Your Favourite Moments From 2018

Oh 2018, you’ve been quite a ride.

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This year, my main priorities were to lose weight, heal in a healthy manner from the loss of my step dad, professional development and change jobs. I’m proud that I have done all four! In March I went to Springfield, Missouri for a certification training workshop in AutPlay Therapy, something I have wanted to do for 8 years. In July I took my second cruise, with stops in Turks, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and The Dominican Republic, and I even went to Houston. My Houston trip was a really big eye opener for me, that I didn’t discuss with you guys. But it taught me that I was chasing the wrong thing, and I needed to let go.

Also in July, I got a call I never expected. I was offered a transfer to the school I originally began working at. When I set out to change jobs, I never knew it would come this way, but I accepted and it has honestly made a difference. For the first time in 5 years, I’m not in a stressful work environment; I’m embraced and supported and I can’t express enough how powerful that is.

I found many healthy ways to cope this year. I began my workout regimen in May. I’ve always struggled with exercising, but this time it really stuck. I’ve gained so much muscle, and I’m genuinely happy with what I see in the mirror. My hair has grown and I even get my nails done every two weeks. My weight still fluctuates slightly but I'm getting more disciplined with my exercise.

I pushed myself this year but I’m going even harder next year. I really learned a lot this year, and you guys were there for all of it. So as tradition, I’m sharing the top 10 blog posts from this year that you guys loved the most!

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The Feast: Frida Khalo Fashion Showcase - Hit or Miss?

You guys loved my recap of Bahamian fashion designer, Cardell McClam. This was the most popular post of the year! On Thanksgiving day, Cardell premiered his newest collection inspired by the iconic Frida Khalo. I loved working with Cardell again and look forward to covering more of his shows!

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Is Paint Me Couture the New Sip and Paint?

Although the event itself only lasted one week, I had a lot of fun at Sip and Paint. I’m sorry it didn’t make it to a second week considering the masterminds behind it are trying really hard to raise funds for a college education. I wish them the best of luck in 2019 with their event planning and I’ll keep you all updated.

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Eggs Benedict Casserole

Apparently EVERYONE loves Eggs Benedict. You guys have been hitting up about this recipe and I’m so glad you loved it! Although the Baked Egg Bread Pudding took 1st place in my heart for breakfast recipes from the Magnolia Table cookbook, this one a very close second! The hardest thing for me with these recipes is how much each recipe costs on average. Essentially all of the breakfast items ask for heavy cream, which is just under $6 for a half pint. A dozen eggs are $2.99, Canadian bacon is also just under $6 and a variety of fresh herbs and spices are supposed to be on hand. I cut the recipe in half but I’ll still share it as is if you want to make this for a crowd. Then there’s the realisation that none of this is keto so I end up giving away a lot of what I make.

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Why My 28th Birthday is so Significant

I never had any expectations for turning 28. This number never registered on my radar as important for any reason. Little did I know that this would be one of the most important birthday's of my life! 

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I've Been Nominated for Blog of the Year Again!

After six years of blogging (while getting a Master's degree and working a full time job), working several fashion shows, reviewing international products and services, photo shoots, partnerships, and two blue ribbon awards for original recipes, I've been nominated for the second consecutive year for the Elevation Awards Blog of the Year! Even though I didn’t win this year, I have a good feeling for next year!

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Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole


What’s funny about this being on the recap is it was least favourite recipe of the year! The recipe was it was WAAAAAAAAAY too salty. I realised afterwards that most of the salt came from the sausage as someone told me I should've boiled the sausage first, to take off the salt. So be careful when you make yours because I'd hate you to go through all of this to not even be able to eat it.

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Infinity Gold 2 in 1 Blower Brush Review

Back in January I tried the Infinity Gold 2 in 1 Blower Brush. I bought it on Morningsave.com after seeing it advertised on Dish Nation. My stylist comes to my house which is great for my anxiety. Her comb attachment to her brush was beginning to give her problems, so I thought this would help. You guys really liked what I had to say about it and it got a lot of views on Youtube.

What To Do When You Miss Your Ex

Everyone has been there at the end of a breakup and wondered, “What If”? Here you can find 5 expert tips on what to do when you find yourself dwelling on the past.

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Introducing Lukas Tracy Bentley Knowles

I was so happy to tell you that on February 17, 2018, at 3:46 PM, my best friend Telia gave birth to a healthy baby boy!  We joke that Lukas will one day marry my niece, who's only about five months older than him, and then we can all be one family! Check out the photos!

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Why Blogging is More Work Than It Seems

Last but certainly not least, I got raw a few times this year on the blog. Including the time I opened up about the biggest issues I have with blogging. I’m working on getting more organised but it also comes with a lot of sacrifices.

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SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT NEXT YEAR?

  • Newsletters: I’m revisiting newsletters starting with a freebie for everyone who signs up. You can expect to see that tomorrow!

  • More photoshoots: I stopped doing professional photography after a bad experience with a baptism. I didn’t enjoy it and the client didn’t like the photos. So I took a major step back. I’m looking to get back into that kind of photography, but I will try to photograph more of what makes me happy.

  • More collaborations: I know a lot of creatives and I can’t wait to start some projects with them.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in 2018. It has truly been a great year! See you all in 2019! Happy New Year

XoX,

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Christmas 2018: A Season of Gratitude

Hello Lovely,

The Christmas season isn`t over yet but what an amazing time I`ve been having so far! I had many reasons to be grateful this year. Apart from the many successes I have experienced this yesr, I`ve never felt more loved by my friends. We did a lot together during the holiday. The holiday gatherings officially started when I took Telia to “The Anti-Office Christmas Party”. We met up with Krista and two of my other friends who were helping Krista`s boyfriend Freddy to bartend. Freddy was super excited about his “Egg-less Eggnog” with Bacon Whiskey. It tasted great but the bacon flavour wasn`t quite there. But when I realised the eggnog was made with whole milk, I had to pass it on to Telia and switch to a Mojito, which is my favourite drink next to a Moscow Mule (blame it on the mint).

After a bit of carousing, it`s safe to say we kind of took over the party. We changed the music and led a raunchy game of What Do You Meme before bringing the house down with some really awkward Celine Dion and Boys II Men karaoke.

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On Christmas Eve, I made Christmas themed pancakes for everyone. I borrowed this pan from my cousin because it was just so cute. They were gingerbread flavoured and everyone loved it! If you want the recipe, check it out below:

Gingerbread Pancakes

 PREP: 7 MINUTES

 COOK: 15 MINUTES

 8 - 10 SERVINGS

Warm spiced gingerbread mini pancakes make an amazing holiday breakfast with the family. Even better, gingerbread pancakes made with our Holiday Pancake Pan, for a festive meal to make with the kids.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoon molasses

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 1 cup milk

Directions

In large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, molasses and melted butter. Pour this mixture into dry ingredients and blend. The batter will be lumpy. Set aside.

Preheat pan on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Brush pan with shortening or baking spray. Fill cavities with batter, leaving one design cavity open. Cook until the pancakes slowly stop bubbling and edges are done. Using a small spatula or other non-metal utensil, flip each pancake into an open cavity on the pan. Finish cooking until golden brown and remove pancakes. Repeat cooking steps with remaining batter. Makes 20- 24 pancakes.

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Later that evening, I went with Krista, her boyfriend and her sister to see Aquaman at the new Fusion Superplex. I gave it a 6.8/10 because there was just way too much CGI and explosions and I just could not forgive them for using jet skis; you’re mer-people, why do you need jet skis? I went into knowing that it’s DC and not Marvel so my expectations were pretty low.

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On Christmas Day, I had a blast! I slept in until 10 (which totally threw me off schedule), made pancakes again (this time banana, red and green) before opening presents. Christmas really isn’t about presents but I must admit it felt good to get a lot of gifts this year. I got my mum a Tile because she’s always losing her keys and cellphone. I got my best friend Krista an Amazon Echo and she loved it because she said she can set reminders every 30 minutes to tell herself she’s awesome (that’s Krista). I got Telia my favourite Moscato in a really nice wooden crate, a bar of chocolate and a pizza pan. I got the same gift for my boyfriend and dad: An Invicta Watch. I just fell in love with it and it was a great price! Krista’s mum and my grandmother received beautiful blouses and I gifted my grandaunt and her daughter with bottles of wine.

My mum also got my niece the cutest Minnie Mouse ride-on airplane with glowing lights, sounds and a battery operated propeller. Watching my niece open the gift was hilarious. We had to teach her how to open the present and then she was more fascinated with the paper that she ripped off. Once we finally got it opened, she was so excited she couldn’t stop laughing. She pushed it around, pressed the buttons and turned the steering wheel. It was great seeing her so happy.

Then it was time for me to open my presents! I already knew what two of my gifts were but the others were a surprise. I gave myself a new pair of Kate Spade coffee tumblers. I really needed new mugs so I was super happy for this little present to myself. I also got a pair of candles from my step mother. Telia got me a beautiful clutch and a gorgeous pen that I can wait to use! Then it was time for my secret Santa gifts. I knew one was a bottle of wine nut I didn’t know what kind of wine and I knew I got a slow cooker because I asked for it. I was so excited because i’ve wanted a slow cooker for years but my mum refused to let me buy one. She claimed it would raise the light bill too much but there's nothing she can do about it now 😂

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My last gift, I'm actually using right now. It's a gift from my boyfriend. I just happened to mention that I wanted the Microsoft Surface Go and he decided to buy it for me. The feminist in me wanted to say no I will buy it myself but the inner sucker for romance thought it was such a sweet gesture. He was also there for me when the keyboard wouldn’t let me be great. I’m not entirely sure what he did, but everything sorted itself out and it’s become far less painless to use (with autocorrect and predictive text), although I can’t wait for my keyboard cover (a whopping $129) that appears to be lost in transit.

I quickly went into the kitchen to bake my Apple Cranberry Pie because I was having dinner by my best friend Sheena! It has been so great catching up with her and trust me, we both have major plans for 2019! She is one of the most supportive, positive and bubbly people I know and I love having these kind of people in my life. I spent a little time with my dad and step-mom before heading back home.

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Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for my American readers) was also great. I spent time with my boyfriend (after totally sleeping in) before picking up my cousin Kameela who is visiting from Florida. I took her to my family function and we had a great time getting drunk, dancing and even teaching my grandmother how to twerk. I know that sounds so weird, but my grandmother was such a good sport about it, we all just laughed. That’s why this post (that was supposed to go out yesterday) only just got written. I’ve been having so much fun, and spending so much time with friends and family that I just didn’t have the time.

Apart from having my Grandmother home for Christmas, my favourite part was the cool weather. Christmas day is consistently hot for us, like over 80 degrees! So this year, when we had low 70s, no one complained! Then it poured rain all day yesterday. I can’t complain about the rain. God has given me so much this year, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next year. How was your Christmas? Share your favourite (or least favourite) moments of the season in the comment section below!











My 2018 Christmas Wrapping Paper

My 2018 Christmas Wrapping Paper

Instead of grabbing some plain and drab paper from the store, decorate your friends’ and family members’ gifts in a special way. From embellishments to hand-drawn elements there are tons of ways to make your presents for others pop. I’m showing you guys how I personalised my wrapping paper this year.

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My 2018 Holiday Bucket List

Hello Lovely,

It’s the first week of December and exactly 22 days until Christmas — a fact that both excites and terrifies me. Every year, it feels like the holiday season flies by at a quicker pace, and despite the fun and joy there’s also a little sadness at the things that I wanted to do that just didn’t happen. I’ve been spending some time this weekend thinking about which holiday traditions mean the most to me.

Enter: the holiday bucket list. It’s the perfect time to put pen to paper and choose a handful of things that will bring more joy to your life and fill you with holiday spirit. Things that you vow to make happen, no matter how busy life gets.

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Here’s what’s on my Holiday Bucket List so far:

  1. Buy a Christmas tree

  2. Decorate the tree

  3. Set the table

  4. Make Christmas wreaths

  5. Baking Christmas cookies

  6. Draw names for Secret Santa with our team at the office.

  7. Watch holiday movies with loved ones

  8. Sing Christmas Carols with my boyfriend

  9. Decorate the Christmas tree with mum - ever since I was little, my mum and I had the responsibility of picking out the family Christmas tree and decorating it together. It’s actually my favourite Christmas tradition. We put on Christmas music and spend hours placing the ornaments just right.

  10. Make a new signature Christmas cake - Two years ago I made my signature Milk and Cookies cake. Now I have two options. Make it again, or try something new. What do you think?

What’s on your list? Leave a comment – I’d love more ideas! And scroll on for a few great reads from around the web this week…

The 2018 Elevation Awards

Hello Lovely,

This past weekend was the much anticipated 2018 Elevation Awards. Artists from all genres flocked to the New Providence Ballroom in the BahaMar Convention Centre for the 2nd Annual Award Show. Last year I attended the show as media, but this year I attended the show as a nominee. I was nominated for Blog of The Year and this was also the first year for the category. I was grateful for this addition because while the world was quickly accepting vloggers and recognising them, there weren't really awards for bloggers. Going into it, I simply new I was not going to win because I was going against Ianthia Smith (fiancé of Farreno Ferguson of F.Dot Photography) and of course she won. I was excited for her to win. Honestly I don't know what I would've done or how I would've felt had I won, so I really think it's for the best. Simply being nominated and recognised for six years of hard work was enough for me. I went with my mum and one of my best friends Krista because they are two of my biggest supporters.

I've always thought that the Elevation Awards has the potential to be a local MTV Music Awards in terms of nominees walking the red carpet in wearable art made by local fashion designers and musical performances that are concert worthy. While the fashion was gorgeous, very little was Bahamian designed, HOWEVER, the performances were amazing! 

Possibly the most outstanding performance of the night was by Judah the Lion who gave us an a riveting steampunk drama. A very close second was a group of young Christian rappers called Christ Gang who brought a lot of energy to the Pre-Show. And of course I loved the performances by Bodine, Wendi (who opened the show) and Duchess who made her stage debut as a solo artist last night singing her new hit single, "Mr. Lover."

Here's the Complete List of Winners:

  • Best Short Film of The Year: Cinemorphesis
  • Best TV Show of The Year: On The Record
  • Photographer of The Year: Stanlo Photography
  • Blog of The Year: Mini Skirts & Microphones - Ianthia Smith
  • Vlog of The Year: Who Dat?
  • Visual Artist of The Year: Jamaal Rolle
  • New Artist: Sanjardo B
  • Bahamian Song of The Year: Qpid - Gimmie My Culture
  • Community Development: Get Fit With Smith
  • Gospel Song of The Year: Jonathan Farrington & Grace Generation - Free
  • Male Artist of The Year: Julien Believe
  • Music Video of The Year: Wendi - I ain't Missing It
  • Entertainer of The Year: Naughty
  • Contemporary Song of The Year: Sammi Star - I Iz What I Iz
  • Video Producer of The Year: Kyle Ferguson
  • Female Artist of The Year: Bodine
  • People's Choice Award: DJ Ovadose

It was interesting to hear so many new names, but of course they were really only new to me. In the moment, I thought some artists were snubbed or overlooked. For example, Who Dat? winning consecutively, Naughty winning entertainer of the year when literally anyone else in the category was a better option and Julien Believe winning Best Male Artist over Judah. The room was eerily quiet when Julien won and I'm not sure anyone really knew how to react. So I spoke to an organiser, to get some answers. Apparently, during the vetting process, nominees are asked to submit a complete portfolio along with a few other requirements; without this the nominee would not even be considered.

Of course no one likes to lose so there were mixed reactions to the award show. Some left before it was over, and some didn't bother to show at all. Then there were the ones that took to social media to throw digs. No one wants to think that awards and recognition are only for an elite circle in society, but when it's the "elite circle" mocking the establishment, you kind of begin to wonder what more could they want? I learned last night that Bahamians would rather diss your work or event before they support it. And they're really only happy to see their friends win. The tasteless comments were rather unfortunate. Sure this year was NOWHERE as good as last year's, with far more technical glitches and a lack of organisation, but the entertainment made up for it. I stayed up until the People's Choice Award because it was really late and I had to get my mother home. But something incredible last night happened that cannot be overlooked.

There was a very touching moment during the show when the host realised that a young 10 year old girl he had used as a part of a bit and buried her mother that same day. As a show of good faith and support, Demetrius not only gave the girl a brand new cellphone courtesy of BTC, $100 and offered to pay her next semester tuition, but he also encouraged the entire audience to donate to her. And the ENTIRE audience got up and gave something. It was very touching. I genuinely hope that the donations are put to good use for the girl.

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FINAL VERDICT: Last year's award show was much better, but it could also be that we were so enamoured by the fact that it was something new. I have a lot of ideas for how the entire experience can be improved on next year that I will sit down with the organisers and discuss. I believe in what Elevation Media is trying to do. Bahamians work hard and we really have to learn to celebrate one another. There are so many creatives in this country, maybe next year artists from the various family islands can be recognised as well. I don't take any part of this experience for granted and look forward to watching the show grow and expand to become a force to be reckoned with. See you next year!

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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