5 Boutiques You Must Visit For the Perfect Gifts

Hello Lovely,

Mother's Day is approaching VERY quickly! And now that we're all adults, it's time to get a GOOD gift! No more macaroni art, bring in actual jewellery bought in a store. But not just any store. You want something unique, yet cost effective. Sometimes it can be hard to find the perfect gift for the perfect price. So today I'm sharing for all of my local readers and anyone planning on vacationing here soon, the 5 best boutiques that I visiting when searching for the perfect gift.

The Billie Shop

$$$

The Billie Shop is not where you go for a basic gift. This boutique is located in Old Fort Bay Clubhouse just before you get to their little beach. It's in a tiny hut that has the best island life feeling. The items are not original Bahamian pieces, but they're very nice; the kind of things you would find on Instagram. I instantly fell in love with all of the colours. The bright clothing and Beachwood furniture really draw you in It's mostly swimwear, cover-ups, floaties and candles but I did manage to find some alcohol infused candy as the perfect gift for my bestie Krista.

Bottom Line: Don't go to this store unless you're willing to spend at least $100. The candy was $31 for three 2 oz. boxes of candy ($11 each: literally the cheapest thing in the store). The gift box was lovely, so I think most of the cost went into packaging.

Bahama Hand Prints

$$$

I love the idea of Bahama Hand Prints! I say the idea because while everything is absolutely gorgeous the price tag is rather high. I haven't reached the point in my life where I feel like I can spend over $200 on a sundress but there's a reason they're so costly. Bahama Hand Prints makes their own fabric on site! That's right, there's a backroom off from the fabric room (yes you can by the fabrics and make your own dress or whatever you fancy) where they make the fabric. Some would argue it should be cheaper if they're cutting out the middle man and producing their own fabric but that can be a rather costly task.

Bottom Line: This store is perfect for gifts for the fashionista or home maker in your life. There's wonderful napkins and other linens, handbags, napkin rings and more. The best part, it's 100% Bahamian.

The Craft Cottage

$$

Another 100% Bahamian craft store perfect for gifts is The Craft Cottage. I LOVE the Craft Cottage. It's an eclectic mix of items made by Bahamians. I once bought a conch shell bowl with a spoon for only $25. I have yet to use mine but I hope the person I gave it to really enjoyed it. I also absolutely love my pink Army Men earrings I got for only $6. That was years ago so you're not going to find that any more. That's what I love about this store, everything is essentially one of a kind and once it's gone, that's it! There's a constant flow of new items to choose from so it never gets dull.

Bottom Line: When you want an authentic Bahamian souvenir that does more than just sit on a fridge, this is the place to go! The owners are SUPER SWEET making this the BEST shopping experience on this list. If they don't have something you want they'll call around and find a store that does have it.

Dake's Shoppe

$$$$

Dake’s Shoppe opened in November of 2015 on Harbour Island, Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Dake’s Shoppe is a very personally-curated department store operating in a restored historic home on Crowne Street in the heart of Dunmore Town. They are located between Piggly Wiggly and Arthur's Bakery in a white building with red trim. I've never personally been there, but they have been recommended. 

Bottom Line: This is a high end store. The kind that sells camisoles for $66. If this is your style, this is the store for you.

Shop It Sparkles

$$

2018-04-26.png

I recently discovered Shop It Sparkles from my friend Nikki Jae when she was looking to buy the hat in the bottom right photo. I'm really impressed with their options and they're prices are great! This is where you go if you're looking for a gift for the trendy person in your life. Fashion, mugs, water bottles, these are the things you will find at Shop It Sparkles.

Bottom Line: I can't wait to buy that mug to replace my travel mug that broke. And I've got my eye on a few other things as well. I'll keep you guys updated through my Instagram on how that goes.

HOLD UP! DON'T GO YET!

2018-04-26 (1).png

While you're shopping don't forget to check out this new online store I just discovered called Old English. They have really cool enamel pins and a competition going on right now for you win some! I can't wait to share my favourite picks from this website with you guys!

Fresh Flower Petal Perfume

Fresh Flower Petal Perfume

Making your own perfume from scratch might sound complicated, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Most perfumes are nothing more than a mixture of fragrant oils, water and alcohol. Simply mix it all together and spritz! So break out that pretty spray bottle you’ve been saving and let’s bottle some blooms.

Read More

Vanilla Cherry & Coffee Infused Whiskey

Hello Lovely,

This is going to be the most difficult Christmas for my family. On Saturday, I lost my step-father. His name was Michael Allen (Mike). He had been on dialysis for the past three years, but showed a rapid decline in health over the past two months. He had to retire from his day job and soon couldn't drive any more. He began to fall a lot and it became harder and harder to pick him up when he fell. It's still hard to talk about him in past tense.

On Saturday, after my mother picked him up from dialysis, he had what appeared to be a heart attack then silently slipped away. My mum tried to resuscitate him but with one final cough he was gone. We had learned in November that he only had about three months to live but after his last round of dialysis on Thursday, I knew he wouldn't make it to the New Year.

No matter how prepared we were, it still hurt. My mum said she was still shocked and some days it still doesn't feel real, but each passing day does make it easier. We've pretty much cancelled Christmas in our home, but I had to make a few gifts to show my heartfelt thanks to friends who have really supported me throughout the year. The first gift up is an infused whiskey for one of my best friend's Krista. I'd like to think Mike would've enjoyed this as well.

Vanilla Cherry and Coffee Whiskey .jpg

I used a half pint of Jack Daniels because she loves Jack Daniels. I looked up a few options for infusions with whiskey and found coffee and vanilla and vanilla and cherries. I figured, why not just combine both?

How to Infuse Booze

The only even slightly tricky part of infusing alcohol is narrowing down the flavors and deciding the amounts. You can infuse with almost anything: herbs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, spices, candy…you get the idea.

Vanilla Cherry and Coffee Whiskey 1.jpg

Supplies needed

  • Canning or mason jars, or large glass bottles with lids (make sure you can fit your ingredients in the mouth of the bottle)
  • Alcohol of choice
  • Infusion ingredients
  • Packaging/ribbon and labels if you’re gifting
Vanilla Cherry and Coffee Whiskey 3.jpg

Instructions

Vanilla Cherry and Coffee Whiskey 2.jpg

Put your infusion ingredients in the alcohol, cover tightly and store in a cool, dark place (a pantry is great). If you’re using fresh fruits, veggies or herbs, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry those ingredients first—use organic if possible.

Remove the ingredients after they’ve infused to your liking (see tips below), then strain the booze into your desired jars or just keep in your infusion vessel to use at home. If you’re gifting these, include a label, some pretty ribbon or packaging, and perhaps a cocktail recipe. It’s really that simple!

Tips

  • To make sure you are able to infuse long enough, it’s best to start early—about 3 weeks before you want to gift or use the booze. If you get the flavor you want before that time, simply fish out/strain out the infusion ingredients, and store the booze until you’re ready to use or gift it.
  • The ratio of infusion ingredients to alcohol varies. If I’m free-styling with my own combo, I look up a similar recipe, and use that as a basic guideline. You can always adjust.
  • If you accidentally infuse too long, you can dilute with plain, unflavored booze as a last resort
  • The longer everything sits in the alcohol, the stronger the flavor. It’s a good idea to taste your mixture every 5 days or so to see where it’s at.
  • Generally, the more porous and intensely flavored the ingredients (coffee beans, fresh herbs), the quicker they will add flavor. This isn’t an exact science, which is why it’s good to taste as you go! If your lemon-basil vodka is getting too herb-y, remove the basil halfway through and let the lemon peel sit alone for longer.
  • Vodka, brandy and whiskey are my favorites to work with. The booze is less nuanced, so complementary flavor profiles are easier to come up with.
  • Rum or tequila will work too, although they lend themselves mainly to warm spices like cinnamon or clove, or tropical fruits like mango and lime.
  • Gin is a little trickier since the juniper berry flavor is already very pronounced. I’ve seen recipes for infused gin using cucumber, citrus, lavender and earl grey tea, though.
  • Middle-shelf alcohol is your best bet. No need to buy the most expensive, but don’t go bargain basement either! No amount of flavoring can salvage cheap booze :)
  • If working with citrus, use only the peel (where the oils of the fruit are contained), and make sure to scrape off the bitter pith before using
  • If you have trouble picking a flavor, think about how you would use the alcohol. Is it meant for sipping or to use in mixed drinks? For instance, if your infused vodka will be used in Bloody Mary's, think about what will work with that flavor profile.
Vanilla Cherry and Coffee Whiskey 2.jpg

Vanilla Cherry & Coffee Infused Whiskey

  • 2 vanilla beans (split down the middle or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract) + 1/8 cup coffee beans, slightly crushed with a mortar and pestle—or a plastic bag and wooden spoon
  • 4-5  dried or fresh cherries (no need to pit)

If you try this or any infused alcohol recipe this holiday season, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @life_by_olivia. Stay safe and do not drink and drive!

Crochet Gift Box Pot Holders

Hello Lovely,

This weekend had me feeling completely inspired! I hadn't crafted something that couldn't be eaten in months because of my busy schedule. But after seeing this post by Repeat Crafter Me, I couldn't resist making my own. It's so simple and makes the perfect gift! Like Sarah says, all you need to do is crochet a solid square and then add slip stitches and long crochet chain for a bow. I thought to myself, I can do that! And so I did! 

Materials:
– Red and Green yarn
– Size H Crochet Hook
– Tapestry Needle

DSC_0006.JPG

Finished Size: Approximately 9×9 inches

Gift Box Granny Square Pattern:
With Red (or main gift box color)
Chain 21, SC in second chain from hook and the rest of the way down chain, chain 1, turn
Row 2-21: SC in each stitch across, chain 1, turn (20 SC)
Do not fasten off
Continue to SC along the 3 rough edges of the square. There should be one SC for each row of the square (along the edge). Make a SC + chain 1 + SC in each of the 4 corners. Fasten off and weave in ends.

With White
Join white at any point on edge, SC in each stitch around making a SC + chain 1 + SC in each of the corners.
Edging Round 2-4: SC in each stitch around and make a SC + chain 1 + SC in each of the corners. Fasten off and weave in ends.

With Green (or bow color)
Slip stitch horizontally and vertically down the middle of your red box. 


I'm still making the green one so I'll let you know how that turns out but this is the first one. I'm still trying to decide who I should give it to. What do you think? Do you like this as a gift idea? Did it look simple enough to make?

DSC_0001.JPG

Gift Guide: Gifts That Give Back

Hello Lovely,

With the holiday season upon us, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping and preparing for all of the festivities. We sort through malls and online stores for the perfect gift for that loved one, sometimes snagging something for ourselves in the process. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to shower your friends and family with a little love and appreciation this time of year, this year I want to challenge you to consider purchasing gifts that give back to amazing causes. It's the best kind of 2 for 1 deal. You were probably going to buy that body lotion anyway, so why not buy one that donates it's proceeds to grassroots charities? To help you out I’ve created a gift guide today that showcases stocking stuffers and gifts that give back to artisans, communities, and organisations around the globe. I’ve included some of my favourite brands that I’m sure you’ll love too. Keep scrolling to see how you can give back, one gift at a time…

Gifts That Give Back.png

31 Bits Sundance and Soma Bangles $32

Sales of 31 Bits handmade jewellery help Ugandan and Indonesian artisans by giving them fair wages and safe working conditions. 

B.A.R.E Soaps Deep Cleanse Face Mask $25

When you purchase an all natural mask or any handmade product from B.A.R.E soaps, you support the company's mission to "bring antiseptic resources to everyone". Proceeds go towards helping communities in Uganda and India by employing women and providing vitamins, soap and other immediate needs to children.

Giggle The Pig Snuggle Pal $20

Everything Happy is a one-stop shop for baby blankets, bags, and bibs. This site matches each product sold by donating a second product to a child in hospitals and orphanages around the world, so one purchase makes two kids happy. 

Canvas + Leather Tote $58

Shop bags, wallets, pillows, scarves, and gloves made by at-risk women living in Nepal at Mulxiply. Sales go help to support the women and their families. 

Zebra Wood Fillmore Wireless Headphones $130

LSTN, a speaker and headphone company, uses its profits to provide hearing aids to people in need. So far, it's helped over 20,000 people hear in the U.S., Peru, Kenya, Uganda, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. 

LUSH Charity Pot Lotion $8

Made from sustainable ingredients, LUSH donates 100% of the profits of this purchase to organisations supporting environmental conservation, human rights, and animal welfare. I bought one in London and I absolutely love it! It smells great and I keep it cool in the fridge. It's self-preserving so one container can last as long as you need it to, and withstand any travel. Just know that the label does not define the charity the proceeds go towards, rather the profits are collectively split amongst the various charities.

Madécasse Dark Chocolate $45

This delectable set includes the entire current collection of  Madécasse dark chocolate bars plus an extra Sea Salt & Nibs bar for good luck. The bars come neatly packaged in our keepsake recipe box that can be used over again as a nice home for your Madécasse chocolate or for 4 x 6 recipe cards. No-GMOs, Vegan, Gluten Free, Kosher, Soy Free, USDA Organic. Direct trade chocolate means that this company purchases chocolate directly from the growers and farmers, creating more transparency and less middlemen. The company was started by former Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar, and the company has made three trips back to the area to refurbish schools and build a water system. 

(S’WELL)RED 17oz. Bottle $35

These stylish, sleek steel bottles are perfect for travel or hauling to the gym, and the (RED) brand means the proceeds go to fight AIDS. A purchase of this bottle can provide 23 days of life-saving medicine to someone in need. You can even personalise it with a monogram for an additional $10.

TOMS Women's Natural Burlap Alpargata Flat $79 

No charitable list would be complete without TOMS! Take a step in the right direction with these black and white minimalist TOMS sneakers. The shoe brand is renowned for their charitable efforts working working with over 100 philanthropic partners. Not only does TOMS match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair of shoes for a child in need, but they've expanded to eye wear, clean water and safe birth.

Fire Dept. Coffee $12

This coffee is seriously lit! Made by actual firefighters and sourced from environmentally-friendly farms in Central and South America. Fire Dept. Coffee is made with both our people and our planet in mind. Get buzzed off of caffeine and feel-good vibes knowing that a portion of every sale is donated to firefighter veterans or military assistance programmes

How are you giving back this holiday season?

Let me know in the comments!

Gift Guide: For The Hostess With The Mostess

Hello Lovely,

Today I'm continuing the Gift Guide with 10 items for your foodie friend: The Hostess with The Mostess. Maybe you have a family member who is a fabulous home cook—someone who always whips up a delectable four-course meal whenever you come for a “casual” dinner. Or perhaps you have a bestie who you always turn to for restaurant recommendations—a friend who loves fine dining and worships celebrity chefs like they were pop stars. Or maybe it's that friend that likes odd items with personality and character. Either way, this gift guide will have you covered. Every good guest knows the golden rule: never show up empty-handed. But finding just the right thing for your gracious host can feel like an insurmountable task—particularly if you’re travelling or trying to complete a lengthy to-do list before leaving for your trip. And although a bottle of wine is always a nice gesture, you need not resort to the old standby just because you’re short on time. There are plenty of creative options out there. From gourmet ingredients to the chicest kitchen tools and serving pieces, check out these gourmand gift ideas below…

For The Hostess.png

These Sweary Oven Mitts Are Perfect For Friends Who Are Out Of F*cks $13 BUY NOW

Is there anything better than a sweary gift?  I mean, come on. That’s why these amazing sweary oven mitts from Always Fits are the perfect addition to your holiday shopping list. Oh, who are we kidding. Once you see all of these, you’re going to want to buy them for yourself.

Mouth.com Pantry in a Bag, $105.50 BUY NOW

Not sure what artisanal fixings to get for your favourite home chef? Why not contribute to dinner with Mouth.com’s curated foodie gifts like this Pantry in a Bag.

Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer System $199 BUY NOW

This tops my Christmas wish list! For all the coffee addicts out there, this is the gift to buy! The next-generation Ninja Coffee Bar® is more than a coffee maker. It's a coffee system—complete with a variety of brew types and sizes, a built-in frother, and tons of delicious coffee recipes you can create and enjoy at home.

Erasable Wine Glass Markers $13 BUY NOW

Made for marking on (and washing off!) glass and ceramic, these markers help your host and all her guests avoid the perennial party question: "Is this my glass?"

Echo Show $229 BUY NOW

Got a hostess friend who loves to set the mood and maybe even show off a little? The Echo Show is the perfect gift! Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings, Amazon Video content, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. Call anyone hands-free, or make video calls to family and friends with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App. Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby's room with compatible cameras from Amazon and others. Turn on lights or the TV, set thermostats, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.

Infused Pinot Noir Salt $12 BUY NOW

Sprinkle your wine-loving friend with love (and salt) this year.

Wine Advent Box $129 BUY NOW

World class wines from renowned regions across Italy, France, Spain and more. Naughty or nice, you deserve a glass (or 12) this season! Countdown with a new glass of wine every night because we're adults and chocolate just doesn't cut it anymore...

12 Days Of Christmas Appetizer Plates $120 BUY NOW

For the hostess who's obsessed with Christmas, this winsome Christmas Countdown will amuse them every time they sit down to their table. 12 assorted square scalloped plates in a gift box takes care of the packaging for you. All you have to do is add the bow on top!

Vena's Gin Infusion Jars $13 BUY NOW

Packed with spices and dried fruit, these DIY drink jars are an amateur mixologist's dream. (The company also offers tons of options for vodka, bourbon and tequila!) You can even DIY this gift for a personal touch!

Gingerbread Cookie Mix $16 BUY NOW

When all else fails, you can't beat a mason jar cookie mix. These jars of pre-measured ingredients makes the whole cookie-baking thing tres easy. Pair with any of these homemade food gifts and you're set for your entrance. This gift can also be a DIY with your own personal recipe!

Which gifts will you be getting your favourite foodie friend?

Let me know below!

Gift Guide: For The New Mom

Gift Guide: For The New Mom

Between feedings, changing diapers, and getting used to their happy but sleepless life, new moms need extra special attention when it comes to gift-giving this time of year. The new moms in your life have enough onesies and wipes. Whether you’re popping in for a visit or sending love across the country, treat her to a gift that’s just for her – from cosy sweats to luxe skincare – to help her feel amazing while she’s embarking on this next adventure. Read on for 5 no-fail gifts for new moms that are guaranteed to please. With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start mulling over the perfect present. To make the process a cinch, we did the legwork for you with these 5 great new-mom picks.

Read More