How to Make Mindful Purchases

How to Make Mindful Purchases

Living a life with intention means being more thoughtful when it comes to making decisions. Making mindful purchases can mean less buyers remorse. I can't tell you how many things I bought on a whim that I really didn't need but in my impulsive moment, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. So recently, I made a more conscious effort to make more mindful purchases. I’m going to do this by following these 3 steps:

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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…

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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!

Olivia's Guide to London

Hello Lovely,

It’s no secret I love to travel. In the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in St. Croix,  Exuma, and now London, Amsterdam and Switzerland. I didn't really get to share my trip to Exuma with you guys other than a few photos on Instagram; so when I was in London, I couldn't wait to write about my experiences. 

Now, if you’re just here for the recipes – no hard feelings. I totally get it! But I wanted to let you know travel posts will be a new thing around here, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting a sneak peak into my adventures.

So without further ado, let’s dive into my guide to London.

My travel companion for this trip was my best friend from college who is also my ex, Doran (yes I'm actually best friends with my ex). I was supposed to go on a European cruise with my last boyfriend but when we broke up, I knew that wouldn't work any more. I didn't want to miss out on my European adventures so I called up Doran while I was in Exuma, asked him if I could stay with him for two weeks and he agreed. So all I had to do was pay for airfare and ground transportation and I bought all of the tickets for us to get to Amsterdam, Switzerland and back to London in advance (I'll share more on that in a separate post).

Oddly enough I was super sick on the flight to London. My acid reflux flared badly (to be honest it had been a problem for two weeks leading up to my trip) so I was in a lot of pain on the plane. I couldn't do anything and I could hardly move. I almost requested an emergency landing for medical attention but I suffered through. Upon landing, I didn't feel any better. And to make matters worse, my friend forgot that I was flying through Gatwick and went to Heathrow instead. So I had to book a coach to take me from Gatwick to Heathrow, which was really easy to do and cost me just under £30.

Once I was settled in, I drank tea for two days, got back on my Nexium and ate better.

Where we ate:

Keat's Cafe: This was my favourite place to eat. It's budget friendly, food is ready in 10 minutes or less and presentation is great! It was just around the block from where I stayed making it super convenient for me to pop in for a latte. I was so impressed by the glass and spoons, I went to Poundland and bought 2 latte glasses and latte spoons for £1 each. Two people can eat here for £15 or less depending on what you order. Just walk in and grab a seat and a waiter will come to you.

Bill's (New Broadway, Ealing): The perfect date night spot, Doran and I ate here on a Friday night before walking up the street to a bar for a night of dancing. Dinner for two can be less than £40. It's very close to the Ealing Broadway Tube Station and it's open pretty late. Our joke of the night was me trying to get through the Diablo Gnocchi without dying. I thought asking for no spicy sausage would eliminate all spices but the sauce itself is spicy. The waiter was also really accomodating when I asked to change my drink because the Pimms Summer Punch ended up having cucumber in it, which I ABSOLUTELY HATE. Even without the cucumber it just had too much going on, so I settled on a nice Rose.

We also ate from a pizza place that offered 4 toppings on a 9" for only £3.99 and a Thai place in Westfield Mall (I also can't remember the name of this place).

Where we Partied

The Lodge Tavern: After dinner we walked up the street to The Lodge Tavern. It's gorgeous on the outside, nearby the tube station and adjacent to a bus stop making getting home after a night of partying very convenient. Oh and free adminsion!The DJ on deck (can't remember his name) was great. We danced to Top 40 mostly and drank Heineken. It was a fun and safe environment.

Where we Shopped:

Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre: I'm not ashamed to admit that I went here twice during my stay! The first time I went straight to Primark and I am in love with that store now! The second time was to exchange a few items at Primark for larger sizes, and pick up a few gifts at the other stores. I love this place and it's never too crowded that you can't enjoy your shopping experience.

Westfield Mall: This place seems to be the mall everyone shops at. It reminds me of Aventura Mall  x3. It's so big! There's luxury high end stores and regular stores for the average person like myself. It was my first time ever walking into a Zara store so I was super excited. But the almost hour long wait just to check out was enough to drive me up the wall. The food court has a lot of great options and there always seems to be something happening here. You've got to check this mall out (just be prepared to spend the whole day here).

Where I Toured

This is the one I enjoyed the most! I booked a Vintage Double Decker for my first full day and saw all of the major sights of London including Big Ben, London Tower, the Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the London Eye. I enjoyed the cruise on the Thames River as I got to see Parliament, MI5 and MI6 and the school that Daniel Radcliffe went to before joining the cast of Harry Potter. My tour guide was awesome but sadly due to all of the excitement, I don't remember half of what he said. I really only remember that you will never see IV on a church clock or clock tower to represent 4. And he was right. Even when we went to Switzerland, they all said IIII. This is because Charles V of France complained about the use of IV on a clock made by Henry de Vick and demanded it be changed to IIII. Ever since then it's been customary to just use IIII instead of IV. And now you know!

Two days later, I went on the most magical experience of my life! I took a tour to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Bath. I found Windsor Castle to be highly overrated and Stonehenge to be a little underwhelming (I have no idea why). But Salisbury took my breath away! I was so angry that my camera battery died at this point and in an effort to curb my spending on trinkets, I left my bag with the backup batteries and my cellphone on the tour bus which was parked over a mile away. It was here that I saw an original copy of the Magna Carter and had a lovely conversation with a female Methodist priest. (Just so you know, like almost every other church in England, the church is Anglican).

The city of Bath was nice as well where I finally tried Costa coffee (it's everywhere in England and totally overrated). Although everything seemed more expensive in Bath, the desserts were at a great price and SOOOOOOOOO DELICIOUS! I had the strawberry and rhubarb and I was so hungry I can't even remember which pastry I got for lunch but I remember being highly satisfied.

It was a very long drive back to the city of London and I actually got on the wrong train coming back home (twice). I actually cried hysterically when I realised I got on the wrong train again so luckily a nice lady on the side of me named Candy helped me to get on the right train because she was headed to the same station. Silly me didn't realise the train desitnation was on a marquee on the front of the train and a marquee at the station let you know when to expect the train. Thank goodness I never made that mistake again. (Who am I kidding? We totally got on the wrong train in Switzerland, but my friend is completely to blame for that and that's another story for another day).

Question: Have you been to London? What were your favourite spots? I was there for nearly 2 weeks and in hindsight I know there’s so much more we could have seen (and eaten) if I weren't so sick and afraid of getting lost. Do you have any recommendations for where I should vacation next? Share in the comment section below and don't forget to subscribe for the newsletter!

5 WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK IN YOUR DAY

Hello Lovely,

Sometimes you just need to take a break. Over the years, I've mastered the art of constructive procrastination. It may seem like I'm not doing anything (and a lot of times I really do feel like I'm not doing enough) but everyone around me is still amazed at how much I can accomplish on a daily basis. I may have mentioned before that I perform best between the hours of 10-1. Something within me just awakens midday and then crashes again right after lunch. But as we all know, the workday doesn't end at 1 so there's a lot that still needs to be done. If you have an office job or work in a strict environment, taking a break is usually frowned upon. However, what many employers should learn is, the busier and more chaotic your day, the more important it is to take a break (or two!) at some point in the midst of all the craziness for both your mental and physical well-being.  Here are 5 ways to take a break in your day when you need just 15 minutes to clear your head, get out of the kitchen or just up and out of the desk chair.

Go For a Walk

Did you know that “Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems..." So what should you do? Go for a walk of course! Walks are great because they not only get you moving physically but there’s something about the change of scenery that jolts my mind into thinking differently or creatively about whatever is on my brain at that time. There are many ways you can take a walk that doesn't look like a waste of time. Walk to the prnter, the water cooler, the bathroom or drive somewhere just to eat your lunch.

Read Something Not on a Computer Screen

Can you remember the last time you read something not on your phone, computer or e-reader? It’s scary, huh? I think our eyes need a break from screens as much as our legs need to move and our brains need to think about something other than work. There are some days my eyes actually burn from being overworked. Reading something like an actual book, magazine, newspaper or cookbook even is not only a great mental break (and forces you to think about something else besides work) but a much needed reprieve for our eyes.

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Eat a Snack

 I’m a big believer in snacks being substantial. 100 calories isn’t going to do me any good and I need a decent balance of protein/carbs/fat to feel satiated. I usually snack around 11 to keep me going until lunchtime. My favourite snacks include apple slices, cheese and crackers, or a peanut butter sandwich. Keep your metabolism going to keep up the energy.

Take a Nap

This is my favorite kind of break. I keep a pillow at my desk whenever I just need 10 minutes of peace and quiet. During my downtime, I like to take just a few minutes to refresh and reflect. A lot of times, I don't actually fall asleep but the relief of closing my eyes for a few moments helps my brain to shut off for awhile or come up with a new way of looking at the problem. If taking a nap isn't an option, try daydreaming. It can be surprisingly productive .

Clean Something

Yes, I’m telling you to clean something as a way to take a break and refresh yourself. Here’s the thing, cleaning is normally looked at as a chore we all hate doing. The things to clean (your desk, the bathroom, the kitchen…) all pile up throughout the week and before you know it, you’re spending half your weekend and/or downtime cleaning. When I feel myself needing a break in the day, I’ll pick a small area, room or surface to clean, give myself 10-15 minutes and get it done. It completely breaks the mentality of cleaning being a chore and instead makes it a welcome break in your day. Not only do you give your brain some downtime, your house or office gets cleaned in the meantime and you free up a substantial part of your weekend. Boom.

Our Christmas Wishlist

Our Christmas Wishlist

The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!The Life By Olivia team shares their Christmas Wishlist for the upcoming holidays. Is there anything on our list that you now want to add to yours? Or maybe there's something you're dying to get that should be on our list!

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Friday Favourites: 5 Places to Visit in St. Croix

After going to St. Croix at the beginning of the month, I have a renewed love for travelling! I don't know where my next trip will be, but if you're planning a vacation, I would definitely recommend going to St. Croix. And if you do go there, here are 5 must-see spots to visit!

ARMSTONG'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

When we first went to Armstrong's (we went a total of three times) it was just for my boyfriend to visit his family members (the proprietors of the store). But when we went back I was really excited to try their ice cream. It was super-hot, and we had just come from the beach, so it was perfect! As you can see on the sign atop their shop in Frederiksted (which the first two days of the trip I kept saying Frankensted), Armstrong’s has been producing homemade ice cream in St. Croix for 112 years. Anyone and everyone on the island loves ice cream from them. Why? The big reason why is also right on the sign – Armstrong’s serves real homemade ice cream here, the kind with big chunks of good stuff conspicuously wedged into the cold and creamy treasures, the better to let the natural flavours shine in your cone or cup. Normally you’re able to get almond, banana, butter pecan, cherry vanilla and rum raisin ice cream just about anywhere. But here at Armstrong’s, you can probably find guava, mango, passion fruit, or soursop, too. Just remember that a lot of the flavours are seasonal so don’t expect to get mango or pumpkin in May. I fell in love with the banana, and even liked the guava and gooseberry, even though I don’t like guava or gooseberry. Despite my lactose intolerance, I was able to eat these ice creams with no discomfort at all! So if you’re looking to cool off, make sure you stop in to this family-owned store during your trip!

POINT UDALL

If only to say that you have been to the Eastern-most point of the United States of America you should go here. The view is absolutely breath-taking and really makes you appreciative for natural wonders.

CHRISTIANSTED NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE

What I love about Christiansted is the streets are filled with historic colonial buildings and churches. I’m a huge history geek and a sucker for historical sites. To the locals, I’m sure they just saw dilapidated buildings. To me, all I could think was how many great photoshoots I could host there. If you find yourself visiting the USVI be sure to visit the Christiansted National Historic Site to see the Old Danish Customs House, Fort Christiansted, the Government House, local bars and restaurants and a great shopping district.

BIG DOCK

You know things are serious when your boyfriend tells you that no one jumps off big dock unless someone else is doing it too. Big Dock is right next to the Frederiksted Clock Tower (another great photoshoot location). We went there twice to jump and I jumped a total of 6 times. Here’s a video if just one of my jumps. I think you’ll have fun laughing at me.

SALT RIVER BAY NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK AND ECOLOGICAL PRESERVE

This one we didn’t actually get a chance to go to, but I really wish we did. At this point, everyone was a little cranky from the long car rides so we ended up driving right past it. It’s supposedly a great tourist spot though. Coral reefs, a submarine canyon, mangroves, wildlife, pre-colonial ruins and Columbus’ landing spot make this a top attraction. Photos came from their website.

In addition to these places to visit, there are many events you've got to try as well, such as stand up paddle party and beach fire every full moon at sunset, Disco Bingo at Deep End Bar & Restuarant, Caribbean night on Mondays and Crab Races on Wednesdays at The Palms at Pelican Cove, and After Hours on First Fridays at Cafe Christine.

So what are you waiting on? Book your next vacation in St. Croix today! And tell me what your must-see favourite spots were!

XoX,

Holiday Nail Art that ISN'T Tacky

Holiday Nail Art that ISN'T Tacky

Holiday-themed nail art can get overly complicated (who has time to draw a full-on winter wonderland on their fingernails?) or worse, can end up looking childish. But this doesn’t mean you should skip out on a festive manicure — there are chic and glittery design ideas to get you in the spirit, and we found some of the best ones out there. From a classic candy cane manicure to a geometric take on the holiday colours, these 10 holiday nail art ideas will have you wanting to head to the nail salon STAT.

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Holiday Style Guide

The holiday season is upon us and every woman is scratching her head trying to figure out what's the best outfit choice for that special event. Some women are body concious and some women are comfortable showing everything. There's nothing wrong with either. But you've also got the few that just can't seem to dress appropriately.

So for every woman out there freaking out over what to wear and what NOT to wear, here's a quick style guide to help you through the holiday season!

Have fun at your office parties, and be safe!

If you're going to drink, designate a driver and don't sleep on strangers couches/floors/beds/etc.


Happy Holidays and remember,

Stay Fashionable!