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  • Writer's pictureLillian E.

Valentines Day 2021

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

I just had the perfect weekend- something straight out of a storybook. A fairytale I didn't even know I was dreaming about. Valentines day was on a Sunday this year so I went over to Marco's on Saturday night per his request and we picked up fancy Sugarfish sushi (it melts in your mouth, I swear you've never had better sushi than this) and snuggled up in front of the TV to watch some Batman: The Animated Series. It was perfect. I had food poisoning the previous night, so we crawled into bed pretty early and fell asleep.

Sunday morning Marco slipped out of the apartment before I got up and went to run *secret errands*. He came back a while later telling me, "Close your eyes! Close your eyes!" And when I opened them again he was kneeling at the edge of the bed next to me. Seeing as it was our first Valentine's Day together he insisted on "the classics" and first presented me with the cutest fuzzy teddy I've ever seen. Next I got a beautiful red heart box of chocolate, and finally (he had to go pull them out of the closet), the BIGGEST arrangement of red roses I have ever seen in my life. I'm a lucky girl :)

We were pretty hungry by then so Marco insisted I stay in bed while he made breakfast. So while I snuggled back under the covers with my new bear friend, he cooked up a storm on the other side of the room. What resulted had to have been the best breakfast burritos I have ever tasted. The hash browns were just the right amount of crunchy to add texture to the bacon, avocado, and eggs- lightly dusted with cheese- all timed perfectly so it was still warm when wrapped into a fat tortilla.

We dressed and made a quick pit stop at home to drop off roses for my wonderful roommates before heading back out to the next surprise. He told me on Tuesday he'd been waiting in a virtual line to buy tickets somewhere, but wouldn't tell me where.

It was so worth it. We pulled up to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena at 1pm, presented our tickets, and rolled through the gates to find parking.

It took a few rounds of walking from This tent to That tent to pass all the checkpoints but once we were inside, it was breathtaking. I have never seen so much green in California.

We couldn't stop commenting on how much it felt like we'd been transported to another place. And maybe we had! It felt really special.

We started near the European Art building and made our way through all the gardens between it and the American Art building, although the buildings themselves were closed to the public. Here's a map to orient yourself (full disclosure, I took it from their website).

We stopped to take a couple photos. Lots of selfies because you don't ask strangers to take your photo during a pandemic!

He didn't know I was taking a photo of him but I thought this was cute so here's Marco pointing at some foliage. :)

We imitated the art together:

And this was my favorite lawn, although we couldn't figure out what it was called and got a little lost following signs around. I liked all the old statues that lined both sides leading to the fountain at the end. Surprisingly most of them retain their noses, but are missing arms and hands!

Found a throne, made ourselves at home.

Following our trusty map we wound our way down through the Jungle Garden,

Found a roaring mini waterfall,

We wandered through some bamboo on our way to find the Lily Ponds. (I think we missed the Subtropical Gardens, but I can't be sure).

And emerged in front of the Desert Garden where we had a lot of fun "poking" around (yes, I just went there hehe!)

We went through the Australia Gardens on our way to the Japanese Gardens but I don't have any photos of that. It was flat and brown and I've never been to Australia but I'm hoping it's not quite that... bland? There were some "bottle trees" though and they were fun, squat things.

The Japanese Gardens were Marco's favorite. It felt as though we might go through the entrance and emerge on the other side of the world!

He's always wanted a bonsai tree so I think the little bonsai gardens were his personal Heaven. Look how happy he is! :)

I liked this one best, it looked like a tiny forest.

We went down into the big garden and looped our way through the trees and around the pond, on our way to the Chinese Garden.

We encountered more bamboo! They made *secret tunnels* through the gardens.

Our last stop was the Chinese Gardens (the rest of the map was closed off) and it was by far the coolest. Can you imagine what this looks like in the spring??

In all, we walked over 5 miles throughout the afternoon. The Gardens close at 5pm which had us out and back in the car just before sunset, munching on some french fries as we drove back to LA.

Marco's plan had been to cook me dinner too, but we were so tired that we teamed up and did it together. It was a fun recipe! He picked steak, potatoes au gratin, and creamed spinach (all dairy free for me) and everything got added to the pan in increments and baked to perfection! We were stuffed and totally happy.

And here are my flowers :)

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