5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

5 Tips For Your First Year in a Long Distance Relationship

Being apart from your sweetheart can be lonely and frustrating. Whether it's for a few days, a week, a month, or a long distance relationship - any time is too long! I know how it feels to be separated from your spouse and I want to help all of our long distance couples stay strong, happy, and healthy. If you’re considering entering a long distance relationship, or find yourself in one, here are 5 tips for getting through the first year.

Read More

The Smart New Guide To Online Dating

Hello Lovely,

January is usually known for a hug surge in two places: the gym and online dating. But why? During this time most people write out plans for the year that normally include creating a regimen to reach a specific fitness goal. Also, during this time you're usually guaranteed a discounted price, the sign-up fee waived, or a few free gym accessories as a sign-on perk. According to Match.com, online dating sites are at their busiest between Dec. 26 and Feb. 14. Match reports 50 million messages sent and 1 million dates occurring during this time, which is referred to as peak dating season. It’s probably because the weather makes us crave a cuddle buddy, but there’s nothing like the holidays to make us feel lonely. So what do we do? The millennial approach to dating is definitely online dating; bars are intimidating and no one has time to wait three days to two weeks for processing time to get a call/text back.

It seems like every day we’re hearing about a new dating app. From Bumble to Coffee Meets Bagel and from Hinge to Happn, there are a lot of options out there and it can be a little overwhelming! Don’t worry, as an online dating veteran, I’ve got some expert tips for you so can avoid making some of the same mistakes I did and meet your forever person!

DSC_0094.jpg
  1. Choose the right app

Once you know exactly what you want, you have to choose the right dating platform. There are 10 major sites and apps to choose from, so let’s quickly break them down. Tinder might be the best known of all the dating apps out there, but just remember it does have a reputation for being a hookup site, so if you’re looking for a serious connection, this may not be it. I’ve never heard of Hinge before but it’s an interesting concept: Hinge uses mutual Facebook friends to curate matches. The app also uses a scrolling feature, which allows you to interact with multiple parts of a profile, rather than swiping left and right, so no more missed connections! The League is super exclusive and ever I couldn’t get in. After you submit your LinkedIn profile, the apps takes about a week to approve you as a new member, giving you access to 1-6 carefully curated and verified matches a day (height included!) Be careful though, if you aren’t active, the app will kick you out.

Raya bills itself as an app for creative types, from DJs to restaurateurs to NBA players.  To apply, be ready to show a large Instagram following—the rest is up to a “secret committee.” For those looking for a more specific type of connection, JSwipe offers a range of options, from “orthodox” to “just Jewish.”  Bumble asks women to send the first text. Don’t worry if you accidentally swipe past your soul mate—the app offers three free “backtracks” every three hours. I tried coffee meets bagel and I honestly uninstalled it the same day so trust me, skip this one. you to match with people you’ve passed in real life. If they have an account, you can send a like…which they’ll only see if they like you back! Foolproof and a little stalkerish…

Then there’s my personal favourite: OkCupid. I met my ex on it, and since then I’ve had A LOT of interesting conversations. Some I’ve written off the person immediately because there’s no way they could’ve thought we were compatible. Like match.com, after answering a TON of question (and I do mean a TON - but seriously don’t skip them they’re important) you’ll know just how compatible you and a potential match would be based on the percentage of personality traits you share. The app just released an update that shows which specific interests you overlap on, so if certain qualities are more important to you than others, you’ll be able to sort through matches much more easily. OkCupid’s software is literally a free version of Match.com. Sure there are some limits that you’ll have to pay to unlock, but there’s still a lot you can do with it.

2. Perfect Your Profile

Trust me, people actually read your profile! This is where you tell someone why they should get to know you; why they should swipe right. You want to make sure that you get across what’s important to you, and show some personality, too. Include a joke or a cheeky pun, if that’s up your alley. I struck up a conversation with a guy who said he wants a girl who can cook him grits and that was one of the best things I could’ve done! (We still talk)! You also want to give the viewer something to start a conversation about, so make sure that your profile says something that they can engage with. The most important thing is to make it personal, so whatever you feel good about is the right way to go.

As important as what you write is the profile picture. When you pick a profile picture, PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE OTHER PEOPLE! I have looked at pictures and wondered which one is the guy, and the worst ones are them with other girls. Is it your sister? Best friend? Ex-girlfriend? Current girlfriend? Either way it tells me that you’re unavailable so I swipe left quickly.

3. Be Patient & Open Minded

It’s hard to really tell what someone is like based on a few photos. Get to know people, chat it up, and be open-minded. If you’re only into tall, dark and handsome but you end up having great conversation with a blondie who’s on the shorter side, give it a chance. Also, age is just a number (to an extent). We’re not telling you to run out and date someone 30 years older than you, but remember that older usually means wiser (and more dating and life experience), so don’t be afraid to date outside of your own age range.

Also you may be on a site or app for weeks or months without making a genuine connection. Don’t quit! OkCupid found new guys for me every day! A lot of them never messaged me back, but that could be for a number of reasons. Remember, some people may no longer use the site because they lost interest or met someone and just didn’t deactivate their account. So don’t take it personal if the responses are a little slow.

Above all else, remember to always be yourself. Don’t be someone you think will attract the “perfect person” and you can’t maintain the facade. Don’t be afraid to set your standards and don’t settle. Whether you’re looking to casually date or find your lifelong partner, remember to put your best foot forward.

THE SMART NEW GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING.png

What are your favourite dating apps? Do you have any online dating tips that you didn’t see on this list?

Share your recommendations in the comments!

Montana and Jess' Stunning Nautical Wedding

Montana and Jess' Stunning Nautical Wedding

On December 30, 2017, my baby cousin Montana was wedded. The wedding took place in Freeport at the Grand Bahama Yacht Club. The dock provided the perfect backdrop for the ceremony. The nautical theme was consistent throughout the decor, down to the anchor that provided the perfect ampersand under the arch to symbolise the joining of two individuals.

The magnetising chemistry between the couple really showed throughout the ceremony. They seriously couldn’t be any cuter together. It was a photographer’s dream to work with such  individuals who were so passionate about one another that it also inspired me with my own emotional journey.

Read More

Why Millennials are Swearing off Dating

Hello Lovely,

Have you ever hung out with a guy or gal and everything seems to be going swell until they say, "I'm not looking for a relationship right now." That line has easily been decoded to mean, "I don't want a relationship I just want to mess around." I've met some interesting people since ending my last relationship and learned a lot about the current dating scene. I even met a guy who had the opportunity to get back together with his ex-girlfriend but chose not to because he wanted to sleep around some more. Dating as a millennial can make people as replaceable as the latest iPhone. So why aren't millennials dating or getting serious about who they date?

BAD-DATE.jpg

1. We realised the Disney fairy tale is a lie

Our parents fed us a huge lie and we fell for it; until now. With the spike in divorce rates there's been a new level of awareness for what you don't have to tolerate in a relationship. We believed in happily ever afters because of Disney, however, Disney is based on morbid fiction, but got sprinkled with magic pixie dust to make us see the beauty in the world. The problem is, no one is that charming in real life. Most of us are actually the villain. It's hard to hold onto that fairy tale when all around you are single parent homes and moms and dads who hate each other.

2. The rules of dating have changed drastically. 

Remember when you had to send a note to your crush looking like this? 

crush-note.jpg

Then there was the awkward movie date and a whole bunch of rules and bases you had to pass before that person even became your significant other. We took dating more seriously back then. We planned weddings in primary school and swore to be together forever.

Now you don't really need to know anything significant about the person before jumping into bed with them. Dating can now literally be defined by Netflix and Chill. No one holds the door open any more, goes to restaurants or even calls. Courting has become a series of texts and dick pics. Have you noticed guys don't even try to dance with girls in the club any more? While there's been a lot more emphasis on being relaxed and letting things happen organically, it can be a little confusing to navigate. Does putting out early push him away or keep his interest? And no matter how many guides they write on this stuff, there's really no one-size-fits-all. Dating is about trial and error making it way too complicated for people who have "more important" things to do.

3. We're too career driven

Thanks to baby boomers, it's a lot harder for us to be taken seriously in the workforce. We were constantly told as kids to stop focusing on boys/girls and get an education. My mom always taught me that two people shouldn't be "unequally yoked" and I need to be so successful that no man can ever say, "If it weren't for me you wouldn't ______________". So that's been my approach to dating ever since. I pushed myself to get a Master's Degree and now I'm focused on fixing up my resume. I've even begun looking for new supplemental courses to take to increase my market value. Why? Because life isn't cheap. Housing is expensive and the average cost of living is ridiculous. It's worse when we're trying to travel so that we can "see the world" like everyone is telling us to. So we have to be educated, well travelled, and fiscally responsible before we can even begin to think about settling down. With this kind of focus, it makes it really hard to pick a mate.

508580333.jpg

4. Seriously, these are our choices? 

The microwave generation has done a lot of amazing things, the least of which is the invention of reality TV and social media. When you're able to see what everyone is thinking with a single swipe, it makes it easier to eliminate people from your dating pool. Typically, our generation has two types of people: the career driven person who understands that it takes hard work and dedication to sustain a family, and the instant gratification person who sees nothing wrong with earning a living from their living room. The career driven person is usually too busy to date and can sometimes seem out of touch, while the socially driven person seems too lackadaisical and not serious about life.

The recent culture shift has also put a huge strain on traditional values. Do we honour a traditional relationship or is it okay to "go Dutch"? Women have been forced to step up and provide for themselves at the expense of being labelled, bitches, control freaks and insubordinate. Yet our men get away with being dead beat dads, unemployed and still living at home with their mom. But don't forget, men are supposed to be the "head of the household". So it's back to that "unequally yoked" theory.

5. "Don't catch feelings, catch flights"

I've heard this cliche more times than I can count! Somehow, it's become the cool thing to just not show any kind of emotion. God forbid you see someone you like and actually pursue them. Even if it was just a random hookup, it's assumed you "caught feelings" just because you text them the next day. No, it's called being a decent human being. There's a post-modern trend to simply forgo labels and live in the moment. One of my best friends actually chastised me for calling myself a "hopeless romantic". I was angry about that because I never said it was a bad thing. I have no problem being a hopeless romantic and someday I know I'll find someone who's a hopeless romantic like me.

I met a guy who said he doesn't kiss. What are you afraid of? She'll suddenly think you're totally in love with her and want to get married just because you romanced her a little before getting her into bed? People, it's okay to show emotions and and it's okay to form attachments (as long as that's what both parties want). We weren't meant to do life alone so stop acting like you don't need anybody.

These are only 5 reasons why Millennials don't "date" any more. If you have your own reason share it in the comment section below. I'd love to hear from you!

Many people have found love and even got married using free dating websites, so keep at it! 

We Love Dates is a dating website that caters to many different niches. We Love Dates is free and gives people the opportunity to find likeminded people in their age range and location.

If you're an adult looking for an adult dating website, try this one: http://www.nostringsdating.net/uk

Looking for lesbian dating? Try this one: http://www.dateLesbianSingles.co.uk

Over 50 and looking to date? Try this one: http://www.older-dating.co.uk

And if you're looking for gay dating try this one: http://www.dategaysingles.co.uk/

Double Dipped Love/Hate Cookies

Hello Lovely,

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so we're totally taking a break from all of the healthy eating for the day! I remember in college the Psychology Club had an annual bake sale every Valentine's Day called the Love it or Hate Bake Sale. We sold desserts for people who both celebrated and hated Valentine's Day. It was the perfect marketing strategy! People who didn't care for Valentine's Day were happy with their Anti-Valentine's Day treat and lovers were happy to share their bright and colourful treats with each other. That was actually the inspiration for this cookie. To be honest, I never thought I would make cookies , but as the saying goes, "Never say never."

This recipe doesn't get any easier. In fact, it's not even actually a recipe. It uses so many shortcuts that none of it is from scratch, but that doesn't make it taste any less delicious! All you'll need is a package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Mix, two cans of frosting (chocolate and strawberry or vanilla with food colouring), and of course sprinkles!

Bake the cookies according to the package directions, and wait for them to completely cool. While the cookies are cooling, you can melt the frosting in the microwave. But just remember, melt it too much and you've got watery frosting that won't stick to anything and in about one minute the frosting will return to it's original texture so you've got to work fast.

Share these cookies at a bake sale, with co-workers, friends or your loved ones. Go crazy with the sprinkles and even paint a design on the cookies. Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday Favourites: Cool Date Ideas for Valentine's Day

Hello Lovely,

Valentine's Day is soon upon us (only 11 days) and if you're in a relationship, you're probably trying to figure out what to do on this special day. Some people go all out while some just want to forget the day exist. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, we here at Life By Olivia have got you covered for the best date ideas. Whether you're married, dating or long distance, we've got you covered! 

Simply download our guide below, schedule some time with your partner and go over which date ideas sound ideal to you. It's on a 1-3 scale, with 1 meaning, "Nah I'll pass on that idea" and 3 meaning, "Yeah, I'd love to do that". It's a great way to learn more about what interests your partner while finding new ways to connect with them!

Which date idea are you most excited about? Personally I can't wait to try the online karaoke with my beau. This is prove if he really does like my singing or not :). Tell us which date idea you like best. And if you're flying solo this year, feel free to try any of these ideas with your best friend!

3 Cocktails to Try This Valentine's Day

Hello Lovely,

We're officially in February, which means it's about to start raining hearts and kissing emojis. Is it just me or did February kind of sneak up on us? We were so preoccupied with New Year's Resolutions, budgeting, fitness regimes, and President Trump (ugh), that even though January seemed to drag on forever, we still weren't quite ready for February. Normally for Thirsty Thursdays, we try to bring you one cocktail that we've actually made, but today we decided to give you guys three different Valentine's Day themed cocktails to try and then you can tell us which one was your favourite! Don't forget to share!

This cherry vodka cocktail is actually really simple to make  and  can be made two different ways: as a shooter and as a cocktail.  Cherry Vodka Shooter  1 part cherry vodka  1 part amaretto  1/2 part grenadine  1 maraschino cherry (optional)  Put the cherry in first, if you’re adding one, and then add each liquid on top of it. Done!

This cherry vodka cocktail is actually really simple to make and can be made two different ways: as a shooter and as a cocktail.

Cherry Vodka Shooter

1 part cherry vodka

1 part amaretto

1/2 part grenadine

1 maraschino cherry (optional)

Put the cherry in first, if you’re adding one, and then add each liquid on top of it. Done!

Lady in Red   1.5 ounce bourbon  1 ounce POM Pomegranate Juice  .5 ounce lemon juice  Ginger Beer (chilled)  Combine lemon juice, pomegranate juice and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake vigorously for a minute then pour over ice in a rocks glass and top off with ginger beer. (via  Creative Culinary )

Lady in Red

1.5 ounce bourbon

1 ounce POM Pomegranate Juice

.5 ounce lemon juice

Ginger Beer (chilled)

Combine lemon juice, pomegranate juice and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake vigorously for a minute then pour over ice in a rocks glass and top off with ginger beer. (via Creative Culinary)

 Strawberry Bellini with Rim Sugar   HOW TO:  First, you’ll need to make some Strawberry Syrup:  Ingredients:  1 pound of strawberries (fresh is better, but frozen will work in a pinch)  1 cup water  1 cup sugar  Hull and chop your strawberries, then add them into a medium-sized saucepan. Next, add the water and sugar. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring your mixture to a low boil and let the mix cook until the fruit begins to break down (about 8 to 10 minutes). Stir, stir, stir the whole time!  Remove the saucepan from the heat. Next, put a mesh sieve over a large measuring cup. Strain your syrup through the sieve (to get rid of the fruit solids). Discard the berries or use the berries for another dish (we love adding them to plain yogurt!)  Pour the syrup back into the saucepan. Bring this mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and bring the mix to a simmer. You’ll want to simmer your syrup until it reduces and thickens up a bit (about 5 to 10 more minutes).  Once you’ve hit that stage, remove the pan from the heat and let your syrup cool. Pour into a glass container and keep chilled in the refrigerator.  Next, make your strawberry bellinis!  Cocktail ingredients:  8 oz Prosecco  4 oz strawberry syrup   Dell Cove Spice Co.’s Strawberry flavored Cocktail Rim Sugar   2 chilled champagne glasses  Directions:  Rim your chilled champagne glasses with Dell Cove Spice Co.’s Strawberry Cocktail Rim Sugar and set aside. Pour 2 oz of strawberry syrup into each glass. Top off glass with Prosecco. Garnish with strawberry, if desired. Makes 2 drinks.

 Strawberry Bellini with Rim Sugar

HOW TO:

First, you’ll need to make some Strawberry Syrup:

Ingredients:

1 pound of strawberries (fresh is better, but frozen will work in a pinch)

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Hull and chop your strawberries, then add them into a medium-sized saucepan. Next, add the water and sugar. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring your mixture to a low boil and let the mix cook until the fruit begins to break down (about 8 to 10 minutes). Stir, stir, stir the whole time!

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Next, put a mesh sieve over a large measuring cup. Strain your syrup through the sieve (to get rid of the fruit solids). Discard the berries or use the berries for another dish (we love adding them to plain yogurt!)

Pour the syrup back into the saucepan. Bring this mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and bring the mix to a simmer. You’ll want to simmer your syrup until it reduces and thickens up a bit (about 5 to 10 more minutes).

Once you’ve hit that stage, remove the pan from the heat and let your syrup cool. Pour into a glass container and keep chilled in the refrigerator.

Next, make your strawberry bellinis!

Cocktail ingredients:

8 oz Prosecco

4 oz strawberry syrup

Dell Cove Spice Co.’s Strawberry flavored Cocktail Rim Sugar

2 chilled champagne glasses

Directions:

Rim your chilled champagne glasses with Dell Cove Spice Co.’s Strawberry Cocktail Rim Sugar and set aside. Pour 2 oz of strawberry syrup into each glass. Top off glass with Prosecco. Garnish with strawberry, if desired. Makes 2 drinks.

That's all it takes to make these amazing Valentine's Day themed cocktails! Feel free to swap out ingredients where necessary (such as the brand of alcohol or maybe using raspberries instead of strawberries). Mix one up for you and your lover, or maybe just sit back and sip on one with your favourite gal pal. The only real question left is, shaken or stirred?

Letter From Olivia: Fall in Love February

Hello Lovely,

February is a very special time of year for many reasons.. It’s undoubtedly the most romantic season with cozy sweater weather, making it the perfect time to let your heart guide you. And if Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing, there’s still reason to celebrate, because it’s my birth month! That’s right, I was born on February 19, making me both an Aquarius and Pisces (for all the horoscope lovers out there). This year I will be turn 27. I don’t feel anything special about this age, but another year alive is a great reason to celebrate!

That said, you can look forward to plenty of posts about love on LifeByOlivia.net this month. Here’s what we have in store…

For all you crafty ladies and gents out there, we have Valentine’s Day DIYs galore. From the usual V-Day themed recipes to gift ideas, and a few last minute workout ideas to stay or get in shape for Valentine’s Day. We’ll even share a few tips on how throw your own “Galentine’s” event for you and your girls if you’re single this year.

Our Instagram page is going through a rebranding process as well so keep an eye out for those changes coming soon.

We can’t wait to show you all of the amazing things we have planned for this month. If you haven't already, subscribe so that you can receive the first Life By Olivia E Magazine. We’ve got 9 great new recipes for you, 3 cool printables that are super easy to use and a bonus DIY Beauty Treatment to keep you fresh while you’re on the go.

We hope that you are inspired this month to try something new in the kitchen and in the bedroom. After all, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach!