Friday, March 29, 2019

On a Personal Note

I've been doing so many product reviews that it's been a long while since I shared anything else here. With spring peeking into the windows of my apartment, my depression is easing and I thought I could talk about that struggle.

It's a serious business, dealing with depression and anxiety. It's even more serious (for me at least) as you age. When I was in my 30's, I could ward off "the blues" by focusing on family and friends. We always had a gaggle of babies and toddlers around and my mother and sister were still here with me. Now, I feel quite alone. Here's the contradiction: I am a loner by nature. I like being alone. My best friend is the same way. We once lived together for 5 months and were perfectly happy spending at max about 20 minutes a day together. She says that we are able to entertain ourselves with our own thoughts and imaginations. Blessing and curse.

The other day, I found myself wanting to get on a plane and get to Arizona as fast as possible. I have some family here, but Arizona is where the babies are. The smile and trust of a baby is a magical, mysterious kind of medicine. Babies don't care about your past. They don't ask you tough questions about the mistakes you made. Babies don't know that you've ruined marriages and relationships. Even older children - the ones who have only ever seen the you that you are now - don't want to talk about what you did wrong to be alone. They just want to be your friend. They want you to be their protection. They want your hugs and bedtime stories and attention.

Of course, I didn't run off to Arizona. Instead, I locked myself in with my plants and the radio and books. I prayed and cried and apologized to my past. I cooked food that I wasn't hungry for. I made bread and cakes that I gave away to my neighbors. I lay in bed and ached with a craving for I know not what. I scolded myself and I talked to God, making promises and asking questions and listening for answers,

When I get really deep down in the darkest blue of these moods, I will aim my pity outwards - but in a mean and backhanded way. I will talk to the muted screen of the TV, preaching to the seemingly morals-free and happy living people I see there. To the girls with their asses hanging out of shorts and lips twisted up for duck-faced selfies: "You life-wasting piece of ignorance." To the celebrities parading their wealth and extravagance: "Really? You needed a diamond that large when there are hungry children in the world?" To the product spokespeople: "Keep your iPhones and Androids and your supplements for a flat tummy. Sell me some peace, some quiet, some hope in mankind."


At some point, I found myself asking some actress in an old black and white movie about my theory of sadness. "Why is it that our laughter is so much louder than our tears?" (By the way, she didn't have an answer. She got killed by the man she was in love with but who was in love with another woman.)

I usually come out of the worst of this mood after talking to the TV. There's nothing like talking aloud in empty rooms to make you look down and realize how close to the edge of madness you are. When pieces of your sanity start to break off and crumble down the mountain, you begin to remember how you cherish the safety of the steady ground. That's when I will stop talking to myself and start playing music.

Music is powerful - either powerfully good or powerfully bad. When David played for Saul it was to soothe. David - loved by and in love with the Lord - had that holy blessing that Saul no longer did. The music was his sharing of a balm.

I never listen to certain music when I am in my blues. No Bird York reminding me of the 'deep' or Otis Redding crying on the dock. Good stuff but stuff that tempts me back to the gravelly edge of sanity. When I need healing, I listen to Dora Pickett singing the James Cleveland penned "God Is" or Big Daddy Weave singing "Redeemed". These are people loved by and in love with God. They have a blessing in their songs. I, too, am loved by and in love with God, but in my dark hours, I need that holy balm. Music is like the laying on of hands - God's or Satan's.

So, I am coming out of the dark. This time. Like I said, spring has been leaking in between the slats of my window blinds. Sun and hope. Warmth.

Spring is my favorite time of year. It's the dawn that comes after the night of winter.

In another few weeks, I will have more plants and herbs to calm myself with. I will be able to walk down to the lake and breathe in air that's not biting me with icy teeth.

Once again, I have come through the struggle and I have regained the ability to hope. Maybe this will be the season that I will fall in love, or in like. Maybe this is the season that I will be able to finish working on the book. Maybe is a good word because 'maybe' does not mean 'never".

Peace
--Free










Thursday, March 28, 2019

**REVIEW** The Dollar E-Juice Club

STOP: this post is ONLY for those of legal age for nicotine use.
See the guide for state-by-state regulations

state-by-state regulations


Although I now know of more than a few places to get vape juice, I have gotten used to the juice from  Vapewild. The VW brand is generally $6.99 for 30ml and I have favorite VW flavors but I'm not a flavor fanatic, as long as it vapes well enough. However, I am always on the lookout for new juices and great prices. Naturally, as soon as I heard about The Dollar E-Juice Club, my eyes lit up.

I also like the Dollar Store and Dollar Tree but I know that not all their stuff is worth even a dollar. Just to be safe about The Dollar E-Juice Club (DEC), I made my first order up of the smallest size bottles (5ml).


The label print was miniscule but so is the price

You can't really go wrong with $0.99 bottles of juice. That's one of the things I really like so far about DEC. I can try a lot of different flavors without going broke or ending up with large quantities of juice I don't like. So far, Vapewild's smallest juice comes in the 30ml bottle (for around $7). 30ml of DEC juice would be under $6. But, like I said, trying small quantities first is always nice.

By the way, 5 of the bottles came encased in the cardboard box you see above. The other 2 were nicely bubble-wrapped and the whole set of bottles was mailed in a thick bubbled-envelope. The bottles are plastic so there was no issue of breakage, but if any had leaked, the packaging was great protection against spills.




It's tough to see the bottle labels in the photos, so I'll tell you what I got:

1) Mango (described as "fresh ripe mangoes). OMG. This was so flavorful that I felt like I was eating a fresh piece of fruit and the smell was mouthwatering. This is the best Mango flavored juice, hands down, since the Juul. For the last few weeks, I thought that my tastebuds were getting dulled because I haven't been getting as much flavor from my usual juice. I like this Mango so much that I have already put the 30ml bottle in my cart to order next time. SO glad that I ordered 2 in this first sample pack. (NOTE: There is also a menthol version of this.) 

2) Glazed Donut ("sweet, freshly baked, glazed donut"). This one was just okay. On the first couple of hits, there was not as much flavor as with the Mango and what I did get was not "sweet" enough for me. On the next few hits, I realized that this is a juice where the flavor is so muted overall that I don't get a sense of "donut" at all. I don't mind it but I won't order it again. I think that the flavors are just not strong enough in this one.

3) Sugar Cookie ("freshly baked butter cookies topped with sugar crystals"). Like with the Mango, I could smell this so much better than I could the Glazed Donut. Once again, the flavor really came through but I'm not a fan of that flavor. That was a little bit of a surprise because I generally like juices with the flavor of baked goods. I got a slightly (very slight) taste of cinnamon. This isn't bad but I won't order more.

4) Creamy Yellow Cake ("golden sponge cake filled with whipped cream" - so basically, a Twinkie!) This is another "Yes!" I liked that it wasn't overpowering but still let the flavor come through. In fact, it's pretty mild. The smell is more like baked yellow cake with the tiniest hint of... lemon?. Maybe, but the taste is not as vanilla-ey as expected. I have to say that this one - also with the Mango - is one I tasted on my tastebuds and in my nose if that makes sense. This one was nice, mellow, and really yummy. Anyone who likes a very mild custard or baked goods taste would probably enjoy this one. A larger size is going into my cart the next time.

5) Strawberry Cheesecake ("creamy smooth cheesecake filling in a soft graham cracker crust topped with candied strawberries") Once I got this open  (I hate opening tiny juice bottles!) I was a little put off by the scent. Keep in mind that, while I love cheesecake, I can do without the strawberry topping. However, this was not bad at all. It's another nice rich flavor, very lush and tasty. Surprised me and I might even have to order more.

6) Cotton Candy ("thin spun cotton candy") I chose this one more as a "novelty" because I wanted to try some flavors out of my norm. I really couldn't smell this one, but I did get the flavor. The taste of this one was mild on the exhale but came through stronger a moment later. Weird. It's not bad and I am surprised that I like it enough to probably order more.

So I guess it won't surprise you to know that the Mango is what's in my device right now. I can't get enough of that one. If you want to know something, I often vape to curb my appetite. Does anyone else do that? I mean, if I can just get a good scent of fruit or baked goods, I can just sip my coffee and keep it moving past the fridge.

Bottom line, DEC is going to be one of my go-to places. I like that I can sample in small quantities for under a buck and the flavors are true to the descriptions. My order arrived really fast and the shipping was basically USPS First Class or Priority. I used the cheaper First Class option and got my order in 3 business (week) days. Not bad at all. Orders over $35 score free shipping. In addition, I want to mention that, no matter what (if any) other codes you use, the Honey extension might give a better discount. I'm not recommending you do use Honey, but it gave me a better discount than the Welcome code I tried first.

I'm happy that I heard about The Dollar E-Juice Club because it's definitely one that I am adding to my regular sites to use.

Peace
--Free

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

**REVIEW** iStick Pico Squeeze 2 TC Squonk Kit


STOP: this post is ONLY for those of legal age for nicotine use.
See the guide for state-by-state regulations

state-by-state regulations


This is the next-to-last vape device I will be reviewing for a while, but it's a unique one - at least for me. It's the iStick Pico Squeeze 2 TC Squonk. This one in "dazzling" (aka Rainbow) came from over at Breazy but it's currently available at a couple of other places. It's a beauty, yes?



Like I said, this one is unique for me. First off, I really had zero clues as to what half the name meant. In my opinion, "TC" and "Squonk" sound like descriptions for space shuttle equipment.What I have learned (from the 20-something younguns in my family) is that "TC" stands for temperature control and "squonk" is too complicated to explain in a few words so this link is highly useful for details. Very basically, to squonk is to squeeze soak the cotton and coil with a juice bottle attached to the vaping device. I did say "basically". This is another laymen explanation.

The entire kit (minus a battery)

Until now, I had only ever used the simpler methods of vaping. I didn't want to deal with anything as complicated as building and setting up a mod device, but I did want to experience something designed for better flavor and vapor production. Apparently, squonking is a nice compromise. Still, I had to have my nephew come over and attach the coil and cotton so I could try the Pico Squeeze 2.

Since I am in 'For Dummies" mode with this device, you will do better to view this extremely helpful video from Wendy Vapes for details on setting things up.

Her nails are always awesome, by the way

Speaking of Wendy,  you should subscribe to her channel anyway. She's very knowledgeable and has a way of clarifying things for newbies. And she's great fun to watch.

Once my nephew got everything all set up for me, I was ready to test the device. I'm not sure what I expected. I've now tried so many devices - pods, mods, pens... - that I can't really anticipate the experience. With this one, I was careful not to hit it too hard.

Wow. This is a whole different level of vaping for me. The closest I've come to such flavor is with the Smok Veneno or the Voopoo Caliber. The Pico though is super, super smooth. That's the best way I can describe it. The juice I used was one from Vapewild called 21 Jump Treat (Funnel cake, raspberries, powdered sugar) and it doesn't rate high with other buyers but I love it. It's smooth enough in my other devices but with the Pico Squeeze, it was so rich and creamy tasting.

The second time around, I took a deep hit and got the same smoothness. I really like the experience. And I cannot say enough how pretty the dang thing is.


What I want to do is try one of my stronger flavors - like the RoseChamp from ECBlends that I customized. Let's just stop here and list the Pros and Cons of the Squeeze.

PROS:

  • Not too difficult to use once it's been set up with a coil. What I'm saying is that I can at least change the cotton with no problem,
  • The size and weight are Goldilocks nice - not too heavy, not too light - and fits nicely in even my smaller feminine hands.
  • I love that the firing pin is situated so that both right-handed and left-handed users can see the OLED screen. (There's no screen on the Pico Baby but the firing pin is positioned awkwardly in relation to the flash indicator light.)
  • The juice bottle is soft and pliable. I like that I don't have to apply a lot of pressure to "squonk" the liquid. WendyVapes made a similar observation.
  • I can adjust the display to view the set wattage and battery usage at a glance. These are the 2 things I'm most concerned with when vaping.
  • As far as looks: I just lurve the color and the LED lights.
CONS: ( most of these are due to user inexperience)
  • While accessing and using the main menu is fairly simple, the submenu is a different story. (This helps a bit.)
  • The "coral" drip tip that came with it was a) hard as hell to get off, and b) too short, in my opinion. I changed it out for one from the Veneno.
  • The user manuals were just okay. For instance, it didn't really explain using the menu in enough detail. And it was in the tiniest print ever. Don't these people know us 50-plussers are vaping now?
  • The coil might have been easier to insert if it had been pre-cut for this particular device. I don't know why it wasn't. Experienced vapers seemed to prefer their own coils and knew how to size and cut them to fit. The coils that came with the device should have, again in my opinion, should have been ready to go.
  • As good as the device looks (and it looks fabulous), don't leave it behind at any crime scenes because your prints will damn near be in 3D. (Just kidding about crime scenes, but not about the fingerprints.)
As I said, my gripes are mostly those of a newbie. The whole thing with the coils not being pre-cut really irritated me since this was the biggest obstacle to using right out of the box. Access to the menu (or rather the poor instructions for) was the other major annoyance. Since the screens on these devices are small, there really should have been more detailed instructions for the menu - even for experienced vapers.
I prefer the taller drip tip from the Veneno

One thing I can mention that would be a sort-of-kind-of negative to squonking, in general, is that, because you are using a juice bottle, it's not as easy to switch out flavors. With my other devices, I can just swap out the pod or coil for each flavor type. With the squonk, I would (for the best flavor experience) need to change out the cotton and/or finish the bottle I've filled. Or, I guess I could just use smaller amounts of juice in the bottle. Still, it will be more of a hassle until I get used to changing cotton and, possibly, coils. And this brings up something I forgot to mention about the Pico Squeeze: you get one complete squonk bottle (cap and all), but the spare bottle is only the bottle; you have to fit the cap from the first one onto the spare. So that leaves out easily swapping bottles for flavor changing.

Here's the thing though: for all my fussing about the few negatives, this thing is too marvelous for words. That might be the newbie in me talking, but I really can't imagine myself giving up this device.
Changed the drip tip!

When I do get around to changing the juice in the bottle, I plan to try each of my juice flavors. With this device, I feel like I am getting so much more taste from the 21 Jump Treat. Can't wait to try the PB&J that I've been using in the Caliber and Veneno.

I am doing this particular device kit for this review but as far as price, I think that the current cost of around $30 (without the battery) is pretty decent. As recent as a few months ago, the price seemed to be around $50 for the device with the battery. Even good batteries are cheaper than $20.

If you are getting the Pico Squeeze as a gift for someone, the overall packaging is lovely. That's not a hint, but if someone in my family would like to get me one in another color, I'll take the red!

Bottom line, this device is NOT for newbies (unless you have friends to help you get started) and safety is so much more of a priority. Where you always need to be careful of batteries and charging and everything else with other devices, you really want to be on your toes when using this kind of device.



Free
--Free

P.S.: I just now screwed up the setting while messing around with that damn menu!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

**REVIEW** Vremi Single Cup Coffee Maker (with 14-oz travel mug)

Well, my Keurig is still packed away since it's cheaper to make a car payment than it is to keep myself stocked with pods. I was able to get by with the world's cheapest coffee pot for over a year until recently. It finally started tapdancing on my last good nerve a few weeks ago when the lid wouldn't completely close. Actually, it was a good little pot considering I picked it up for under 10 bucks at Walmart.

When it came time to replace the pot, I considered using the Keurig (which I only put out when I have guests staying for more than a few days) until I priced pods again. There are some cheap ones to be had but, honestly, I've been drinking chicory coffee lately and don't want to give that up.

Both Walmart and Amazon had pots similar to the one that was dying, but then I saw this:


That is the Vremi Single Cup Coffee Maker that comes with a 14-ounce capacity travel mug.

Of course, it didn't arrive like that. It came in a box and that box is freaking cute! Here's a collage of the different things written on it. Also, there is a little bonus inside. It's a nice bonus, too.

#thisboxrocks

People think of me as a rabid coffee drinker because I seem to always have a mug in my hand, but that's not true. I love my java but only ever make about 2 cups of coffee to fill my Kleen Kanteen (thank you again to my darling niece!) once, sometimes twice, a day. The Vremi seemed like a good deal at under $15. And I would have logged out of Amazon spending just that if I hadn't kept looking and saw this:


Keeps the coffee fresh!
cannister goes well with the coffee maker 

That will be in a review later, but let's talk about this coffee maker.

Positives

The main thing that mattered - other than that price - was that the pot not take up a lot of counter space. That was a bonus of my old, dying pot. Thankfully, the Vremi is basically the same size.



It doesn't matter to me that the old pot held more coffee. The Vremi has me covered with that 14-ounce capacity.

Another Pro is that the lid closes easily and completely on the Vremi. The lid is probably the biggest negative to small coffee makers. I'm not a total grouch first thing in the morning, but I don't want to have to wiggle and jiggle a lid closed to make my first cup of the day.

Next best: this thing brews fast! I usually set up my brew before I go to bed. In the morning, I hit the power button before I open the blinds and turn on the plant lights. No more than 2 minutes and my coffee is ready. Perfect.

The Vremi has an auto shut off. That right there is huge for me. The last time I left town to see the family, I had a panic attack right after my plane took off. For over 3 hours, I was twice as miserable as I usually am when flying. I could not remember if I had turned off the coffee pot. There have been times when I have woken out of a dead sleep to run into the kitchen and check that dang pot. I need a Valium right now just for these flashbacks.

So, yeah, the Vremi is pretty awesome but there are a couple of things I'm not thrilled with.

Negatives

First thing: the travel mug doesn't keep my coffee hot for very long - only very warm. This is not a problem for me because I always drink from my Kanteen. Still, some folks are going to think they can use this mug to savor their hot morning coffee for half an hour or so. They will be fine if they don't mind really warm, kind-of-sort-of-hot coffee.

The mug is described as being stainless steel on the product page. In my opinion, that should read as "stainless steel wrapped" because the inside is total plastic. It's so lightweight that it feels like it's made entirely of plastic. I just had to check the weight with my food scale.

may be off by a bit but...

Under 6 ounces. Very lightweight even if my scale is slightly off. Also, the lid does not have a strong seal so...  Like I said, for me, that's a minor complaint since I only use the mug to collect the brewed coffee. My own Kanteen mug won't fit the maker. If you want to know if your mug might fit, the travel mug is just around 5.75 inches tall and 3.5 inches at the base. The maker, from top to base, is stated to be 9.75 inches while the base is 7.125 inches.

The last negative is just plain pesky. It's to do with the permanent (but removable for cleaning) metal mesh filter.



I love and hate those things. They are convenient, of course, but they seem to let a lot of gritty residue seep into the coffee. Since I don't have any teeny-tiny paper filters on hand, I have been cutting out substitutes from the paper filters I have left over.

Overall

I'm really happy with the maker itself. That mug sucks though. Still, I would buy this again and I have already recommended it to one of my neighbors. It only took me the first 3 brews to figure out the best coffee to water ratio to use for the strength I prefer.

The positives are so high with this machine, I can't even really care about the pesky little cons. Also, I'm not kidding when I say that the bonus Vremi included is the best I've gotten with a purchase like this.

Peace
--Free

Saturday, March 16, 2019

**VAPING** ECBlend Flavors

5STOP: this post is ONLY for those of legal age for nicotine use.
See the guide for state-by-state regulations

state-by-state regulations

NOTE: This post is part of my ongoing list of vape shops.


As much as I love the juice I've been getting from VapeWild, I'm glad that I am discovering new sources. ECBlend Flavors (ECB) was suggested to me by someone on Instagram and I was excited to know about a place that provided customizing of flavors. I won't do a long intro; let's just dive into the Pros and Cons before we summarize.

PROS:

1. Being able to customize has to be the top benefit of ECB, but it ties with something else I'll get to in a moment.

ECB's flavor menu is so extensive, my mind was boggled. Where most places give choices of Dessert, Beverage, and Tobaccos, ECB gives that and a whole lot more. My first order included a printed copy of the menu and the flavors took up 15 pages. The photo below is of just 2 pages.



 2. Not only does ECB have a ton of flavors, but they have several "Create your own" options. I created 4 separate liquids and I learned something: I don't like Champagne flavored ejuice! I also learned that it's a lot of fun to be able to put together custom blends.

Not only can you customize liquids but, when you do, ECB goes all the way. When customizing, you get to name your creation and when your order arrives, you don't get a generic-looking bottle of personalized liquid. Nope. This is what my creations look like:



They actually labeled the bottles as I had named my creations! That's a new kind of cool. If I had realized they were going to do this, I might have thought up better names...

By the way, when you customize, you're not just choosing flavors. In addition to the bottle size, of course, and up to 4 flavors, you are in control of:

  • Adding "extra" or "double" flavoring
  • Nicotine strength (0, 3, 6, 12, 18. 24. 36)
  • Base Mix with various PG/VG levels (Max VG; 30/70; 40/60; 50/50; 60/40; 70/30; 80/20; or 100% PG)
  • Option of adding Menthol, Cool Hit, or Extra Menthol
  • Option of adding Sweetener, Enhanced Sweetener, or Double Sweetener
  • Option to make it Sour
  • Naming your creation
3. The prices are amazing. As an example, my 15ml "Honeyrose" creation included the added sweetener and 2 flavors and cost $4.10. It was the most expensive in my order. My other 10ml bottles were $3.10 and 2.95. That's a good price for any nice juice, let alone for ones I customized and added sweeteners and extra flavoring. Basically, the current pricing ranges from $1.99 to $34.95 for bottle sizes from 5ml to 250ml.

4. I thought it was super nice that not only did ECB toss in tp my order a couple of sample 5ml bottles of liquid but they also included one of those rubberized "friend tip" things that will let me safely share my vape with someone else.




CONS:

There are just a few things that could be improved but they are negative enough to take away much from the overall experience I had.

1. Customizing slows up your order. Of course, it does, though, right? I mean, these folks are mixing liquid to your specifications, then they are taking the time to make a freaking personalized label... So, yeah, I'm impatient, but I didn't mind this too much. I placed my order on the 7th of the month, it was shipped on the 12th, and I received it on 14th of the month. Keep in mind when placing orders and understand that ECB does not work weekends or holidays.

2. The site is a little busy and disorganized. I found myself hunting and pecking for information because of the cluttered look of the crowded look of the pages. This is one of the reasons I asked for a printed menu for future reference. In defense of ECB, it looks like the online site came after the several brick and mortar operations they have. At any rate, I don't mind hunting and pecking to find good deals.

3. This is really a negative, but you're not going to find a lot of starter kits and devices and what is there I found to be higher priced than elsewhere. I think this might be because their online shop specializes in juice. However, some of the drip tips, coils, and other random stuff seemed more reasonable - but I'm a novice in that area.



To summarize, I'm super happy with the choices, prices and, so far, service from ECB. I will most definitely be ordering from them again. I was thinking that their customized bottles would make really nice gifts for friends.


Peace
--Free

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

**VAPING** My Ongoing List of Online Vape Stores

STOP: this post is ONLY for those of legal age for nicotine use.
See the guide for state-by-state regulations

state-by-state regulations
UPDATE - Add ECBlend to the list. You can read the full review here.


One of the things I wish had been easier when I started vaping was finding online vendors. I wanted to know about places where customers had good experiences and felt like they were getting quality products. That list exists - all over the freaking internet. I decided to start my own list and you can just take it or leave it.

Obviously, I can't vouch for everyone's joy and satisfaction when dealing with vendors on this list. I can tell you all about my experiences. I will do one of my Pro and Con bullet-ings for each place.

The list is pretty short right now, but just keep checking back as I post updates. Here we go...


Image result for breazy vape
Breazy was one of the first sites I bought a device from. I got the SMOK Venepromno from them. That first time was not a good experience, but I have since ordered my Eleaf Pico Baby from them and was much more impressed.

PROS:
  • Site setup is awesome. It's easy to search for and sort products.
  • There is a set of FAQs and a Support page with Chat, Email, or Phone options.
  • They have a really nice array of hardware, juices, and accessories. I LOVE looking for starter kits there.
  • Prices are not the lowest, but also not the highest
  • Each item has a note of whether it's shipped and sold by Breazy (vs, I suppose, another vendor?)
  • Site was secure and I had no problems sharing payment information
  • The shipping was fast (except for my first ever order) & they offered a Flat Rate USPS option.
  • They offer international shipping except to Turkey, according to the site.
  • You can access details of past orders.
CONS:
  • Service was erratic back in 2018 - as in slow delivery and some communication issues. I found help from the via Reddit instead of on the actual site. Afterward, I had no other problems but read of a couple from other Reddit folk.
  • Not as friendly to newbies as they could be. I had asked if everything was included in a Smok device that I ordered ("as a newbie"). The chat rep assured me that I had everything. I discovered that I didn't have the 18650 batteries. A little bit of a newbie error because this bit of info was listed somewhere on the product page, but the rep could have been more helpful.
BOTTOM LINE:

I will most definitely order from Breazy again if I find something I want at the right price. I recommend that newbies make sure to read everything on the product pages and just keep asking questions before placing your order - but that is true no matter where you shop the first few times. By the way, I did find cheaper batteries on Amazon that day.


Image result for electric tobacconist logoThis was the second place I ever shopped and I think I heard of them on Reddit. I used to order my nic salts from them (the Kwit brand). My Innokin Endura, Voopoo Caliber, and the Infinix came from ET.

PROS:
  • Their shipping is free on orders over $20 and Priority for orders over $80. That's one of the best I've seen anywhere. 
  • The site is user-friendly and so easy to navigate.
  • They give a lot of good and detailed  information on the product pages for each device. That is really helpful for comparison shopping or for newbies.
  • They carry a variety of brands of juices, devices, and accessories.
  • Nic Salt juices are affordable. I particularly liked the Kwit brand when I was using nic salts.
  • As if today, they still carry Juul pods, devices, and accessories.
  • Prices on devices are pretty competitive and ET is one of the first places I check when comparing.
  • You can go back and look at detailed records of your past orders. 
CONS:
    • Regular juice is kind of high, IMO, and deals are okay but there's not a ton of variety. They have a 3-for section of juices - either $13 or $18 - but they are 10ml sizes and I've found better juices in larger quantities at better prices.

    BOTTOM LINE:
    ET is one of my favorite online stores. The only thing I will probably never shop for there anymore is juice. 


    Image result for vapewildYou can almost see how I have progressed as a vapor by following my shopping trail.

    I first heard of Vapewild from a chick on Instagram. We both like discovering new places and we chat all the time about our vape experiences. She made me very happy when she told me about the Welcome Pack of eliquid for $1 instead of $17. That's the first Pro, by the way.

    PROS:
    • Best customer service EVER.
    • Samples (juice) included in almost every order
    • Shipping is fast and well-priced
    • Online chat available & staff is super helpful - especially to newbies
    • Staff is fun. They put out cute videos and they always personalize the bags they send you
    • Pretty good website - easy to use and has a search function
    • The site includes a lot of info for newbies, including a Beginners Guide for new vapers, vape stats, and a how-to if you want to "steep" your own juice.
    • Great prices on the VapeWild branded juices & the juices are, IMO, really good
    • That Welcome sampler that I mentioned is awesome. It's a total of 120ml 
    • They have a paid membership customers can opt for that will give them perks including free shipping on any order.
    CONS:
    • The non-VapeWild juices are, IMO, kind of pricey.
    • You have to look up what flavors are in the VapeWild brand juices. They have cool names (my favorite named one is Hannibal Nectar) but you often have to pull up the product page to see what flavors are included.
    • The membership fee is, again, IMO, kind of high. It's $50/yr. That could be worth it if VW is the only place you buy from. I still prefer something like Electric Tobacconist's free-over-$20 deal.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    I can't really complain about VW because they are so fun and, for the most part, reasonably priced. The samplers and especially that Welcome bag is a great way for newbies to decide if they prefer their juice with certain flavor profiles - desserts, fruit, breakfast, candy, etc. - of it they just want to stick to tobacco or menthol flavors. When I stopped using primarily nic salts, I discovered that I prefer dessert flavors, but that may change.


    Image result for vanval vaporJust so that you know, I have only just received my first ever order from VV in the past couple of days. I heard about them from someone on Instagram or Reddit.

    PROS:

    • Prices are awesome. I got the Sample Pack of 7 flavors (that I got to choose) in 17.5ml for $22. Bam!
    • They shipped the package 1st class for less than $5.50 and it arrived lickety-split.
    • The juices are fresh and clean tasting.
    • The juices are potent and would be a great choice for the newly smoke-free or folks who like a good nicotine hit.
    • They sell CBD liquid also. And coffee. They sell coffee beans.
    CONS:
    • There's not a whole lot of variety. If you are a person who likes to explore variations and a lot of different blends, you won't have a lot of choices here.
    • The juice seemed potent. I normally vape 0 or 3mgs and have some bottles of 6mg around from when I first quit tobacco. I don't know what possessed me to try 7.5mg this time. This would have been a perfect choice when I first quit and I might not have had to try nic salts. Being over 6 months tobacco free, I got in over my head. Choose your nicotine level wisely with this juice!
    BOTTOM LINE:

    I will most definitely buy from VV again - but I will go low on the nicotine. I like the clean, no-nonsense approach they take to making affordable juice.

    So far, that's it. I am going to be adding EC Blend Flavors to this list really soon. I am just waiting for my first order to arrive.

    Peace
    --Free

    Friday, March 08, 2019

    **VAPING** PockeX Pocket AIO Vape Kit by Aspire

    STOP: this post is ONLY for those of legal age for nicotine use.
    See the guide for state-by-state regulations

    state-by-state regulations



    Remember the other day when I mentioned getting 2 new devices? Well, the Pico Baby is sweet, but I also want to talk about the PockeX by Aspire that I got around the same time.


    I will tell you right up front that the only thing I don't like about this vape pen is the name. You know how I am; I get all creeped out by that large "X" at the end. Why not just the Pockex? Or even the Pockx, if they wanted to be cute?

    Amway.

    The PockeX (yeah, I'm going to do my own thing and just call it the Pocket from now on) arrived within a day of the Pico. I was much more excited about the Pico - because of the shape and style - and was just kind of 'meh' about the Pocket. The one thing I liked about it sight unseen was the rainbow shade. When it arrived the first thing I did was compare its appearance against the Pico.


    Well. Looks are one thing and performance is another, right? The Pocket has a lot going for it and the price is the first thing. It was 20 bucks and came with some nice features.

    ** I have to pause here and do a side note. While writing this post, I just now glanced over at the product page for the Pocket and noticed something for the first time. The device has a "child lock" feature. I don't have kids but how did I miss that? I do a chat with VapeWild to ask about this and... the "child lock" is the same thing most vapes have. You click 5 times to lock and unlock the fire button. So all my devices have this feature. Nothing special to see here. folks.**
    Here is what I like about the Pocket:

    • The top fill is super easy. Because the coil lifts off with the cap, there's no avoiding leakage into the tip.
    • It charges pretty quickly and the charge holds up most of the day with moderate use. I think of moderate as hitting the vape for a few minutes every ever hour or so.
    • The slim build is a bit lighter and easier for smaller hands than the Voopoo Caliber
    • It has one of those narrower drip tips that I love
    • The liquid level is completely visible through the partial glass tank. 
    • The firing (aka child safety lock) button is perfectly placed.
    • The USB port is in a decent place.
    • The device vapes very nicely. 
    By the way, I know that type and quality of juice has a lot to do with the vape experience but, using the same liquids, some of my devices just give off a better taste. My SIL had one device that just made our juice taste too harsh. I hacked and coughed every time I tried to use it. From listening to other vapers, I know this has something to do with coils and wicks. All I know is that, out of the box, certain devices work better for me. This Pocket is one of them.

    Other than the name, there are two other slight annoyances I have with the Pocket. One is that when you remove the top to fill the tank, the coil lifts out with the lid. That's great because, like I said, you're not having to avoid spilling juice into the drip tip. On the other hand, you do have to be careful to let some of the juice run off of the coil before you set the top aside. Juice will sweat down from the coil and onto the table or whatever while you're filling the tank. There is actually one more thing: there's no airflow adjustment. A YouTuber did point out that you can restrict the flow a bit by covering the USB port when inhaling.

    Fill line is at the black arrow



    The only other issue also has to do with the tank. Because you will be fitting the coil back in after filling the tank, you have to be mindful of not overfilling. Thankfully, there is a fill line as a guide but I wonder if that affects the 2ml capacity. 

    The coil lifts out with the top for filling

    When I was telling an acquaintance about the Pocket and the Pico, she mentioned liking both of them over her most expensive device. Although my most expensive vape was a gift and is in the $40-some range and I agree with her assessment. I guess for most of us vaping is a bit of a journey because you start out not knowing much about the different devices. If I could go back, I would have chosen either one of these two pens or the Caliber.

    Bottom line, this is a great device and the price makes it so much sweeter.

    Speaking of sweet, my next review will be on juices. I have 2 orders coming. One is from ECBlend (they let you design your own juice) and the other is from VanVal (they had a sample pack deal) and I'm pretty excited about both. Both places got raves from online acquaintances and the prices were super good.

    Peace
    --Free