Sunday, December 31, 2017

Vegas: Bonnie Springs

Bonnie Springs is a ranch resort only a short drive outside of Las Vegas heading towards Red Rock Canyon and offers a wide assortment of ways to stay entertained in the great outdoors! On this trip we did the petting zoo and Bonnie Screams, both of which we can highly recommend as we had a lot of fun but if you want to spend even more time at the ranch you can stay overnight in their motel and even take a horseback ride the following day if the stunning vistas bring out your inner cowperson. It's been ages since I've ridden a horse as it was typically the sort of thing I'd only get to do when visiting my family out in Ohio or Arizona back as a munchkin, but I'd love to check out their riding program sometime! Horses used to intimidate me when I was younger but now that I can literally look them in the eyes (being a taller version of myself these days) they're not so scary. Of course, there's a lot more available here to see and do than just the horses, like check out that great big ass up there! I've interacted with a lot more burros than horses and I'm quite fond of the critters. 

Every animal I've ever interacted with has had it's own personality- from tiniest of squeakers to the biggest of moos- one burro I knew growing up had a peculiar habit of trying to trick humans into climbing atop her back only to gleefully buck them off once they'd been lulled into a false sense of security. She'd come rushing to the gate to greet you and nuzzle your hand, then gesture to her back by flicking her head towards her shoulders with a mischief-addled grin until you either climbed aboard or grew wise to her ways. Another girl was shy, prone towards standing to the back and tentatively watching you interact with the others before she might graciously allow you a few pats upon her nose.  Food in the form of carrots, apples or hay were always greatly appreciated and their affection easily bribed for short periods with such gifts. There were a few years during my childhood where any approach to the house would be greeted with a chorus of breying burros from the back. It warms my heart. Maybe this is part of why I've always dreamed of having my own little cabin and animals someday, but who knows. The heart and what it dreams of are dictated by things beyond my ken. 

Wandering the grounds you'll find deer, doves, goats, peacocks and many more beautiful beasts. It's a fairly small zoo and some of the exhibits might be on the smaller side, which is unfortunate... but if more visitors and volunteers offer their services or donations it might make it easier for the zoo to expand their space and provide better environments for those animals. Many of the animals roam freely throughout the zoo and will approach you at their discretion- please be respectful of the animals and don't go charging after them! A lot of the animals walking around are going to be herbivores, creatures who are preyed upon in the wild and will have the instincts to react to any perceived threat by fleeing. It's really not nice to stress the poor things out! Just as you wouldn't necessarily want someone coming in to your home and chasing your dog or cat around upsetting and terrorizing it, these animals are effectively in the same situation. Be kind and conscious of the fact you are a guest here and enjoy your stay! Antho and I had a blast interacting with the critters and the volunteers, who would tell us back stories or personality information on some of the animals. The affection with which they interact with and speak about the critters says a lot.

There are also live shows, gift shops and all sorts of things to idle away the hours! Like I said, we had a lot of fun while we were here and after partaking of the day-time entertainments we opted to stay and see what Bonnie Screams had to offer... the post on that will come soon! For now, photos below...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Vegas: Springs Preserve Haunted Harvest 2017

For the record, we love Halloween. I don't know if I've spoken about this enough in previous posts, but Halloween really is THE best holiday in my opinion. It's one of the only times of year that it's socially acceptable for you to dress up and personify yourself as someone else- whether that means channeling Frank'n'Furter and not just dreaming it but BEING it, or cramming yourself into the tightest sexiest attempt at bombshell you've got in your armada, it's that magical time of year when you can be the spookiest personification of yourself... AND eat candy. Lots of candy. And the day after Halloween? ALL the discount candy! Woohoo!!!! While we've had a couple of rough years- last year I spent Halloween alone in Korea, for example- we are definitely making up for lost time by making the best of it while it's here now. I was really happy with this Halloween season and we spent it with some really good people and at some fun places. It was a good year.

The Haunted Harvest at the Springs Preserve is a family friendly affair that would kick into gear after the sun goes down. The gardens would be open during daytime hours as usual for all guests to partake of the non-spooky fun, then after closing time they'd switch over for the spooky spectacular and re-open a few hours later. This gave us time to eat, relax, take a breather and freshen up before venturing back out into the cold and spooky fun. There was a petting zoo, several haunted houses, funnel cakes, goats, free candy, a train ride and so much more! 

We were both happy to have gone and had a lot of fun. We're both members of the Springs Preserve and go fairly often...there's always something new and exciting to discover or see and with all the holiday themed events it's always changing. It was pretty neat seeing the preserve at night since we typically only ever get to explore the grounds during the day. It's a whole different vibe, especially with all the spooky decorations! While it wasn't too bad during the day, it might be a -wee- bit spooky for the youngest ones at night. To take some of the edge off there were live performances with young musicians and dancers on the main stage along with friendly volunteers aplenty to put you at ease if need be. We had fun and definitely enjoyed the free candy since at our age we're not really able to trick or treat anymore without a small child accompanying us... since we don't have any munchkins yet, it's a lot of fun to be able to channel that nostalgic joy of Trick Or Treating with the accompanying sugar high again. There were also funnel cakes and plenty of food vendors for when you need real food, too! Antho even discovered that goats, much like puppers, enjoy a good scratch behind the collar and will raise a hind foot in fake-scratchies to show their appreciation. Now we know!

More photos after the cut!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Vegas: Nevada State Museum at the Springs Preserve

On this particular visit to the Springs Preserve we found our way to the Nevada State Museum! We were pretty excited to find out that it was included in our admission with our annual passes, which we both highly recommend getting if you're in the Vegas area for any substantial amount of time. There's just so much to see and do at the preserve, especially if you're a local that enjoys gardens, museums and the out doors but wants to stray away from the crowds at the Bellagio's conservatory or other top tourist destinations. We were both quite happy with our time in the museum and found it an excellent use of an afternoon together. There's a lot of exhibits and information to absorb! Personally, I'd say my favorite displays have to be the skeletons as it's so fascinating to see the prehistoric remains of beasts that roamed the lands eons ago. On the topic of dinosaurs there's a really cool painting inside the museum that was painted by super talented local artists! Photos will be included below.
It might seem silly that we're so enthusiastic about museums and gardens and the like since Vegas is a city that thrives on it's nightlife and high class dining, shopping, and entertaining...but both Antho and I are locals who grew up in the city and we both just generally prefer to stay off the main boulevard when we go out to play. There's a lot of fun and exciting things to see and do on the Strip, that's for sure, but with traffic, parking, the crowds and everything else it can be too much sometimes. We have fun when we play tourist but it's not something we do every day... at the preserve, however, we feel at peace. Everyone we've interacted with has been pleasant and friendly for the most part, the crowds typically thin and the gardens beautiful. We've gotten a lot of use out of our annual passes and expect to get several more trips in before they expire. It's been especially fun to see how the grounds change through the seasons. There's always something new coming in to bloom or going out for the season. 

As always, more photos after the cut!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Vegas: October Springs Preserve visit

Happy Holidays everyone!
Hope your Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus/Saturnalia was an awesome one, full of good food and good company. Antho and I both had to work because the economy keeps churning even on celebratory days, but we got to spend it in the same country and actually see each other which was nice. Christmas Day last year I was making my way back to the US from Seoul, a process that was rather complicated due to the fact I missed my originally planned flight and had to arrange a last minute one for the next day. Lucky for us we were able to find a flight, and one year later I was here to spend the time with my love...after work, anyway.

 This post, however, is not about winter holidays- more of an autumnal one. I don't know about you but as far as I'm concerned Halloween is the one true holiday to rule them all, and when we popped over to the Springs Preserve one pleasant October day we were quite pleased to discover that the grounds were decked out in festive decorations! The evenings are when the real haunting begins, of course, as the ghouls all crawl forth from their graves when the moon begins to rise so never fear those of you with young ones who might fear the frights too fearsome: you'll find that the harsh light of day makes it plenty safe to walk the grounds and enjoy the flowers, even with a few spooky scruffigans loafing about. As usual we had a lot of fun and discovered some new spots we hadn't explored previously, so there will be plenty of photos ahead- even though Antho did have to leave at some point to go pick up Vanticore from the shop, leaving me to my own devices (a lot of wandering most aimlessly taking photos of flowers for the most part). After seeing all the fun decorations throughout the grounds we knew we'd have to come back for the actual Haunted Harvest- the Springs Preserve's own spooky celebration for the whole family. There will be a post of it's own about that, so don't worry! For now enjoy the sunny gardens pictured below and after the cut... 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Makeup: Lime Crime Cashmere Velvetine Matte Liquid Lipstick review and swatches

One of my all time favorite things in life probably, like, ever is to come home and find a package waiting for me. It doesn't matter whether it's something as mundane as ordering vitamins from Vitacost or a scarf that your friend overseas was kind enough to send to you (thank you so much, Sam!!), there's something undeniably delightful about coming home (where the cute fluffy pets and boyfriend are) to find a mysterious box (or envelope/bubblemailer) with your name on it. In this case, Lime Crime goes discreet and mails your beauty booty in a simple white box. Don't let the plain exterior fool you, though, as upon lifting the lid you're greeted by the pretty blue lid with unicorns and floral loveliness. It's all pastel and pretty, with sky blue tones on the lid complimented by the soft pink paper encasing your goods. The insert is lovely, too. 

In this order I got three shades: cashmere, pink velvet, and beet it. This was my first ever order from Lime Crime and Cashmere was a free gift with purchase as a limited promotional offer, so I found it easier to justify paying 30-some-odd of my hard earned bucks for lipstick when I got three instead of two. I always try to keep an eye out for sales so I can stretch my beauty investments further, especially when purchasing from brands that cost a pretty penny. I know for some people $15-20 for a single lipstick is a laughably small consideration, but I live in the real world where I've got rent, bills, and shit to take care of so I try to put some thought into where my money goes. Lime Crime is vegan and cruelty free, which is fantastic. 

From top to bottom:

Cashmere (greige)

Pink Velvet (true pink)

Beet It (deep berry pink)
described by Lime Crime:
"Long lasting matte liquid lipstick in a deep berry-pink hue.

What it does: Makes your lips feel luxurious and velvety, like a rose. Lasts all day with minimal touch-ups, even through meals.

What it won't do: Bleed or transfer. Dry out properly moisturized lips. Ruin the perfect kiss.

TIPS: Apply lip balm 15 minutes prior; pat off excessive oils with a tissue. Apply Velvetines directly to lips (use a lip brush to refine edges). Remove at the end of the day with waterproof makeup remover or oil."

Review and photos continue after the cut!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Vegas: Springs Preserve WaterWorks and Boom Town attractions

Ahoy there mateys!! Welcome to another rousing rhetoric from your Capt'n of this here blog and first mate Antho! In this edition we'll be bombarding your eye holes with a bounty of photographic booty from the Las Vegas Springs Preserve's WaterWorks and Boom Town exhibits! We spent a lovely afternoon stretching out our sea legs and scoping out all the landlocked locales.   

Now that's a big cactus!

Enough pirate puns? Debatable if such a thing is possible, but I'll relent for now. 
We'd already been to their animal exhibit (which could be called a zoo) and the butterfly exhibit but there was still some time yet before we had to leave for the day's end. We caught the little train over to the station in Boom Town and hurried over to WaterWorks to see if we could fit it in first. Being that this is a desert, after all, water is an essential resource for the population of Las Vegas. Despite all the glam and fancy fountains of the Strip, we've actually been in a drought for quite some time- something evident with any trip to Lake Mead to see the ring left from where the water level has plummeted. There's been an ongoing campaign to inform residents of our fair city about water conservation and in a lot of places it's working: people are switching to "desertscaping" instead of lawns, replacing water-hungry grass with hearty desert plants that thrive more readily without requiring as much hydration, but the effort must continue as there are always new individuals moving in who might not be as aware of the water situation.  The Water Works exhibit is a good way of getting families informed and involved without being too preachy. There's no cost of admission to enter Water Works beyond the initial cost of entry to the Preserve itself, so it's a fun and cost effective way to spend a fun afternoon learning and exploring with the whole clan! We had a lot of fun... so much fun, in fact, that we missed the last train ride back from Boom Town! Womp womp... no worries, though, for despite how big the Springs Preserve itself is (180 acres) the walk back from Boom Town was relatively short and easy. We even met some out of town visitors along the way and stopped for some photos with the friendly folks!

More photos after the cut~

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vegas: Springs Preserve Butterfly Exhibit

Have you ever wanted to feel like a Disney Princess? Standing somewhere green and lovely with the gentle light filtering through the shrubbery as you gracefully stretch out your arms to welcome your animal friends, who greet you by entering the clearing or landing upon your outstretched limbs.... well, at the Springs Preserve you'll get your chance during the right time of year! Unfortunately, the butterfly habitat is NOT an all-year-long attraction as the delicate little pretties have sensitive temperaments and the colder months are not kind to them... This was why it was so important to us that we make it to this particular exhibit when we did, as it shuts down in November and won't be available again until spring! This unfortunately means that it is now, as of this post going live, closed for the season but during the spring and summer you can visit the habitat during the day, and we highly recommend it. The staff were friendly and informative as they usually are throughout the Preserve but in the greenhouse the butterflies reside in it's especially important as the space is so confined.  All entry and exits are supervised to ensure that no unwanted hitchhikers are tagging along to try to eat their residents. As tempting as it may be to reach out and pet the butterflies it's actually very bad for them as their wings are fragile and even a gentle stroke could leave them permanently disabled and the staff are there to help remind overenthusiastic visitors should they try to get handsy. During our visit an unwanted guest was taken care of, and one poor butterfly showed the unfortunate side-effects of rough handling as she fruitlessly flapped her wings atop an attendant's hand. The attendant was very kind and explained the situation with us and anyone else curious on top of being gracious in allowing photos. As far as I'm aware many of the people at the Springs Preserve are volunteers, so they're there because they love it and that shows in how passionate they are in sharing information when the opportunity arises. We absolutely had a blast and look forward to when they reopen in the spring! 

More photos after the cut!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Vegas: Late Summer Springs Preserve Trip

After our lovely morning catching the sunrise and going for a stroll out at Lone Mountain park, we had a leisurely lunch and headed back out again- this time heading for the Springs Preserve! We had a particular activity in mind inside the gardens and it closed early, so we didn't want to dawdle too long amid the foliage prior to reaching our destination. Even so, the afternoon light was amicable and it was hard not to pause to appreciate some of the sights along the way. 

More photos after the cut!

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!