The 5 Pieces I Have My Eye on for Fall

Hello Lovely,

I can't believe Fall is already here! In The Bahamas, the weather never actually changes. It's summer all year round. The lowest we get is about 70 degrees. So it's hard to get excited about Fall fashion. That doesn't mean we can't still find ways to enjoy some of the hottest trends of the season. Fall usually means dark colours, which is a stark contrast to my recent love for all things bright and beautiful. I swear I just joined the unicorn bandwagon only to be saddled with muted tones.

New seasons are the perfect excuse to switch up your wardrobe. I'm not looking to go overboard with new pieces, but there are a few pieces I would love to add to my collection. Some of these items are way too costly so I'll be on the look out for knock offs and cheaper brands!

Wine Coloured Trousers

It's official. The colour of fall is Red. I'd love to get my hands on a pair of wine-coloured trousers like these. I have a wine-coloured skater skirt that I purchased last year and I think a pair of pants would be the perfect addition to my Fall collection.

Faux Fur Heels

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I'll admit, the feathered slippers I see women wearing absolutely disgusts me! It looks like someone hot glued faux fur on the slippers my brother would wear. There is nothing cute, stylish or sophisticated about it. However, put it on a pair on heels and NOW we're talking! I recently ordered these shoes and they're just as gorgeous in person. Haven't worn 'em yet though. I kind of just want to wear them with a long luxurious bathrobe and pretend to be rich.

Floral Print Boots

Do I think these boots are ugly? Yes. Yes I do. Does that stop me from wanting them? No. No it does not. For years I've wanted floral print combat boots, but never knew where I'd wear them so I never bought it. Now the desire has returned stronger than ever. I just have to keep reminding myself that I recently purchases four new pairs of heels....

Couch Florals

I really can't resist floral print. No matter what form it comes in, florals are here to stay in my books. I already own one floral print maxi dress and recently bought a tiered floral print maxi skirt. I've got floral print pencil skirts and a few floral print shift dresses for work. But one more couldn't hurt? Right?

Duster Coats

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Chanel blouse
vestiairecollective.com

Max Moi cardigan jacket
$920 - harrods.com

Scarve
$225 - toteme-nyc.com

Fulton clear umbrella
$27 - johnlewis.com

Givenchy perfume
bloomingdales.com

Flynn King hydrating face mask
$28 - wolfandbadger.com

Eye mask
$110 - net-a-porter.com

Travel kit
etsy.com

It's usually way too hot to wear coats but that doesn't stop me from visualising myself in the nicest coats trimmed with faux fur. I've been eyeing different types of coats from linen to chiffon. I'll keep you guys update on that quest.

As I add to my wardrobe, I'll update you guys through posts on my Instagram and Weekday Wardrobe posts on my blog. What are you craving this Fall? Share your wishlist in the comment section below, and don't forget to follow me on Pinterest to see what's inspiring me and Instagram to see how I bring these inspirations to life!

Weekend Diaries + Weekday Wardrobe

Hello Lovely,

This has been a tough and long week. A little drama at work left me feeling drained but lucky for me, I have great friends who always provide the best support system for me. As always my weekend started on Thursday. I had dinner with a friend. We made a Chicken and Bacon Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes in Alfredo Sauce. We were supposed to add wine to the sauce but accidentally drank it all. It was still absolutely delicious and I was super grateful to have enough leftover for lunch the next day. If I make it again, I'll definitely take a photo and share the recipe!

On Friday, I decided to go to a wine Tasting at Mahogany House with a co-worker to relax. Unfortunately it wasn't a very relaxing experience. I've never been one to mention race on my blog but I cannot ignore the blatant racism I experienced. The server was a white male, mid-40's, and it took another white male to get his attention for me to get my next glass of wine. I was bothered by how he completely ignored all of the black patrons in favour of explaining the flavours of the wines to the white patrons.

Then, during a conversation with the white gentleman who assisted me, I was appalled as he explained that he didn't think schools should stop teaching classics like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Emily Dickinson in favour of modern works such as Maya Angelou. I stood there thinking to myself, "This man does understand that he just said he doesn't think Maya Angelou is a good poet to a black woman with natural hair?" It took a lot for me to remain calm and after educating him on the importance of black children learning about their history and roots from people who actually look like them, I was more than happy to leave with my co-worker.

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We ended up salsa dancing at Harbourside after that. I have missed salsa dancing so much. I did it about four years ago but I totally fell off. Then on Saturday, I went Salsa dancing again at Melia with two of my girlfriends. I'm thinking about going every weekend so that I can get back into it and use it as a workout plan.

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Today after church, I  went to the beach to support one of my closest friends Erin's baptism. It was a great moment and I'm so proud of her! I had a great weekend and I'm looking forward to resting today before going back to work tomorrow.

Before I forget, this week, I challenged myself to wear grey every day at work and I succeeded! The only thing I don't like about the change in season is that because the sun rises later, I can't get decent photos of anything in the morning before I leave home. I think this dissatisfaction is evident on my face. But I think you can still see the outfits pretty clearly. Here are my looks from this week:

Well that's all for me guys. Remember to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with everything i'm doing because I don't always remember to mention it here. How are you spending your Sunday?

Basic Things to Know Before Travelling to London

Hello Lovely,

My summer trip to Europe was a real eye opener. Not only was I shocked to see reliable public transportation and committed dedication to recycling and reducing the use of plastic bags (this is not a norm for us in The Bahamas) but there were a few other things I learned as well. For some people these are no brainers. Some of them I was even pre-warned about, but others really took me by surprise. I'm sure I sound very uncultured and unexposed by admitting to these things, but I'm proud that I made the effort to learn about them first hand and not through the glossy pages of a magazine.

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The first thing that took me by surprise (but I won't include it in the list) was the lack of summer. My best friend that I was meeting said the weather was pretty hot so I packed warm weathered clothes. Boy was I in for a surprise. Apparently even if it is warm, it won't stay that way for long. Sure some days will get warm and even hot, but for the most part, you can enjoy a cool 60-70°F temperate. This was really nice for someone like me looking to escape sweltering heat. I just wish I had known it would've been like that so I could've packed warmer clothes. Luckily I had packed two sweaters for the plane so I was able to rotate between the two.

So if you're planning a trip to London, here are the 5 basic things you should know before making the journey.

1. You'll need adaptors to charge all of your electronics

Thank goodness I stayed with a friend. I was able to just use his adaptors. Between charging my cellphone, laptop and camera batteries, I needed constant access to a port. When we went to Amsterdam, we had to make an emergency dash to a local department store to buy an adaptor. And when we went to Switzerland, we had to make another emergency dash to an electronic store to buy more adaptors. I ended up with adaptors for three different countries amounting to over $30 (probably more with the conversation rate). So order your adaptors on Amazon before making the trek across the world.

2. American money is not accepted

I travelled with about $100 USD, and used some of it while in the airport in Canada. What I didn't know was my USD was completely useless in Europe. Luckily for me, there was a post office just around the corner from me that I was able to exchange my cash for. Just know that the US dollar is higher than the pound so when you exchange it, you'll actually get less. I exchanged $77 USD and got about 53£ and change.

3. Debit/credit cards with chips are ideal

I was lucky to be able to use my MasterCard while I waited for my money to be transferred to my Bank of America account, however, all point-of-sales require you to insert your card. While at least 95% of retail allows you to swipe your card, there were a few places like the Tube station and Lidl's that didn't allow me to swipe and only accepted card inserts with chip technology. So just keep that in mind.

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4. There's typically more daylight than nighttime

It may have been the time of the year that I went, but all of my friends agreed that there is generally more daylight than nighttime. Even though we barely saw the sun, we had daylight well up until 9 in the evening. And the sun was up again by 5 am. The first time I saw it, I thought I overslept and it was 9 in the morning, but when I checked the time I had at least 3 more hours of sleep. I thought this would've negatively affected my sleep cycle but it really didn't.

5. Make sure you have all the necessary visas

THIS IS THE BIGGIE! I connected through Canada and NO ONE told me I needed an ETA just to CONNECT through Canada. I found out at the airport as I was checking in for my flight. I was about to break down in tears fearing that I was about to miss all of my connecting flights and tours. Luckily, a Canadian ETA cost only $7 CAD and can be applied for and approved in exactly 10 minutes. I'm not kidding. It took only 10 minutes for me to fill out the application and be approved. I almost was denied access to Amsterdam for whatever reason but was fortunate that my best friend is a Dutch national so maybe that's what I saved me. To avoid the headaches I endured, research all of the visas and travel documents you'll need before buying your ticket.

 

Easy pasta dinner

Hello lovely,

I don't like complicated. Relationships, hair and especially not food. I'm a busy girl who likes to keep things simple and affordable. You may have noticed in some of my recipes that I use the same spices over and over. My go to spices are garlic and pepper seasoning, Italian seasoning (when it's around) and Cajun seasoning. I never cook with salt or black pepper. Not even to salt the water for pasta (I feel like I just confessed to a culinary sin). 

I mentioned that while I was in London, we cooked most of our meals. When it was my turn to make dinner, I wanted something simple yet elegant (but still on a budget). It needed to have meat in it for my friend but he already used all of the chicken. So I got creative and set out to make the poor man's pasta (which almost became the name of this recipe).

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I call it the poor man's pasta because I took the deli sliced turkey and added it to the pot. I added tomatoes for extra nutrients and colour and grabbed a piece of basil from the plant in the window sill as garnish. This dish is so easy there's really no need for a recipe.

Ingredients

  • Penne pasta
  • Deli sliced turkey or ham
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Grated cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • Seasonings (I used garlic and pepper, and Italian blend)

Instructions

Simply boil your favourite pasta noodle according to the directions on the box and drain once complete.

Add your seasoning, sliced turkey or ham, tomatoes and milk. Stir until combined.

Top with grated cheese, serve and enjoy! It doesn't get any easier than that guys!

Wow your guests with this amazingly simple recipe the next time you're short on time and ingredients for dinner. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can even lightly sautee the deli meat and tomatoes before adding it to the pasta.

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Why Millennials are Swearing off Dating

Hello Lovely,

Have you ever hung out with a guy or gal and everything seems to be going swell until they say, "I'm not looking for a relationship right now." That line has easily been decoded to mean, "I don't want a relationship I just want to mess around." I've met some interesting people since ending my last relationship and learned a lot about the current dating scene. I even met a guy who had the opportunity to get back together with his ex-girlfriend but chose not to because he wanted to sleep around some more. Dating as a millennial can make people as replaceable as the latest iPhone. So why aren't millennials dating or getting serious about who they date?

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1. We realised the Disney fairy tale is a lie

Our parents fed us a huge lie and we fell for it; until now. With the spike in divorce rates there's been a new level of awareness for what you don't have to tolerate in a relationship. We believed in happily ever afters because of Disney, however, Disney is based on morbid fiction, but got sprinkled with magic pixie dust to make us see the beauty in the world. The problem is, no one is that charming in real life. Most of us are actually the villain. It's hard to hold onto that fairy tale when all around you are single parent homes and moms and dads who hate each other.

2. The rules of dating have changed drastically. 

Remember when you had to send a note to your crush looking like this? 

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Then there was the awkward movie date and a whole bunch of rules and bases you had to pass before that person even became your significant other. We took dating more seriously back then. We planned weddings in primary school and swore to be together forever.

Now you don't really need to know anything significant about the person before jumping into bed with them. Dating can now literally be defined by Netflix and Chill. No one holds the door open any more, goes to restaurants or even calls. Courting has become a series of texts and dick pics. Have you noticed guys don't even try to dance with girls in the club any more? While there's been a lot more emphasis on being relaxed and letting things happen organically, it can be a little confusing to navigate. Does putting out early push him away or keep his interest? And no matter how many guides they write on this stuff, there's really no one-size-fits-all. Dating is about trial and error making it way too complicated for people who have "more important" things to do.

3. We're too career driven

Thanks to baby boomers, it's a lot harder for us to be taken seriously in the workforce. We were constantly told as kids to stop focusing on boys/girls and get an education. My mom always taught me that two people shouldn't be "unequally yoked" and I need to be so successful that no man can ever say, "If it weren't for me you wouldn't ______________". So that's been my approach to dating ever since. I pushed myself to get a Master's Degree and now I'm focused on fixing up my resume. I've even begun looking for new supplemental courses to take to increase my market value. Why? Because life isn't cheap. Housing is expensive and the average cost of living is ridiculous. It's worse when we're trying to travel so that we can "see the world" like everyone is telling us to. So we have to be educated, well travelled, and fiscally responsible before we can even begin to think about settling down. With this kind of focus, it makes it really hard to pick a mate.

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4. Seriously, these are our choices? 

The microwave generation has done a lot of amazing things, the least of which is the invention of reality TV and social media. When you're able to see what everyone is thinking with a single swipe, it makes it easier to eliminate people from your dating pool. Typically, our generation has two types of people: the career driven person who understands that it takes hard work and dedication to sustain a family, and the instant gratification person who sees nothing wrong with earning a living from their living room. The career driven person is usually too busy to date and can sometimes seem out of touch, while the socially driven person seems too lackadaisical and not serious about life.

The recent culture shift has also put a huge strain on traditional values. Do we honour a traditional relationship or is it okay to "go Dutch"? Women have been forced to step up and provide for themselves at the expense of being labelled, bitches, control freaks and insubordinate. Yet our men get away with being dead beat dads, unemployed and still living at home with their mom. But don't forget, men are supposed to be the "head of the household". So it's back to that "unequally yoked" theory.

5. "Don't catch feelings, catch flights"

I've heard this cliche more times than I can count! Somehow, it's become the cool thing to just not show any kind of emotion. God forbid you see someone you like and actually pursue them. Even if it was just a random hookup, it's assumed you "caught feelings" just because you text them the next day. No, it's called being a decent human being. There's a post-modern trend to simply forgo labels and live in the moment. One of my best friends actually chastised me for calling myself a "hopeless romantic". I was angry about that because I never said it was a bad thing. I have no problem being a hopeless romantic and someday I know I'll find someone who's a hopeless romantic like me.

I met a guy who said he doesn't kiss. What are you afraid of? She'll suddenly think you're totally in love with her and want to get married just because you romanced her a little before getting her into bed? People, it's okay to show emotions and and it's okay to form attachments (as long as that's what both parties want). We weren't meant to do life alone so stop acting like you don't need anybody.

These are only 5 reasons why Millennials don't "date" any more. If you have your own reason share it in the comment section below. I'd love to hear from you!

Many people have found love and even got married using free dating websites, so keep at it! 

We Love Dates is a dating website that caters to many different niches. We Love Dates is free and gives people the opportunity to find likeminded people in their age range and location.

If you're an adult looking for an adult dating website, try this one: http://www.nostringsdating.net/uk

Looking for lesbian dating? Try this one: http://www.dateLesbianSingles.co.uk

Over 50 and looking to date? Try this one: http://www.older-dating.co.uk

And if you're looking for gay dating try this one: http://www.dategaysingles.co.uk/

Weekend Diaries: Hurricane Irma + Family = Cabin Fever

Weekend Diaries: Hurricane Irma + Family = Cabin Fever

Above all things I want to give God thanks that the Hurricane did not hit my country, but I am mortified at the damage it has done to the rest of the Caribbean. I will be taking this week off from the blog to focus on creating new content. At the bottom of this post I have listed 15 relief efforts you can support to help these countries to rebuild.

Read More

Chickpea and Vegetable Curry with Quinoa

Hello Lovely,

While preparing to return to work, I've been looking for recipes to try that will be filling, healthy and easy to make if I'm short on time in the morning. I don't always have the time or energy to meal prep but that's something I'm trying to get better at this school year. So when I found this recipe, I was actually excited to give it a try. I've been considering trying more vegan recipes. After this one, I honestly don't know how they feel full afterwards. But after eating healthy (not vegan, just healthy) for a week, I actually started to crave healthy snacks and meals.

I would suggest trying it anyway. You may be full afterwards, you may still be hungry. But one thing I can't deny, is this dish is absolutely delicious!  Cooking quinoa in chicken/vegetable broth with a little bit of butter really enhances the flavour and makes eating healthy a lot easier.

Chickpea and Vegetable Curry with Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz or 400 mL)
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon or more brown sugar
  • 1 quarter lemon squeezed or more
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 bunch spinach, cleaned
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

Note: If you like your curry a bit runny, add a little bit of water in the end to reach the desired consistency. If reheating the next day, you will likely have to add a touch of water to the curry as it will thicken overnight in the refrigerator (I like my curry thick).

  1. Heat coconut milk in a large pan until it boils and reduce heat to simmer. Add next 7 ingredients to the coconut milk: chickpeas, red curry paste, tomato paste, brown sugar, lemon juice, chili powder, basil. Mix everything together until even consistency.
  2. Add spinach, chopped green onions and sliced mushrooms to the coconut milk mixture, bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a separate pan, combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked and fluffy.
  4. To serve, place a scoop of quinoa into the middle of each plate. Top with chickpea curry.

Remember if you try any of my recipes, you've got to share! Tag me on Instagram using @life_by_olivia or #lifebyolivia.

Why Getting to Know Your Neighbours is More Important Than You Realise

Hello Lovely,

While I was in London, I got a phone call from my mum telling me that our neighbours house had burned down. She said everything happened so quickly there was nothing they could do to help. Panicking, I asked her whose house had burned down and immediately began my process of elimination with the only neighbours I knew. The name my mother gave was so foreign to me. I had never interacted with them. I couldn't point them out in a line up. I couldn't even tell you what colour their house was. I genuinely knew nothing about these people. And that's what made me feel bad. Yes it was terrible that they had just lost their home and all of their belongings, but when I had no idea who they were, that made me realise how important it is to know my neighbours. If your house were on fire, wouldn't you want your neighbours to stop what they're doing and help you? I was reminded of how helpful my neighbours were after Hurricane Matthew. Natural disasters aside, there are many benefits to to getting to know your neighbours.

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1. You get access to information and resources.

Your neighbours can sometimes be the best people to go to when you need something. I'm not talking about the stereotypical cup of sugar. Maybe you need a contractor and your neighbour is a contractor. Looking for restaurant recommendations? Your neighbour may know the best spots. Neighbours hold a wealth of knowledge on where to go and supplies. From extension cords to feminine care items. 

2. Your neighbourhood becomes safer.

Neighbours look out for neighbours. If your neighbour has a phone contact for you, they can call you if they see someone suspicious hanging around your house. Many people rely on their neighbours to “keep an eye out” when they’re travelling or at work for any suspicious people or activity on their street. You don’t need be technologically savvy to do this; all it takes is a simple hello once in a while to foster a small connection, which can form a later sense of being part of a bigger “family.” And in case of emergency, it is much easier to go to someone you know rather than a complete stranger. And if you really trust your neighbour, you can leave a spare key with them in case you ever lose yours.

3. You receive support and help.

While I was living in Miami, I hit a fence. My neighbour noticed my bumper hanging one day and fixed it for me. When I came outside and saw it was fixed, he told me he had fixed it. He was close to my aunt whom I was staying with so by extension, he took care of me as well. I was even able to ask him son to wash my car for me for only $5,

And if that’s not enough reason to meet your neighbours, consider this: When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher met a guy on an online dating site and called him up one day. While on the phone, a plane flew over and they were surprised that they both heard it so vividly. When they stepped outside, they learned that they lived on the same street for years and never knew each other existed. They even had the same last name (no relation). They’re now married. So it just goes to show, you never know where your next “hello” will take you.

Have you met your neighbours? Is it important for you to know who lives next door?

Weekend Diaries + Weekday Wardrobe

Hello Lovely,

School reopened this week for us and with it brought on more anxiety than I expected. I've been exhausted all week and a little on edge. Even with sleep, I haven't felt like I got enough sleep. Truthfully, I really haven't gotten enough sleep. I've had a lot of late nights and early mornings, which doesn't gel well with my work schedule. I was looking forward to resting this weekend, but I had family in town and a birthday party. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.

I also lost my 16GB memory card which had Wednesday's outfit on it. I was so heartbroken and on Thursday and Friday I was rushing out of the house, but here's what I was able to capture.

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Monday

Blouse by JcPenny, skirt from Black Food Shop and Shoes from Shoedazzle

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Tuesday

Blouse from Forever 21, Pants from Primark and Shoes (not visible) from Christian Siriano

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Friday

Dress by Talbots but purchased at a yard sale

My weekend started as always on Thursday when my friend Richard took me to a meeting. At first we thought it was one of those pyramid schemes but it turned out to be something for Dream Nation. It was interesting and I'll look more deeply into it to ensure it's worthwhile before investing.

Saturday morning, my family went to the Hilton for breakfast. The spread was amazing and delicious. I wasn't satisfied with the Maxwell House coffee though so I had to walk out to the Starbucks for a Caffe Latte. 

I wore my green bodycon dress from Primark with my Primark shades and a pair of wedges I've had for quite some time.

My mum even made me take some photos of my brother and his pregnant girlfriend while we waited for the rest of the family to take a group shot.

After breakfast, I went to the African Pop Up Shop and bought a bodycon dress for work. I tried on the beige one which was a size 6 but it was too small so I had to buy the blue one (identical to the one photographed) in a size 8. I also couldn't resist the necklaces and got one for my grandmother!

So that was my weekend. I can't believe how many photos I had to share! I love how the photos turned out. Especially the ones of my brother's girlfriend. I'm really starting to like maternity photography so I'll let you guys know how that goes for me. How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting?