Local Adventures with Esther & Jacob » Travel, Food, & Photography


We had so much fun with food art on our last California Ripe Olives post, that we were so happy when they asked us to do a Halloween edition. Prepare yourself for more food art!! :)

California Ripe Olives are easy to use sliced, diced, and whole in your food art. The black olives are grown on over 1,000 multigenerational family farms across the valleys of California and are processed by two family-owned canneries. The black color is especially perfect for Halloween. Don’t you think? :)

This first one is for all you cat lovers out there:

Cat Halloween Food Art with California Olives.

A fear I will hopefully face one day (definitely not now.. but one day):
Spider Halloween Food Art with California Olives.

Jacob’s favorite superhero growing up was Spiderman, while mine was Batman. I’ve been meaning to watch Gotham, but haven’t had time to. Have you seen the show yet? What do you think?
Batman Food Art with California Olives.

We made a quick and fun food art video of Jack the Pumpkin King. What do you think?

All of the food art above was made by Jacob and solely with California Black Ripe Olives.  The ones below were made by me and I used California Black Olives, Carrots, and a Kale stem. I tried making as many different emoticons as I could, but these were my favorite of the bunch:

Halloween Food Art with California Olives.

Halloween Food Art with California Olives.

Jacob might start posting more food art on his instagram so watch out for them. Meanwhile, if you want to see some food art pros, check out our previous post on our favorite food art instagrammers.

Have you tried making food art before?
What are your Halloween plans?

xoxo estherJacob

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Last week we went skeet shooting for the first time! Even though we both had shot guns a number of times, I would still consider us newbies since we don’t go practice often. It was a learning experience having moving targets. We also got to shoot several machine guns we never shot before! We were looking for a unique gun range experience and went to Pro Gun Club who offered a variety of guns you can’t shoot at a typical gun range (i.e., a 50 cal machine gun mounted on a humvee).

Though we didn’t exercise all our options, we liked that you can customize your experience. We went as a creative day date, but hearing what they offer, it’s also perfect for a bachelor(ette) / birthday party.

Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Range.

Pro Gun Club // Gun Ranges Las Vegas.
Shoot Machine Guns Las Vegas.

Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Range.

Pro Gun Club Boulder City NV // Las Vegas Gun Range.
Pro Gun Club Las Vegas NV // Fun things to do in Vegas.
Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Range.

Pro Gun Club Las Vegas // Must Do in Las Vegas.
Pro Gun Club // Las Vegas Gun Ranges.

Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Ranges.

Las Vegas Gun Club // Best Things to Do in Vegas.
Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Range.

Pro Gun Club Las Vegas NV.

Pro Gun Club Las Vegas // What to Do in Las Vegas Today.
Skeet Shooting Las Vegas // Fun Things to Do in Vegas.

Skeet Shooting Las Vegas // Cool Things to Do in Vegas.
Skeet Shooting Las Vegas Gun Range.

Gun Ranges Las Vegas.

Pro Gun Club Las Vegas NV.
Boulder City Gun Club // Las Vegas Gun Range.

Vegas Gun Range // Top things to do in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Gun Club.
Las Vegas Gun Club.

Shoot Machine Guns Las Vegas // Fun Things to Do in Vegas.
Las Vegas Gun Club // Best Things to Do in Vegas.
Pro Gun Club Las Vegas NV //  Cool things to do in Vegas.

Shoot a Machine Gun Las Vegas Bucket List.

Shoot a Machine Gun Las Vegas Bucket List.

Shoot a Machine Gun Las Vegas Pro Gun Club.
Shoot Machine Guns in Vegas // Pro Gun Club

Shoot a Machine Gun Las Vegas Bucket List.

Shoot Machine Guns Las Vegas To Do List.

Shoot a Machine Gun Las Vegas Bucket List.

Best things to do in Las Vegas.

Pro Gun Club Las Vegas // Las Vegas Bucket List.
Pro Gun Club Las Vegas // Las Vegas To Do List.

They have over 160 acres of land and two dozen ranges to accommodate a variety of shooting disciplines: pistol, rifle, shotgun and machine gun shooting. They have a trap & skeet field, two 5-Stand shooting stations, a world-class 17 station sporting clays course. You can bring your own firearms or rent theirs.

They can completely customize your experience to be as simple or as extravagant as you like. They accommodate groups as small as two people up to 100 people and offer a variety of services:

  • Can use target paper, but also have premium steel targets to give instant feedback of hit or miss.
  • They have exploding targets, and you can also put exploding targets in seasonal fruit to blow up.
  • They have 3D bleeding zombie targets with explosives in their heads.
  • You can purchase a vehicle where at the end one lucky person (usually the bachelor or birthday person) can blow up and finish off the vehicle.
  • They can charter vehicles, buses, helicopters to pick up from the strip or wherever you’re staying.

Pro Gun Club Address:
12801 Old U.S. 95
Boulder City NV 89005
702.293.2108

BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE WITH PRO GUN CLUB HERE!

I wasn’t planning on celebrating big for my next birthday, but I would love to blow up a car! Who’s in? Can you tell I grew up playing with boys?

Have you gone skeet shooting before?
What about machine guns?
Is it on your bucket list?

If you blog local adventures link up here and feel free to use the button below:

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xoxo estherJacob

We’re currently in Zion National Park. We have our permits for hiking the Narrows and got here yesterday to set up camp and prep ourselves for today. Hopefully, the trails will still be open for us. There was a bit of rain over the weekend. If not, we’ll have to apply for permits again and wait until May.

Hiking the Narrows Zion National Park Utah.

Photo courtesy of Wesley Chan.

The older I get, I realize that I am becoming more and more fearful of things. I didn’t realize until we hiked Half Dome that I was afraid of heights (Kind of alarming to realize the moment I was about to go up the cables). Over recent years, I’ve noticed I’ve been collecting little fears here and there. I was fearless as a kid, and I don’t know where they came from or how they developed. All I know is I don’t like the fearful person that I’ve become and the only way to go is through it.

Conquering Fears by Hiking the Narrows.

FEARS I NEED TO OVERCOME WITH HIKING THE NARROWS:

  • That I won’t make it. We hike, suuure, but definitely not regularly. We took many months off of hiking in Vegas during the hot summer months, and have only gone once since fall started. Also, the guy at REI who did the hike told us that he went with a group of hikers (the real kind) and it took them all day to make it to the campsite. I’m not feeling super hopeful here.
  • That I will get hypothermia / sick. Some part of us will be in the freezing water the majority of the time. Also, the water levels might be slightly higher because of the rain over the weekend.
  • Pooping in a bag that I need to carry throughout our hike. Never done it before, so I don’t know what that’s going to be like. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.
  • Flash Flooding. The forecast says there is 10% chance of rain, which is not high, but if by chance it rains, we gotta book it and start scrambling up the wall. One guy we met had a friend who broke his leg recently because it started flash flooding there and someone died last month. :/ I haven’t seen a flash flood first hand, but I’m hoping I never do.

Well, if we’re back blogging about our experience, then you’ll know we’re alive! Also, not sure if we will have signal throughout the park, but if we do, we’ll be sure to post something on my instagram or Jacob’s!

What’s a fear you want to overcome?

xoxo estherJacob

October is National Pet Adoption Month! :) The year Jacob and I got married (2010), we adopted two cats. When we first started volunteering at the cage-free shelter near our house, I had my eye on a pretty little maine coon. The maine coon unfortunately did not warm up to me, but instead two orange tabbies approached me asking for attention. One was known as the escape artist and reminded me of myself.

It took me a few weeks of getting better acquainted to them, but when the shelter told us that a lot of times the pets end up choosing you, they were right!

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Though we love our two boys, they can sometimes make a mess. We only recently discovered how much litter our two cats track around the house. Our Vegas apartment has vinyl floors so you can see and feel everything, whereas both our home in Atlanta and our apartment in Los Angeles had carpeting so we never noticed it (kinda gross to think about now!).

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

According to the Swiffer Cleaning Index, half of Americans say that they don’t want to get a pet because of pet hair and shedding. 38% of pet owners also say the leading source of “pet cleaning tensions” in their home is hair, dust bunnies and/or shedding. Whether you have a pet already or want to get one, Swiffer can help with cleaning up after your furry friends.

Thank you Swiffer for sending us a Big Green Box full of goodies to help us clean up after our boys. We were already using a Swiffer to clean up our floors at least once or twice a week, but it was nice getting reinforcements. They are safe for pets and make cleaning quick and efficient. Our cats have even been enjoying the box… as all cats love a good box!

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.
Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Swiffer also sent us an extra Big Green Box to surprise a friend who has pets! Kitty has a dog and two pigs!

Teacup Pigs // National Pet Adoption Month.

National Pet Adoption Month & Teacup Pigs.

Teacup Pigs // National Pet Adoption Month!

I also love that Swiffer® is supporting the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in a year-long effort to help find forever homes for animals in need. They donated Big Green Boxes like the one we received to more than 100 shelters nationwide and gave each pet adopter a free Swiffer Sweeper during the ASPCA Mega-Match-A-Thon this past weekend!

Because we used to volunteer at a shelter, we know firsthand that the needs are many! I’m grateful that Swiffer is supporting these shelters and new families who have adopted.

If you want to see adorable photos of our foster kitties before they found forever homes:

More posts on our two orange tabbies:

Though I know we’re closer to the tail end of National Pet Adoption Month, and despite all the challenges with having a pet, they really have brought so much joy into our home. We highly encourage you to consider adopting, because we’ve had such a wonderful experience.

Also, if you love animals and want to give back, volunteer with ASPCA in NYC or find a shelter near you!

HAPPY NATIONAL PET ADOPTION MONTH!

Do you have a pet? What kind?
Have you considered getting a pet?

Do you use Swiffer cleaning products at home?

xoxo estherJacob

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


So… It’s fall, and while my friends back on the east coast are enjoying the changing of the seasons, I feel like I’m missing out while living in the dessert. In an effort to chase away my grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome and be grateful for our present circumstances, I’ve been trying to find ways to bring fall into our home. One way is by cooking fall harvest foods.

Right now there are 10 varieties of pears being harvested in the US, and if you’ve never tried poaching pears, now is the time to try it! This was my very first time poaching pears, and I will admit that in the past I was too intimidated to give it a shot. I mean.. I get anxiety just walking into a kitchen. It turns out that poaching pears is simple and as easy as boiling instant noodles. Good thing I’m a pro at that! :P

Yellow Bartlett Pear Recipes // Beer Poached Pears Recipe.

Originally, pears were only poached in wine and sugar, but these days you can get really creative with what you use. Since beer is our preferred beverage of choice, we used a black lager (New Belgium 1554). It enhanced our Thai Basil Chicken, so it was naturally our first pick for this recipe. We were happy with the result. The chocolatey flavor of the black lager went perfectly with raspberry.
Beer Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce.

Beer Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Drizzle.

Black Lager Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup black lager (I used New Belgium 1554)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 bartlett pears
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Peel pears but leave the stems on.
  2. Coat them in lime juice and set aside to delay the browning process.
  3. Combine the beer, water, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon and simmer on low heat (approx 5 minutes).
  4. Cook pears in over low heat in sugar syrup, turning them often.
  5. Remove pears with a slotted spoon when tender. (You can use a knife or fork to check).
  6. Boil remaining syrup and reduce to half (about 1 cup).
  7. Remove cinnamon stick and discard or keep as a garnish.
  8. Add raspberries and cocoa powder to syrup and stir in for 5 minutes.
  9. Drizzle your syrup over pears and serve.

Chef’s notes:

  • Pears that are crisp and unripe are ideal for poaching. You can also poach ripe but still firm pears.
  • You can tell if your pear is ripe by applying gentle pressure to the neck or narrow part of the pear. If it’s ripe, it yields to pressure.
  • You can halve the pears and pit them to poach them quicker and more evenly. It’s best if they are completely submerged in the syrup.

I’ve also been meaning to make it out to Gilcrease Orchards to pick out my own fruit to take full advantage of pear and apple season! :)

What ways have you brought fall into your home?
Have you tried poaching pears?
What’s your favorite pear or fall harvest recipe?

xoxo esther

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.