragement from Maria, I began to be more open and finally opened up about it here on my personal blog. Had I known the amount of support I would get from a very much anonymous society or that I could actually speak for thousands of women, who don't have the freedom to be open about it, believe me I would have done it years ago. but then again.. it was illegal. Ladies thank you for all of your kind words and messages, it has definitely given me the encouragement to continue following the path I'm on.

Our mission with MJLifestyle is simple, we are curating a Positive Image of Women & Cannabis while opening the door for Self Love & Empowerment. We thrive when surrounded by strong women and love it when we find Companies that share the same mission. Maria and I met up with Rachel of Quim Rock, a Cannabis Infused line of Sensual Oils, a few weeks ago and scored us a bottle of their 2 flavors - Sensitive and a little more spicy version Curious. (you can guess who took *curious* home hehe)

First Impression of their IG @quim.rock is like WTF, so hot and erotic, unapologetic, lots of vaginas, experiential, graphic illustrations (check out the instructions on the other side), liberating, powerful, these chicks are badass.. We met 1/2 of this magnificent duo, Rachel for lunch in SF and got to chat about how it all stated with 'two women and their vaginas'. We laughed, shared similar visions and chatted about future collaborations! For centuries, women have been made to feel dirty about sexuality, and it's about time we de-sensitize this shit and move along with loving and expressing every inch of ourselves! Quim Rock's on a quest to create products that enhance pleasure and foster sustainable practices for self care. They are making vaginas happier and sex better with the natural powers of cannabis and the antiseptic properties of tea tree oil. To say we were inspired after meeting Rachel is an understatement and we couldn't wait to try it out!

Time for that product review!! The directions say for best results apply 20 minutes before, but it's not always easy to plan ahead, plus then do I just sit there for 20 minutes? or is that supposed to be used for foreplay? lolol I'm guessing most moms with young ones don't have as much time for that than they used to. I stalled as long as I could.. brushed my teeth.. but then quickly jumped right in. Let's just say that you DO NOT need to wait the 20 minutes! Going into this I thought that it may not work for me because I have such a high tolerance, but holy shit! it works!!! Senses were certainly heightened to crazy levels and I honestly can't recommend this enough. Even if you don't need a lubricant - try this stuff - you will not have boring sex ever again! (not that I have ever had boring sex or anything) :)

So What the hell is a Quim you ask? Quim is a vulgar slang term for vagina dated all the way back to the 1700's. Got to love the wit these two ladies have!


#cannabis #cannabis #review #productreview #intimate #pleasure #youknow
#vagina #mjmedia #cannabisoil #selflove #women #MJLifestyle #cannafever
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06.10.17

Tell me about Cannabis

Since yesterday's 'Coming out of the Green Closet' post, I've been getting a lot of great feedback from you ladies out there and many of you have questions. So I figured I would do a little post on how Cannabis can be used aid with things like anxiety, insomnia, pain and cancer. Please know that I'm in no way a professional doctor or formally educated (although I did do a college paper on the legalization of Marijuana), but I am experienced and do know more about it than most people I know.

Let's start by getting your Cannabis Medical Card. Some states have already legalized it for recreation and medical, California has passed and we are expecting it all to be legal and open to the public in January of 2018. Until then, you will need a Medical Cannabis Card to purchase legally from dispensaries. So how do you get a card? You may seek advisement from your General Practitioner and they can refer you or you can visit HelloMD.com to apply & register from the ease and privacy of your own home. It costs between $70 - $100 annually and you will receive your card in the mail, I got mine the very next week.

A lot has changed and continues to change as we learn more and more about the benefits of this plant. There are 3 Types of Cannabis: Sativa, Indica & Hybrid (a combo of the two). I know Indica for being more of the sleepy, relaxed feeling, this is good for anxiety & insomnia, but not really for functioning all that much. If you don't fall asleep from Indica then you will get the munchies, consider yourself warned. Sativa is my best friend, but sometimes she strikes my anxiety a little so I can't use her too often. Sativa will give you a more uplifting & creative feeling. The Hybrid is a combo of Sativa & Indica in varying strengths. Personally I go for Sativa Dominant Hybrids with some CBD in there too. For more info on the differences, I found this article on Leafly.

CBD - this is big healing element in Cannabis and I've been getting lots of questions on it. CBD does not have the psychoactive effects that THC does, so you can dose without having that high feeling. This is the stuff that is fighting cancer and helping children who suffer from daily seizures and many other things.. And of course, it is more expensive to have pure CBD. I like to make sure there is some percentage of CBD in everything I take because it also helps with my anxiety.

Medicating with Cannabis doesn't mean you have to smoke it, there are many many ways to benefit from this plant. My husband made me ditch the bong many years ago, and because of the smell, I got booted to the garage or patio. I chose not to ingest or smoke while I was pregnant or nursing and within just a couple of years, things had advanced so much that I no longer had to stink up the garage or myself. Thanks to... The Vape Pen. I've tried a few different types - the ones that burn green bud are super smooth - check out PaxVapor.com - but it def still smells like weed. They have a new model that you can burn oil or bud in that I really can't wait to try out.

Cannabis Oils are very popular right now because they are discreet, convenient, and easier on the lungs. I personally, choose to smoke Premium Oil Cartridges that screw into a little battery pen. It's a smooth hit, very little odor and much cleaner on your lungs. Premium Cartridges typically have a metal mouth piece (opposed to plastic - think smoking heated up plastic? No!) and contain oil that is clean of any solvents or harsh chemicals. When medicating, remember that the process starts from a tiny seed, then as it grows you want to make sure they aren't using chemicals or pesticides to help maintain the plants. Then you want to make sure the extraction process is clean too, this is going into your body, so it is important to consider what other things can potentially be ingested along with it. My favorite Cartridges are 710 KingPen (I prefer the 1g because they are $50 for 1G compared to .5g for $35) not all companies offer this size, so when I can get it, I do! I also like GoldDrop, Jetty Extracts, and Absolute Xtracts.

You can also Dab with the oils, but dabbing is a little more maintenance and probably for the younger crowd? maybe? I have done it, it is smooth, but too many tools for this mama so I won't go into it.


Edibles - there are a ton of edible creations happening all around us - Chocolates, Butter, Cupcakes, Lozenges, you name it.. Again, it's important to understand the brands you are using and that their mission aligns with yours. Kiva Confections so far is killing it in the Cannabis Chocolate Biz. They make different flavored chocolate bars with varying strengths & little mints too! Each Chocolate Bar has 4 dose sections, if you have not tried an edible in a while, please only take a 1/4 of a dose and wait an hour or two before taking more. Kiva has these incredible little Terra Bites in two flavors: Espresso & Blueberry. I know a lot of people who either pop one or two an hour before bedtime or take in small doses through out the day. Each little ball is approx. 5mg of THC and are quite tasty! Obviously with Edibles, this is something to be taken very seriously if you have children. I definitely foresee and a rise in the need for a mini freezer that locks! Until then, you can purchase a lock box or prescription lock bag. I prefer to keep all my edibles in the outside freezer as they are easier to consume, stay fresh and taste better.


There are also some seriously killer looking products coming out for keeping your product safe. Check out these ridiculously cute bags from Vanderpop


I've had lots of questions about tinctures too, and these are really great for calming and soothing effects. They also tend to be richer in CBD. I've been using MoxieMeds - Modern Medicine for Women by Women - can I get a Hell Yes?! and they've got two different strengths to provide relief from cramps and pain, calm anxiety and emotional stress, reduce inflammation, and overall help to balance hormonal cycles. They have a 'Relief' of 1:1 CBD:THC and 'Recovery' of 4:1 CBD:THC. The 4:1 will be really low in THC, so less psychoactive. For even LESS Psychoactive, I have seen Tinctures of 20:1 CBD:THC (but I don't think Moxie offers that strength). Tinctures can be added in juice or tea, or for rapid relief place the liquid under your tongue and hold it for a minute or two before swallowing.

There are many other products, new ones coming out everyday! Even Topical Balms that can ease muscle pain and tension - check out what Flour Child Collective is doing in SF! My BF Shannon Paras shot their most recent shoot!

Lastly, where do I get it?? Once you have your card, you can visit and register with any local dispensary you would like. Once it became legal, I was introduced to Harborside Health Center and have been a loyal customer ever since. I believe they have two main dispensaries in Oakland and San Jose, everyone there is super friendly and knowledgeable on their products. Sometimes there is a wait in line, but that is what happens when you have reliable people educating and not rushing their patients. If you don't want to go there in person, guess what?? They have FREE DELIVERY!! Because this is so new, the laws are sort of changing all the time, in fact the tow I live in apparently outlawed Delivery come 2018. What exactly that means I don't know, but I will figure it out when it happens. Mail Service is still a Federal Institution and Cannabis is not prohibited in the mail, so don't mail it to anyone, ever. Additionally, there is an app called WeedMaps that will direct you to all the Dispensaries near you.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you have and thank you so much for supporting me on this platform. I know a lot of you cannot be as vocal because of your professions or whatever the case may be, just know that I will be here to fight for you, I will advocate for you, for all of us. Cheers!
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06.06.17

I am awesome

I am awesome. Those were the first 3 words that came out of my mouth when a new friend wanted to interview me. I think he was taken back a little; his reaction seemed a little off and almost 10 years later, he still tells this story. What could it have been? Was it too Egotistical? Too Confident? Too True? These thoughts would often race my mind as I would refer back to other family members and close friends joking that I 'have a big head' - it was even in several of the toasts at my wedding. I love a good laugh and it is all in good fun, but I began to question myself and often times put myself down so that the notion of being too confident would never cross anyone's mind. My thoughts began to break me down and I began to hide some of the real me for fear that somebody would take it the wrong way and think negatively of me. Self Criticism is so unhealthy for the soul. We all should feel free to share our beauty, our kindness, our awesome with the world.

When I said I was awesome, I meant it, but maybe it wasn't heard the way I intended it. I believe everyone should love themselves and if you don't, why the hell not? I'm a good person, and if you've met me for more than a minute, I wouldn't have to explain why. Just put it this way, it has nothing to do with my art or my work and everything to do with being me. Of course I have flaws, just like you, but I don't need to point those out, I just work on them everyday. Even at 40 years old make bad decisions. Often. And I have to take responsibility for them when I'm around my little ones to show them first hand that we are all flawed.

A decade ago, my partner Maria Chang and I joined forces and pioneered the 'Couture Boudoir' - a day of glamour and passion with an award winning hair & makeup artist and equally acclaimed photographer. At the time, Photographers were not yet offering Styled Shoots and Boudoir definitely felt like taboo no matter how beautiful we made it. It was amazing, but I was so afraid of what people would think that I didn't blog about it or post it on social media, and I never admitted what I did when I first met someone. Fuck what a shame.. But I think if I didn't feel this way then, I couldn't possibly feel the freedom that I do now. When moving to Kansas I was worried I would be kicked out for the work I did. While I didn't do much local work during our stay (I traveled home for shoots often) I was greeted with some of the kindest people on the planet and never once felt judged. Although there was one BIG thing I still didn't share with most..

My husband says he knew right away, but maybe it was because of the guy I was dating.. I've always been incredibly responsible and driven, pretty much every job I've ever had, I've taken the place over. I've got my shit together, but for most of my adult life I've kept a secret for fear of not being taken seriously, or being labeled a criminal or druggie or letting my parents down. I've got a conservative but understanding husband and I can count on one hand the close friends that will join me, but for every other aspect of my life, I've hid it. I've felt shame. I've always been different than the other girls, usually labeled the crazy one who talks about sex, shoots naked chicks and smokes pot. And I am crazy, but in a wholehearted, antagonistic way. For me, Cannabis calms my mind and arouses my creativity. The legalization of Cannabis has opened the doors to a brand new resource that can not only produce medicines, but paper and goods and art and enjoyable edibles :)

Maria and I have embarked on a new adventure photographing & marketing for Cannabis Lifestyle Brands & Products. Our mission is to kill the stigma that's associated with Cannabis and curate a Positive Image of Women & Cannabis. We want to promote self-love and empowerment and show that Cannabis isn't just about 'Bongs & Thongs' for women. Cannabis has no face. We are lovers, mothers, healers, professionals, sisters, artists... and some of us are fighting for our lives.

A couple of weeks ago, Maria & I were asked if "we even smoked weed?!" What does that mean? Is she falling for the same stereotypes that others do? Were we too put together or too successful to be stoners? I don't really know. Maybe I looked too square. I chose not to answer. I don't have to prove my weedness to anyone. But what I do have to prove is that Cannabis is not a bad thing, it has healed many many people, it's far safer than alcohol or prescription drugs and it is a sustainable product - it can make so many things! The legalization of Cannabis will change our world!

So where am I going with all of this? I'm feeling pretty alive right now and I'd like to share it with you however I can. Ladies, let's stop beating ourselves up and let's practice lifting one another up instead. It's pretty obvious that it is up to us to start changing this world. We are the ones raising our youth, educating them. It is our job to be the constant figure in their lives, to advocate for them. To advocate for us.. Stop competing with each other. If you see a girl working her confidence give her a hell yeah! And please.. the judging. this is so hard I know first hand, but let's practice opening our hearts and our minds to something that may be different that what we already know. I believe we have so much to learn from other people, share yourself with them and be loved.


For more up to date info on our new Cannabis Projects Follow our Instagram @MJLifestyle

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