Category Archives: garden

A Secret Garden

There is something quite special about finding a place that is unknown to most of the world. It’s like a secret that you keep until you choose to whisper it to others. I want to share with all of you the very magical place I wandered into yesterday. I hope that you will take these whispers of a secret and personally visit the garden. No words or pictures can truly capture the beauty of this garden.

Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Lincoln Park 

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The garden is called Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. It’s extremely close to Lincoln Park Zoo. I was surprised I have never been or heard of this place till today. I came here to meet up with my friend for an afternoon picnic. After being dropped off by the bus about two blocks away, I walked to where Google Maps said the entrance was. The entrance is discretely marked with a small sign on the ground. Two Japanese metal gates mark the entrance. You can easily pass by the entrance without knowing that there was an entire lily pond garden inside.

Inside is a lily pool wonderland, a sanctuary away from the messiness that is urban life. The garden is very well kept and full of life. Plants densely line the outer edges of the pond and the rocky paths. The flowers are just emerging, so I bet in a week or so beautiful yellow flowers will bloom and hover above the lily pads. There are so many great spots to sit especially on the rocks that border the pond. My friend and I sat right under the Japanese pagoda that provided the perfect amount of shade.

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One of the really great parts of the lily pool was the ducks. They were so friendly and definitely not afraid of humans. They waddled probably within less than a feet of us! I think it really helped that I was feeding them pita chips.  As we left the lily pool there was a small sign that said “no feeding the wild life”. Whoops!

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The four ducklings with the mama duck were so adorable. In this picture they were quacking at us. Probably asking us to feed them more pita chips.

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Here is a close up of the ducklings and the mama duck standing guard. What a very cute family of ducks!

Definitely visit this place if you get a chance. For an afternoon, you will forget you are in Chicago. The tall high barriers that surround the garden insulate the garden from everything that is going on on the outside.  This Japanese garden provides the perfect getaway even if it is just for one afternoon. Perhaps this will become my new favorite spot to just sit and day dream the afternoon away.

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Universal Studios Orlando and Harry P. Leu Gardens

Continuation of my trip to Orlando. I was suffering from serious Disney World withdrawal during the first couple of weeks back in Chicago. Listening to my Disney playlist on repeat, getting excited for Disney movie marathons and spreading my enthusiasm for Disney magic. Unfortunately the Disney magic obsession has slowly died down, but I think I will always have a little bit more spark and a little bit more whimsical magic in me after this terrific trip.

Universal Studios Orlando

Harry Potter World – Hogsmeade

Butterbeer in Hogsmeade

Harry Potter World – Hogwarts

My favorite part of Universal Studios Orlando was Harry Potter world. It was a lot smaller than I imagined, but still great to walk through. A real life version of what I imagined from reading the books, and what was pictured in the movies. If you ever wondered what Butterbeer tastes like, it tastes like a super sweet Coke float.

The Lorax in the World of Dr. Seuss

I loved the World of Dr. Seuss. The world where imagination comes to life. The things I love about the Dr. Seuss books are how unique his wording is and how creative the characters look. Everything looks like it came from an entirely different universe. Dr. Seuss is quite the character.

The Lorax at the parade

Here I am eating a monstrous chocolate sprinkle dipped sundae on a stick. Talk about a sugar rush!

Harry P. Leu Garden 

I wandered over to the Harry P. Leu Gardens on my first day, since I got in way before my friends did. I spotted this beautiful fountain in the Rose Garden.

Though people are not suppose to do this, people etched their names into the bamboo.

At first I thought this was a sundial, but it is an actual clock with the flowers and plants adorning the face. How unique!

Check back on Wednesday for a post that was inspired by this quote that I overheard from a bro on the train. Bros… gotta love them.

Today we’re only going to eat foods that begin with B: burgers, brats, beer … and bananas

– random bro on the train

Sandwiches at the Secret Garden

One of my favorite things to do is to go to gardens. There’s something so peaceful about wandering into secret places filled with the aromas and vivid colors of flowers and plants. I like to think of them as secret places, because when I go to gardens I like to wander around without a map. I know that it is not the most efficient way to see the entire garden, but it adds an element of mysteriousness to the adventure. Kind of like the book Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett where a little girl finds the entrance to a hidden garden. Closed off from the rest of the world the secret garden seems so surreal. A place where anything goes, and fairies, unicorns and magic exist. Well to my disappointment no fairy sightings or unicorn encounters at the Chicago Botanic Garden, but there were a lot of breathtaking  views and gorgeous spots perfect for daydreaming. Take a look! 

Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe, Illinois

Homemade bread rolls

I baked some bread rolls the day before. It made for an excellent sandwich for our picnic at the garden.

Using the bread rolls I made I had a Turkey Swiss sandwich with edamame hummus from Trader Joe’s, lettuce and raisins.  I discovered in college the wonders of pairing raisins and turkey sandwiches together. The sweetness of the raisins really add a unique element to any ordinary turkey sandwich.

Japanese Gardens

First time seeing a swan up close.

Waterfall Garden

view from on top of the waterfalls. Paradise!