5 Things I'm Willing to Try in 2019

Hello Lovely,

Whether you’re ready or not, 2019 is here. 2018 was a pretty great year and provided a lot of healing for me. The travelling, friendships and personal growth  were transforming! I opened up to love (even though it ended pretty quickly again) and new opportunities that have completely changed my mindset. I ended the year feeling completely motivated and ready to tackle a ton of new projects!

It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way. If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new. So today I’m sharing the 5 things I’m willing to try in 2019!

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5 Things I'm Willing to Try in 2019

  1. Being Less Negative

So it has recently come to my attention that I have a tendency to be negative. I've always been cynical. Sarcasm makes me laugh, and complaining burns off some steam. When someone close to me commented on my negativity and my tendency to complain, I felt conflicted. I never thought of myself as negative, but apparently it was hurting the people around me and pushing them away. I spend a lot of time talking with my students and co-workers about their stress levels and emotional well-being and how that impacts their health. How could I preach the importance of emotional health to help my clients when I’m not doing the same myself? So I stopped voicing complaints and started highlighting more positive things. To be honest it’s killing me a little, because it feels so fake, but I have to push through if I want to stop pushing away the people I love. 

2. More collaborations

I love having creative friends and trust me I know a lot! We all have tons of ideas, so next year I’m looking forward to more collaborations. More video tutorials, more craft parties and more photography. We always talk about doing things together but 2019 is going to be the year I make it all happen.

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3. A Truly Solo Travel

I’ve wanted to travel by myself for awhile. I went to London by myself but I had a friend there so I wasn’t actually alone. I’m not sure where I’ll go, and everyone is against it because of the dangers of solo travel. But I really want to give a try. Where do you think I should go? Cuba? A cruise?

4. Utilising free time better

Too many times I find myself on holiday just sitting around the house. I convince myself that I’m resting, or conserving gas, staying out of the heat, and gridlock traffic, but what I’m really doing is missing out on a lot of opportunities. Sure rest is nice, but when I’m running around last minute to finish off a post or postponing it due to bad planning I realise how much time I’m actually wasting. So in order to utilise my free time better, I’m really going to have to start sticking to a planner/calendar system. Something where I can list all of the things I need to do, be reminded of it and see a due date so I know how much time I do or don’t have left to finish it.

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5. Another Certification

I’ve already paid for my next certification and I’m so excited. I’m not sharing what it is yet, but I go for training at the end of the month and then I’ll let you all know what I did. I just randomly found out about it from Sheena so I couldn’t pass it up. But that’s only one thing. I’m definitely open to more professional development throughout the year!

What are you looking forward to trying this year? Have you already gotten a jump start? Make sure you set some SMART goals. Share your goals for the New Year in the comment section below!

Olivia's Love Letters: We Need a Resolution!

Huzzah! We have just completed the first full week of 2016, everyone! Give yourself a pat on the back! You made it! We're wrapping up resolution week on the blog and I hope you guys got some inspiration for what your New Years resolutions will or even completed some aspect of it! My blog journal is full of fresh new ideas for the year for lifebyolivia.net and I can't wait to share them all with you! I'm more motivated than ever to make this the best year yet. If your New Year’s resolutions include stepping up your fitness routine, maintaining a balanced diet, reading more, trying new recipes or hair routines, eating out more, or revamping your wardrobe, you might want to keep reading…

This month on the blog you can expect to hear all about health and wellness. From workouts that you can do on your lunch break to learning the best toning moves for your whole body, I can already tell that this year is going to be a healthy one. A new year calls for a new wardrobe, right? I have a fresh batch of January style tips to share with you as well as a dedication to sewing more! 

Trust me when I say that you don’t want to miss out on all of this goodness…

What would you like to see more of on the blog this year? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

XoX,

Olivia


5 Things to Try This Month

1. Un-decorate Your Home.

So let me get this straight, not only did I put everything up by myself, but I have to take it down by myself too!

So let me get this straight, not only did I put everything up by myself, but I have to take it down by myself too!

The Christmas season is officially over which means it's time to take down the decorations. I haven't taken mine down yet because I just got back last weekend, so I planned on taking them down this weekend. In my boyfriend's house, his step mom keeps the tree up all year long. I know that it can seem daunting to take down all of your holiday decorations right when December is over. I mean, just the Christmas tree alone is a messy hassle! This month, take down your decorations before you get sick of looking at them—and maybe even clean de-clutter while you’re at it too.

2. Add a New Twist to Your Favourite Go-To Cocktail

Can I drink all of these?

Can I drink all of these?

Sure, Baileys on the rocks, Sex on the Beach and Mimosas are hard to beat—but sometimes changing up tradition can be a good thing. Take your favourite cocktail recipe, and add a new flavour to it. My go-to is a glass of wine, so lately I've been adding various to the mix to make a Sangria for a little burst of flavour. But a White Chocolate Peppermintini is next on my must-try list.

3. Get Some New Tunes.

Dancing in the mirror, and singing in the shower (badly)!

Dancing in the mirror, and singing in the shower (badly)!


There’s nothing that puts more pep in our step than having some new tunes to blast. It can change the tone of your workout, your get togethers with friends, or your drive to work. Last month I discovered more music by a female rap artist named Snow Tha Product, which I love because I get to channel my inner gangster. I also finally let go of my dislike for Taylor Swift after the release of her latest album and I'm really digging her sound.

4. Send Hand-Written Thank you Notes.

Fanmail anyone? I'd love to hear from you!

Fanmail anyone? I'd love to hear from you!

Something that I've gotten really fond of lately, is sending hand written notes to people on custom designed stationary. It adds such a personal touch; and isn't that what life is about? Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to send your thanks to family and friends who were lovely enough to give you a gift. Have you ever received a hand-written thank you note for a gift you put a lot of thought into? I don’t know about you, but personally feel so appreciated afterwards. Write out those notes (on cute stationery, nonetheless!) and drop them at the post or drive to your friend and hand deliver it.

5. Pick up a New Book

'cause knowledge is power!

'cause knowledge is power!

I've started a book club this month and we're going to read After You, the sequel to Me Before You. Starting the year with a new book is awesome and you won't be alone! Red more about it here!

After You: Book Club Begins Monday January 18!

After You Book Club for January

Hosted by Life By Olivia

Click on photo to download your free copy of this novel!

Click on photo to download your free copy of this novel!

Last night I finished reading the prequel to this book, Me Before You and I was in tears! I picked it up because it was on a list of books to read before you die. It is so well written and really made me feel connected with each of the characters. If you would like to read the first book before we start the second, download your free copy here and STOP READING THIS POST because I'm about to share the synopsis from Goodreads and it contains MAJOR SPOILERS!


How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.
 

If you would like to join in, you’re welcome to do so!  It will be great to share our ideas and reactions every week. On Sunday's we'll gather on my Facebook page to discuss the assigned readings and our predictions for what we think will happen the following week. If reading more was on your list of resolutions, now is the perfect time to start! Here’s the schedule of what we’re reading and when, but if you can’t stick to that, no problem, you can always catch up later or move on if we're going too slow. It's a short book so we should be able to finish in four weeks or less.

Week 1: Chapters 1 - 7

Week 2: Chapters 8 - 15

Week 3: Chapters 16 - 22

Week 4: Chapters 23- 30

Very excited to start reading soon!  Are you joining us?

Thanks for reading,

Olivia

The Only New Years Resolution You Need to Make

It's a new year and for many people, it's the first day back to work or school. This is usually the time when people become chronic list makers, especially ones filled with New Years resolutions that never get completed. I'm bad at making lists of things because I either forget to write it down, lose the object I wrote it on, forget to look at it after writing it or forget to tick it off that it's completed.

But no matter what your plan for the new year is, remember, the sooner you start, the sooner those dreams will come true!

Right-click and save image to download. It is an 8.5 x 11 photo. You can print it smaller to fit your jar size.

Right-click and save image to download. It is an 8.5 x 11 photo. You can print it smaller to fit your jar size.

For those who may be new to my Motivation Mondays, here’s a little run-down of how it works:

I usually share something I heard either in church or read somewhere that I found to be inspiring and think you would be inspired by. This could come in essay form of photo. This time, it's a plan, with a free printable. 

The best way to make sure you don’t miss a week, is to stay connected through my email mailing list. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so right here:

So how are we doing this?!

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This year, instead of making an endless list of how you plan on making 2016 THE year, try making a memory jar. It's one of the easiest things to do. I wanted to do this last year, but of course forgot. Maybe by putting it out on my blog, I'll have something to hold myself accountable on. Instead of relying on Facebook to remind you of your greatest memories for the year, cherish all of your memories, big or small, especially the teensy things that tend to get forgotten.

You can keep a canning jar on the kitchen counter with a stack of colourful paper and a marker. Every few days, jot down something that made you laugh or smile. On New Year’s Eve, I’ll be emptying out the jar, unfolding each paper and reading them one by one.

Next year, a new jar will begin again — and the best part is we can bring out past jars any time to remember the little things that shaped our lives. You'll be surprised by how much positivity you can find in your life once you start this journey!

XoX,

Olivia

 

Blended Family Photoshoot

Happy New Year!

It's officially 2016! I have no idea what day it is any more and my vacation ends tomorrow. I don't know about you guys, but 2015 was pretty sweet for me (mostly thanks to the support from you guys). And it's support like that, that helped me with this latest project, which was very personal for me. I'm used to shooting random strangers or even close friends, but when it's family and potential family, it's an entirely different feeling. I want to share that experience with you.

Parenting is never easy, but when you have a blended family—with bio-kids and step-kids, your spouse’s ex, and other extended family members thrown into the mix—things can get very difficult very quickly.It can be extremely hard to find the right balance when you’re a stepparent or stepsister.  When I was first asked to photograph my potential new step-family, I had a lot of conflicting feelings but I never hesitated in saying yes to it. I've gotten to a point in my life where I want what's best for my dad and I know that I have to show him support. I wasn't so supportive of my mother re-marrying and while my dad isn't at that point yet, I knew it is best to lend my support from the beginning. Of course there were times when I wasn't sure if I should've been in the photos or not and the fact that I wasn't did leave me feeling a little misplaced. But I never dwelt on these feelings. My main goal was to make them happy and I'm so glad they liked the photos!

What I learned from this: Every family is different and everyone adjusts to new family members at their own pace. When working with younger people, they tend to have mood shifts, especially if they're still adjusting to a new parental figure. So some poses you may have had in mind won't necessarily work and you're going to have to shoot around the awkwardness without letting them know it affects you too. This may effect how well they take directions, which means you may have to physically step in and fix their pose. At the end of the day, it's about getting the shot. You want everyone to be happy and you want that to show as well. But don't be afraid to capture a frown because it could be used as a learning experience in the future.


New Years bring new things. For me, that could mean a new family. I'm really hoping it means the start and completion of my internship signalling the end of my post-graduate studies. And somehow closing the physical gap in my relationship. There's really no way of knowing what will happen. And I'm ready for it.

My Top 15 Posts of 2015

Hey Friends!

I'm so excited to close out this year! Not because this year sucked, no far from it! I had a great year! Of course there were some ups and downs, but the ups definitely exceeded the downs! I finally made it to one year in a relationship, I finally spent Christmas with him, things changed for the better on my job (notice I don't complain as much any more), I reunited with friends I thought I'd never speak to again, went kayaking, toured the seas on a pirate ship, tried The Cheesecake Factory for the first time, found out I'm expecting a goddaughter in February (my birth month), and so much more, but most importantly, I'm ending the year with a much stronger faith than what I started the year with.

I learned so much this year and I'm so happy that I was able to share it with you guys. You've become more than just my readers, you're also my friends. Over the course of the year I've met so many people who were like, "Hey I know you!" I had no idea my words reached so many of you and for that I am truly humbled. So to welcome the New Year and officially close out 2015, I have compiled (in chronological order from most recent to oldest) a list of my Top 15 Posts of 2015:

  1. Getting Vulnerable with Kamillah
I had the honour of meeting a great Bahamian artist while she was in town for a concert. Her name is Kamilah. She has such a gentle spirit but a powerhouse voice! I was completely blown away not only by her singing, but her playing. She has performed in the Apollo and now lives in New York as she chases her dreams. It's time to get vulnerable with Kamilah.

I had the honour of meeting a great Bahamian artist while she was in town for a concert. Her name is Kamilah. She has such a gentle spirit but a powerhouse voice! I was completely blown away not only by her singing, but her playing. She has performed in the Apollo and now lives in New York as she chases her dreams. It's time to get vulnerable with Kamilah.

 

2. Travel Diaries: Abaco

On Friday November 6, I travelled to Treasure Cay Abaco for the first time, with the expectancy to return on Monday November 9, but I actually returned on Sunday, one day earlier. It was actually my first time taking a domestic flight. I've been to other family islands before like Harbour Island and Andros, but I always took the boat to get there. I went with one of my good friends Catina, to shoot a wedding for a client. 

On Friday November 6, I travelled to Treasure Cay Abaco for the first time, with the expectancy to return on Monday November 9, but I actually returned on Sunday, one day earlier. It was actually my first time taking a domestic flight. I've been to other family islands before like Harbour Island and Andros, but I always took the boat to get there. I went with one of my good friends Catina, to shoot a wedding for a client. 

3. DIY Nautical Themed Wedding

I had the privilege of shooting Cameron & Tanishka Parker's wedding in Abaco on 7th November. I loved how they took charge of their own day and had fun with it. They came up with a lot of their poses in the spirit of the moment and brought a lot of energy. I saw genuine happiness in both of them, wish them nothing but the best going forward and thank them for allowing me to be a part of something so amazing! Out of respect for privacy this is not all of the photos but just a little bit of their love!

I had the privilege of shooting Cameron & Tanishka Parker's wedding in Abaco on 7th November. I loved how they took charge of their own day and had fun with it. They came up with a lot of their poses in the spirit of the moment and brought a lot of energy. I saw genuine happiness in both of them, wish them nothing but the best going forward and thank them for allowing me to be a part of something so amazing! Out of respect for privacy this is not all of the photos but just a little bit of their love!

4. 8 Irresistible Donuts to Kick Off Your Weekend

I'm positive that I'm about to be every girl on a diet's worst nightmare with this post, but I just couldn't help myself. I sincerely love doughnuts. Like LOOOOOOOOOOOVE doughnuts. My inner fat kid does a cartwheel anytime I see a doughnut or even hear the word doughnut. Well it tries but fails to complete the cartwheel, but even though my inner fat kid knows she can't do a cartwheel she still tries because that's how excited doughnuts make me!

I'm positive that I'm about to be every girl on a diet's worst nightmare with this post, but I just couldn't help myself. I sincerely love doughnuts. Like LOOOOOOOOOOOVE doughnuts. My inner fat kid does a cartwheel anytime I see a doughnut or even hear the word doughnut. Well it tries but fails to complete the cartwheel, but even though my inner fat kid knows she can't do a cartwheel she still tries because that's how excited doughnuts make me!

5. Seafood Margarita Alfredo

What I love about this meal is that not only is it a one-pot meal, but it was ready in less than 10 minutes and cost less than $10 to make! Now that's economical! Last week, I bought a bag of something called seafood combination for only $5.67 (yes I remember the price) and it did not disappoint! With real pieces of shrimp, octopus and mussels, this was worth every penny! Knorrs pasta sides are $1.89 here and tomatoes really aren't costly. While I didn't have any Basil, I did have the broad Thyme leaves that one of the teachers gave me. I toasted some bread, sprinkled it with garlic and had a delicious 5 star meal all to myself! 

What I love about this meal is that not only is it a one-pot meal, but it was ready in less than 10 minutes and cost less than $10 to make! Now that's economical! Last week, I bought a bag of something called seafood combination for only $5.67 (yes I remember the price) and it did not disappoint! With real pieces of shrimp, octopus and mussels, this was worth every penny! Knorrs pasta sides are $1.89 here and tomatoes really aren't costly. While I didn't have any Basil, I did have the broad Thyme leaves that one of the teachers gave me. I toasted some bread, sprinkled it with garlic and had a delicious 5 star meal all to myself! 

6. Summer-to-Fall Essentials that Looks Good on Everyone

Although summer fashion shows are now coming to an end, signaling the impending chill of fall, don't rush to ditch your summer duds just yet. I'm gonna show you how to transition some of your Summer Essentials into Fall Classics, while avoiding the seasonal mall rush!

Although summer fashion shows are now coming to an end, signaling the impending chill of fall, don't rush to ditch your summer duds just yet. I'm gonna show you how to transition some of your Summer Essentials into Fall Classics, while avoiding the seasonal mall rush!

7. DIY Catnip Toy

A really simple crap project that takes only 20 minutes and then you can spoil your cat rotten!  How do you treat your pets? 

A really simple crap project that takes only 20 minutes and then you can spoil your cat rotten! How do you treat your pets? 

8. Power Woman: Ria Georgina

The Bahamian Icon Awards may be over, but hype hasn't died yet! If you were on the Red Carpet at the Bahamian Icon Awards, then you probably heard the same name, over and over again!  Three nominees graced the red carpet in custom designs by none other than the fabulous Ria Georgina! Her designs were the most stunning and talked about, all night! I have the pleasure of calling her a friend so scoring this interview wasn't difficult but it was still a privilege to be able to sit down with her and talk about her and her brand! So let’s take a minute to meet the woman behind the dress!

The Bahamian Icon Awards may be over, but hype hasn't died yet! If you were on the Red Carpet at the Bahamian Icon Awards, then you probably heard the same name, over and over again!

Three nominees graced the red carpet in custom designs by none other than the fabulous Ria Georgina! Her designs were the most stunning and talked about, all night! I have the pleasure of calling her a friend so scoring this interview wasn't difficult but it was still a privilege to be able to sit down with her and talk about her and her brand! So let’s take a minute to meet the woman behind the dress!

9. 10 Things You Can Do When You're Having a Bad Day

I promise these aren't personal confessions (okay maybe they are) but I know what it's like to just be having a bad day. And as much as we may want to exact our revenge on that theif, or annoying co-worker or the person that didn't hire us, sometimes there really is nothing we can do about it. But even if we can't change our situation, we can change how we react to it. Here are some sweet suggestions for improving your mood a little.

I promise these aren't personal confessions (okay maybe they are) but I know what it's like to just be having a bad day. And as much as we may want to exact our revenge on that theif, or annoying co-worker or the person that didn't hire us, sometimes there really is nothing we can do about it. But even if we can't change our situation, we can change how we react to it. Here are some sweet suggestions for improving your mood a little.

10. The 2015 Bahamian Icon Awards

It was a night of Glitz & Glamour filled with celebrities and selfies, oh my!  f you missed the 2015 Bahamian Icon Awards on Saturday July 11, don't worry. I'm about to fill you in on everything you need to know about what went down!  

It was a night of Glitz & Glamour filled with celebrities and selfies, oh my!

f you missed the 2015 Bahamian Icon Awards on Saturday July 11, don't worry. I'm about to fill you in on everything you need to know about what went down!  

11. DIY Body Wash with Honey + Coconut Milk

It's about to be a new year, which means a new and clean start! And what better way to get a new and clean start than to make your own body wash? Made with Three Simple Ingredients...

It's about to be a new year, which means a new and clean start! And what better way to get a new and clean start than to make your own body wash? Made with Three Simple Ingredients...

12. How to Unplug & Let Go

I'll admit, I'm not the biggest person when it comes to letting go of grudges (when I'm angry at someone, it takes awhile for me to forgive and move on). But even I understand that this is not healthy. Sometimes we get so caught up in our feelings and everything that happens around us, we lose sight of what's really important. When that starts to happen, it's good to just unplug and let go.

I'll admit, I'm not the biggest person when it comes to letting go of grudges (when I'm angry at someone, it takes awhile for me to forgive and move on). But even I understand that this is not healthy. Sometimes we get so caught up in our feelings and everything that happens around us, we lose sight of what's really important. When that starts to happen, it's good to just unplug and let go.

13. Funfetti Waffles with Whipped Lemon Yoghurt Topping and Fresh Berries

I served this on a breakfast tray with Lemon Sweet Tea to my mum in bed while singing Happy Mother's Day to you in the Birthday Song tune. I even added, "Happy Mother's Day to the best mother in the world, but I'm sorry you're not better than bammy [my grandmother] but I love you anyway". She laughed because deep down she knows it's true. My grandmother is my favourite woman on the planet. She lives in Tampa so her present is in the mail. If someone you love lives nearby you, make these waffles for them to show them how much you care.

I served this on a breakfast tray with Lemon Sweet Tea to my mum in bed while singing Happy Mother's Day to you in the Birthday Song tune. I even added, "Happy Mother's Day to the best mother in the world, but I'm sorry you're not better than bammy [my grandmother] but I love you anyway". She laughed because deep down she knows it's true. My grandmother is my favourite woman on the planet. She lives in Tampa so her present is in the mail. If someone you love lives nearby you, make these waffles for them to show them how much you care.

14. Vegan Spinach + Mushroom Grilled Cheese

Can you believe that grilled cheese is so awesome, it gets its own month?! But even better, than a traditional girlled cheese, I added a cool, filling twist. Trust me, this is not your mama's grilled cheese! It's fresh, fun and cheesy! It's a great combination of flavours. Imagine a spinach dip between two buttery slices of bread. Absolute bliss!

Can you believe that grilled cheese is so awesome, it gets its own month?! But even better, than a traditional girlled cheese, I added a cool, filling twist. Trust me, this is not your mama's grilled cheese! It's fresh, fun and cheesy! It's a great combination of flavours. Imagine a spinach dip between two buttery slices of bread. Absolute bliss!

15. DIY Black Crop Top Without a Pattern

I can't stress out easy this tutorial is. This is roughly a 30 minute project. So turn off your phones and TV and buckle down with this quick and easy project to create your own trendy piece of fashion!

I can't stress out easy this tutorial is. This is roughly a 30 minute project. So turn off your phones and TV and buckle down with this quick and easy project to create your own trendy piece of fashion!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

See you in 2016!