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!
Pin This!

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)



@itsalamb