Pretty Little Liars Summer Finale

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The Pretty Little Liars Summer Finale was a long anticipated final episode that my friends and I were long anticipating. Watching such an exciting episode alone could be made into a fun pre-school gathering, especially since a few of us have  been watching the show since the beginning, SIX YEARS ago!  Four hours before the episode aired, I decided to text a few people I knew watched the show and invited them to a PLL viewing party. I ran out and bought red everything! Cups, plates, napkins, balloons, punch, streamers, and candies. I also made cupcakes that ended up being more pink than red (oops) and printed out the most memorable “A” text messages through out the seasons and glued them to toothpicks and the cups.

There’s something about watching PLL in the dark that enhances every surprise and scare… ( If you have a viewing party or even if you’re alone, give it a try!) The summer finale ending resulted in mixed reactions, and stemmed curiosity concerning which direction the writers are headed for the next season. Overall, the party was a fun excuse to see a bunch  of friends I had not seen for the majority or the summer and bond over a show we all enjoy. Planning the last minute event was relatively simple and I would definitely do it again!

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Spring Break in Mexico

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Punta de Mita

This sign wasn't lying...

This sign wasn’t lying…

Spotted some whales on the way to a secret beach excursion

Spotted some whales on the way to a secret beach excursion

Off roading in the forest/driving through Punta de Mita, Nayarit

Off roading in the forest/driving through Punta de Mita, Nayarit

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Sayulita Surf Beach

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Rhythms of the Night, which consists of dinner on the beach and a show that showcases Mexican culture and native rituals

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All day boat adventure

All day boat adventure

Hidden Island

Hidden Island

I just got back from spring break in Porta Vallarta in Mexico and I thought I’d share a few pictures. I went on vacation with my parents and younger sister for a week, as we had a school break and desperately wanted to get away from the harsh winter.            We went on three excursions, one to a secret beach, another off roading in the jungle and the third to a hidden beach for dinner and a show. My favorite was the second, it was extreme and such a blast.  I came back covered in mud and even resorted to washing and wiping down my mud covered face and body with hand soap in the excursion company bathroom; yes that’s when you know. The rest of the vacation was spent lounging on the beach. Most of the nights there was a mariachi band performing beautiful live music, and I discovered that one restaurant/cafe of the resort made the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had (shoutout to you Christina, you made the best foam) so evenings were usually spent sipping and jamming. I also had a chance to improve my bargaining skills while buying a few jewelry items and small trinkets from a market on the beach that are both intricate and unique.

.          Overall, the trip was relaxing and I had the opportunity to experience a different culture and lifestyle.

Mexico trip observations/learnings:

-When you’re buying lime popsicles from the convenient store after a sweltering walk on the beach, make sure they’re not jalapeño and lime…. (I felt the burn alright, not my best move)

-Fresh tomato salsa doesn’t get old even after you eat it in great amounts for 7 days, neither do tacos.

-Everything sounds better with a Spanish accent.

-Makes friends with people when you travel, it will always do more good than harm.

-SUNSCREEN,WATER, and SHADE are your new best friends as your trip nears it’s end.(I know you want to get that final tanned “yeah that’s right I went on vacation” glow in there but moderation is key)

-If you were so ready to tan and you went a little too strong day 1(me) :aloe and moisturizer.

-If you’re scared of an adventure, try it anyways you’ll walk away with a story and a new experience.

I hope your spring break is relaxing and well enjoyed whether you go somewhere or enjoy your free time at home!

With love,

-Tia

Making Macarons

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Recently, my friend and I conquered the grueling baking task that is macarons. Now I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t confident that the first batch would turn out at all, let alone decently. We surprisingly managed to produce first attempt macarons that we’re both edible and delicious!( I know, I know, miracles happen everyday.)

Both the cookie and the filling have specific instructions that must be met, in order for the dessert to be a success. We opted for “strawberries and cream” flavor as it was one on the less demanding flavor combinations of the recipe book ( how badly could we mess strawberry up?! ) Filling wise, we experimented with two separate fillings, one being white chocolate ganache with fresh strawberry puree and the other being strawberry infused whipped cream.

The most challenging aspect of the project was piping the filling into small, even circles. The piping technique definitely comes with trial, error, and lots of practice. Constructing the macarons after both the cookie exterior and the filling were cooled was a blast, and was definitely my favorite part.

Overall, the project went over quite well and relatively aesthetically pleasing, and extremely tasty macarons were produced!

College

School library

School library

Self developed film negatives

Self developed film negatives

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Darkroom photography excursion on the farm grounds of the campus

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The college life is comparably different from high school, and I have to say, I’m loving some of the significant differences! The main change, is the amount of freedom that college provides. In a few months, I went from having to raise my hand to go to the bathroom and go to detention for forgetting my math homework, to making the choice if I want to show up to class at all. There’s no one to check up, and from an academic perspective, I  essentially take care of myself. It definitely takes getting used to, but the reward that stems from the change is so worth it.

I have met so many inspiring people, and have already made so many great friends. My program is quite artistic and focuses on the creative, so being able to experience and learn from other people’s talents is absolutely amazing. My favorite class so far has definitely been darkroom photography. I went in completely inexperienced, with my grandpa’s old camera, and left with a burning passion for film photography. The strangest part of the experience was having to lock myself in a closet the size of a bathroom stall to load film, in the pitch black, as light with destroy the film negative. Practice was definitely needed but by the end, I was able to complete the task more quickly than I had ever imagined at the beginning of the semester.

So far, the experience has been quite positive. I’ll leave you with a few new learning’s.

College observations:

-Coffee makes the long early days significantly less painful

-People will not judge you if you are wearing anything ranging from a sweat suit to pajamas because they understand the struggle

-Try to buy used books because you’ll use your 200$ textbook 5 times a semester

-Sleep is cherished

Thanks taking the time to read about my mundane college endeavors! Until next time,

-Tia

Out and About Downtown

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Piccolo Café

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Spiced apple tea at Anthropologie & Essie nail polish in “Mocks”

Urban Outfitters dress tried on in the dressing room & my bag of the day by Matt and Nat

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Cappuccino at Piccolo Café & Anthropologie notebook purchased on sale for 10$

After a long school week, the suburbs can get a tad dull and a change of scenery is needed. Heading to the city to try out a new coffee shop and browse the lastest fall fashions is the perfect way to spend the day. On a dreary Saturday, I enjoyed ruffling through the gorgeously organized clothing and accessories at Anthropologie, scoping out the latest at Urban Outfitters and buying more notebooks that I don’t need to add to my stationary collection. The day was simple, but nothing short of well enjoyed and much needed.

Let’s Go Camping!

The humble trailer my grandparents use while camping

The humble trailer my grandparents use while camping

The kitchen tent

The kitchen tent-( yes, that is a fake dog)

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In a time of Netflix, smart phones and internet access at the tip of our fingers, good, wholesome, old fashioned fun can often be forgotten and neglected. For a few days every summer, I abandon technology, (with the exception of my beloved camera) and head to the woods. My grandparents have been venturing out of Montreal for two weeks of each summer to go camping in Malone, New York, for over twenty years. I have been going for the majority of my life to visit each year, but only for a day or two. (I can leave technology but we all have limits) Yesterday happened to be the annual camping excursion, which is always a great time. My family and I arrived just in time for lunch, which we ate in the kitchen tent, then hit the beach to make the best of the sunny afternoon. To the joy of everyone on the beach, an ice cream truck arrived where everyone, old and young, hurriedly walked and ran to evaluate the Popsicle choices. After a few hours of lounging on the sand, we went for a walk which led us to a river, where we amused ourselves by jumping from rock to rock to the soothing sound of flowing water. In the evening we proceeded to have a warming campfire, which ended in decadent s’mores; a sweet end to a sweet day.

Delightful Day Trips

Day trip to the Biodôme: sloth exhibit

Day trip to the Biodôme: sloth exhibit

Free snack tents at the movie event

Free snack tents at the movie event

Movies In the Park

Movies In the Park

Mount Royal view

Mount Royal view

Picnic lunch

Picnic lunch

Popsicle at Mount Royal

Popsicle at Mount Royal

Biodôme aquarium

Biodôme aquarium

Rainforest section of the dome

Rainforest section of the Biodôme

Everyone observing the frogs were especially intrigued

Everyone observing the frogs were especially intrigued

Hello again ! I hope everyone is having a memorable summer. Recently, I have been spending my summer days going on day trip adventures around the city of Montreal. The great thing about day trips, is that they are an inexpensive way to avoid boredom, all while exploring your hometown. The first day trip I experienced, was an excursion to Mount Royal with my mom and younger sister. There are multiple trails to explore and amazing city views to photograph or just to appreciate. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, I purchased an organic piña colada flavoured popsicle as a refreshing treat on the hot and extremely humid day. A few days later, some friends and I decided to bike to the waterside for a picnic. We enjoyed watching the wind sailors and the sail boats as we ate our delicious homemade lunch. Later that evening, a few more friends joined me for “Movies In the Park” an event where residents of our city bring chairs and blankets to the hosting park to enjoy free popcorn and ice cream, as well as a popular movie at nightfall. The event draws quite the crowd and never fails to provide an amusing evening. Last but not least was my most recent day trip to the Biodôme (similar to a zoo, with different ecosystems) with my little cousin, Ella. We made our way through the various selections of the dome, observing everything from piranhas to sloths! Each day trip that I have taken thus far is so unique that I never know what to expect. It’s an escape that remains close to home while still providing that “vacation feel”.  If you go on any day trips in the near future or have a suggestion for my next one, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear it.  Until next time, stay curious and keeping on creating your own summer fun! -Tia (after several attempts I cannot manage to place the photos in order of occurrence and have therefore captioned them to provide understanding of the location)

Endings & New Beginnings

Graduation: I'm on the left, my friend Kelly is in the middle Andy friend Nada is on the right

Graduation: I’m on the left, my friend Kelly is in the middle and my friend Nada is on the right

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I'm on the left, my friend Ali is in the middle and my friend Emily is on the right

I’m on the left, my friend Ali is in the middle and my friend Emily is on the right

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School is out! However, the road to relaxation was not an easy one. This year marked the end of highschool. In the fall comes Cégep, also know as a college; a new chapter that still feels surreal. Basking in the finality of it all, includes events such as graduation and prom. Graduation came first, the day everyone had been waiting for, until it occurred. There is something ironic about conclusions, the ending everyone counts down becomes undesired where it finally arrives. The highschool years flew by so fast and I have made such incredible friends and memories that I will always cherish. I am slightly sad to leave, but I am also so ready to see where I end up next; there’s always a silver lining. The next event was prom, the event girls dream of with utmost excitement. It’s quite funny when thinking back, the very first prom dress I tried on was the one I ended up purchasing. The brand of the dress was La Femme, and was the complete opposite of my initial desires but ended up suprising me in the best of ways. I had no idea what to expect for the evening, which allowed me to enjoy all the unknowns as they unravelled. I did my own hair and makeup then proceeded to take pictures upon the arrival of my grandparents. The limo ordered for my group of friends didn’t end up making it to pick us up, but I didn’t mind as I drove to the celebration with my family. When I got there I saw my graduation class looking absolutely stunning. The families got to stay for an hour, in which there was a father daughter dance. We then proceeded to eat a lovely catered meal then hit the dance floor. Overall, I had a great time at prom, it was an amazing way to end the last 5 years

Adventures with Ali

imageimageimageimageimageimage Summer is here! One of my best friends, Ali, and I love to go on adventures all over Montreal, mostly focusing on the city.  Ali, also know as: paperheartchronicles.wordpress.com, is an extremely talented musician as well as a trendy fashionista, and is single handedly one of the coolest people I know. Lately, we have been going shopping downtown for pieces to complete our summer wardrobes. Throughout our shopping excursions, we often find eccentric little shops to peruse with trinkets, knick knacks, and when we’re really lucky, candy! This past adventure, Ali and I checked out the American Apparel Warehouse, which was loaded with deals. We then proceeded to St. Catherine street which includes store such as Urban Outfitters, H&M, Brandy Melville, Forever 21, and a Top Shop section in the department store. Later, we also went to Anthropologie, a store we both really love that sells everything from kitchen ware to clothes to bedroom furniture. The workers are always so friendly and the store playlist is stellar. I love spending time with Ali, we always have such a great time and every time we see eachother is an adventure. Not sure what’s ahead, but the good times to come look promising!

New York, New York-Part 2

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageDay 2: We woke up the next day ready for an adventure! We decided to head to Central Park and on the way were offered a reasonable deal on Petty Cabs (bicycle taxis) that toured the park, showing celebrity homes and park attractions. As we explored the park, we observed many runners and joggers taking advantage of the beautiful sunny day. New York life seems absolutely amazing; the people living in the city are so diverse which makes for the best people watching. New York socialites, mothers pushing strollers talking Saturday gossip, musicians and artists lining the sides of the paths, it felt like a scene of of gossip girl! We spotted a Popsicle cart and grabbed some refreshing snowcones which we enjoy on a park bench after the ride was over. As the day proceeded my and my dad decided to head to a food fair for lunch where we purchased fresh lemonade, BBQ chicken kebabs and grilled corn. After lunch we did some shopping (my dad is now obsessed with UNIQLO, the man could spend days in there!), checked out FAO Schwartz , and the Eloise store at the plaza. We then processed to take a typical tourist double decker bus ride all over New York, which was both really interesting and fun! After the bus ride which ended a few hours later , we were all  hungry and ready for dinner. We ended up goin to Carmine’s which is Italian good served family style where we order Caesar Salad and spaghetti with meatballs.  (The portions are insane)  Day 3: We were headed back to Montreal, but not before we hit up the Woodbury Commons outlets ( the golden motherload of outlet shopping) where I purchased a white Michael Kors cross body bag as well as running gear from Nike. Although the trip was short, we all had a really great time, in the most magnificent city.