Redefining Crazy Cat Lady One Day At A Time

Friday, August 22, 2014

Maryland Renaissance Festival Starts Tomorrow

Woohoo! I return to the world of weekend employed tomorrow. I'm so looking forward to having weekends to work since I haven't worked a physical job since April. Being out of my garb for almost 4 months has been a nice break and it makes me excited to be getting back into it.

There are a lot of friends I'm excited to see who I only get to see at the Maryland faire. I'm not camping on site and I'm actually a little grateful for that although it makes life easier when I'm there - being able to walk to work, sleeping in a little later, hanging out in the evenings - all good things. But by not being on site I won't have to deal with the shit stirrers drama, the mud when it's raining, being alone, having ot drive out to do laundry or spot-a-potties. All in all I'm glad I ended up staying put where I am.

I'll be working for a new business this year so that means new skills, new merchandise and new faces. I'll be working next door to some folks who I adore so that's a plus too.

I'm looking forward to the season even though I'm getting no play time. At least I know solidly what my house are plus there aren't many acts that I am dying to see - well none actually. My favorite acts aren't there this year so there are faces I'm going to miss seeing but who knows, maybe next year.

I'll try to get some updated pictures!

Mt Baker Vapor (Online)

Mt. Baker Vapor is located in Lynden, WA. I'm not entirely sure whether they have a brick & mortar store but their online store is full of wonderful products.

I can't remember why or how I made it to their online store except that I was looking at a lot of online e-juice retailers for new juice to try. When I first go to an online retailers juice selection there are two flavors I always look for - vanilla and cherry. Mt Baker has several versions of both. They don't, however, have just a plain vanilla flavor. They have tons of vanilla varieties though: White Ice (vanilla and mint), Vanilla Butternut, French Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcake, Vanilla Tobacco, Vanilla Custard, Bavarian Cream, Cake, and several other flavors that use vanilla in them. As for cherry flavors they have: Black Cherry, Maraschino Cherry, Wild Cherry and several flavors that include cherry in them like Cherry Bomb which is a cherry milkshake type flavor. (In hindsight, I probably would have loved this flavor since it's vanilla and cherry. Oh well, maybe my next order will include that one)

When you buy juice at Mt. Baker Vapor you have control over every part of your juice. You get to pick the nicotine mg (that's a standard option for most e-juice retailers) but you also get to pick the vg/pg mix which is a nice added touch in customizing how their juice will smoke for you.

VG is vegetable glycerin, this is what produces the vapor. It adds some sweetness to your juice and is thick. So the more vg, the more vapor (and the quicker your coils will burn out) PG is propylene glycol, it's a much thinner liquid and it controls how much of a throat hit you experience.

For the juices I purchased I picked a  65% PG, 35% VG mix.

Another option Mt Baker offers is that you can add extra flavoring to your juice for a small additional fee of $.25 so of course I had an extra shot added to all of my juices. They also offer you a "shade" guide that tells you whether the juice is dark or light colored. Darker juices tend to have additional additives that don't disappear when you vape. I've noticed when I've smoked dark juices that the juice will tend to get very thick if you don't empty out what's left at the end of a tank, this tends to burn coils out quickly so I try to avoid the darker juice when I can.

MBV will also send you free e-juice for orders over $15. I didn't see a way to specify which juice I wanted so I assumed it was their choice and I wasn't overly concerned about it. There are also plenty of online coupon codes to save a bit when you order.

I ordered 4 bottles of juice at 30ml each with an extra shot of flavor in them. They came out to be a little over $7 a bottle! That is crazy inexpensive when you consider I went to a local brick and mortar store and paid over $20 a bottle for 20ml and had no control over the mix or the flavoring aside from picking the flavors I wanted.

The flavors I ordered were: Vanilla Cupcake, Blueberry, Hazelnut and Maraschino Cherry., as well as a pack of 5 2.2 ohm coils Those plus the shipping came out to just about $40 after applying a coupon code for 11% off. I placed my order late Friday night and my package arrived Monday afternoon. You just can't ask for better shipping times considering they're in WA and I'm in MD. To my surprise (because I assumed since I couldn't find the option for the free bottle that I wouldn't get it) there was a fifth bottle in my package, 15mls of Vanilla Ice Cream in a 50/50 VG/VP mix!

The Vanilla Cupcake juice tastes exactly as it sounds, like yellow cake with a cream cheese icing. It was very subtle even with my extra shot of flavoring added. Their website says their juices will actually taste better once they've been mixed in the bottle for a week or so. I have hopes the flavor will become less subtle then.

The free bottle of Vanilla Ice Cream was scrumptious. There were no extra shots of flavoring in this bottle and yet the yummy taste of vanilla bean ice cream was there, so much so that I could almost feel the ice cream melting in my mouth. I will definitely be ordering this in the future.

Their blueberry was fantabulous! It tasted of fresh, sweet blueberries. It didn't have that fake chemical type taste that a lot of fruit flavors can get. I am very happy with it.

Hazlenut - oh what can I say? I've never had a bad hazlenut flavored juice from anywhere. It is one of my favorites. MBV's hazlenut is sweet and tasty and it's one of those juices that when I smoke it in public people ask me what it is.

The Maraschino Cherry - I didn't care for this at all. It has a chemicalish burn to it that makes me cough and burns my sinuses. I'm not sure if that's because I had the extra shot of flavoring added to it or what but I can not smoke this flavor alone - which brings me to my next point about my order...

I ALWAYS order flavors I can mix. Vanilla/Cherry. Vanilla/Blueberry, Vanilla/Hazlenut. Mixing the vanilla, blueberry and a smidge of the hazlenut tastes like blueberry pie with ice cream. I have taken to mixing just a little tiny bit of the Maraschino Cherry with either of the Vanilla flavors - I've foud this is the ONLY way I can get through the cherry juice.

I will definitely be ordering from MBV in the future. Disliking one juice out of 5 is pretty darned good based on my experiences with e-juices. The 4 that I like, I like a lot, more than any othr e-juice I've ever had.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gr8 Vapes Review (TX)

Gr8 Vapes has two locations in Texas, one in San Marcos and one in West Bastrop.

The San Marcos shop because my favorite while I was staying in San Marcos. They mix their juices in house, in front of you, while you wait.

Their VanHazel Nut and Vanilla Custard flavors were all I smoked and still remain two of my favorite flavors. Unfortunately, it looks like their online shop doesn't sell either of them.

The staff are knowledgeable and can help you with just about anything you need. There is one exception, coils. I use the Kanger 2.2 ohm coils in my Pro Tank mini. I asked for these coils in the shop and the girl behind the counter said that they had a generic coil that worked the same but was a little less expensive. I opted to give them a go - they were horrible. They tasted like burned plastic and just didn't go very well with my Spinner variable voltage battery. On my next trip in I again asked for the Kanger coils and the girl behind the counter assured me that what she was giving me but they were once again the cheaper ones, only this time she charged me more. I was not a happy camper.

Gr8 Vapes also has a rewards program through Five Stars which allows you a free 10ml bottle of juice for every 100 points. They also give you a free 10ml bottle of juice for your birthday which is pretty cool.

Overall, I would say Gr8 Vapes is a wonderful place to get your e-juice but not so much for equipment unless you just need a battery. Stay away from the generic coils and don't expect to be able to get true Kanger coils there.

Vape Vine Review (MD)

I don't know why I haven't been doing this but since I am an avid e-cigarette smoker and I travel a lot I figure I should probably review some of the juices I've purchased. I am a sucker for vanilla flavors so I almost always will purchase a vanilla of some sort. Your mileage may vary since we all have different tastes

Vape Vine is located in Millersville, MD (they are currently working to open a shop in Annapolis as well)

Vape Vine became my go-to shop for e-juice last summer during the MD Renaissance Festival. They were close and prices weren't too high. I was just beginning my journey with e-cigarettes and was still in the dark about a lot of stuff. The staff at Vape Vine are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They are the ones who told me why my plastic tanks kept cracking (because of more acidic juice flavors like cherry) and helped me purchase a glass tank.

This year when I returned to MD I was excited to go back to a place I was familiar with. However, I realized one thing - they don't mix their own juice.They buy their juices wholesale from places like G2 Vapor, Alloy Blends, Mr. Good Vape, Rehab Vapor, NicQuid  ect. Don't get me wrong, some of those are wonderful juices. I'm particularly fond of the G2 Prime Vazilla and Alloy Blends Blonde. However, purchasing and reselling the juices means the prices are higher than you would otherwise pay if you were to order these juices directly yourself.

Overall, I would say that Vape Vine is a good place to go if you're just starting out with vaporizers. They can help you pick a rig and get you started. They have in-store events like Juice-Me days where you can meet up with other vapers and trade juices you bought and found you don't care for. They have a juice of the day that you can purchase or 25% off. And you can always sample any of their for sale flavors.