Book Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

December 19, 2016
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is a legendary tale reimagined and woven like the silk that our heroine speaks so much of. This is a story which expertly interlaces elements of magic, mystery and suspense. E.K. Johnston paints a beautifully vivid desert landscape, where you can practically hear the sand shifting and sliding across the dunes with every word. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.


A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is a legendary tale reimagined and woven like the silk that our heroine speaks so much of. This is a story which expertly interlaces elements of magic, mystery and suspense. E.K. Johnston paints a beautifully vivid desert landscape, where you can practically hear the sand shifting and sliding across the dunes with every word. And flipping through the pages feels like a blast from the hot desert wind, as we follow our unnamed heroine through her interesting journey.

Born into a land where Lo-Melkhiin's insatiable desire for a wife often results in her imminent death, 300 girls have been sacrificed in order to keep the peace among the desert tribes. Now, her beloved sister, the loveliest in their village, is next on his list. Distraught, determined and driven by the love for her sister, our savvy heroine boldly decides to take her place.  She exchanged her sister's life for her own, and her warmth and love of her family and tribe, for the life of royalty.



But being a queen does not come with the perks it should. She's doomed herself to a short life behind lavish palace walls and halls, and across desert sands, where age-old secrets and even stronger maleficent forces are lurking behind every closed door, hushed voice, and unanswered question. For Lo-Melkhiin's reign of terror has cast a spell over the palace, affecting everyone and anyone who sets foot. But Lo-Melkhiin was not always so cruel. So what brought about this change that continues to plague the palace and its kingdom?

In a world shrouded by tradition, our heroine begins to do what she knows best-- weaving. Weaving stories out of thin air, stories which begin to shape the world she lives in and the one she left behind, where her beloved sister and family are beginning to stir up the people. Night after night, tale after tale, she remains alive, and the longer she lives, the closer their sisterly bond grows, the more her own inner power does too, changing their world as they know it. And potentially getting the key to lifting the curse and saving Lo-Melkhiin.

Although she remains nameless, hidden away, it is our main characters silent resilience in the face of danger and this quiet revolution that is so captivating. Despite the rumblings all around her, she proves that the greatest power doesn't always lie in those who speak the loudest and look the strongest, but it lies in those who seek their strength from sources closest to the heart and their roots that can influence the most change. This was an excellent read, based off an epic myth surrounding the well-known tales of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, that will capture your imagination for just as long after reading it.

Fave Quote
“I do fear him,” I said, which was close to the truth. “I fear him as I fear the desert sun and poisonous snakes. They are all part of the life I live. But the sun gives light, and snakes will feed a caravan if they are caught and cooked.”
― E.K. Johnston, A Thousand Nights

 Psst! If you're a book blogger or a fellow bookworm make sure to join or check out the Ms.Bookworm Pinterest group board, for more reviews from my blog and from other reading enthusiasts as well!

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston is a legendary tale reimagined and woven like the silk that our heroine speaks so much of. This is a story which expertly interlaces elements of magic, mystery and suspense. E.K. Johnston paints a beautifully vivid desert landscape, where you can practically hear the sand shifting and sliding across the dunes with every word. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.

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How to Find Your Place When You're Feeling Lost

December 12, 2016

This article was originally posted here  in November's Clover Letter


Starting university can be as nerve-wracking as it can be exciting. Grads tell you that time will fly by, and that the friends you make will be your life-long besties. But making friends can be tough when you go to a school with over 70,000 students in a city with over 2 million people. I've spent my life up until freshman year dreaming about going to off to college, saying a teary goodbye to family, choosing the perfect dorm décor, befriending my roommates, and maybe even joining a sorority. My dreams were crushed when my parents suggested that I commute to school instead of living on residence, since I wasn’t leaving home. While I argued against it at first, I ultimately gave in. They assured me that I would still make friends and that I would still find my place. I was skeptical. In the movies, the girl who makes life-long friends and truly became her own person does this all from the comfort of her dorm, not from her childhood bedroom. I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy as my friends discussed how much they looked forward to their newfound freedom and how they had already befriended their roommates online.


September rolled around and I imagined myself getting lost in the crowd; or worse, arriving and seeing that everyone had already formed tight-knit friend groups. I headed into Frosh Week with a heavy heart and troubled spirit, only to come out with a bunch of new friends. The relationships I made set the tone for the rest of the month, as I met more people and little by little began to feel comfortable. The key? Having an open mind. So, while I'm still trying to find my place, here are a few things I've learned that have made things a little easier.

Sign up for everything. And I do mean everything.

On club’s day, I signed up for anything that piqued my interest. While I didn’t end up participating in all of them, being on the email lists gave me tons of options and kept me in the know. Plus, I was able to talk to older students to gain advice, and I was introduced to great programs I never knew existed.


Find your study spot.

If you're a commuter student, then you don't have a cozy dorm room where you can rest in between classes. So, find the study space. Whether it has a great view or a great vibe, whether it's a café, a library, or a park, the regularity will give you an anchor in the midst of such a hectic lifestyle.


Make a resident BFF...literally.

I'm very lucky that one of my closest friends decided to live on residence. I visit her throughout the week, and as a result, I've befriended a few of her dorm mates. This has been super helpful because they make me aware of any on-campus activities previously unknown to commuter students like myself.


Orientation week = your week.

During Frosh Week, go to all of the activities, talk to your program leaders, get festive, but most importantly, be yourself. When I stopped worrying and let loose, I was able to have fun and actually made more friends than before. We were drawn to each other's personalities and positive energies, and as the week drew on, we all really bonded.

Remember: We’re all going through the same thing.

Even that girl with the perfect makeup and nails still wants someone to say hi to her. So I introduce myself to the people on either side of me in class. I ask questions and try to bond over our similar struggles. While I don't click with everyone I meet, more often than not I do gain a new friend (or at the very least, more insight into how the school works). It’s a win-win, so just go for it.


Psst! If you want to find out more about how you too can write for the Clover Letter click here.



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For The Sweet Tooth: Fluffy Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

December 05, 2016
For the Sweet Tooth: Fluffy Pumpkin Spiced Waffles! Easy to make and extra tasty, these pumpkin spice waffles are the perfect breakfast booster to get you ready for the rest of the day! Click to read more or pin and save for later.


I asked a while back on Instagram what to do with all of my homemade pumpkin purée.






As you can see, a few people answered my cry for help and their ideas got the wheels in my head spinning. And after deciding that I wanted to eat some waffles really badly, I fastened my apron, grabbed the purée, and got to thinking. As soon as I think pumpkin, I think spice. Even if I was given a Mad Libs to fill out and they asked for an adverb to complete the sentence, I would still fill in "spice". In my opinion, there's  something about the words "pumpkin spiced" that just ignite all of the senses. While initially, all I can see is the giant Starbucks PSL sign and Autumn leaves floating in front of me, I eventually come back down to Earth at the sound of my stomach grumbling. Okay, are you hungry yet? Good. Enjoy! 🍴

Easy to make and extra tasty, these pumpkin spice waffles are the perfect breakfast booster to get you ready for the rest of the day! Click to read more or pin and save for later.


Ingredients

  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 cup pumpkin purée (store bought should be fine, but I always use my homemade version)
  • 3 eggs
Easy to make and extra tasty, these pumpkin spice waffles are the perfect breakfast booster to get you ready for the rest of the day! Click to read more or pin and save for later.


Steps:


In a large bowl, begin by whisking together the sugar and the butter together until they're light-colored and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Then add the eggs and continue whisking until well combined.
Pour in the pumpkin purée to the mixture and whisk until smooth. 

Now, add the dry ingredients (the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and flour) and begin to mix it together. Slowly add the milk as you continue to mix it until it reaches a smooth consistency. 

Now, all that's left for you to do is to turn on your waffle iron and voila!

What's your favourite breakfast food?



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An Ode to the Summertime Barbecue + Playlist

November 28, 2016


I know that we are currently in the middle of Fall and we are well on our way to a fierce Winter, but I don't know if it's because of all the Thanksgiving pictures being shared on Instagram or it's the glow of the Christmas lights currently twinkling like stars all over the city, but I'm feeling a little nostalgic. And there's nothing like curing a bout of nostalgia with a bunch of old of pictures and songs about the summertime.



There's something special about reminiscing about the good old days when your best buds all went to the same school and you didn't have to check the weather forecast to know how many layers you had to wear. I can always tell when Summer has truly arrived when while walking through my neighborhood, the smell of barbecue permeates the air. With one sniff I suddenly feel both happy that summer has is here and jealous that I wasn't invited. There's something about grilled anything -- fruits, veggies, meat-- that just makes everything taste better. It's as if the smoke infuses the food with the very taste of summer itself. It's nothing short of magic.




Last summer one of my oldest friends threw a small barbecue filled with all summer food staples: watermelon, grilled meat, brownies, pasta salad and fancy chilled beverages. Under the grapevine, surrounded by different varieties of mint (I didn't even know Apple mint existed) it was if time and space was suspended and we had entered an enchanted backyard botanical garden.

We were treated to a rare moment of peace and (relative) silence in this technologically driven world where we could just be among friends. The only tweeting we heard was from the neighborhood birds, and the only chimes we heard was from the clinking of our cutlery against our plates or as we raised our glasses in tribute to freshman year of university, to new beginnings, to our childhood and to the final summer of our 18th year.






What's your favorite summer memory?


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Book Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

November 21, 2016
Click to read more or pin and save for later. Either way, get ready for Ransom Riggs second spine-tingling, nail-biting installment of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City. Follow Jacob and his peculiar friends on their newest quest across time and space, as the lines between  future, past and present blur together. With new friends, new frights and new foes to face, it's a tale full of loveable characters and chilling vintage photographs that you won't soon forget.


In Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the tale of Jacob and his interesting bunch of friends just got even better. The second installment delivered another dose peculiar, served with a heaping pile of page-turning, nail-biting, spine-tingling action that made the first book in the series, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, such a delight. In book two, Jacob and his comrades follow the next stage of their adventure as they head on a quest to save their mysterious headmistress Miss Peregrine from a fate worse than death. All the while being hunted by and hunting hollows and their legion of darkness.


Guided by nothing more than an ancient children's book and an anthropomorphic Peregrine Falcon, we are taken on a cross country, cross-generational cat-and-mouse chase against time. The lines between past, present and future become blurred, as we travel in between dimensions where both the readers and Miss Peregrine's wards are forced to relive the atrocities of mankind's history and confront (and hopefully prevent) those that might change peculiarkind forever.

Hot air balloon rides, ice fortresses, cemetery hide-and-seek and cirques are just a few of the peculiar things you can expect in this adventure, as Jacob leads his crew from the Hollowgast and through the Holocaust. New friendships are made, old ones are tested, and a steady stream of twists and turns leave you finishing the book mouth agape and anxious for the next novel in the series.

Once again, Ransom Riggs does an excellent job of marrying his collection of vintage photographs to the words in his book. All of the eerie (and apparently 100% authentic) photos help to invigorate your imagination. In sort of a chicken or the egg situation, you can never quite tell if the photos are scary because of the words you're reading, or if it's vice versa. Either way, they tie in beautifully with the events and characters presented and like Jacob you'll be left wondering what is real and what is not.

Favourite Quotes:


“Do you ever find yourself climbing into an open grave during a bombing raid..and wish you'd just stayed in bed?” ~Ransom Riggs, Hollow City 
“But you can't feel bad every second, I wanted to tell her. Laughing doesn’t make bad things worse any more than crying makes them better. It doesn't mean you don't care, or that you've forgotten. It just means you're human.”  ~ Ransom Riggs, Hollow City



Click to read more or pin and save for later. Either way, get ready for Ransom Riggs second spine-tingling, nail-biting installment of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City. Follow Jacob and his peculiar friends on their newest quest across time and space, as the lines between  future, past and present blur together. With new friends, new frights and new foes to face, it's a tale full of loveable characters and chilling vintage photographs that you won't soon forget.
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~Alexandra XO



Have you seen the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children movie? What did you think?




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6 Lessons I Learned During my Trip to Montréal #MsTLandFriends

November 10, 2016
This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!



If you follow me on Instagram (@mstigerlilly) then you've probably seen a sneak peek of a few of my Montréal trip pics. I also might have hinted at a few things about the emotionally scarring, yet slightly humorous incident that occurred. Overall, I would call the trip interesting. It was certainly not the kind of trip we were expecting, but one that came with an interesting set of challenges. Let me explain. It was interesting in the way that I learned a bunch of lessons about "adulting" -- not the washing the laundry kind, but the how to stand up for yourself and deal with other adults kind -- all the while providing the perfect story. You know, the kind of tale that makes people say around the dinner table, "Boy, have I got a story for you!". It's the kind of occurrence that has all the elements of the plot of a very bad funny movie. It's the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting".

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!


If our stay in Montréal were a movie, it would feature the following. One old, creepy (probably haunted) building; four teenage girls; a semi-nude homeless man; the police; a lobby full of spiders; a faulty door; a hidden key; a wandering raccoon and one very unhelpful Airbnb host. (I'll let you piece it together which ever way you will. Honestly, the wilder the better because it's probably exactly what happened.) Amidst the lack of sleep (we didn't get any proper shut eye for 72 hours straight), the tears, the screams, the phone calls and ultimately -- at the very, very, very, very end of it all -- the laughs, I did get a few lessons out of our harrowing  trip (and a few good pics too)!


This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

1. There is no place like home


This one needs no explanation. After the trip we had, happiness to me is all of the things that I thought I wouldn't miss: my sister's arguing, my parents fussing, my messy room and my beloved city.

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

2. Spiders suck


They honestly do, but sometimes you have to push past your fear in order to unlock something more important. Please note that I'm not just speaking metaphorically. We were sent on a wild goose chase to find a hidden key (in a spider infested lobby).

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

3. Always have cab fare


You never know when you'll be locked outside all night.

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

4. You're never too old to call your parents


Even if it's 3 am. Even if you are in another city 7 hours away. Even if there is nothing they can do immediately. Just do it. Call them. Their support is worth it.

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

5. (Some) people are the worst


There are two kinds of people that you can find in this world. There are those who want to help and those who are truly up to no good. My friends and I, met people on both ends of the spectrum. There were people who surprised us with their generosity and others who astounded us with their meanness.

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!

6. The grass is definitely not greener on the other side


Returning to Montréal was weird. It's the birthplace of my childhood. Whenever I think about the city, I relive old memories through my pre-adolescent eyes, through a golden filter of times spent eating Oreo Blizzards, playing make believe in my friend's pool, scoring my first goal in soccer and finally saying goodbye (or forgetting to, according to her) to my best friend. Now, every time I return to the city I am on the midst of a new phase in my life, yet I return to the same place (that same friend's house).

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!


This time I brought some friends along with me. We went to the city looking for adventure and certainly got a lot more than we bargained for. At the end of it all, the best day was spent doing the things you could do almost anywhere:

  • Going out for brunch
  • Sleeping in
  • Walking around/ getting lost in the city
  • Looking at funny memes
  • Dancing the night away
  • Passionately singing Bohemian Rhapsody as loud as we could (complete with hand gestures)
  • Sitting in my old friend's bedroom sharing stories about our lives with our new friends

~ Alexandra XO

This trip to Montreal taught me all of the dos and don'ts of travel and opened my once naive eyes, to the true workings of the world. All of the good and the bad. But all the lessons my friends and I learned made for an extremely good story, the kind you tell your grand kids about when they in turn begin "adulting". So, click here to read more and tell me what you think happened on our trip. Or, pin and save for later!
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What do you think happened on our trip?

 (Tweet me, leave a comment below or comment on my most recent Insta picture to share your thoughts)



3 Easy DIY Last-Minute Halloween Costumes*

October 30, 2016
3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!


Halloween is coming, and as usual, I am not prepared. Let's just say that the usual care and attention that used to be associated with picking out a Halloween costume faded as I got older, taller and started getting less and less candy when I went trick-or-treating. This year it's different. The weather is not as cold and gloomy, the leaves are extra autumn-ish, and I'm feeling the Halloween spirit. However, I have learned my lesson from previous costumes and vowed not to fall prey to Halloween mania and decided to recycle items in my closet and use accessories that could be worn even once the fun was over. So, when these lovely when these hair accessories that Irresistible Me gave me* arrived in the mail, I knew that they would add the right amount of glam that I needed to make my DIY costumes a little more festive.



3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!


The hair accessories are of good quality and the intricacies of the designs really help to turn a simple hair style into something more refined. Thanks to them, I was able to turn my regular updo into one worthy of royalty, and the headbands helped to transport my twist-out back in time to the Roaring Twenties and to the 70s.

The Flapper


3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!


What you need:



Just put on your dress, headband, gloves, and earrings, and get ready to be transported back to the 1920s. If you've got fringe, give yourself a twirl, and if not, do a little shimmy, and get yourself in the Flapper state of mind.


The Hippie

3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!



What you need:




Put on your headband, tuck your peasant blouse (the looser the better) into your skirt, slip on your glasses and voila! I like this one because it's Halloween-ish, so that if you have to take the public transit to whatever event you're going to (especially in during the day) you don't have to feel too self-conscious about looking a bit out of place.


The Queen of Hearts


3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!

What you need:



First, sort through your deck of playing cards and remove all of the cards that have hearts. Then using a marker to draw a heart outline on the back (the side that doesn't have the symbols on it), and use your scissors to cut out the shape. Grab your tape, put on your dress and paste them on in whatever pattern you like. Put your hair into an updo and add your headband and you're done!

Optional: Use eyeliner to draw little (or big) heart-shaped freckles all over your face. I opted to do a few next to my eye, but go crazy if you must, you're the queen after all. 

3 easy DIY last-minute halloween costumes that won't break the bank and that you can reuse for years to come. Using Irresistible Me hair accessories (or any headbands you own) and items from your very own closet, get festive, get spirit in a flash. Click here to read more or pin and save for later on. Happy Halloween!
Pin this!


Happy Halloween! What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child?


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*All opinions regarding the product are my own.

For the Sweet Tooth: The Big Pink Swirl Pound Cake

October 14, 2016
#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I've teamed up with Breast Cancer Care just in time for their annual Big Pink event (which so happens to be today). What is a Big Pink you ask? It can be just about anything, a get together with friends where you all watch Netflix, a Karaoke night, a bake sale, a talent show, a study session with your squad, the list and the level of creativity can go on and on. Whatever you decide, the purpose is to raise money, raise awareness and do it with a whole lot of pink. Every bit helps, and the wackier the better, because in the end what can be more fun than doing a little (or a lot of) good for a great cause?



#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.

That is why I am so glad to be sharing this easy to make and fun to eat recipe, that's just perfect for your own Big Pink. Because, while I am no expert on this topic (I'll leave all of important information and support giving to Breast Cancer Care), I do consider myself an expert on eating cake (especially when it's covered in my favorite color). The best part about this cake recipe is the "pink swirl" part of it. All the mixing and swirling makes it a great activity for the whole family (and even greater one among friends).

My baby sis practically leaped out her chair with excitement when I asked her if she wanted to help mix the dye in the batter, and if she wanted to concoct the perfect shade of pink for the decor. She was even happier knowing that it was for such a great cause. So, if you think so too and  would like to donate, use the link below. If you're feeling a bit of a pink cake craving, then keep scrolling, don your apron and let's get cooking.







So, without further ado...

The Big Pink Swirl Pound Cake


I've been making this pound cake for years. My mother absolutely loves it and always asks me to do some variation of a pound cake whenever there is a special occasion. So, when I was thinking of the type of cake I wanted for this recipe, there was only really one clear choice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of butter
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups of flour (whole wheat or white works fine)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon of almond extract
  • 2 cups of milk

Directions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a plan
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy (approximately 6 minutes). Once that's done add the eggs and beat well.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and 1 cup of milk to the mixture and mix well. Once that's well incorporated, add the rest of the milk and the extracts. 
  4. Pour the batter into the pan, place it in the oven and bake for 1 hour (or until the outside is brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted) ***
  5. Cool and enjoy!

*** Optional: At this stage is where the "swirl" part of the cake comes in. I squirted drops of dye into the batter (prior to putting it in the oven) and swirled it with a fork so that the inside of the cake would be just as pink and as festive as the outside. I also used it to draw out my bow, so that I could trace it with my frosting later on. 



#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.


Whip Cream Break!

It is really quite easy to do. All you need is two ingredients, a mixer and food colouring!


#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.

Ingredients:


  • Food dye (whatever colors in your mix make pink)
  • Whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

Directions:


Pour all of the ingredients into the bowl (make sure you're in a cool area). Whisk quickly and evenly until you start to get stiff peaks, or when you're able to lift it up like in the photo above.

As far as getting the desired shade of pink, that's all up to you. I wanted a more light, blush colour and so I did two drops of red and two of this magenta/pinkish/purplish colour in my dye pack. I would suggest adding the drops at the beginning with the rest of the ingredients so that you don't accidentally overbeat the cream. However, if you want a cool Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad (you know the scene I'm talking about) look, then put it after and swirl away.




#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.

Now for the fun part!

Let your creativity run wild! The cake is your canvas and the whipped cream is your paint.  The best part? You can never mess up. If you feel like your design isn't to your liking, you can always just eat your woes away. Just make it extra pink and extra fun.

#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.


#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.


Enjoy, take part in your own Big Pink and share the love on social media using #BCCBigPink (I already have on Instagram)!

#BCCBigPink The perfect pound cake recipe, that's easy to make and extremely tasty. The pink swirl is a special touch in honour of Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink event this October 14th. Bake a cake, join the festivities, raise money and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Grab your friends, grab your family, don your aprons and get ready for loads of fun. Click here to read more or save for later.
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What would/will you do for your Big Pink?


~Alexandra XO

5 Ways to Add a Pop of Colour to Your Room

October 10, 2016

Here's 5 Ways to Add a Pop of Colour to Your Room! Click here to read more or save for later.


To me, there's nothing like a pop of color to brighten up my day. Whether it's a vibrantly colored scarf for my outfit, a cute mug for my desk, or a patterned agenda for my classes, I try to incorporate some wherever I can. My next mission? My bedroom. While I was able to add a fresh coat of paint to the walls to liven up the area a little bit, I wanted to share a few ways that I used to add a splash of color in my room prior to it's redesign that I thought that you might enjoy.

1. A fresh coat of paint


Adding a fresh coat of paint to random objects in your room helps to bring them to life and revitalize your whole room, or at least a corner of it without needing to break the bank. Personally, I love gold accents and like to use gold metallic paint or spray paint to spruce up old furniture like my DIY chalkboard.



Here are 5 easy ways to add a pop of colour to your room. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust. Click here to read more or save for later on.

Here are 5 easy ways to add a pop of colour to your room. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust. Click here to read more or save for later on.

2. Colorful holders


Extremely helpful and colorful, using brightly colored mugs, or even making your own out of recycled containers (like my DIY Bottle Holder) help to turn your disorganized ordinary objects, into organized, stylish ordinary objects. It turns an eyesore into eye-candy and brightens up your room.


3. Fake (or real) flower


Real flowers are useful because they purify the air while being decorative with very little maintenance. So, I opted for the best of both worlds and bought small, cute succulents (cacti are another great option), that require so little water that I can forget about them for a while. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust. Fake flowers are lovely as well, and so I have roses and another pretty yellow-ish flower to decorate my shelf.


Here are 5 easy ways to add a pop of colour to your room. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust. Click here to read more or save for later on.

Here are 5 easy ways to add a pop of colour to your room. No muss, no fuss, no pixie dust. Click here to read more or save for later on.

4. Bright baskets

They are cute and useful too. Even purchasing a simple one in a contrasting color helps to add a bit of pop to your room as well. But you can never go wrong with a textured, woven basket either.

5. Funky Photo Frame


I had this old photo frame, that's meant to house several smaller pictures. I always enjoy a good quote to brighten up my day, so I chose this one and slid it in. I love the way the frame divvies up the photo, making it look like some sort of puzzle.


~Alexandra XO

Here's 5 Ways to Add a Pop of Colour to Your Room! Click here to read more or save for later.
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What color would like to see more of in your room?  



Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

October 03, 2016

Pin and save for later, or click through to read more! Book review for the very popular read, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Full of eerie pictures, twist-and-turns, laughs and suspense, the book is quite a wild ride and a great rid that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.


Peculiar is not a word that you hear much of anymore. It is usually reserved for something a bit strange, a bit out of place, a bit amiss. But in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, it denotes a state of strange wonder. It's used to describe something a bit strangely interesting. a bit out of place and time, a bit of something you'll miss if you fail to look and listen properly.



I'm honestly the kind of girl who gets scared from seeing horror movie posters. No, actually I'm the kind of girl who gets scared at the words "horror movie". The last scary film I saw scarred me so badly, I haven't seen one since and that was 5 years ago. So, when I saw Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children's book cover, you'll have to understand why despite the intriguing premise, I was more than a bit reluctant to begin reading. It literally took me years to work up the nerve to look at the book, let alone sit down alone in my room one night and begin reading. But boy am I glad that I did. It was eerie. It was suspenseful. It was spectacular. It was peculiar.

For years Jacob has listened to the tales of his grandfather's strange past. A past that was not merely spent fighting in wars, but fighting monsters. A play on words and periods in time that can't go unnoticed and whose message interlaced subtlely into the rest of the story provides a lesson of morality as well as bravery. Flash forward a few years, and Jacob is living a less than extraordinary life so when faced with the peculiar circumstances of his grandfather's death his life is split into Before and After. In the "after" lies all the fun, danger, suspense and peculiarities of his new life and that of Miss Peregrine's wards in her orphanage. We follow Jacob as he tries to make sense of his grandfather's past in order to understand his unusual and unclear future. In his search for the particularly talented children, he lifts the veil of his own seemingly ordinary world and life.

Jacob's journey is accompanied by photographs which spread throughout the book add another level of creepiness. At times I found myself speeding through the page adjacent to the photo in order to get the subjects' gaze off of me. The visual element made the story almost seem believable (I mean we've all seen those weirdly magical looking old-timey pictures right?) and led to a whole melee of emotions and questions. Who are the people in the photos? Are the children still children? What if the "home" is secretly some place where Miss Peregrine does experiments on her "children"? Let's just say I was pretty darn spooked. And as you finish the book so will you, but like some sort of adrenaline junkie you'll be pretty thrilled that you are and you'll be excited for the next installment of Miss Peregrine  and her home for Peculiar Children. Warning: the cover page for the second one is even creepier.

Fave quotes: 


“To have endured horrors, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that honorable and brave— that was magical.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
and

“..what an unchallenging life it would be if we always got things right on the first go.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Pin and save for later, or click through to read more! Book review for the very popular read, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Full of eerie pictures, twist-and-turns, laughs and suspense, the book is quite a wild ride and a great rid that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
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What was the last scary film you saw or book you read?


For The Sweet Tooth: Oatmeal Apple Crunch

September 26, 2016
The perfect fall breakfast recipe: Oatmeal Apple Crunch! Sink your teeth and start your breakfast with all of your favourite fall flavours. Warm, spiced and extra simple to make, this breakfast treat will become a staple will keep you feeling energized throughout the day. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.

In Toronto the seasons are as fluid and as unpredictable as the rain. One moment your wearing shorts and your hair is constatnly frizzy due to the sweltering heat. The next moment, you're wearing sweaters and sipping on tea to try and keep warm. There's never any in-between or happy compromise between the two extreme seasons -- there is simply a small respite from either the extreme cold or the extreme heat. So, I take advantage of each in-between season as soon as the warning signs begin to appear. In this case, as we welcome autumn back into our lives I've decided to change my breakfast habits so that they fit in more with the chill that seems to linger in the morning hours. So without further adieu, I present to you, the ultra simple (and extremely tasty) Oatmeal Apple Crunch. Enjoy!



Ingredients:



  • Instant oatmeal
  • Almond vanilla milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 apple
  • Cinammon
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds 


Pst! : Regular milk will work just fine, but I found that it adds a nice subtle flavouring to the oatmeal without having to add any honey or other flavoring myself (and besides I don't drink regular milk).



The perfect fall breakfast recipe: Oatmeal Apple Crunch! Sink your teeth and start your breakfast with all of your favourite fall flavours. Warm, spiced and extra simple to make, this breakfast treat will become a staple will keep you feeling energized throughout the day. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.

Steps:



  1.  Follow the instructions on the back of your instant oatmeal sack and substituting the milk or water for almond vanilla milk make your designated amount in a small saucepan. 
  2. Clean and peel one apple. Slice it into eighths and then chop those slices horizontally down the center so that you'll have reasonably bite-sized chunks.
  3. Grab a bowl and pour your designated amount of oatmeal inside. Grab the peanut butter and place a heaping spoonful on right on top of it (so it warms up and becomes less viscous).
  4. Now, spread your desired amount of apple chunks over everything (I just ate the leftovers afterwards). 
  5. Use a small spoon to dust some cinammon all over your apples, and then use it to sprinkle some sunflower seeds over it all.
  6. Eat and enjoy!
The perfect fall breakfast recipe: Oatmeal Apple Crunch! Sink your teeth and start your breakfast with all of your favourite fall flavours. Warm, spiced and extra simple to make, this breakfast treat will become a staple will keep you feeling energized throughout the day. Click here to read more or pin and save for later.
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Happy September!



@itsalamb