WTF is Wellness is a brand new series that takes us alongside our Founder, Beryl Solomon, as she talks all things modern wellness with some of the most exciting and influential minds in the space. From CBD and cannabis to mind, body and lifestyle - let’s navigate this crazy world we live in one conversation at a time.
We are kicking things off with the lovely Hannah Baxter!
From the comfort of her apartment turned houseplant-haven, Hannah, an Editor at Coveteur and beloved beauty guru, breaks down her cannabis beginnings, love of routines and open rejection of one-size-fits-all wellness paradigm,- especially when it comes to CBD.
Beryl: What does wellness even begin to mean to you?
Hannah: I think it’s doing whatever you need to do to feel centered, calm and happy. It doesn’t necessarily mean one specific activity, or you’re using a particular product. I think it’s just finding a sense of calm in this crazy life that we’re living, especially in the city. People in the city really need wellness more than anyone else. I grew up on a horse farm so that’s wellness to me.
Beryl: WOW! I don’t know the first thing about horses so that’s about as deep as I can go.
Hannah: When I’m uptown, at Fifth and the Park and I smell the the carriage horses, I get all ‘oh, it smells like home’! Now I have Wilson, who has no hair which makes him love snuggly stuff. He’s turning 7 soon, but he looks like he’s a million years old. This is actually my second Sphynx, I got my first when I was a freshman in college. I think I need to mother stuff— like plants and cats. I mean, this is wellness right here.
Beryl: Caring for things can definitely make you feel well. How many plants do you have?
Hannah: I counted the other day, I think there are 26? I’m just trying to make a jungle for Wilson. I find it very relaxing to water and care for the plants, I have a whole routine. I have my little spray bottle and that’s the first thing I do every morning, I check on them.
Beryl: What other routines feel like wellness to you?
Hannah: I cover a lot of beauty so I consider a beauty routine a big part of my self care. Taking care of my skin is a big one, I find it very calming. My mom was never a big makeup person, but she always washed her face, moisturized and put on sunscreen so I grew up doing that since I was about 12.
Beryl: Ohhhh it’s a New York bathroom. Totally. This is New York life. I think what a bathroom looks like in New York is very different than what a bathroom looks like anywhere else.
Hannah: I really like to spend a lot of time on my routine and I recently got into more Traditional Chinese Medicine, like the Gua Sha tool. I do that every morning.
Beryl: What would be your desert island products to stay well? Even though you’d be on a desert island so you would be well… but just go with it [laughs].
Hannah: Vertly Lip Balm and Khus + Khus CBD hand cream. I have eczema on my hands and in the winter it really gets exacerbated. I have a steroid cream, but I’m trying really hard not to be reliant on that, so I either use an eczema-specific lotion from La Roche-Posay, or I like to use something that has CBD oil in it or add CBD oil to my lotion because it’s anti-inflammatory.
Beryl: A lot of CBD! What’s your relationship to CBD or cannabis? Do you think there’s any part of the latter that’s wellness?
Hannah: It’s pretty standard, I’m from the midwest so I started using it in highschool, you know? You roll a joint and drive around with your friends and it’s great. And then I kind of fell off a bit in college. I’ve always gone in and out, just depends on how I feel. Now I’ve been connected to so many people doing really cool things in the cannabis space like Verena who runs Gossamer and Jenny who owns Yew Yew. And Beboe pens are so chic. It elevates the experience from getting a dime bag and a pipe shaped like an elephant from a seedy head shop...which I do love and still have one of those.
Beryl: Totally, cannabis is really classing herself up!
Hannah: Yes, she’s come out of the shadows. It’s hard to talk about though, coming from a place of more privilege, and knowing that it is acceptable to talk about for a certain group of people. It’s hard in that sense. I think as legislation and social activism is starting to swell behind it, and I learn more and start to become a more educated and responsible consumer, I consider it an inevitability that it will become legal, come out of the shadows, and everyone can use it.
Beryl: It’s a new frontier!
Hannah: Yes! There hasn’t been an industry in the modern age that’s been built from the ground up, and I think it’s a huge opportunity for there to be a lot more gender equality in it because there is no set precedent of what it should look like. I think it’s really exciting, but a lot of pressure.
Beryl: What would you tell someone who’s nervous about using CBD or cannabis with THC?
Hannah: People always need to understand that CBD is not going to get you high. I think learning all the different ways it can benefit you is a great place to start. That’s kind of the beauty of cannabis, you can use this plant in all its different forms to incorporate it into your lifestyle—or you can choose not to and feel really good about that too. And when it comes to THC I’m a big believer that you should never eat anything if you don’t know how many milligrams is in it.
Beryl: I think people in a certain age bracket have this sort of last-cannabis experience from high school or college where they over consumed with an edible and that’s stuck with them.
Hannah: Yeah, the definition of a stoner today isn’t a teenager blowing smoke out their bedroom window. It’s someone who’s responsible, engaged and interesting. I think it’s rarely the most interesting thing about someone, but interesting people do tend to partake.
Beryl: I totally agree. Last thoughts on mental wellness?
Hannah: I think it’s about doing whatever you need to do in that moment to make sure that you’re feeling okay, whether that’s curling up with a book in bed on a Saturday night and not seeing anybody, or going to the beach with your friends and playing hooky for the day or taking a yoga class. There’s not one thing that it looks like and I think CBD and cannabis just fit in seamlessly. They help you feel like you’re at the most centered and true part of yourself, so you can interact with people without being anxious or stressed, and that’s wellness.