Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Platypus Dreams Haul in Pictures!

My entire order, the entire bottom row are samples/freebies.
Cupcake Soaps! From Left to right, Angelica, Temptation #5, and Sweet Sugar. It's a little hard to see unless they are completely unwrapped, but each cupcake has a little rose!
7 pack Bath Bombs! From the top row clockwise, Beyond Karma, Cranberries & Champagne, Lavender & Bergamot, Patchouli & Geranium, Vanilla & Ylang Ylang, Velvet Rose, and in the center Black Raspberry Vanilla.

Gypsy Queen soy wax clamshell. Scent description from Platypus Dreams' website, "A beautiful exotic smell with Citrus, Amber, Woodsy sheer musk." This is the body safe wax that can be used as a moisturizer, so I'm going to have to give that a try.
(Assuming it's not too hot of course!)

Left: Heart's Desire. Extremely Feminine with a bouquet of gardenia, sweet lilac, wild oakmoss, light amber, and white jasmine.
Right: Cotton Candy. Top notes: vanilla, caramel, and cotton candy. Mid notes: citrus, raspberry, fig and strawberry. Base notes of vanilla, caramel, woody musk and light powder.

Handmade soap sampler. Randomly chosen 8 mini soaps. From left to right; Cherry Blossom, Arabian Nights, Incarnation, Cashmere Creme, Desert Rose, Clarify, Four Thieves, and Cotton Candy.

Soap offcuts. Randomly chosen. A great way to try different scents without having to commit to a full bar. 400g worth of soap at an amazing price. Scents received from top to bottom left to right, Aphrodisiac, Dead Sea Mud, Lavender Mint, Cotton Candy, Beyond Karma, Cherry Blossom, Arabian Nights, Vovacia, Cashmere Creme, and the bottom two are Fruit Tingle. (There are a couple duplicates)

The Samples! The first one is my favorite. Boudoir Violet Rose Bubble Bath Cupcake. I love the red rose in the center. So adorable!  On the right is a Vanilla Musk Bubble Bath Cupcake, with a blue flower on top. The last item on the bottom is a sample size soap in the Buttered Popcorn scent. And yes, as odd as it may sound, it really smells like buttered popcorn! I'm not entirely sure if I will actually use it, I don't really wanted to be buttery smelling, but it does have a novelty appeal to it.

So that's everything for this order. So many scents and products to choose from, that's why I have to get the samplers and grab bags. It's so hard to stay within a budget otherwise! Thankfully I have a lot to play with for now, and as I go through each scent I'll be doing a quick blurb about it, either here or on the Facebook page (depending on the amount of content).

 I will definitely have another haul before returning home. Platypus Dreams will ship to the United States, but the cost of postage is so high (in both directions) it may be prohibitive to some. Which I completely understand. I LOVE my wax vendors from home, but the cost of getting it here has caused me to order much less than I used to. But it's not so bad, it has forced me to try new places, like this one!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Platypus Dreams!

There are few things I love as much as scented wax, but soap is one of them! When I found out about Platypus Dreams, I couldn't wait to place an order. They have everything I love, natural goats milk soaps, scrubs, moisturisers, and bath bombs. And since they are located here in Australia, shipping was fairly quick and inexpensive. (My tarts still come from my favorite vendors in America, so by comparison this was a dream!)

For my first order, I thought I would try just a few basic items, two bars of soap and a bath bomb. The bars of goat's milk soap were in Masquerade, and Sandalwood Rose. The bath bomb in one of my favorite scents, Cotton Candy.

The bath bomb was a little smaller than expected (although this was just laziness on my part, the dimensions are given on the website) but the bars of soap were perfect. I also recieved two free samples (YAY Samples!) of soap. Aphrodisiac and Frosted Lime Cake.

Since I have no patience, I used the bath bomb right away. It was strong, sweet, and made the water so soft. This little guy was very impressive considering it's small size in comparison to my oversized tub. It was just as good as other bombs and this one was at least half the price! (They are $2.50 each) Only drawback was the pink ring around the tub. I couldn't get it to rinse off, but a quick wipe down solved the issue.

             Sandalwood Rose
Scent descriptions for the soaps.
Masquerade - Citrus with Vetiver and floral notes of rose geranium, jasmine, lily of the valley and sweet earthy bottom notes of ambergris, vanilla, and musk. 

Sandalwood Rose- This bar is scented with a unique blend of Asian Sandalwood, Sweet Roses and Wild Jasmine on a soothing background of exotic Musk. 

These soaps are amazing. Excellent amounts of scent and lather, not to mention how beautiful they look. These are just as good, if not better than other stores such as Bath and Body Works or LUSH.
I will be stocking up soon. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Apologies for my extended absence!

                              Hi everyone!
I realize it's been a long time since my last post. Everything is well! Tyler and I have just had a lot going on, and I've had a bit of trouble dedicating time to my blog.   :(  So here are a few things that have been going on lately....

As most of you already know, I've been living in Australia for the past few months. I have also recently gotten a job here. Similar to what I did at home, but not quite. It's been so stressful, things are so much more different that I had expected! No regrets of course, but that doesn't really make it any easier.

Day to day life consists of a morning Skype to either of my folks (morning here is yesterday evening in the United States) then a walk to the grocery. (Without a car you only buy as much as you can carry!) Once I get home, time to change and catch the train to work. Hours later, back on the train to get home home in time to start dinner.

We've still managed to do some fun things. We went to the Taronga Zoo, saw the Opera house and took our photos on the ferry in front of the Harbour Bridge. I've been meaning to do a blog post about it, lots of pics of Kangaroos, and Koalas!

Tyler and I had our 3rd wedding anniversary last weekend. We saw our very first roller derby and stayed at the Taj Blue in Woolloomooloo (yes, that's the name of a real place. With correct spelling!)

I still melt candles and tarts every day, but I make a few large orders instead of a lot of small orders like I used to. Australia seems to have a lot of awesome soap companies (Which I've also been meaning to write about. ERK!), but as far as wax goes, nothing compares to the vendors from home. Sometimes shipping costs more than the order. And to make it even worse, I only buy what I think I will melt while we're here. I've learned that when moving internationally, that weight limit can be reached VERY quickly. I don't want to have to choose between shipping home my wax or my dishes! So while my orders have gone down significantly, I still do a daily post about what I'm melting on my Facebook page. So swing by, check it out, and say hello!

So all in all, we're having the time of our lives and making memories that will last a lifetime. I will admit however, that I am terribly homesick. I miss my friends, family and country. Being here has given me a new found respect for people who live in foreign countries. The cultural differences are much more significant that I would have thought.  Here, we are the ones that talk funny. We don't know the holidays, the slang, or all the other random odds and ends that people don't think about.
Australia is a GREAT country, but I'm an American girl through and through!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Haley Candles!

My second order has arrived! As weird as it may sound, seeing those boxes with the pink zebra striped tape gave me the urge to do a little happy dance. I had to resist hugging the mail man! I'm kidding of course, but I really do love getting my boxes from Haley Candles.

There are so many things I like about Haley's tarts it's hard to decide which to talk about first. Obviously scent and throw are the most important factors, and this vendor rarely disappoints. I had a Pink Sugar so strong my husband made me open the windows!

There is an abundance of different shapes to choose from, including pies, loaves, donuts, and cupcakes, just to name a few. (Shortly after I placed my order, frosted cookies were added to the website! I was sad I missed them, and will have to add some to my next package). If shapes aren't your thing, there are cups, clamshells and scalloped tarts as well. They even have regular candles, although I have not purchased these personally and cannot attest to how well the burn.

The artistry displayed on some of these shapes is amazing. The cake pieces almost look edible, and the frosting on the cupcake tarts look like real piped icing. The tops of the loaves are beautifully whipped with sprinkles and/or appropriate garnish. The Chocolate Chip Cookie loaf has little wax cookies on top! How cute is that?

Cinnamon Roll tart in Funnel Cake, with Sprinkes!
The scent list isn't the longest I've seen, but at 60+ including blends and such (and constantly expanding), there isn't a shortage of options. It is a bakery lovers dream, with assorted floral or fruity scents tossed in for good measure.  Haley Candles even has my beloved Vanilla Pumpkin Pie, which I haven't seen since a previous vendor went out of business.

While the cost has changed a little bit, this vendor is very reasonable when it comes to pricing. The owner Crystal, is sweet, kind, and easy to talk to. She really cares about her customers, and does just about anything she can to keep them happy.
With new scents and shapes still being added, this order will definitely not be my last. I am a very happy customer.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Daiso Apple Bath Ball!

Even though the first bath ball didn't work out as well as I had hoped, I decided to try the Apple one today. With the exception of the color, scent, and cartoon logo, they are basically identical. Just like before, I could even smell the fragrance through the inner plastic wrapping.

Considering the results from the Rose ball, I figured it would be best to try using it in a different way. So instead of letting it dissolve in the bath tub, I put it on the bottom of the shower. The smell was fantastic, although not any stronger than if you were using a scented shower gel. Watching the ball fizz and change the water green is fun, but doesn't serve much purpose since it all goes straight down the drain.

After a few minutes, the little figure inside was revealed. Just like the animated picture on the front, it is an adorable seal, except this one is pink and has a little apple on his back!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Daiso Rose Bath Ball!

I've been walking past the Daiso Japanese store a few times a week for at least 3 months now. Each time I'd walk by, I'd tell myself that next time I'd go in and look around. I'm not quite sure what took so long, but it wasn't until yesterday that I finally did.

Daiso is like the higher end dollar store of everything Japanese. At $2.80 AUD for any item, they have just about everything under the sun. It was at least half an hour wandering up and down the aisles before I came across shelves of these bath balls. With brightly colored packaging, adorable cartoon characters, and a surprise in each one, I was intrigued. Out of seven scents available, I chose Rose, Fruit, and Apple. The other four were Milk, Orange, Soda, and Chocolate.

I decided to try the Rose bath ball first. It is hard to gauge the size of the product based on the plastic bag, but it was still a little smaller than expected. 

That being said, I loved the scent, and even though it was shrink wrapped in another layer of plastic, I could still smell the sweet floral fragrance within. 

Once dropped in the water, the ball has excellent fizz. But unfortunately, the scent that I so loved before was completely lost. My bath tub is on the large side, and the ball was just too small to have an effect. There were no noticeable difference in water color, scent or feel. 

So even though the practical use of the bath ball didn't work out as I'd hoped, there was still the excitement of what little figure would come out. Each ball's figure is based on the animated character on the package. This particular one is a teddy bear, with the option of either brown, blue or pink. (Childish, I know!) After a minute or so this little guy floated to the top.

 I ended up getting the Pink Bear, with a cute little bow tie. Even though it was fun, I doubt I will be purchasing these again. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Made My First Meme

                                It's silly, but I made myself laugh :P
Some healthy stuff is okay, but my favorite foods include Bacon, Cheese, and Cadbury Cream Eggs. I'd give massive amounts of money for vegetables that taste like any of them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lots of New Orders Coming Soon!

                              For the past month or so, I have only had two wax orders. Because of this, I haven't really been doing many reviews. I mean, you can only review the same two vendors and same scents only so many times, right? I've been making my Crabby Candle Co and Haley Candles stash last as long as I can, but now I have the perfect excuse to go Wax-Crazy!

Tyler is going back to the US for meetings and business. While I was invited, the cost of my ticket isn't worth a one week stay. Coincidently, he will also be gone for my Birthday. Considering I just "saved" us $1400 in air fare and the fact that I'll be alone in a foreign country for my special day... I deserve a pretty awesome Birthday gift right?!? I like to think so! What does this girl love more than just about anything? Scented Treasures!
Here's a short list of what I've got coming...

Crabby Candle Co. - My monthly tester box, as well as a few extras from a sale they had a couple weeks ago.

Mason Jar Primitives - A sampler box. Have no idea what's inside, except for a scent called Southern Creme Brule. Which I asked for because I've heard to many people rave about how great it is. 

Haley Candles - A few more wax loaves (her prices are awesome!). I got Sugar Cookie Dough Bread and Chocolate Chip Cookie, as well as other scents in assorted shapes like donuts, cupcakes, cake pieces, and cinnamon rolls.

Country Home Scents - Decorated tarts in 21 scents of my choosing, and 9 mystery scents. (I specifically asked for it that way... I LOVE surprises, and it forces me to break out of the box and try new things.)

Haley's Heavenly Scents - I ordered a few scents recommended to me by friends, and a bunch of "Prim" shapes. This is my first order with this company, but I've heard nothing but good things so I look forward to trying them out.

Phew! The Wax Addict in me wants to place another order with Sniff My Tarts. I ordered from Delightful Incense before they merged with Busy Bee, and their product is AWESOME! 

But the sane little voice in my head says I'm getting enough wax to last me a long time. So I'll be good for now... (relatively at least). Lots of pictures and details to come as they arrive! I wish shipping didn't take quite so long, but that's okay. It lengthens the excitement. :) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Today in my warmer; Creamsicle!

                            My husband usually views my candle obsession with a warm indifference. He doesn't mind that I melt tarts and burn candles, but wouldn't miss it if I stopped. Usually when he walks into a room, I get "Whats that smell?" or "Are you burning a candle or something?"
I've gotten to the point where as long as he doesn't complain about a scent, I would consider it a winner. And to my surprise Creamsicle was the first scent he said he liked!

Creamsicle arrived in my tester box from Crabby Candle Co. It's not a personal favorite, but it's one that my friend likes best. So I decided to melt it because it reminds me of her. (Kind of lonely being in a foreign country sometimes.)
 This little wax cube sure does pack a punch! It has a great cold scent and strong throw when melted. This is spot on to a real creamsicle.  A perfect blend of sweet orange citrus and cream.
Crabby makes very high quality tarts at reasonable prices, and if Creamsicle continues to be available I will definitely be ordering more. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


                                It has been a long three months, and I'm so excited to have tarts again. Three boxes full of scented goodness arrived over two days. The first box was from Crabby Candle. I've been a part of their monthly tester group for a while, and Rebecca (owner) was nice enough to hold onto my packages until I was able to have them shipped. Because of the amount of time it took to move and get settled, I got January and February's testers together. Double the goodness!
From the top, left to right
Intrigue, Sweet Jasmine, Pink Amber, Adam & Eve, Fuzzy Navel, Pink Sugar, Melon Cream, Cherry Pez, Cherry Cola, Twilight Woods, Orange Peach Marmalade, Creamsicle, Blue Sugar, Summer Lovin', Cacoa de Mint, Blue Raspberry Bubblegum, Ginger Lime, Butterfly Garden, Hawaiian Breeze laundry soap, Passionate Kisses, Vanilla Cardamom, and Salty Dog. (Blue Sugar wasn't in the tester boxes, I added it onto my order because I love it so much)

The second order was from Haley Candles and arrived in two packages. Haley Candles is a vendor that I haven't tried before. Some friends in my wax group mentioned her great prices and cute products, so I couldn't resist. I sent the owner a quick message making sure it would be okay to place an order (international shipping is lame).  I really appreciate that she was willing to help me find the best shipping option. 
As a side note shipping makes no sense sometimes. I can pay 15 dollars for a small box, or 48 dollars for a medium box. So obviously, to save 18 dollars we shipped the order in two small boxes.
This is a photo of the first box.

From the top, left to right
Pink Sugar Cookie Loaf, Zucchini Bread Toast, Zucchini Bread Cups, Pink Sugar Loaf, and Fluffy Pink Cake Pieces.

The second box came the next day. As you can see from the photo I couldn't wait to try out the Vanilla Pumpkin Pie.

From the top, left to right
Buttercream Loaf, Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Loaf, Red Velvet Cake Loaf, Birthday Cake Cake Pieces, and a Birthday Cake Cup.

Crabby Candle Co has been a favorite vendor of mine for a while now, so it goes to say I highly recommend them. Haley Candles is new to me, so I'll go into more details as I try more of their product. I will say though, that these scents were so strong I could smell them through the box when they arrived.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beaded Sweatheart Soap?!?

I was cleaning my bathroom and was about to move the Sweetheart bar and I noticed something really neat. The entire bar had a beaded look to it! I'm assuming it's because of the moisture from the bathroom, but I've never seen any of my other soaps do this before.
I took some close up photos because I thought it looked so pretty.
You can kind of see where I touched it with my finger. LOL!

If you look close you can see the spot I touched.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My soaps!

Blue Sugar, Pink Sugar and "Purple" Sugar scents
                               I really wanted to do my own soaps for a while now, but I don't have the equipment for cold process (yet anyway). So I bought some Goats Milk melt and pour base and went to town!
I got a 2 pound slab, a couple of molds and a bunch of fragrance oil to play with. First batch that I've made turned out quite well. I have oval bars in my favorite Blue Sugar scent. A few heart shaped bars in Pink Sugar and "Purple" Sugar (a combo of Blue Sugar and Pink Sugar). I added a bit of Diamond Dust Mica for sparkle. You can't see it very well, and it probably would have been better in clear glycerin soap rather than the Goat's Milk. Although I did put it in a bit of lotion, and the sparkle comes through beautifully.
So I will be making more soap soon. I found this really cute sheep shaped mold that should be coming in the mail any day now. I want to do 2 different batches. I will do a white batch in the Oatmeal Milk and Honey scent, and a red batch in the Best Friends scent. I can't wait!
We're going to be up to our eyeballs in bars of soap. Thinking my friends and family will be getting some of the extras. Soap makes a good gifts right? :P

Life in Australia 02/06/11

The novelty of living in a new country is starting to wear, and it now feels more like home. That being said, I've never felt more like a foreigner. Even more so, considering we live in a very Chinese neighborhood. (Ironic we moved across the world to Australia and we get more of asian culture than an Australian one)  At least when living in England we had the comfort of 3 Air Force Bases close by and the community they provided.
We're getting more used to the higher cost of living here, and are increasingly thankful for the housing allowance provided by Tyler's employers. The prices of rent in Australia makes real estate in California feel like a bargain.
Amazingly, we save more on groceries here than we ever did back home even when you add in the coupon savings. The trick? Just about everything is made from scratch. No mixes, no prepacked items. The tradeoff for cost is time, but I am in a position where that isn't an issue anymore. I find that cooking is more rewarding this way as well. Everything that comes out of my kitchen is all me. Not every recipe has been a success but that's to be expected.

I miss my country more than I thought I would have, but in exchange we have an opportunity to save that we would have had otherwise. If we continue on our current path, not only will we be able to pay off all our debts (no credit card debt, but student loans and the like) we should have a sizable down payment on a home as well.
Overall we are very happy, but I admit I am doing a countdown to when I can come home to my country, my family/friends and my kitty. One month down!
Raspberry Flavored Candy Mushrooms?!?
I saw this in the grocery store today. I picked it up because it tickled me. Yeah its candy, but what would possess them to make Raspberry Flavored gummy mushrooms? The picture is kind of cute too.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Day Soap from Lush; Sweetheart.

Full slab from Lush.com
              Valentine's Day will soon be upon us! Where does all the time go? About  a week ago I saw that my local Lush store was selling a special limited edition soap. At $5.95 (that's Australian Dollars) per 100g, it was a little expensive for my taste. However, Valentines Day comes around only once a year...so why not?

White and pink, my little chunk almost looks like a fat piece of cake. While it's cute in it's own little way, the full slab is much cuter. The heart image and text is lost when cut into smaller pieces, and would be unrecognizable if given as a gift. Perhaps it would have been better if it was sold as individual bars with the design intact.

Slab cut into pieces.
  As far as smell goes...this is likely the sweetest bar of soap to have ever existed. I'm fairly certain I got a touch of diabetes on the aroma alone. I almost declined to purchase it, but curiosity got the best of me.

Lush describes their product as "Shaped like a giant love heart, say it with soap this Valentine's Day and buy a chunk for your sweetheart."
Scent description; "A sensual blend of jasmine, mandarin, and vanilla to gently inflame the passions and get things moving in the right direction."

As a soap, this bar is amazing. It's moisturizing, and lathers beautifully. The scent is much better on the skin. It mellow to tolerably sweet levels, with a faint underlying notes of floral (likely the Jasmine).

My chunk of "Sweetheart"
While I don't regret my purchase, I will not likely be getting another next year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cooking from Scratch; Blueberry Cobbler!

                               I had such great success with brownies from scratch, I was excited to try something new. Picking the next recipe was easy since cobblers have always been one of my favorite treats. The tartness of the berries combined with the warmth of the crust is a little piece of delicious heaven.
 I was hoping to make a Blackberry Cobbler. Unfortunately for me blackberries don't seem to be in season this time of year, and the local market didn't carry any. They did however, have a ton of Blueberries. I learned that in Australia, Blueberry season starts in December and goes on through until April. So even though I couldn't find my berry of choice, the blue variety were in abundance and looked delicious.

You can find the original recipe from allrecipes.com  here.

Yummy Blueberry Cobbler

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/8 cups white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 11x7 inch baking dish.
  2. Spread the blueberries out to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over them. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and 1 1/8 cups sugar until smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder alternately with the milk until smooth. Batter will be thin. Spoon over the berries, and spread evenly.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Dust with a pinch of cinnamon, then pour the boiling water over the entire dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Based on reviews this recipe received, I made a few minor changes. Most replies stated that the cobbler was too sweet. So based on their comments, I reduced the sugar for 1 1/2 cups to 3/4 cup. For good measure I also added 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract. 

And the verdict? I'm glad I made the changes I did.The berries were delicious, and the lemon gives it a little bit of zest.  The cobbler portion had great flavor (and not too sweet!) but was a little more cake like than I would have preferred. I like the kind that has a crisp and slightly crunchy topping. I will definitely be making this again, but might make additional alterations at the end for texture.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soaping for Amateurs.

                        Now that I have more free time, I will be pursuing something I have wanted to do for a while now...... soap making! I've done research online, watched videos, read forums, and now feel ready to go for it. Since reading isn't the same as doing, I decided to take it slow and ordered a Melt and Pour starter kit, with a few extras.

I'll be getting a 2 pound slab of soap, 6 different scents (Sweet Pea, Best Friends, Oatmeal Milk and Honey, Lavender, Blue Sugar and Pink Sugar) and 3 Soap dyes (Red, Purple and Blue). Just for fun, I got a bit of Diamond Dust Mica Pigment to experiment with.
If it goes well, my next step will be to try Cold Process, if I get half as addicted as I think I might, we're going to be up to our eyeballs in soap!
When it arrives I'll take some photos, can't wait to give it a try.

Thank you Mrs. Goat!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life in Australia. In Photos! 01/12/12

                           Here's a photo of our building.  Our apartment is in the center floor on the right hand side. You can see the balcony on the front, but there is a second one on the other side.  It's a brand new construction and we are the first tenants in our unit.

Amputated Leg Crossing!
I walk to the shops almost every morning (before it gets super hot since it's Summer time here). Australia doesn't have huge super markets like they do in the US. The closest they have is a store named Coles, but they don't have a great selection. So I go to the farmers market for fruits and vegetables, and a butcher for meat. 

Food (along with everything else) is incredibly expensive. Only buying what you can carry home is a great way to save money. Not only do you factor in price, but also the weight of an item. I haven't bought a 12 pack of soda since we've arrived. Who wants to lug that thing for 3 or 4 blocks? Anyway, I have to make a lot of little trips, but the exercise is great and it gets me out and about. 

For longer trips there is the train. Tyler takes it every day to work and back. It's super close and thankfully our apartment has double paned windows so you can't hear it unless they are open are open. It's hard to see from the photos, but it's a double decker train. I've ridden on the top floor once, it was pretty neat.  

Skate Park
Other side of the Skate Park
There is a really nice park on the next block. It has a cute entry way. On the floor has mosaic looking artwork in the shape of doves and flowers. Inside are enormous trees, a children's playground, and even a Tony Hawk looking skate park. It's tricked out with all kinds of graffiti. (For some reason, thinking of an Aussie tagger makes me giggle inside.) It seems to be the "cool" place for all the kids to hang out and it's usually pretty crowded in the afternoons.
There is also a croquet field behind my apartment building, that must be where all their grandparents go during the day, as I've never seen it empty during daylight hours. 

Couple of players in a heated game of croquet.