Friday Favourites: 5 Christmas Movies to Watch This Weekend

Hello Lovely,

It’s the first weekend in December, which means it’s an entirely appropriate time to get in the festive mood with some cosy, Christmassy films (if you haven't already). This weekend, whether you’re chilling inside, wrapping presents scored during cyber weekend deals or out enjoying the weather, you can’t escape the fact that the festive season is here.

I started playing Christmas music in October, so it’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit. And there’s no better feeling than cosying up on a Saturday evening under a blanket and watching your festive faves. Here are a couple available on Lifetime, Hallmark, Netflix and Amazon Prime that you need to watch right now.

A Very Nutty Christmas

A bakery owner has more cookie orders than she has time to fill this holiday season, and when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her, any shred of Christmas joy she had inside immediately disappears.Then, she meets a handsome soldier who may actually be a nutcracker that has come to life. Together, they rediscover the magic of Christmas. This movies stars Melissa Joan Hart and Barry Watson so it’s filled with 90’s feels! I sat there the entire movie trying to remember his name because he reminded me so much of Joel Mchale, but I knew he would never be in a Lifetime movie.

A Very Merry Mix-Up

A woman goes to spend Christmas with her fiance's family, but ends up at the wrong house. However, she instantly bonds with the couple who live there and becomes attracted to their son. When the mistake comes to light, she wonders whether she might be happier with her newfound friends than her partner and his relatives. The premise sounds really strange and I had a lot of questions on how she missed all the obvious signs that she was at the wrong house. But my mother really enjoyed this one and I like the actress in it.

The Holiday Calendar

In The Holiday Calendar, a photographer inherits an antique advent calendar—which predicts the future. “Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?” Netflix’s synopsis asks. I started this on Wednesday. Here’s betting the answer is yes.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas


It's bound to be a white Christmas with this classic! From creator Charles M. Shultz and producer Bill Melendez, it's A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not only does this timeless special have the distinction of warming hearts young and old, but it has won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award. Whether you are seeing this holiday masterpiece for the first time or the first time in years, you have doubtless heard of that ol' blockhead Charlie Brown and the little tree that could. Filled with mythology as the gang tries to put on a holiday play, kids big and small will end up with a pretty decent dance party, a lesson for the ages and some good old-fashioned fun. As for the tree -- it's amazing what a little love can do. Available here on Amazon Prime.

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A GINGERBREAD ROMANCE

With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which the teams will design and build life sized gingerbread houses. After the contest, Taylor will likely be getting a promotion to a position in another city. The firm teams her up with Annabelle, a renowned French pastry chef with whom Taylor instantly locks horns. When Annabelle backs out, Taylor stumbles into a local bakery and meets Adam, a baker and single dad. In an act of desperation, Taylor convinces Adam to partner with her for the contest, arguing that winning would give the bakery and his designs much needed exposure. For years Taylor has been resistant to call anywhere “home” for fear it will only be temporary. But the time she spends with Adam and his daughter Brook in their cozy home, decorating for Christmas, and exploring Philadelphia at Christmas, fills her with a longing for a place to call home. Starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry. Available on Hallmark Channel.



Friday Favourites: Books I've Got to Have

Hello Lovely,

Now that it's officially summer, everyone is looking for a good book or two to read. I definitely don't read as much as I used to, but lately there have been some books that really caught my eye. I love the idea of coffee table books and it's even better when those books are actually filled with fun things to do, like recipes and DIYs. So I've compiled a list of 6 books I've got to get before the summer is over.

1. Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

Can we all just pause for a moment and praise the genius that is Joanna Gaines? I got hooked on her and her husband Chip after being forced to watch Fixer Upper with my mum. Now I'm obsessed with all things related to farmhouse living. When I found out about her book, it skyrocketed to the top of my list for must have books!

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat
By Chrissy Teigen, Adeena Sussman

2. Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Some people call Chrissy Teigen a mean girl. I just think she's hilarious. And after this tweet:

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I knew I had to buy her recipe book! For years, she’s been collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John’s famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom’s Thai classics. I know her new cookbook will soon be available so I want to get the first one and start a collection!

3. Cakes by Melissa: Life Is What You Bake It

I found out about Melissa when I watched my first episode of The Kitchen on Food Network. I think it was the birthday episode and I was absolutely blown away by easy she made everything look. That inspired me to try my own tie dye cake and it actually wasn't so bad. Cakes by Melissa is a mouthwatering collection of easy and imaginative cakes from the creative force behind the delicious bite-size cupcake brand Baked by Melissa. I'm hoping this book would help me to become a better cake decorator.

4. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts

It's Martha Fucking Stewart. Need I say any more????? Organized by topic from A to Z, Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts contains complete instructions and brief histories for more than 30 techniques, detailed descriptions of the necessary tools and materials, and easy-to-copy templates.

5. 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper (Flow)

I've seriously been trying to get back into drawing, but never quite knew where to start or what I want to draw. So I think this book would be the perfect inspiration as it includes step by step instructions on how to draw a whimsically curated list of the things we see and interact with every day: a bouquet of flowers, a watering can, a cat, mittens, favorite plants and vegetables, a cup and saucer, a kitchen table, fruit wrappers, a seagull, a dress collar, an apple tree.

6. A Touch of Farmhouse Charm: Easy DIY Projects to Add a Warm and Rustic Feel to Any Room

I'm obsessed with anything farmhouse related and a book that's basically a live version of Pinterest sounds like a good idea to me. The projects require minimal effort, yet add instant charm to any room. I like a lot of the projects in the book but I wish that they all had photos attached because I'm a visual person and won't make anything if I don't have an idea of what it's supposed to look like.

Are you digging any of these books? What's on your summer reading list? Share your favourites  or anything you're excited to read in the summer section below.

Friday Favourites: DIY Crafts to Celebrate Earth Day

Hello Lovely,

Earth Day is just 2 days away, and I'm so excited! Why? Because it's an excellent reason to share with you my favorite crafts: Upcycled Crafts! There are many different household items you can recycle or repurpose to give your space an eco-friendly flair! Today we're looking at crafts using easy to find items such as cardboard boxes and tin cans. Cardboard is one of my favorite items to upcycle, and it's a great way to feel a little less guilty about all of those Amazon boxes that arrive at your front door. Looking to get organised? Well there is no need to buy more organizing or craft supplies, when all you need to do is look to your kitchen. Put those empty tin cans to use with a beautiful upcycling project.

How To Make 3D Faux Metal Letters – From Cardboard!

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Are you a sucker for all things industrial? Well that's what drew me into this project! I think if I try to make this my mother would officially kick me out, but if you have space for something like this on your wall, I would 100% recommend it! I mean think about how much money you would save! Thanks to Chip and Joanne, EVERYONE is on the farmhouse/galvanized/industrial home décor trend so these are not cheap! But if you make it yourself, that's something you can brag about!

DIY FABRIC-COVERED UPCYCLE CARDBOARD BOXES

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With a few supplies, you can easily upcycle cardboard boxes and make beautiful custom storage and organizing boxes for your home. I already know which room I want to put these in!

Cardboard box shelves

An easy step-by-step DIY project for cardboard box shelves from homes+ magazine - make it yourself and transform everyday objects into something special for your home. I'm thinking of making one of these to hold my shoes in.

DIY Paint Can Herb Garden

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If you’re a serial DIY-er like myself, I’m sure you’ve been stumped when it comes to dealing with old empty paint cans.  Try a hanging garden!

Make Your Own Reusable Dryer Sheets

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Making your own reusable dryer sheets is a no-brainer way to save money AND the environment! This method is so simple you'll never BUY dryer sheets again!

Friday Favourites: The Christmas Gift That Cost Me $400

Hello lovely,

This is the first Christmas in two years that I'll be home. I spent that past two years with my now ex-boyfriend in Miami (not so secretly wishing we could be somewhere colder). I had hopes of travelling somewhere snowy this year but when those plans didn't work out, I decided to find another way to treat myself this year. At first I thought I wanted a tablet for blogging on the go but when I looked at the cost, given the tech specs I would want, it just wasn't a worthy investment, because I really wouldn't use it that often. I already bought myself the Google home, which really works better in pairs and with connected devices, so that area was covered. And after lowering my credit card bill, I was only reasonably left with about $200 if I wanted to spend wisely.

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While putting together the Gift Guides, I was browsing the home & kitchen section of Amazon when it stood out to me and I knew instantly what I had to get myself for Christmas: The Ninja Coffee Bar System. Everyone knows how much I love coffee. So much so I bought about 7lbs of it when I went to Europe this summer. I had seen the commercials and always wanted it so I figured after the ups and downs 2017 has brought me, I deserved this doggonit! I spent $220 BSD on the initial purchase on Saturday 2nd December and picked it up from Xpress-it this past Wednesday, but of course it wasn't that easy. Like the post says, this gift costs me FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!

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The price tag to bring it in to The Bahamas after customs, VAT and freight was $185.03, bringing the grand total of this ONE ITEM to $405! I couldn't believe it. I expected the freight price but completely forgot about the customs tax. I was heart broken, but I was also already $220 in the hole, so I had to pay the price.

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So was it worth it?

I told an old friend last night that I spent $400 on a coffee maker and she was like, "You mean a person right? Like someone who will actually come to your house and make the coffee for you?" I joked that if my mum wanted tea, she'd better make it with this machine instead of the kettle and we would make soup in this if we had to, to make me feel better about the price tag. Because it's still new, I haven't had time to really play around with it yet, but I did brew iced coffee with it this morning. I made enough for my travel mug pictured above and it was great! There's definitely a different flavour with this machine as it really tastes like something I would've bought in a coffeehouse. I also used my frother for the first time today and had a lot of fun with it. Yesterday I used the Cafe Forte just to see what it would be like (it's really strong).

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So far I love using it! I can't wait to tackle all of the recipes in the recipe book that came with it! The best part of the machine is how easy it is to use. I skimmed the manual, but it really is a straight forward process. I love setting it to automatically brew in the morning and I love that I can brew directly into my mug. I even got a new mug from one of my alumni associations that I can't wait to start using. It's a gorgeous red, just in time for the holidays! I can't wait to start making frappes and sharing the recipes with you guys.

How are you treating yourself this Christmas season? Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you think I spent too much on just a coffee maker? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Merry Christmas! 

Easy Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

Easy Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

The best part of Cinco de Mayo is how cheap it would be throw a themed party. You can't go wrong with tacos and burritos and margaritas are always a crowd pleaser. As I prepare for my own Cinco de Mayo party with friends, I've decided to share the ideas that are currently inspiring me. Throw a festive Cinco de Mayo party with these easy DIY entertaining ideas. 

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Friday Favourites: 5 DIYs to Try This Easter Weekend

Hello Lovely

If you’re still on the hunt for the best Easter gifts, we’ve found a lineup of spring-themed DIYs that will make your closest peeps totally hoppy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing activity you can do while watching your fave show (think: pom-poms), or you’re just trying to do some last minute prep for those Easter baskets, this weekend is the perfect chance to get crafty. So put some spring in your loved ones’ step by fillin’ those baskets with bright, cheery colors courtesy of these gems!

 

 1. How gorgeous is this? Learn how to make your own floral lace bunny ears for Easter! These would also make the perfect accessory for your flowers girls or bridesmaids for a spring wedding! | BESPOKE BRIDE

1. How gorgeous is this? Learn how to make your own floral lace bunny ears for Easter! These would also make the perfect accessory for your flowers girls or bridesmaids for a spring wedding! | BESPOKE BRIDE

 2. This Easter Carrot Sugar Scrub is easy to make and perfect to add to an Easter basket or to hand out to guest at your Easter celebration |  OHMY-CREATIVE.COM

2. This Easter Carrot Sugar Scrub is easy to make and perfect to add to an Easter basket or to hand out to guest at your Easter celebration | OHMY-CREATIVE.COM

 3. Turn the flower power to the max with this DIY: Flower Chandelier, perfect for party decor or above the dinner table for a special get together! |  PROJECT WEDDING

3. Turn the flower power to the max with this DIY: Flower Chandelier, perfect for party decor or above the dinner table for a special get together! | PROJECT WEDDING

 4. Don't send out your Easter cards on boring store-bought stationary! This DIY art project idea is really easy, so much fun, and makes beautifully colored notecards. You just need a few simple supplies you may already have! |  PERSIALOU

4. Don't send out your Easter cards on boring store-bought stationary! This DIY art project idea is really easy, so much fun, and makes beautifully colored notecards. You just need a few simple supplies you may already have! | PERSIALOU

 5. A twig frame is a beautiful, rustic way to showcase your most favorite photos. For some extra authenticity, choose twigs from your own backyard or neighborhood. It works well as a group activity and can also be made kid-friendly. |  EHOW

5. A twig frame is a beautiful, rustic way to showcase your most favorite photos. For some extra authenticity, choose twigs from your own backyard or neighborhood. It works well as a group activity and can also be made kid-friendly. | EHOW

From Mechelle and I at Life By Olivia, we want to wish you and your family a Happy Easter! May you always remember the reason for the season, stay safe throughout your travels and make time for loved ones and family. Monday is a religious holiday for us, but we've still got a sweet recipe lined up for you so we'll see you again on Monday! Have a great weekend!

Friday Favourites: 5 St. Patrick's Day DIYs to Try

Hello Lovely,

For our second Friday Favourites of the month, we're sharing delicious St. Patrick's Day themed recipes and one really easy party favour for you to try. So drink, drink some more and be merry!

1. St. Patrick's Day Oreos - While I'm not much of an Oreo fan (don't shoot me), these Oreos are so cute, you've just got to try them. And don't stress if you can't find the mint Oreos, regular Oreos should work just fine.

2. St. Patrick's Day Pudding Dessert - Who doesn't like puddings and parfaits? This dessert is so easy to make even the kids can get in on the fun!

3. These balloons are great decorations for St. Patrick’s Day – they’re so easy to assemble that in a few minutes you’ll have enough decor to make a huge impact at your party. All it takes is a little air and twine!

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4. Shamrock Pretzels are a fast and easy St. Patrick's Day candy recipe. This one is perfect for kids to help with! All you need are pretzels, green candy coating, and the patience to arrange them into shamrock shapes.

5. This adult version of sherbet punch is even more fabulous <wink wink>. It’s perfect for a crowd and this recipe really puts a delicious twist on the traditional mint mojito. You can garnish yours with golden stir sticks (it is St. Patrick’s Day after all) or a few extra slices of limes and mint leaves!

Friday Favourites: Best Local Restaurants for Valentine's Day

Hello Lovely,

If you’d like to spend a night out on the town this Valentine’s Day, checkout our top 5 picks for a Valentine’s Meal that will insight and set a romantic tone.  This post is not in any way sponsored by any of the restaurants mentioned.

 

$ - Under $30        $$ - under $60        $$$ $70 or more   *prices are per person

Montagu Gardens - Specializing in Bahamian fare, their dinner special includes pan fried Grouper, Stuffed shrimp Guava Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie

Contact: 394-3647                        Price Range: $

Poop Deck at Sandyport - Set alongside a beautiful waterfront, Poop Deck offers fresh seafood eats from appetizers to entrees such as Citrus Grilled Shrimp and Grilled Atlantic salmon.  They will feature a special menu for Lunch & Dinner

Contact: 327- 6635                        Price Range: $$

Luciano’s of Chicago – Showcasing Italian carte du jour with such dishes as pasta, seafood and salads.

Contact: 323-7701                        Price Range: $$  

Sapodilla Restaurant:  Known for its fine dining cuisine, Sapodilla offers a ‘Love Is…’ 5 course menu and featuring Champagne and Live Entertainment.

Contact: 327-2161                        Price Range: $$$

Aqua – Set in the British Colonial hotel, this eatery offers a Couple’s Dinner inclusive of a Chef’s Special, grilled beef tenderloin with lobster and shrimp, Cream of Mushroom soup and chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce.

Contact: 322-3301                        Price Range: $$$

With an option to match every price range and cuisines from around the world, you are sure to woo your Valentine over a romantic meal.

XoX,

Friday Favourites: Cool Date Ideas for Valentine's Day

Hello Lovely,

Valentine's Day is soon upon us (only 11 days) and if you're in a relationship, you're probably trying to figure out what to do on this special day. Some people go all out while some just want to forget the day exist. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, we here at Life By Olivia have got you covered for the best date ideas. Whether you're married, dating or long distance, we've got you covered! 

Simply download our guide below, schedule some time with your partner and go over which date ideas sound ideal to you. It's on a 1-3 scale, with 1 meaning, "Nah I'll pass on that idea" and 3 meaning, "Yeah, I'd love to do that". It's a great way to learn more about what interests your partner while finding new ways to connect with them!

Which date idea are you most excited about? Personally I can't wait to try the online karaoke with my beau. This is prove if he really does like my singing or not :). Tell us which date idea you like best. And if you're flying solo this year, feel free to try any of these ideas with your best friend!

Friday Favourites: Top 5 Posts from January

Hello Lovely,

Can you believe that January has come and gone? We had a lot of fun this month. We got a head start on our workout journey, looked at a few healthy recipes, and invested in keeping our skin healthy and hydrated. With only four days left in the month, we're looking back on what your favourite posts were so far.

The post you liked the most was our 21 Day Challenge Simply Fit Board. I shared about my workout journey and my motivation to get fit. Monday will be the last day of the challenge so I can't wait to share my results!

You loved Mechelle's review on her favourite natural soaps. Did any of you try it out yet? We'd love to know how you took care of your skin this month!

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Mechelle's Sweet Potato Breakfast Boat was another hit! Who knew you could bake an egg inside of a sweet potato? This recipe is so easy to make, it would make a great brunch meal to serve for friends and family.

Infused Waters are all the rage! With many variations that offer different health benefits, Mechelle shared a great recipe for Cucumber Lemon-Lime Infused Water. If you missed it, check it out below.

Lastly, we kicked the year off by sharing how we spent the holidays. We love getting personal with you guys and reliving precious moments with friends and families.

Did your favourite post make the list? What did you like most about what we covered this month on the blog? What would you like to see more of? Share your favourite posts with us in the comment section below!