Night at the Garden

 
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Imagine Night at the Museum, with mystical shenanigans aplenty and a special effects budget through the roof. Now picture the garden version. That’s pretty much what best explains Fairchild’s Night Garden that my fam and I experienced this past winter break. While we didn’t have anyone younger than 10 with us, like we probably should have, we still thoroughly enjoyed the impeccable light show and themed adult beverages.

The whole gimmick seemed to be aimed at the kiddos, as the name of the game was to find several fairies scattered around the garden grounds and piece together the clues they provided. While we mostly forgot to upkeep the fairy hunt, the meticulous attention to detail and large scale production value was not lost on us.

Fairchild has been one of my favorite places to visit when I’m back home in Miami, mostly because of its evergreen splendor but also its strong ties to my childhood and the fact that being there always feels like home. In all my years visiting, however, they’ve never done an event quite like this where the open up the garden at night and manage to make all of their natural majesty even more grand.

Pathways glowed in speckled hues.

Each tree was bathed in an spectrum of multicolored lights.

Animations were projected on waterfalls and flat leaves.

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Larger than life dandelion structures flanked walkways.

And artificial snow was even blowing - an honest effort at creating a winter atmosphere in 60 degree Miami.

While the kids visiting were on another planet with excitement and awe, I must say that we “adults” were enchanted too. It’s a wonder how nature can be made even more beautiful, and seeing our city glow even brighter in the night lights made us fall in love with home all over again.

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Xx, Maia

 

An Aussie Tour of Miami

 

In thinking about showing my hometown off to someone who A.) is very important to me, B.) has never seen Miami, and C.) probably thinks everyone in the 305 goes to school in their bathing suits... I had to concoct the perfect 7 day storm to express how much I love my home. And a storm indeed was a-brewin'. Upon arrival (post the 1.5 hour long driving detour my dad took us on to show Curtis, the resident Aussie, a thumbnail survey of the city from the airport), we were greeted by one of Florida's classic flash downpours - one which quickly dampened the day's beach prospects.

Sunday then turned out to be a day of culinary cultural consumption as we stuffed our visitor's stomach with a hearty Jewish breakfast and again with a full on Cuban dinner (luckily, we napped through lunch). Little did I know that my Aussie would take the bait and fall in love, stomach first, with my funky heritage. 

@fiftshades.ofbeige  on instagram

@fiftshades.ofbeige on instagram

On Monday, a light rain kept enough Miamians inside their houses and allowed us to explore Fairchild Botanical Garden all to ourselves! We happily frolicked (read: sweated buckets) through the garden grounds, hung out with some fluttering butterflies, and felt one with nature. Fairchild is truly the perfect spot to show someone the lushness/swampiness of Miami. And it was quite the sight for sore eyes post a concrete summer in New York City. 

Tuesday's travels took us to the beach where we baked our skin while eating some baked, Cuban pastelitos. And Wednesday we slept our work-long summers away. 

Thursday was more of the same plus an afternoon trip to the famed Wynwood Walls. 10/10 recommend taking a boy toy to this art district as it forces them to take pictures for the 'gram given that you can't NOT stop and pose amidst the murals! 

Friday and Saturday were days of exploration for both of us, given my recent induction to the 21 Club and thus new accessibility to Miami's well known nightlife. If being 21 means getting to salsa dance in the rain at my dad's 65 birthday party, then that's what I'll be using my license for from here on out! And no night out would be complete without an uncomfortably posed photo with a feathered dancer on Calle Ocho. 

All in all, in trying to visually/culinarily express to Curtis why Miami makes me smile, I think this 7 day stint pretty much captured it: It's a lush, sweltering land full of nature when you need it, and AC when you don't. It has a burgeoning art scene (more on that in a PAMM post to follow), locally sourced mangoes aplenty, and above all, it is home.

Come back and visit soon! I'll have bagels & croquetas waiting for you <3

Xx, Maia