Today’s Sesh with Jon | 6.23.2021 | New Things – and Tonsillitis…

Above: It all began with a bong!

Hello friends! There’s a lot of small changes going with our project – so let’s catch up and talk about what’s ahead…

Celebrate!

This last Friday (June 18th) marked one year since the birth of Red Bench Reviews! It was also my birthday, which I proudly share with the late hemp activist, Jack Herer, and with Paul McCartney.

After a year of filming video reviews we have over 900 subscribers on YouTube, and just over 200 followers on Instagram! We’re building relationships, making friends, and the responses from our viewers have surpassed our dreams for this project when we posted our first video in 2020.

As you can imagine, we are celebrating big-time this month!

The Journey

This rookie year of creating cannabis and hemp video reviews has been a journey of discovering our strengths and weaknesses – both in front of the camera and behind it. I’d never reviewed herb before we filmed our first video a year ago, and now we’ve filmed over 75 videos, and to say we’ve both learned a lot is an understatement!

Tania has developed a steady hand at directing, and she’s the glue behind the scenes that holds the project together. Every new video is an adventure, and each jar is a new opportunity to be surprised, amazed – or disappointed – as I experience new strains I’ve never tried before or revisit classics that take me back…

The biggest surprise yet – hemp! A year ago I didn’t even know this was a thing people were buying legally and smoking. In my mind hemp was just the industrial side of the cannabis plant – I didn’t know anyone smoked hemp flowers by choice. Now I’ve tried dozen of strains of CBD flowers and smoking hemp has become a regular part of my life. That was unexpected, and a positive benefit in my opinion.

Along the way we’ve started and stopped a few branches of the project, but our core mission of creating herb video reviews to post on YouTube has not changed. I want to thank everyone for being patient as we tried out ideas, finding the parameters of the what works and what doesn’t.

Changes, And Some New Stuff…

As some of you may know, I am a book designer as well as an herb reviewer, and during the height of the pandemic my design work pretty much stopped completely. This came with a silver lining in that I had a bunch of free time and we were able to start Red Bench Reviews.

Well, the book design business is picking back up again and requiring much more of my attention than just a few months ago. So for the time being, we are going to merge CBD Sunday and New Review Wednesday, and just shoot one review a week. It may be a THC review- or it could be a CBD review- stay tuned to find out what catches my eye each week! Of course please continue to make suggestions if there’s a strain you’d be interested in having me review…

The Sesh Journal – Let me introduce you to my indispensable Sesh Journal.

I designed this book last year when we began doing reviews and have been improving it ever since… and now it’s finally available! The book consists of forms with questions about the look, smell, taste and effects that I fill out each time I do a review or have a sesh with a new herb.

The book is wire-bound so it lays flat, has enough pages for 60 seshes, and a table of contents to keep track of your seshes. I literally could not do my reviews without these forms! I have found them so useful for remembering the nuances of each herb that I decided to make the book available to my viewers and readers. It’s only $15 (+ shipping) on Lulu.com, and every purchase helps support our project – that’s a win/win situation! And here’s another…

Merch! Did you know we’ve added a shop to our website?!

Above: a small selection from the shop!

T-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, stickers and more! We’ve teamed up with Printful to create a shop full of cool stuff that you can spend your hard-earned money on, and help support our project along the way! We created the designs, Printful fulfills the orders, and we get paid a few dollars that go towards helping buy the products we review.

This might be a good place to mention that we buy about 90% of the product we review. A few brands have given us herb in exchange for an honest review, but mostly we’ve been happily investing our own money since day one… now we’re trying our hand at that “monitizing” thing, and want to do it without resorting to blanketing our website in advertising. As always, we’d appreciate your feedback to this new branch of our project.

Tip Jar – Heck, if you want to skip the t-shirt, now you can just throw a few bucks our way out of sheer appreciation and the goodness of your heart!

Buy me a cup of coffee, a pre-roll or even sponsor an episode of New Review Wednesday – pay for the jar of herb and we’ll include your name in the credits! The skies the limit on tipping, as they say!

Podcast – I thought I’d save the best news for last… this summer we plan on launching an herb review podcast! We’ve had a number of requests for us to start a podcast, and we’ve been seriously researching the options… and we like what we’ve found. We’re very excited about the possibilities!

Recently we purchased the equipment we’ll need to get started and got a friend with a great voice to record an intro and outro for us. So far we have recorded several test episodes – and we’re really happy with how it’s all sounding. My only issue is lack of time to launch this as a regular, weekly show. This is just a matter of scheduling, so we should have that worked out soon. I will, of course, notify you when this new development takes flight.

Onward!

One of the best things about this last year is the fact that nearly everyone who reads this is someone I would never have met if it wasn’t for Red Bench Reviews. I’ve had so many great comments, messages, and emails since this adventure began… I want to thank you for being a part of this journey!

I also want to put a special thank you out to our friends that have been with us from the beginning, the ones who gave helpful suggestions and encouragement – your input has been beyond valuable!

Tonsillitis

One last note. Yesterday I got diagnosed with a pretty severe case of tonsillitis that started about a week and a half ago. I am on a regimen of medicines now – steroids and antibiotics to reduce the swelling in my throat. I need to stay quiet to keep stress off my throat… drink lots of liquids, inhale steam baths, and other activities to get me back to 100%. Needless to say, I’m on a break from the herb too. The doctor encouraged me to follow his instructions so I don’t end up in the hospital. Oh my… serious business!

So here’s our plan. No review for this week and see if I’m ready to film by next week. Right now my voice doesn’t sound like me, so getting back to sounding like me is a pretty high priority, as is my complete recovery. So I will be a good patient, follow the doctor’s orders and see you all very soon!

Until later, best of health.

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