14 Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Singledom This Spring

Hello Lovely,

And hello Spring Break! Some of you may have already had spring break, some may have not started yet. But either way, we're approaching the end of another school year and the beginning of a season of adventures! That's right it's officially Spring! Spring sprung yesterday! I've got some plans for this week that I can't share just yet. If you have every intention of meeting a cutie on the beach—go for it! However, spring break doesn't have to be all about finding your "spring fling." Here are some awesome ways to have fun without focusing on getting that romcom-worthy smooch.

1. Host Sunday Brunch With the Girls

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

Brunch is one of the best meals to host, since there is a lot more flexibility than at a Friday or Saturday night dinner. For one, brunches can last as long or as short as you like. Most of the time, friends will have plans for the afternoon and won’t stay all day, but sometimes they’ll have nothing to do, and some of our best brunches have lasted almost until dinner. On the other hand, if you have plans, everyone will understand.

Beyond those perks, there is the inevitable con that brunch occurs relatively early. Set your own schedule. If you’re not an early bird, don’t invite anyone over before 1:00 pm.  

2. Take a Just-Because Road Trip

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII want to soak up the sun!!!!!!!

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII want to soak up the sun!!!!!!!

Plan your route and stops ahead of time, but keep an open mind. Try not to stress about it too hard and remember that it will probably make a good story someday. It's also a good idea to keep loose plans because you never know when fun and interesting opportunities will arise. You could be driving by one of most popular roadside attractions along the way, so think about including "free time" in your itinerary. Don't forget to have a solid budget and look for ways to save on cash.

3. Plant a Garden With a Pal

How else are you going to take those oh so important #OOTD photos?

How else are you going to take those oh so important #OOTD photos?

April is finally here and your garden soil is finally warming up! April is the best time to plant most of your vegetable seeds after your last frost. It's still not too late to plant tomatoes and peppers from seeds as well. Gardening also offers some less visible, but perhaps equally sustaining benefits — whether your garden is a small patio planter, a backyard vegetable garden or a plot in a community garden. It’s no coincidence that gardens aimed at interactive health and healing have been popping up in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, and in community centers for homeless populations and at-risk youth. 

4. Spend a Day at the Museum/Art Gallery/Zoo/Botanical Garden

Cause Knowledge is Power!

Cause Knowledge is Power!

A day at the museum (or any attraction site) often translates to a day spent with loved ones. Museums Art Galleries, Botanical Gardens and Zoos are effective ways to learn while having fun and gaining inspiration.

5. Train For a Race

Go DIVA GO!

Go DIVA GO!

Training for a race, even your first race, is not hard if you have the tools in hand to do it right. Always have a goal in mind,  get comfortable, properly fitted running shoes and stick to your plan.

6. Hit Up Happy Hour With Co-Workers

"So then I was like, Get your own damn stapler!"

"So then I was like, Get your own damn stapler!"

Who doesn't like drinking with friends? If you've had an extra hard day, instead of going home and drinking alone with your cat, hit up a happy hour with some co-workers or friends and blow off some steam!

7. Hike Your City

Despite my horrific, near death experience hiking with GGYA (and that was only the practice hike) one of my goals is to go hiking for real. And some of you may think, but we live in the Bahamas, where are you going to hike? The Bimini Nature Hiking Trail gives visitors a rarely seen glimpse of the island. You will not only be able to learn more about Bimini’s animal and plant life, but also hear stories about the ecology and history of Bimini. You can even hike in Andros. I did that back in 2009, and fell in the love with the island!

8. Bake With Your BFFs

If I'm going to get fat, you're getting fat with me!

If I'm going to get fat, you're getting fat with me!

When the weekend finally rolls around dust off your wooden spoon and bowl and spend some time baking delicious treats. The weekend is the perfect time to bake up a storm – with all that extra time on your hands, why not try your hand at something a little more difficult like piping or a delicious layer cake? Invite some friends over to taste-test your creations, or simply relax and indulge with the family. Weekend baking is extra rewarding because you don’t have to rush, and so you can really take your time getting those baked goodies just right.

9. Spend a Day at the Bookstore

If you're into books and reading, then getting lost in a book store or library is the perfect way to spend the day. There are so many options and reading is also a great way to pass the time!

10. Treat Yourself to Fresh Flowers

I did this on my birthday and resolved every month to treat myself to fresh food store flowers (hey I got a budget to work with). They were yellow and purple (don't ask me the type) because they were the cheapest flowers in the store at only $8 per bunch. For the time that they were alive, they made me so happy to look at, so I would definitely recommend other women doing this! Because sometimes a girl just needs to buy herself some flowers.

11. Start a Romance-Novel-Only Book Club

If we have to discuss 50 Shades of Grey one more time...

If we have to discuss 50 Shades of Grey one more time...

If you're looking for a book club to join, check with your library. Libraries often provide meeting space for book clubs and many administer their own book discussion groups. Participating in reading group discussions does wonders for your communication skills, and reading groups with a rotating roster of leaders means that everyone has a chance to practise their leadership skills and the management of a group of people, with different backgrounds and opinions. For those with writing aspirations, book clubs can be a wonderful breeding ground for ideas as well as provide the motivation for you to pen your own literary masterpiece.

12. Sign Up For a Dance Class

Run? I thought they said Rum!

Run? I thought they said Rum!

I'll be honest. I'm really bad at exercising. Like if I have to run, or do any kind of cardio, I guarantee you I will lose my lunch (it has happened, sorry Club One). But give me a dance class, or a good dancing session in the club, and I am pumped! The number of people taking part in dance classes world wide is increasing, with dance allowing people to be more active, socialise within local communities and develop creative skills.

13. Indulge in a Solo Spa Day

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

Between hectic work schedules and taking care of yourself, you probably already have plenty of reasons to pamper yourself with a spa day! Spending a day at the spa offers so many benefits that if you don’t already have reasons to pamper yourself, you will after learning what a spa day can do for your mind and body. It’s important to take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself, and a day at the spa is the perfect way to unwind.

14. Plan a Relaxing Vacation

Summer beach body here I come!

Summer beach body here I come!

Work driving you crazy? Sick of the same old scenery? Need a break from the usual? Then it’s time for a relaxing vacation! A relaxing vacation is about you, your family or a friend who’s in need of one too. Whether you’re alone or with others you have to try to get the most out of your vacation.

Friday Favourites

Hello Lovely,

Why hello there, Friday! I hope this week has been a productive one for all of my lovely Lifebyolivia.net readers. After a busy week I’m pretty excited to relax and unwind at a music festival happening tonight. You know where I’ll be this weekend! But before I head off to my weekend plans, here are five things that have been inspiring me this week…

1. Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burgers

I recently discovered a new brand of veggie burgers in the food store and I am in love! I was impressed by the low price and the low sodium! And when I ate it! My goodness! It's a genuine vegetable burger, made of real vegetables! I found it hard to believe that they were ever frozen, because they taste freshly made by a gourmet chef.  Dr. Praeger's tagline is, "Dr. Praeger’s caters to a wide variety of dietary needs with our delicious frozen foods made from recognizable and pronounceable ingredients!" So far, the Kale is my favourite and the Asian patty tastes like Sushi! You've gotta try it!

2. Martha Stewart's Spiced Lemonade

I think I've mentioned before the little competition I have going on in my head with Martha Stewart. She's just so perfect! The woman went to jail and still makes amazing centrepieces and makes cocktail hour look like a night in Dubai! I actually went to her website after joking about her with a co-worker and ended up spending the rest of the day there. I stumbled upon the spiced lemonade recipe and had to give it a go! I swapped out the ground cloves with whole cloves, and I love it!

3. My Arugula and Spinach Muffins

I'm seriously eating two of these right now! I really don't think they'll make it to the weekend!

4. Haeven

Haeven is an alternative band from the Bahamas. Their sound is a diverse mixture of genres from Pop Rock to Hip Hop & R'n'B with a fusion of native sounds. I've been to some of their shows and it's a great experience every time! Whether they're singing covers or originals, I love singing along! (And it's not just because it's my best friend's band, I swear!)

5. #LiveEventSeries 'One Love Culture Fest'

I'm totally excited to be attending this event tonight! It's a family friendly, multi-genre Live Event, the first of it's kind in a series of events. It's going to be held at Potential Church (but it's not entirely a religious event, if that's not your thing). Haeven will be performing, so I'm definitely going to show my support.

What are some of your favourite things this week?

Let me know in the comments!

XoX,


Party Planning: Free Birthday Photobooth Props

Hello Lovely,

It’s my birthday week, and I’m sharing all sorts of fun all week long on my site!  RIGHT NOW, I'm kicking the week off with some Birthday Photo Booth Props for you. I had so much fun making and using these over the weekend at my friend Telia's 30th Birthday Party, and so did the guests!

Birthdays are so much fun to celebrate. Whether it be a child, friend or family member’s birthday, there are many ways to make them feel special on their day. Try using these fun props at your next birthday celebration! Download them here!

3-Step DIY Cut-off Shorts

This tutorial is a long-time coming. Like years in the works. I don’t know how or why I kept putting this project off. I was starting to fall out of love with thrift store shopping and there was no way I was cutting any of my own jeans. Even the South Pole jeans that I almost never wear. (I think it’s the hoarder in me).

So when I got my jacket that I wore to the 2 chainz concert from the thrift store, I got these jeans as well. It actually wasn’t until I had finished cutting them that I realised these are Armani Jeans. And can you believe I only spent $4 on them?! What a steal!

So if you've ever wanted cut-off shorts and didn't quite know how to cut them, I've got three easy steps for how to turn your unwanted jeans into something trendy and cute. (And just in time for Spring season too)!

So if you've ever wanted cut-off shorts and didn't quite know how to cut them, I've got three easy steps for how to turn your unwanted jeans into something trendy and cute. (And just in time for Spring season too)!

  1. Start by laying your chosen jeans out on a flat surface. Make sure everything is smoothed out.

  2. Using a pair of shorts that fit you very well, lay those on top of your jeans. The crotch area on both pants should line up.

 3.  Estimate about half an inch below the hemline of your shorts and mark that on your jeans with chalk, then cut on that line.

 3.  Estimate about half an inch below the hemline of your shorts and mark that on your jeans with chalk, then cut on that line.

  4.    Wash your jeans if you want the frayed look at the hemline and you’ve got your own pair of cut-off jean shorts!

  4.  Wash your jeans if you want the frayed look at the hemline and you’ve got your own pair of cut-off jean shorts!

I wore my new shorts to a music video release party this past Thursday. What do you think? Are you going to make your own pair for Spring? Don’t forget you can add anything you want to your shorts like studs or lace. I kept mine plain for now and may add to it later. The possibilities are endless!

XoX,

Olivia

Swimming With Natural Hair: What You Need to Know Before Hitting the Beach

I have never been one of those girls that refused to get my hair wet whenever I was going to the pool or the beach. I never had difficulty washing my hair. In fact, my only problem was drying. I always ended up with a huge frizz ball for hair. Even now that I’m natural, I still don’t have problems washing my hair. Maybe because it’s not as long as when it was permed, it’s not a hassle. Detangling takes a while yes, but once we’ve got a rhythm going, things tend to move rather smoothly. I think at this point, my only concern is protecting it from damage. So because I was going to the beach today with some friends, and considering that my hair is now purple, I decided to look up some tips on how to protect my hair from damage from the salt water. It’s actually so simple, and doesn’t take much time at all. Some people were saying I would have to soak my hair in a bunch of different oils, and wrap my hair… I wanted to scream! I can’t imagine putting too much oils or products into the ocean. These tips helped me today, so hopefully, they can help you too:

 

  • Saturate your hair - sounds silly right? Why do I need to wet my hair BEFORE I get in the water? Quick answer – wet hair will soak up less chlorine (or sea salt) than dry hair will. Think of it like a sponge. A dry sponge will absorb as much liquid as it can. But a wet sponge is so full, it can’t absorb any more.

  • Apply coconut oil (unrefined is best) prior to getting in the water (preferably the night before). Hair will absorb the coconut oil strengthening the hair shaft thus providing extra protection against the chlorine. I used organic extra virgin olive oil.

  • Coat hair with conditioner - this will seal the cuticle and help create a barrier between your strands and the chlorine. *some choose to forego this tip because fellow swimmers may end up wearing it and tasting it! I didn’t do this step. I figured the coconut oil would be enough.

  • Do not leave your hair out - one big braid or a bun will keep hair from becoming matted or tangled. My hair is currently in a twists up-do.

  • Wear a swim cap – it may not be sexy and you can certainly skip it, however, the more barrier between your hair and the chlorine the better.

 

Post Swim:

  • Rinse with water then shampoo – there are several swimmers shampoos out there. Try Ions Swimmer Shampoo (100% vegan and sulfate free) or Triswim Shampoo (paraben free). I used Garnier Fructis Color Shield Fortifying Shampoo.

  • Condition as normal (deep condition if you feel it’s necessary). I used Cantu Leave in Conditioner.

How do you prep your hair prior to taking a dip?

7 Exercise Hacks to Try While Getting Ready to Go Out

Let’s be real: Working out isn't really that fun (unless you’re doing Zumba). Sure, it’s basically the healthiest thing you can do, but working out can be exhausting, expensive and inconvenient. And if you’re already juggling a really hectic schedule, whether it be the kids or a demanding job, or school work, working out is the least of your priorities. But what if I told you that there are sneaky ways to get fit while getting ready to go out at night, or while you’re getting dressed for work in the morning? And they don’t take any extra time because you can do it with your routine! Sure these moves aren't major calorie burners, but every little bit counts right?

1. Stretch in the shower.
 The warm water while showering will help your muscles to relax, making it a perfect time to stretch!

2. Use your kitchen chair.
Waiting for that coffee to brew or that microwave to go off? Use your kitchen or dining room to do some easy triceps dips (these are what they look like.)

3. Raise up!
Next time you’re brushing teeth, applying makeup, curling your hair, or checking out your outfit in the mirror, try doing some calve raises. Raise up onto your toes and lower down slowly, or raise one leg behind you, then alternate.

4. Squat!
Instead of sitting down to apply make-up or dry your hair, do a squat hold instead for a few seconds every couple of minutes.

5. Add weight while blow drying.
This is genius: Add wrist weights to your arms before you start blow drying your hair, or using other hot tools. Depending on your hair length and thickness, it could take over 20 minutes to completely dry. By adding weight on your arms, you’ll be challenging your muscles as you style with your (probably heavy) dryer and a hairbrush!

6. Run don’t walk.
Like the old people say, “Watch pot never boil”. So instead of standing there waiting for the food to cook, try jogging lightly in place. Or instead of walking to the bathroom, try jogging. This may even give you an extra burst of energy in the morning!

7. Ready to start the day?
Not a fan of running? Do some lunges as you make your way around the house or down the hall way and out the front door on the way to work.

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas is in the air! I'm so excited!

The tree is decorated, there's actually some presents under the tree, and even though all of my family won't be here, some of my cousins will be able to make it and as you all know, one of my best friend's is here!

So to celebrate, I decided to make some Christmas themed cupcakes!

Christmas Cupcakes

December 20, 2014

Christmas is in the air! I'm so excited!

The tree is decorated, there's actually some presents under the tree, and even though all of my family won't be here, some of my cousins will be able to make it and as you all know, one of my best friend's is here!

So to celebrate, I decided to make some Christmas themed cupcakes!

Christmas Cupcakes.jpg

These are so easy to make and personalise. To be honest, it's not much of a recipe. You can cheat by using a white cake mix to save money and ingredients. I added white chocolate chips to mine for added sweetness. It actually tasted like candy!

To make mine vegan, I skipped the eggs, and used applesauce for moist and healthier cupcakes. Once you've mixed the cake mix, separate it into three bowls. Add green food colouring to one, red food colouring to the second and leave the third one plain. Then alternate pouring the mixture into your baking cups. I used, poinsetta baking cups. They're so cute and make your cupcakes look expensive and fancy!

If you're looking for an easy to make holiday recipe, this is the one. They simply scream Christmas! If you want to get extra fancy, you can decorate it with icing and sprinkles. You're going to enjoy eating these just as much or even more than making them.

Merry Christmas!

XoX

Olivia

DIY Button Ornament Card

Make Your Christmas presents too pretty to open by adorning them with unique handmade gift tags. Today I'm going to show you how to make a gorgeous Christmas gift tag with scrapbook paper glue dots, and old buttons. This little project takes only 30 minutes but will last a long time!

Step one:

Fold cardstock in half or four-quarters depending on the size, and cut on the fold.

Step two:

Arrange your buttons on the cardstock in your desired style.

Step Three:

Using glue dots, glue the buttons in place. Glue dots will give your buttons a 3D effect so that they won't look too flat on the paper.


Step Four:

Using a straight edge, (as you can see I don't own rulers, nor can I draw a straight line) draw your "string" from the top of the card to the top of the buttons.

Don't forget to sign "Merry Christmas" at the bottom of the card

Step Five:

Draw a bow at the bottom of the "string" over your buttons. This is the last step!

Adhere your card to your present using glue dots or however you choose. I'm sure whoever you give this too will be just as excited over the card as the gift. You can even sign a personal message on the back if you so wish.


XoX

Olivia