And The Nominees for the 2018 Elevation Awards Are...

Hello Lovely,

Can you believe it's time for the Elevation Awards already? This year Elevation Media hosted the first annual Elevation Awards. I had a joy covering it and looked forward to covering it again next year. Last night, at The Golden House, Caves Village, the nominees were announced. It was a star studded event with live performances by Maleah Gabrielle, Ophine, Sammi Star, Eman, Charisa & Shon P and M-deez.

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You can watch the video recording from last night here, or just check out the nominees here:

Visual Artist Of The Year

  • Philese Roberts
  • Allan Wallace
  • Emerald Sands
  • Stefan Davis
  • Minolta Butler
  • Jamaal Rolle

Female Artist Of The Year

  • Lady E
  • Bodine
  • Fanshawn
  • Wendi
  • Patrice Murrell

Male Artist Of The Year

  • Dmac
  • Dyson Knight
  • Julien Believe
  • MDeez
  • Sammi Starr
  • Judah Tha Lion

New Artist Of The Year

  • Ophine
  • SanJardo B
  • Twin Dem
  • Charisa
  • Lexx
  • Patrice Murrell

Short Film Of The Year

  • Archipelago Alliance - CINE Morphosis
  • Eyes of Glass - Rashad Ferguson
  • Liars Dice - Valicia Rolle
  • Outlaw (The Prophecy) Steampunk Short Film - CINE Morphesis

Vlog Of The Year

  • Khing Kloud
  • Who Dat
  • The Click
  • The Next Face
  • Sawyerboy
  • Such A Pratt

Music Producer Of The Year

  • Sketch
  • Sammi Starr
  • Orthniel
  • Rik Carey
  • Zoltan Johnson
  • Frederick Seymour

Song Of The Year

  • Long Time - Dmac
  • Gimmie My Culture - Qpid
  • Your Ting - Patrice Murrell
  • Down Home - Lady E
  • Rocka My Cherry - Bodine
  • Red Plate - KB

TV Show Of The Year

  • The Stew
  • Happy Foods 242
  • The Rush
  • Chef It Up
  • On The Record
  • Sawyerboy TV

Video Producer Of The Year

  • Stephen Hanna
  • Carl Ferguson
  • Keirohn Farrington
  • Owen Petti (Cubes Pro)
  • Lavado Stubbs
  • Farreno Ferguson

Music Video Of The Year

  • Een Missing It - Wendi
  • Wanna Know Your Name - Ton Ash
  • All Wrong - Tebby
  • Outlaw - Judah Tha Lion
  • Away from Home - Mdeez
  • All Mine - Charisa & Shon P

Gospel Song Of The Year

  • Thank God For Life - DJ Counsellor
  • Young & Free - Rashad Rich
  • Make Me Wanna Dance - Althea
  • Jack In The Box - Stacs
  • Free - Jonathan & Grace Generation
  • Our Father - Godsent Music

Entertainer Of The Year

  • Sawyerboy
  • Naughty
  • Empress
  • Khing Kloud
  • Epic For Realz
  • Dyson Knight

Caribbean Song Of The Year

  • No Lie - Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa
  • Fever - Vybz Kartel
  • Pretty Girl Team - Alkaline
  • Single - Orlando Octave
  • Buss Head - Machel Montano
  • Technically - Farmer Nappy & Destra

Photographer Of The Year

  • Stanlo Photography
  • Braxton Gardiner Photography
  • Churchboy Photography
  • Blair J Meadows Photography
  • Shawn T Photography
  • T Glinton Photography

Blog Of The Year

  • Cay To Style - Aneka Stewart
  • She So Major - Sherice Major
  • Kyss My Hair - Brittany Basden
  • Girl With Her Views - Ashley Bethel
  • Stylezine Magazine - Nik Barnes
  • Life By Olivia - Olivia Russell

Lifetime Achievement Award

James Catalyn

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THAT'S RIGHT!!!!! I WAS NOMINATED! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! i genuinely don't even care if I win, it's just such an amazing honour to be recognised. I've been blogging since 2012, but I didn't get serious until 2014 and it wasn't until about last year that I really found my niche with it. Running this blog has been so therapeutic for me so it's a blessing to hear from you guys how much you enjoy everything I share. I couldn't do this alone. I've had amazing support from friends, family and various freelance artists I've met over the years. Thank you so much for the support and I can't wait to see you all in April!

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Apple Pie Sangria

Hello Lovely,

Thanksgiving is next week and I'm sure a lot of you are excited to reunite with family members over a hearty dinner. But let's be real, not all of us come from families like The Tanners or June Cleaver. Some of you may not be looking forward to this and just need something to help you ignore them. Well this post is for you! If you've got a nagging relative you need to drown out, try this apple pie sangria. That sounds horrible, I'm so sorry! But you know what I meant.

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I love a good Sangria so I was really excited to share this Fall version. It’s still hot enough outside to enjoy a chilled cocktail and this apple pie sangria also has all of the festive fall flavors that compliment the season. And don’t fret about the amount of ingredients since it’s actually really simple to make! You’ll want to keep these ingredients on hand to make this autumn cocktail over and over… it’s that good!!

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As for picking out a good red wine for sangria, you don’t need an expensive bottle. Actually, please don’t use your expensive bottles! There's no need to over complicate this. Just grab a decent red wine, some cider, apple and oranges and get mixing. You're guests will love this!

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APPLE PIE SANGRIA

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bottle chilled apple cider
  • 1/2 bottle chilled red wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy (can be substituted with a smooth dark rum or mead)
  • 2 red apples chopped in large chunks (not peeled)
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • cinnamon powder (to sprinkle on top)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the fruit and place in the bottom of your pitcher or jug
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the cinnamon sticks
  3. Stir, stir, stir
  4. Let sit for 1-2 hours in the fridge
  5. About 1 hour before serving, throw in the cinnamon sticks
  6. Stir, stir, stir :)
  7. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Apple Cider Mimosas

Apple Cider Mimosas

Celebrate the beauty that is Fall with these super simple, two ingredient Apple Cider Mimosas. It’s sweet. It’s tart. It’s bubbly. And it’s a perfectly acceptable reason to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne on a totally random Thursday evening. 

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How To Stay Fit During The Holidays

How To Stay Fit During The Holidays

The last three months of the year for many people are basically a food fest. So many different holidays and you eat so much food be it candy or turkey for all of them. Here's a quick post on how to stay fit throughout all the holiday mess.

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Pumpkin Carrot Jam

Hello Lovely,

I know it's Friday and I should be celebrating but I'm so angry right now. I wrote this post days ago but when I went to add the photos, the entire post disappeared! I don't know what happened, but everything just vanished. I hate starting over. But if it must be done, so be it.

Now that, that mini rant is over, I'm happy to share another Thanksgiving recipe with you guys! I originally got the idea to do this when I saw Carrot Jam on the shelf in the food store and all I could think was, "What the hell is Carrot Jam?" I turned it around to see only three ingredients, carrots, water and sugar. I immediately thought, I can make this! Even worse, it costs over $11! Who is paying that much for something you can whip up in about 20 minutes? I originally got the recipe here but decided to add pumpkin to naturally sweeten it and add more dimensions to the flavours.

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HOW TO MAKE VEGETABLE JAM

Just like with various berries, you can turn lots of vegetables into jam. Carrot is one of the most popular of the veg jams, and it’s particularly common in the Middle East. You could call this jam, pumpkin-carrot marmalade or pumpkin-carrot butter. It’s a thick consistency and smooth, but can easily be made chunky. t’s a versatile spread that’s sweet yet slightly tangy, vibrantly coloured and bursting with flavour. 

USES FOR PUMPKIN CARROT JAM

You're probably thinking, that's all well and good but how the hell am I supposed to use this thing? Relax! There are many ways to use this pumpkin carrot jam, and other vegetable jams. Try it on:

  • Pancakes & Waffles
  • Toast
  • Yogurt
  • Pies and tarts
  • Cookies 
  • Scones

This recipe will yield about 1 1/2 cups. You can always adjust for more or less. If you're wondering how long it'll keep fresh in the fridge, I wouldn't recommend keeping it longer than three days. So if you're planning on using this for Thanksgiving, make it fresh the day of. 

P.S. I think this will taste really good on Turkey so MOOOOOOOOOOVE over cranberry sauce, there's some stiff competition coming to the dinner table this Thanksgiving!

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PUMPKIN CARROT JAM

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 cup pumpkin boiled
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and grate the two carrots. Set aside.
  2. Put in a saucepan with pumpkin and add enough water to just cover them. Cook until soft, drain and puree. Put the pureed carrots into a fine sieve and push out any excess water, or enjoy as it.
  3. Put the puree and the 50g (2 oz) of grated carrot into a large saucepan. Add the granulated sugar and, while stirring constantly, bring to the boil for five minutes. Skim if it gets frothy.
  4. Allow to cool and then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Pour into sterilised, lidded, jars and refrigerate.
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NOTES

The easiest way to sterilise the jars is to run them through the dishwasher before you start and use them hot and dry when the cycle has finished.

If you make any of my recipes, please tag it with #lifebyolivia on Instagram or other social media. I LOVE seeing your recreations of my recipes.

Apple Pie Tacos

Apple Pie Tacos

Crispy Cinnamon Sugar Shell with a delicious Apple Pie filling! Apple Pie Tacos are such a fun twist on a classic apple pie recipe! The shells of these tacos are made from tortillas cut with a round cookie cutter and fried crisp then dusted with cinnamon sugar. They only take about 20 seconds each to make and can be made days ahead of time.

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3 Ways to Wear a Pencil Skirt This Fall

Hello Lovely,

Lately I've been having fun challenging myself to commit to certain colours or themes for the week. Last week we enjoyed cooler weather with a cold front so I was happy to wear longer sleeves and sweaters. I love cold weather because for me it's easier to get warm than it is for me to cool off in hot weather. But let's be honest, Fall and Winter fashion can quickly become frumpy and unappealing. While we hardly get a chance to wear sweaters because it's always so hot, I was determined to prove that Fall fashion can be both functional and fun. So here's 3 ways to wear a pencil skirt this fall:

With a printed top

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Because it's Fall I didn't want to go too wild and crazy with the print. I kept it neutral by pairing a blush midi pencil skirt with a black and white striped top. By keeping my heels and sweater neutral as well, nothing was too fussy, leaving everything clean and streamlined.

A printed pencil skirt

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Then again, there's nothing wrong brightening things up a bit. Using a tribal print pencil skirt as my base, I was able to pair it with a pumpkin coloured blouse and my new favourite coat (only $9 by the way). I accessorised with a colourful piece of African jewellery for fun.

With a cool pair of flats

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When my kids asked me, "What are those?" I had to explain to them that they are called Oxfords and I bought them in London where a lot of people wear them. I was going for a relaxed look with this one, pairing it with my new striped blouse (a steal at only $5). Seriously guys, fashion does not have to be expensive!

So what do you think about my pairings? I can't wait to share more ways to wear every day items to provide inspiration if you're ever stuck. Has this post motivated you to switch up your look? Share your reactions in the comment section below.

4 Things You NEED to Be Super Duper Organised

Hello Lovely,

If you, like me, get rushes of adrenaline when you discover clever organising hacks, then you’re in the right place. It’s about to GO. DOWN. 

There are days when my office looks immaculate and then there are days when it looks like a four year old ran through it. It's not that I don't know it's messy. I'm just so busy I don't always have time to put something back where I know it's supposed to go. Or sometimes I'm so scatter-brained I forget where I put something. But lately I've come up with a plan to get super duper organised, so that I'll never forget about another appointment, task or commitment. So scroll down as I give you some awesome ways to stay on top of the clutter.

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Binder Clips

1. Hang almost anything on a pegboard. You can hang paint tubes, glues, inspo images and other working materials on pegboards with binder clips. It’s a neat way to display the tools we use every day, and it’s *way* easier to find them when we need them in a pinch.

2. Hold cords in place on your desk. Simply clip one these fellas to the side of your table, then thread a cord through. No more reaching for that charger on the ground! Your back will thank me later :)

3. Colourful binder clips make organising fun. It's a lot easier to find documents when you know you clipped a neon pink or marbled binder clip around it. I got these binder clips from Target

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Colour-Coded File Folders

I can't tell you how much easier it is for me to find things when I know files are grouped in colours. You can even take it a step further by making your own file folders out of poster paper.

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A Customisable Planner

I'll be honest, up until last week I had yet to find the perfect planner that I will use every day. And lately I've been double-booking myself a lot. So I created my own Weekly Planner and that made a huge difference. It even includes a to-do list and a section for me to write the names of students I'm supposed to meet with. I also bought a Brit + Co Binder and Planner from Target, which I absolutely love because it's just like the one I had created, but obviously sturdier and more polished.

The fact that it is customisable means, I can use it for one month, or not and I won't have to worry that I didn't get my money's worth because I write the dates in myself. I can write in pencil, then erase once I'm done to reuse that section. It also comes with add ons like colouring pages for when I'm bored, a dry erase board and stickers. This is probably one of the best investments I have ever made!

A Personal Assistant Device

I recently bought the Google Home Mini and I'll be receiving it in a few weeks (sending it with a family member). I can't wait! I'll definitely share what it's like once I've gotten a chance to play with it. I'm one of those people who verbalises what I need to do, but always forgets to write it down. Many times I've used Google reminders to remind myself to do something at a particular time, but it wasn't always practical to unlock my phone then say Okay Google. I'm hoping that the Google Home Mini will be the perfect tool to help me get super duper organised! You can also use devices like Alexa (Amazon) and Siri

Any organisational hacks I missed? I’d love to hear them! Tweet me at @lifebyolivia

 

How to Save $1000 by Christmas

Hello Lovely,

We officially only have 8 weeks until Christmas. Hopefully you've already started saving for your Christmas plans, but if you haven't, don't fret. I found an amazing 12 week savings plan from How Does She. I know what you're thinking. Liv, you said 12 week savings plan and there's only 8 weeks until Christmas. You can automatically deposit the missed weeks if you want, or just skip them. You may not make it all the way to $1000, but at least you'll have a pretty penny saved for the holidays. Here's a look at the chart.

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As you can see, as each week progresses you'll be asked to save more and more. But some weeks require less, so you won't feel the pinch too much. This CAN be done. If you don’t have a budget yet, take some time to create one with this goal in mind. Get rid of the small expenses that add up over time! Living a balanced life requires saying “no” more than saying “yes”. This applies to finance and fitness. It is not about deprivation, it’s about self-control.

Below are a few suggestions to help you reach your goals:

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Limit eating out to once per week (or none)

  • When you do eat out, choose a restaurant that is inexpensive.Value meals are your best friend!
  • Not only will only eating out once per week help your wallet but it will also help your waistline. You will be in complete control of what goes into your food and how much you eat! Try a few of our most popular recipes
  • Skip the drinks – water is free at most places.
  • Skip the appetizers and desserts. If you must have dessert, limit it to once a week and buy it from the grocery store. It’s much less expensive to go to the grocery store and buy ice cream (or make your own using frozen banana and peanut butter!) than it is to buy dessert at restaurants. 

Skip the pampering (manicures, pedicures, massages)!

  • I know this one might sound harsh but it has to be done. These extra expenses add up very quickly. Do your nails yourself or let them have a break for a few months! 

Stay at home for entertainment

  • Do you go to the movies or to sporting events frequently? Cut back on those for the next 12 weeks. Rent a movie (there are many different low budget options for this!), cook dinner at home, and have a great family night! If you enjoy sporting events, instead of going to watch a game, have your family join in on the fun and go play baseball, tennis, or golf together. The weather is also great this time of year to go hiking!

Eliminate unnecessary errands

  • Not only do unnecessary errands add to your gas budget but when you go to run errands you normally end up buying things that you don’t need. Keep a weekly list of things that you need to do and/or buy. Try to stick with the list and keep your errands to only a few times per week.

I hope these tips help you reach your goal of vacationing debt free. Keep in mind that you can always adjust to what your budget allows. If this is truly too much for to you save each month, half the amount. If you are able to save more, double it! I can’t wait to hear your success stories!