Weekend Recap: How I Spent Cinco de Mayo

Hello Lovely,

THIS WEEKEND WAS LIT!!!!!! I had the best weekend of my life! I went to a concert with two close friends of mine on Cino de Mayo for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. We saw a lot of amazing artists like Visage, Bunji Garlin, Faye Ann Lyons and most importantly MACHEL MONTANO! That's right folks. I FINALLY got to see the lengendary man in the flesh! And he is just as sexy as ever!

There was a moment where I doubted if I would actually get to or not after the rain came down. But I was determined! I stood in the rain during and after Bunji and Faye's performance waiting. And guess what, they shut down the whole thing. Lights turned off, speakers, lights and other equiment was covered and sheltered from the rain and most of the crowd scattered. Some people went home, but again, I was determined. I waited under a tent. Just waited. Machel couldn't let me know. I knew he would somehow sense my desire to see him just once in concert (let me know if I'm getting overly dramatic with this).

And after about 10 minutes of waiting, Bodine Johnson the host came back out and said, "Are you guys ready for Machel? I NEVER RAN SO FAST IN MY LIFE! I actually left my friends behind and ran off in one direction while they went in another. I sprinted to the front and witnessed what I believe to be a miracle (again let me know if I'm getting overly dramatic with this).

There is something so liberating about dancing in the rain! I enjoyed every minute of it. Singing and chanting with the crowd awoke a spirit of fun in me that had been surpressed by the burdens of adulthood.

I rested on Saturday, then Sunday was my Cinco de Mayo dinner with my best friends. We turned up with sangria, margaritas, nachos and great music! My best friends are like family to me so it's always a good time when we're together. We played with the Charades and Dinner Party Conversation Cards and heard some really awkward answers that'll make anyone blush. The night totally made up for my failed attempt to catch a beach soccer game this weekend, but all in all, this was definitely the best weekend ever!

27 Never Looked So Good

Hello Lovely,

You know you're doing well when you go to your pastor for your birthday blessing and he says, "So how old are you today? 20? 21?" And when you tell him you're actually 27, he's genuinely shocked! I'll admit, I had some anxieties about this birthday (like I do every year) for a number of reasons. Getting older means, I'm one year closer to the age I promised I'd settle down at and that is frightening because some days I'm still burning the coffee. No one is ever perfect at this thing called life. Most days I make it up as I go, and I'm glad it's worked out thus far. That's not to say I don't have a plan in place, but if it's anything I've learned, it's that NOTHING in life goes according to plan.

My social circle has changed a lot since moving back home 5 years ago. This year I spent it with some friends from church (just like last year) with a few different faces, but I felt nothing but love. It all started last weekend at my friend Telia's birthday party. She rented a party bus and that's all I can tell you because what happens on the party bus, stays on the party bus!

Last Friday, a friend of mine took me to AquaFire Grill, which I now know is not the same as the Aqua restaurant in The Hilton. It has a gorgeous setup, perfect for a romantic date, so it felt a little odd to be there with my married friend. But it was quaint and quiet, with nice service and exceptional food! A little pricey, but totally worth it if you ever want to treat someone. That was the nicest part of the evening. We spent the rest of the night getting tipsy in Compass Point with a few friends and then sharing a few laughs in the parking lot after they closed. I needed a good laugh so this was the perfect start to my birthday!

I was supposed to go a party on Saturday night, but I ended up being so hungover from Friday night (best sleep I've ever gotten though) I cancelled with my friends and went to the Greek Festival on Sunday instead.

It was my first time going to the Greek festival which I learned happens bi-annually. Upon entering the festival, my friend Krista and I got two free Aliv sim cards. I already have an Aliv phone so I plan on using the free one as a gift. I met up with three other friends and we had a great time exploring the Greek culture through it's food and music. I fell in love with the Loukoumades. Don't ask me to pronounce it, but it's delicious! If you've never had it, it's delicious fried dough (like a doughnut) topped with honey, walnuts and cinnamon. I don't even like nuts and I didn't know nuts were in it. I tried another dish with grilled octopus and chickpeas, calimari (that was a little too fresh for my taste) and spinach rice. I also tried another pastry that looked like a mini twist, which was actually a cookie with chocolate and regular sugar cookie intertwined. It was delicious! The food was way too expensive, but my friends and I shared. I'm still upset that I spent $6 for one beer, but even the beer was good!

I loved the bargain stalls. My friend Krista bought a ring for $2, my friend Glenise bought a mortar and pestle a and wooden salad tongs for $1 each, while I bought four cookbooks at $1 each! I'm literally at the age where cookbooks and glassware excite me. But  I can't wait to try all of the recipes in them!

I got so much rest this weekend, I didn't know what to do with myself. Granted it was because I was physically incapable of doing anything else, it still felt good to sleep in and sleep all day. I had forgotten how good it feels to just do nothing! I haven't slept on a weekend in months! I had a great birthday! I am so grateful to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday and all of my friends and family who worked so hard to make my birthday very special!

XoX,

A Step into Fitness - Let’s Race for the Cure!

Hello Lovely,

If you’re looking for a great running start to your fitness routine, the Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure® 5K is one of the best!  On Saturday January 14th, Sunshine Insurance in its sixth running and partnership with the Susan G. Komen, held this highly anticipated event.  Over 1250 individuals from all ages and sectors participated and volunteered throughout the event in high numbers.  The streets were full of excitement, energy and vigor from start to finish, with water stops and motivational groups encouraging the avid runners and walkers along the route.

I jogged along the 3.1 mile path cheering on my colleagues and friends and was very happy to know that I completed the route in a satisfactory time.  The top two (2) winners, male and female completed the race in under 18 minutes and were awarded medals and recognition for their accomplishment.

One aspect that I’ve always appreciated after the Run is the Freebies!  This year did not disappoint as there were:

  • Frozen fruit popsicles (mango and pineapple) and ice cream bars - Scotiabank Bahamas

  • Free Coffee (Decaf, Regular) – Dunkin Donuts

  • Assorted Ice Cream and Sorbet - Ben & Jerry’s, Atlantis

  • Regular and Mineral Water – Coca Cola

  • Lignum Lounge Passes Raffle – Nassau Airport Development companies

  • Assorted fruits and shakes as well as raffles and giveaways

This year, Sunshine Insurance gave also gave medals for all individuals who completed the Run, which adds a sense of motivation and accomplishment for their efforts.  It was a very nice touch!

An always emotional and momentous aspect of the ceremony is seeing my friend and many other cancer survivors who stood on the stage in solidarity as symbols of strength and courage.  This was added with the personal touch of a rose, manicure, massage and food for all survivors.  

The musical entertainment had several acts inclusive of Lady E who spoke on her personal experience with cancer when a relative was diagnosed near the end of 2016, and thus this is truly an event close to her heart. She as well as the other artists kept the crowd hyped and dancing away.

The Run and after event was enjoyed by all and with this marking my 2nd consecutive year participating, I am planning on making this an annual event.  For anyone looking to ease into a fitness routine for the New Year, continue their workout regime or support the Cure, this is an excellent choice.

XoX,

Were you at the Race for the Cure this year? Are you a runner or walker? Which freebies did you enjoy?

21 Day Challenge Simply Fit Board

Hello Lovely,

2017 is a brand new year and the perfect time to put our best foot forward when it comes to fitness. It's easy to give you guys a workout plan or healthy meals, but you have no way of knowing if any of it really works or if we're really doing it. So this month, I'm sharing my own personal fitness journey with the 21 Day Challenge for the Simply Fit Board. Lately my clothes don't quite fit like they used to and I refuse to buy clothes in a larger size. I'd rather just lose the weight and keep my clothes. I also want to work on my booty. It's way too small and that is not going to cut it in 2017, mmkay?

On my vacation, I walked every day and eventually purchased a Simply Fit Board for $40. I used it for 30 minutes every day for about four days before I had to return home. It was the easiest workout I've ever done. I would work for a bit, then take a break, hop on the board and twist for five minutes once an hour while watching TV. Breaking up the workout in 5 minute segments made it easier to manage instead of finding a convenient time to drop everything for half an hour (especially when I hadn't worked out seriously in months).

Shortly after purchasing the board, I found out about the 21 day challenge and immediately signed up. I took my before pictures (which I look a lot better than my first before pictures before I used the board at all), entered my last known weight and measurements and ate healthy leading up to today. I knew that exercising before starting the challenge would throw off my results so I held off until today.

I'm super excited to start this journey and I'll be happy to share the results with you at the end of the month. If you want to join, go to www.simplyfit21.com to sign up. Get the Nutrition Guide here and a Workout Calendar to plot all of your workouts up to May!

If you don't have the Simply Fit Board and you're not able to make that investment, you can try our other available workouts for 21 days and share your results using the hashtag #GetFit2017!

So will you be joining any fitness challenges this month?

Let us know in the comments! And good luck on your first challenge…

Currently: How We Spent The Holidays

Hello 2017!

Welcome back! Did you all have an amazing Christmas?

Christmas in Miami is definitely not the same as Christmas back home in The Bahamas. But every year I spend with my boyfriend, is a different experience. If I were home, I would’ve spent Christmas in church, so to spend it doing anything else just feels weird.  I didn’t get to go to church this Christmas season at all. To be honest, I spent most of the season sitting around the apartment either watching various crime dramas or the Mythbusters marathon. When I wasn’t home, I was exploring wherever Uber could take me.

I surprised my boyfriend by coming in a day earlier than I had promised, and whisked him off to watch Star Wars on opening day. We even went shopping in Lush afterwards on a whim. It's been five years since I shopped there so I've missed that store. I treated myself to a new camera this Christmas (it’s been four years since I upgraded) and my boyfriend got me the perfect zoom lens for it! I was also able to get my closest friends and family presents that they loved, so that was a great feeling. I spent Christmas and New Year’s Day with my boyfriend’s family. On Christmas Eve we went to a block party together and we spent New Year’s Eve dancing to J-Lo (don’t tell him I told you that).

My Christmas holiday was full of good cheer, traditional fixings and family visits.  After church, my husband and I, house hopped to family and close friends, visiting the entire spectrum of relatives from grandparents to siblings and god-kids.  The famous pound cake from Freeport was super moist and flavourful as always and our end of day count of fruit cake slices was nothing short of 6! We had just about every cake imaginable, with no shortage of walnuts in sight.  The traditional meal of ham, turkey and vegetables also had an English flair with extras such as balsamic glazed Brussel sprouts, oven baked potatoes and English sausage.  

After a competitive game of Dominos, we teamed up to play Cranium and emerged as the winners of the night after many Charades, Sketching and Brain teaser inspired rounds (Go team Sweeting!).  I must say, I truly loved how I felt the joy of Christmas through sharing time with my loved ones.  It was one of my best Christmases.

How was your Christmas break? Did you do anything or go anywhere exciting? Share with us your Christmas moments in the comment section below.

 

November in a Nutshell

Hello Lovely,

I hope each you had a fabulous Thanksgiving Day and holiday weekend. Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I’ve done a little gift shopping (and making) so far, but haven’t gotten anything yet for those extra special people in my life. Mechelle on the other hand is freaking out! Our countdown to Christmas is going to be a bit shorter this year due to travel plans. We’ll be with you until December 16, when we sign off until the New Year. Because we’ll be spending this time with family and friends, we hope you get to do the same!

With December upon us, today we thought we’d do a quick recap of November in case you missed something.

This month we began our hibernation process so to speak. We started off saying goodbye to a loved one before we both discussed our favourite TV shows to binge watch or watch reruns of. We brought in the holiday spirit when we shared our holiday wish list (two of which, I’ve already purchased for myself) my Christmas Jingles Spotify playlist and my winter mood board! We even shared our tips for how to get a head start on the holidays to avoid the last minute rush we always find ourselves in.

We took a little break after that because it was all about my new eBook, Sweets & Sips: Recipes to Impress while You Indulge. We’re giving away this book free to all subscribers so you’ve got to check that out below!

If you didn’t get your recipe book yet (seriously what are you waiting on), we shared two new pumpkin recipes with you this month. The Mini Pumpkin Spice Loaves is a great breakfast item, while the Pumpkin & Carrot Soup is meant to be a main star at the dinner table!

Of course, all of this indulging could lead to a new pound or two. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you should slack off on your workout routine. We showed you how to stay in shape with minimal effort with our No Squats Butt Lifting Workout and 6 Exercises to Make Your Booty Pop. So just in case St. Nick didn’t get the memo of what you wanted for Christmas, you can easily get it yourself! (Maybe Old St. Nick will leave an extra present or two once he’s seen your hard work pay off).

With the holidays in mind, we have already started working on a few projects for Christmas that you can expect to see soon on the blog. We’ve got DIY gifts for your family and friends, Christmas recipes that’ll make your home the place to be this holiday season as well as tips and tricks for beating the winter blues! There will even be a photo shoot post coming next week!

Tomorrow is the start of a very special day for us at Life by Olivia. We’ll be giving you 16 Days of Christmas with weekday posts on the blog and weekend posts on the Facebook page to keep you inspired!

Exciting, right? We’ll see you back here tomorrow morning for all things Christmas!

An Ode to Grandpa - How to Embrace the Middle

Hello Lovely,

IMG-20161106-WA0014.jpg

“Ahhh!” As I breathed in the clean, cool Grand Bahama air on a Sunday afternoon in September, I instantly began to feel more at ease.  During the days leading up to the funeral, we mourned the loss of my grandfather: a great man of joy, harsh truths and hard work.  Grandpa will have you welding in the rain, protective gear and all; anything to get the job done!

As I stared out of the rain-stained window, betwixt the coconut trees, I took a long, deep breath and exhaled.  Eyes closed, chest lifted and mind cleared in seconds.  Memories of my grandfather flashed in my mind; fading in and out.  When we laid him to rest the day before it was indeed a heartfelt loss.  His funeral was short and fitting, with a harmonious music and fond memories.

I found myself lost in thought; reflecting, rethinking and analyzing the steps that led me to this point in my life. Was I following my passion? Have I made my mark on the world? Am I presenting my best self? Will I be remembered for the kindness of my heart and the thoughtfulness of my actions?

A loss often puts life in perspective. When a family member has passed, we lose a piece of ourselves and no matter how minute that may be, sadness and possible detachment are felt.  At times this may cause people to feel gratitude, inspiration, the reality of life's shortness  or its fragility.

Although I felt the heaviness of his absence, it did encourage me to make my life momentous and to be remembered as my true self; to share myself in all facets, with the world.  It was a reminder that we are all on a journey in life, one that ultimately comes to an end. We may not be able to choose that ending or even our beginning, but we do have power over the middle. Unlike the other stages, the middle doesn’t offer the excitement of new beginnings or the joy we sometimes find in endings. The middle is full of reality checkpoints where we realise the journey we had envisioned is unlike the journey we’ve actually experienced. As I reflected, I learnt a few life lessons. Here's how to better understand the middle stage of your journey:

  • Be passionate NOW! - No matter how old or experienced you are, passion is instinctive in us and shines through when we act on what is natural to us.  If it's public speaking, carpentry, singing, writing, art, photography, cooking: just do it. Your life will thank you.

  • Losing a loved one doesn't mean letting go - It means you've suffered a loss and now have the memories to hold dear. This doesn’t signify your end nor does it mean your life should be on indefinite hold. It isn't easy, it takes time, you may feel detached from the world and it will be emotional; but remember that these are normal.  Healing is normal.

  • Be remembered for the true you and not who you're expected to be  - My grandfather was jovial, selective and made nor took any excuses when it came to working and providing. He was small in stature but strong and wise in character. He will be remembered for these things, but mostly for his heart.  He was kind and mentored those whom he saw potential in.  Through welding, he taught others and changed lives.

  • Life is Fragile - My grandfather was preparing for recovery and family members were preparing to provide as much comfort and assistance as possible.  We were hopeful.  As with life, no one knows tomorrow and we did not have a chance to spend more time with him.  Knowing this: be wise, live in today, make the decisions that leave your minds at ease.  Time moves silently and quickly, ensure that it doesn't leave you.

My grandfather had a strong character and was remembered quite fondly by his church family and those whose lives he had changed and inspired.  He left big footprints to follow and truly no one can walk in his shadow.  The best part is he wouldn't want any of his relatives in his shadow, but more so paving their own path and adding value to their lives and the lives of others along the way.

Mark 13:32-33New Living Translation (NLT)

32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”

What life moment has had you rethink your perspective on life? What life lessons have you learnt lately? How will you take charge of your middle stage to find your happy ending?

XoX,
Mechelle

 

Our Favourite TV Shows of All Time

Our Favourite TV Shows of All Time

There are plenty of new shows we're looking forward to watching this season, but today we're discussing the tried-and-true classics that are our all-time favourites to either binge watch, or watch on repeat and never get tired of. If you're looking for a series to get into, look no further! 

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Letter From Olivia: Give Thanks November

Hello Lovely,

Can you believe that Fall is almost over? It seems like only yesterday I was swapping out flip flops for boots. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful chill front these past two weeks (wasn’t quite a cold front, but at least we weren’t subjected to 85 degree and up weather). I love cold weather and often joke that I was probably born in the wrong country because I cannot tolerate heat. But no matter what, I will always be grateful for my home.

Isn’t that what November is for? Taking time out to remember and give thanks for the little things in life we often take for granted? Well that’s what you can expect from us at Life By Olivia this month. All month long, we are going to share things we are grateful for, big and small. You can expect more quick tips on the Facebook Page from Mechelle.  We’re also going to share ways you can show your gratitude with free recipes, crafts and printables to help you celebrate the holidays in style. Afraid you’ll indulge too much at Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t worry, we’re also sharing fitness tips that you can do anytime, anywhere all month long, starting next week.

Last but not least, this month we are sharing our gratitude for you the readers. I’ve been putting together an eBook of my favourite recipes, some of which you’ve never seen before, called Sweets & Sips to be released on Friday November 18, 2016. These recipes are sure to impress while you indulge. AND if you sign up right now to pre-request our FREE eBook, we are going to send you a FREE copy of our Thanksgiving Wine Bottle Labels for you to jazz up your bottle at your next dinner. Don’t be scared if you start to see Christmas stuff towards the end of month. We’re really excited for Christmas! I can’t wait to show you all of the festive things that are in store for the rest of the month.

What would you love to see on LifeByOlivia.net in November?

Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

XoX,