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  • Writer's pictureLillian E.

24th Birthday (and a Long Weekend!)

May 29-31, 2021

I am officially a freshly-minted 24 year old! The stars aligned this year and I had the best birthday weekend ever. Mom started it off by sending me a box of petit fours from my favorite bakery, Devine Delights. Marco came over Friday night and we cracked open the box along with fizzy mimosas for a movie night. (We picked the 1982 Blade Runner. Unusual choice, but I'd never seen it).

With early morning birthday breakfast plans on the horizon, everything wound down by 11:00pm but as soon as it hit midnight Marco was singing "Happy Birthday" to me and handing me a surprise in a bag.

Look! He gave me new earrings! I told him a story a long time ago about how I'd had a pair of simple sparkles and one had decidedly vacated my ear while on the beach... he remembered and decided to replace them for me :) Award for Most-Thoughtful-Boyfriend goes to Marco.

Ok so FINALLY we knocked out- because beauty sleep is important- and then I couldn't stay asleep so I was up and bouncing around at 6:30am getting ready for breakfast.

When I tell you it was an EVENT. I've found my new favorite restaurant.


(I pulled these images off Google) but just LOOK at how beautiful it is. It's incredibly popular but they only take reservations for dinner, so we joined a short line outside at 9am and once inside, ordered at the pastry counter.

(These are my photos)

Everybody ordered a pastry because who can resist a display like that?

I myself went with a classic Pain au Chocolat the size of my face ;)

The breakfast was even better.

There were a couple croque madames, a slice of quiche, a couple shakshuka dishes, and I got the salmon benedict over a potato pancake. It was legendary.

Topped off with mimosas!

My lovely and wonderful roommate, Meredith.

And Marco's croque madame.

After breakfast we took a brief nap to sleep off all the good food, and then Marco and I jumped in the car and headed down to Long Beach for the Aquarium of the Pacific!

If you've never been, you're first greeted with a giant wall of water and fish. It's awesome.

Per Covid rules we had timed-entry tickets which allowed us to be whisked inside as soon as we arrived at 2:45. We took our time wandering through exhibits. I didn't take too many photos because my phone can't quite capture the fish under their fluorescent lights, but we managed to come away with a few good ones that I'll share.

We met some sting rays.

Waved at some little neon fish.

I tried to pose with the little garden eels poking out of the sand, but they got a little camera shy.

Here they are, less camera shy and flaunting their polka dots in full force!

Marco, keeping an eye out for sharks.

Marco with the teeny-tiniest jellyfish you've ever seen. We spent way too long staring at them up close. Definitely a favorite.

Some big Nemo-style jellyfish. Also very cool.

So many fish.

Snack break!

We learned a little about water conservation in Los Angeles.

More fish!

I met a penguin named Lily.

And Marco and I decided these little birds were our spirit animals, because they were snuggled right up together.

After one last look around visiting our favorite exhibits, we had to say goodbye to the fish, frogs, birds, seals, and other new friends and jump back in the car on our way to dinner.

If you're ever in need of a margarita the size of your face, head over to El Tejano in North Hollywood.

We were joined by some of my favorite people:

And spent several hours finishing those margaritas and heaps of loaded nachos. (Though stay away from the spicy red salsa, your tongue might fall off.)

We could've stayed longer but Marco had a mystery errand to run at the grocery store on our walk back home...

He bought me a little cake and candles so I could make a birthday wish!

Sunday May 30 was fully dedicated to a mini golf tournament between old friends.

Shaan and Veronica were in LA so we met up with them at what seems to be the ONLY mini golf center in LA, the Sherman Oaks Castle Park, and challenged them to a fantastic game. It was very close and there were several holes-in-one. We finished off with a loooooong 3 hour brunch nearby, as one does.

They're getting married next month! I can't wait to celebrate them :)

Monday, May 31.

Because it was Memorial Day weekend, Marco and I didn't have work on Monday for the Union holiday. When I tell you it was the most spontaneous decision-

Universal Studios is only open at 35% capacity and still had available tickets on Sunday night, so we bought them with no concrete plan in mind.

We started the day in Harry Potter world, which is my favorite. The lines weren't too long for the rides and there were zero lines for any stores which meant immediate Butterbeer.

We spent the MOST amount of time in line for the studio tour, which is Marco's favorite. The tour itself was 45 minutes and highly entertaining!

View from the side of the hills with the studio down below us.

We spent a little longer waiting in line for Transformers and Jurassic World, and didn't even attempt The Mummy because the wait time had grown too long. But we made a point to stay until closing and ended our weekend buying chocolate frogs from Honeydukes on our way out of the park.

There were so many things we didn't get to do! And a walk through the City Walk determined we need to come back for a date night and thorough exploration. So, see you soon Universal!

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