Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vegas: Lone Mountain Park Sunrise

One beautiful day, Antho and I were lounging around trying to decide what to do with ourselves and I came to realize that we had an All You Can Eat Korean BBQ AND Sushi place not too far from our humble abode... this realization rapidly resulted in both of us eating ourselves into a happy slumber colloquially referred to as "the -itis" or a "food coma"... and we slept. We slept hard. Really hard. We were both beyond consciousness by 8 or 9 pm, easily, if not earlier, and when we later awoke semi-digested and bleary eyed, it was well into the early hours of the morning. We ended up marathoning movies and having a pretty good time, but as it neared sunrise Antho was growing anxious. He's been working mornings the last six months or so, rising at 4AM to leave for work by 5-5:15 in the morning, whereas my work schedule typically starts at a much more normative 9am. What this all translates to, is that Antho is usually up for sunrise and almost always alone for it. Since I was already risen, albeit more half-snoozing than shining, he felt the strong need to share at least this sunrise together. So we did. I was already awake and since Vanticore is a spacious vehicle (especially compared to my much loved, but much smaller, Volvo sedan) there was plenty of room for me to sprawl out and nap while we made our way to Lone Mountain Park. While I hadn't personally gone to the park before, at least in recent memory, Antho used to visit quite regularly as he lived nearby. One of the perks of living in a valley...mountains everywhere! 

And so, we were off, racing the sun. 

More photos after the cut!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vegas: Wetlands Park

As part of our personal quest to see all the pretty places scattered around our fair city, we suited up and found ourselves driving over to the Wetlands Park in Henderson one fine day. By this point we'd gotten Vanticore, our big Van, and were eager to stretch her legs. Eventually we want to get her fully converted to be livable so we can travel about in comfort, not unlike my much loved tortoises who carry their homes with them, but for now she's getting us out and about as we break her in. She's gone to Valley of Fire since this, but since she was still pretty new to us and we were finding new mechanical errors here and there, we kept it close to home and the Wetlands Park is pretty conveniently located just off of Boulder Highway on none other than Wetlands Park Drive ( 7050 E. Wetlands Park Lane
Las Vegas, NV 89122)... it's free to visit and there's quite an extensive network of trails running throughout the park to explore, so we barely just scratched the surface of all there was to see and do during this trip. The museum was preparing to close shortly after we got there, too, so we weren't able to spend as much time checking out the various exhibits (giant flying mechanical insects, animals pelts and more) as we would have liked. The ladies working inside the museum were very cordial and friendly despite being ready to leave, and when it was time for them to start closing up for the day they were still polite. Perhaps it was Antho's enthusiasm, which can be pretty contagious to be around, and he was pretty excited to be there. We'd talked about going several years back when I lived nearby, but it never panned out at the time. Perfect excuse to take Vanticore for a drive and stretch her legs!  It's free to visit 

More photos after the cut!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Birthday Shenanigans & Smok Alien mod

To round out the birthday celebrations, Antho took me to see the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino. I've spent a lot of time inside the Excalibur over the years, though most of it was a long long time ago (but not in a galaxy far away) when I was still just barely learning how to do caricatures. It's changed a lot since then, as all things in Vegas have a tendency to do, but the Tournament of Kings has remained their signature show throughout. It's an exciting live show with brave Knights, sword fights, jousting, an entire bird for you to eat with your bare hands and plenty of crowd involvement. It was a lot of fun and I've always wanted to go, though I'd never gotten the chance, so I was pretty stoked for this to be happening. Unfortunately (or not?) there's no photography permitted inside the venue, at least not of the actors or the show itself. I did snag a quick photo of my meal:

But beyond that I put my camera away and focused on enjoying the show. It was a lot of fun and I'd definitely recommend it, especially for families with small children as it will definitely excite their imaginations! There's even real horses, guys. Inside a casino! 

Lips are Jeffree Star cosmetics in "I'm Shook", which I bought as a birthday present for myself. 

And speaking of presents, Antho got me the Alien mod by Smok. We both took to vaping as an alternative to smoking...while I never particularly took to the habit of smoking cigarettes too seriously I've enjoyed hookah on special occasions and enjoy the experience, while Antho was a long term heavy smoker. We'd reached a point where I'd been vaping for over a year and Antho got sick of having to step outside for a smoke break and finally decided to take the leap himself. He's been cigarette free for months now! Personally, I find vaping to be a lot of fun and love that it comes in such a wide array of flavors with so much different hardware and techniques, from squonking to sub-oHm, rebuildable mods to disposable, there's a lot of different options to choose from for any level of vape enthusiast. I started simple with a single battery mod that my friend gave me when she graduated to a nicer model. I used that for almost the entire duration of my time in Korea, though I was unpleasantly surprised to find that the juices were far more expensive in Seoul... would have been far cheaper to smoke cigarettes, but man, they just taste so vulgar! I have zero interest in them when I could instead be filling my mouth with sweet fruity custard flavors. When my first mod broke down, I picked up the Aspire Pegasus box mod at a shop  I know there's a lot of warnings and fear mongering out there (and many of my coworkers gave me their own horror stories about exploding mods), so of course vape at your own discretion. It's a hobby we both enjoy, so for my birthday Antho got me this big boy. It originally had a cherry red exterior to match the tank, but I found this skin online and knew I wanted it in my hands. 

As with any shiny new toy, we needed the right accessories! We went with Crepe brand's Banana Toast Crunch, a sweet and smooth banana cereal flavor that we've gotten again since. It's actually one of Antho's favorites even though he normally hates anything with artificial banana flavor. Hits smooth with decent clouds. The Strawberry is good, too, and one I'd like to pick up again. Dinner Lady was a lemon meringue pie that Antho really enjoyed, though I didn't use it as much because it's harder to fill my tank with drop tip applicator it came with. The Circus Cookie was good, and often got added to the tanks with the fruity cereal flavors to add more of that baked goods flavor. 

The Smok Alien mod takes two batteries, so it delivers a strong hit with dense clouds. The menu is clear and easy to read and there's so many options for customisation on wattage, oHm, pufffs, display settings, etc. You can easily pop out the batteries to charge separately or use the micro USB input. Antho's currently using this mod for his RDA set up with a Druga tank by Augvape. I liked the Alien a lot but it's a big mod, whereas I've typically been using slimmer single battery styles so it definitely feels bigger in my hand, too. I've since switched to a Smok Priv V8 which does a pretty good job of bringing the dense milky clouds of more powerful mods to the smaller size of a single battery mod. The Priv V8 is unregulated, which means that it hits strong with a fully charged battery then gradually tapers off until it runs out of power, and the battery pops out easily so you can swap a dead one for a freshly charged one in seconds- though it also has a micro USB port for charging, too, but I'm getting sidetracked here...There was a glitch that would pop up every so often when switching tanks  on the Alien and I'd find it jumping to high oHms on me and frying coils if i wasn't paying attention. Overall, though, I enjoyed the Alien while I was using it (and it was working appropriately) and Antho's especially happy with it for his RDA (which he's dubbed Rita). He's better with handling the menus and technical side, too, which is why i've switched to a simpler mod style.

Overall I had a great birthday and I'm so grateful I was able to spend it with my love, taking in beautiful sights and cute animals at the Springs Preserve along with an epic show at the Excalibur and big tasty clouds with our Smok Alien. 
Thanks for being here, along for the ride. 💗

More photos after the cut!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vegas: Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens

As much as we love all things cute fluffy (be them our mischief of rats or gila monsters lounging in a zoo) there was a lot more of the Springs Preserve to explore beyond the Space Exhibit at OriGen Museum and their zoo. Onward, we strolled, along the many winding paths through the gardens. We'd been in a hurry to see the museum and now our meanderings were aimless, simply looking to see what there was to find as we went and to, you know, stop and smell (or photograph) the flowers. Perhaps not all too surprisingly, there's quite a lot of garden that can be fit into 180 acres! That's a lot of flowers, even for us, so we weren't able to acquaint ourselves with each and every blossom, but that's ok. Saves something for next time! 😘

Of course there's abundant bounty of gorgeous flowers to see throughout the grounds, from the tiniest of wildflowers to shock bright cactus flowers jutting out from their spiky abutments like some kind of alien growth, but there's also plenty of benches to sit and ponder the beauty (or horror) of nature... or sit and pick your teeth, plus informative signs, hidden trails and all sorts of other fun things to discover. We spent at least an hour enjoying the mild weather and the beautiful sights and scenery. The Springs Preserve is a very, very photogenic location and it's easy to see why it's a popular destination for weddings! They also offer hosting for private events like corporate parties, special occasions, and often have public events celebrating the holidays like their Haunted Harvest event and the upcoming New Year's Eve celebration in their Cafe which sounds pretty spectacular.
There's a lot of classes available, too, which all sound like a lot of fun! 

This really is one of our favourite places here in town. It's conveniently located near the Meadows Mall, so if you don't feel like eating at their cafe you can always grab some Panda Express just around the corner. On top of being easy to get to, there's tons of parking (even for our awesome van, Vanticore) and it feels like the oasis in the desert that it is. 

More photos after the cut!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Vegas: Springs Preserve Zoo

After checking out the Space exhibition and experiencing a space walk with the magic of virtual reality, we were ready to get our feet back on solid Earth ground and partake of the freely available oxygen of our atmosphere under the rays of our sun kindly shielded somewhat by our little planet's atmosphere...and then we found the cute fluffy things!! YES!   

And the cute scaly things, too! 
I find tortoises to be absolutely adorable, do you? Maybe it's because I grew up pretty pro-turtle thanks to the awesomeness of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, coloring books, action figures and cartoons, but they're such interesting creatures. Not only do they live for 50-80 years (about the same as a human life span) and prefer to eat flowers, but there's something to be admired in their doggedly patient lurch from point A to point B. Time and time again the tortoise really does beat the hare in the race simply by plodding it's way forward one stumpy step at a time. Plus they're like nature's perfect introverts; when they get spooked or feel shy they can retreat into the safety of their shell, the home that goes with them everywhere for as long as they keep on trudging. They're like tiny dinosaurs! Tortoises are pretty freaking cool. Unfortunately, the Desert Tortoise has been bordering on endangered for quite some time now so there are concerted efforts in place by conservationists like The Defenders to try to protect their natural environments and conserve the populations. Keep on keeping on, little hard-shelled friends and their guardians. 💚  

Surrounded by all these awesome animals and the soothing gardens, it's hard not to find your zen.

More photos after the cut!