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July 29, 2014

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Think outside the chocolate box

Avoid trite gifts this Valentine’s Day and show your significant other your creativity

Roses and boxes of chocolate are such cliché Valentine's gifts. They're also just too darn easy. Anyone can run to the drug store and grab an impersonal candy assortment or a silly teddy bear clutching a heart. You'll get real points if you think outside the box this V Day and come up with something a little more creative. Here are a few ideas to use as a jumping off point for an exciting weekend with your loved one.

Get cozy while you get your drink on: Rhumbar at Mirage will celebrate Valentine's Day with Snuggies, S'mooches and S'mores. Warm up on a cool February night with the S'mooches and S'mores Cocktail with your sweetie. Mixologist Kristen Schaefer created the unique beverage featuring cayenne-pepper-infused hot cocoa mix, Dekuyper Vanilla Schnapps, Appelton Rum and a marshmallow, graham cracker and hot fudge garnish. The drink comes with a Rhumbar embroidered Snuggie to keep you cozy and warm.

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The dining room at Wing Lei.

Liven up your night with some cultural cuisine: Wing Lei restaurant at Wynn is celebrating the Chinese New Year with the return of their popular Dim Sum Brunch, served tableside. The meal includes shrimp or pork dumplings, sesame balls and spare ribs plus a buffet station featuring cold half lobster, sushi, a carving station as well as specialties from other Wynn and Encore restaurants. On Valentine's Day, also the start of Chinese New Year, a group of performers will be doing the traditional Lion Dance by Wynn's South Valet entrance starting at 7 p.m.

Take your lady to a show: Crooner Jimmy Hopper will begin his Sunday-night residency at The Lounge at The Palms. Be among the first to check out his high-energy and award-winning vocals on songs ranging from opera to symphonic rock, all for free.

Make her laugh: If your date can handle killer insults, take her to see Lisa Lampanelli, aka Comedy's Loveable Queen of Mean, on Valentine's Day Eve at The Pearl. Next to Lampanelli's jabs and insults, you'll look like a saint! If you're looking for a comedian who's a tad less in your face, though only by a little, check out Ron White over at The Mirage for a dose of low-brow humor.

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Comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

Show off your skills in the kitchen: Get in touch with your domestic side this Valentine's Day and show your lover you can actually cook, not just order, pizza. Sammy's Woodfired Pizza will be selling pizza kits starting at only $5. The kits include freshly made pizza dough and Sammy's homemade tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella cheese and a blend of herbs for the perfect finishing touch. There's even a gluten-free option. You can pick up the kits at any of the five area locations.

Don't be bitter, embrace the single life: All the single ladies are invited to party it up on Singles Awareness Day at Rockhouse. The bar will be granting all unescorted ladies complimentary cover, two-for-one well drinks and $5 money shots from 10 p.m. until close all weekend long.

Take a walk down Lover's Lane: A prickly cactus might not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think Valentine's Day, but the folks at Ethel's Cactus Garden have created an illuminated Lover's Lane through the cacti, leading to their picturesque gazebo where you can pose for the perfect photo op. The lights come on at dusk and remain lit until 10 p.m. After that, head inside the factory to sample delectable treats like hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries.

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Take a walk down Lover's Lane and end up at the Ethel's Chocolate Factory.

Spice things up a bit: The Village at Las Vegas will host dozens of chili makers from across the country in the 2010 Silver State Regional Chili Cook-Off, sanctioned by the International Chili Society. Cooks will produce their best Red Chili, Chili Verde and salsa to be judged. In addition to the chili samplings, guests can partake in a raffle for great prizes, and a DJ will be spinning all day. Nothing says "I still love you" like continuing to walk around a festival with your loved one after he's slopped chili down his shirt.

When in doubt, try oysters: If you're looking for a classy snack to impress your date, but don't want to break the bank, start your meal at LBS: A Burger Joint where you can dine on the "Aphrodisiac" appetizer special which includes two glasses of champagne and fried West Coast oysters in a spicy remoulade sauce, all for only $12.

If you can't land a date the usual way, there's always hypnosis: Don Barnhart will be headlining all week at the LA Comedy Club at the Four Queens along with Ron Josol. Barnhart can be heard regularly on Bob and Tom and is a veteran performer for The USO and Comics On Duty entertaining the troops around the world. On Valentine's Day, Barnhart will break out his hypnosis routine for the late show. If all else fails, you could always hypnotize your lover into thinking you're the one.

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