The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Hello Lovely,

The day of The Elevation Awards, I was pretty nervous. Depiste covering it last year, I didn't know what to expect this year because instead of being media, I was now a nominee. Win or lose, I couldn't believe I am now Elevation Award Nominee Life By Olivia. And if I had won....OMG! I don't know what I would do with myself. So to fill the seemingly endless hours before show time I tried to relax in front of the TV. Problem was, none of my usual shows were on. I ended up watching an hour of Antiques Roadshow (super boring could not get into it) before stumbling upon a show on The Food Network called, The Kitchen. I had never heard of the show before (I don't know where I've been) but I AM HOOKED!!!! I happened to catch the birthday episode with a ton of birthday recipes. Even though I don't eat steak, I was really impressed with the Cast-Iron Skillet Porterhouse Steak but what really blew me away was the The Tie Dye Cake .

I instantly looked up Melissa's cookbook on Amazon and just had to try the tye dye cake. Now I've never been good with decorating cakes because icing confuses the hell out of me, so I decided to make a two layered mini cake instead (even though the batter was enough for four layers). If this didn't work out, it wouldn't hurt me as much because it wasn't a lot of batter wasted.

Bear in mind I was nervous AF so I was randomly throwing together ingredients. My thought process was literally whatever I could get my hands on (hence the combination of coffee and orange zest). But you couldn't tell me I wasn't a celebrity chef while I combined everything. While mixing the food colouring to get just the right colour, I felt like a chemist! It was just so much fun! I was so nervous I forgot to spray the pans before pouring the batter and then I had to pull the pans out of the oven because I forgot to take a skewer to the middle to create a pattern with the colors.

Then it was time for the moment of truth. This is where I always mess up, but I learned where I was going wrong. I found an old bread knife in the drawer that we never use and that was perfect for levelling the cake. For once, I had an even layered cake. Decorating was starting to look, well, like a piece of cake! (Sorry I just had to do it). When I was done, I had finally successfully frosted a cake! I swear this is one of the biggest accomplishments of my baking career thus far! I was a little disappointed in how the colours inside the cake turned out, but now I know better for next time how to make pink to brighten up the mix. The orange zest is brilliant and you really can't taste the coffee, which I was afraid would overpower or compete with the zest. Here's the recipe!

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The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chilled coffee
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup diary free milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food colouring

Cake Decorating

  • 4 tablespoons vanilla frosting
  • pastel coloured sprinkles
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 5 inch baking pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cake except the cake colouring. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide cake batter evenly amongst four ramekin dishes. Add food coloring to each bowl--1 drop at a time--until the desired intensity of each color is reached. Scoop each color into a disposable pastry bag and snip the tip of the bag. I didn't want to waste pastry bags so I carefully scooped it into the prepared pans.
  4. Pipe the batter into the first pan, one color at a time, one over the next. (Remember you could also use a spoon, but the pastry bags might make this much easier.) Repeat until all the batter is gone.
  5. To make the tie dye effect, carefully drag a skewer completely through the batter from the center out to create a pattern with the colors. Don't overmix the colors.
  6. Bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it, 15 to 20 minutes. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before icing.
  7. Level the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake turntable and frost the top with the Vanilla Icing. Add the second cake layer and frost the top. From watching the show, I learned how to fully frost the cake. Continue to pipe icing in between the layers, then with the knife, go around the cake, smoothing out the frosting until the cake is completely covered.
  8. Mix the glaze (combine the powdered sugar and milk) then add pink food colouring or only two drops of red (it will make pink). Working with an offset spatula, spread pink glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Work quickly before the glaze starts to dry. Then top with sprinkles and serve!

The last time I made something so complex was my Cookies n Milk Cake (boy that was stressful). I usually shy away from recipes with too many steps, but I'm glad I challenged myself to this one. I ate my slice with a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream (because cake and ice cream are the perfect couple) and it didn't feel too sweet. 

STK Strawberry Cobbler Martini

STK Strawberry Cobbler Martini

Celebrate National Strawberry Month by mixing up this mouth-watering Strawberry Cobbler Martini from STK LA. This drink will bring the intimate ambiance of STK to your home so that you can your friends can enjoy the ultimate Hollywood dining experience. Now you can drink like a celebrity too!

Read More

Mermaid Toast: The Newest Trend We're Loving This Spring

Hello Lovely,

Mermaid toast takes all the things you love about the mermaid trend (think blue and purple tones, golden stars, glitter, and ombre) and puts them on a healthy piece of toast. In fact, the snack is generally super nutritious… you achieve its mermaid-y look by mixing blue green algae powder with almond milk cream cheese. We are totally in love with this trend, and  it’s not just green hues that look fabulous on mermaid toast. Purples, pinks, blues, and creams all look fab as well. Like many popular viral foodstuffs, mermaid toast’s appeal is entirely visual, so I had to get behind this trend and try my own.

Now in the Bahamas there is no way we can possibly get algae powder (whatever that is) so I improvised with cream cheese and food colouring. While we can't boast the same health benefits it's still a low fat snack that makes a great breakfast or dessert.

With that being said, there's no real recipe for mermaid toast other than the two options I just gave you. Don't limit yourself. Let the ocean hues inspire your creativity. To achieve the "sand" look you can use gold flakes or corn flakes. It adds a great crunch to the smooth creaminess of the cream cheese. Have fun!

Letter From Olivia - March Madness

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Hello Lovely,

March is upon us and I know this can bring up a lot of mixed feelings. It could be met with dread if you live in a destination city because of wild Spring Breakers; but if you’re a basketball fan, this is your month to shine! That’s why this month’s theme is called March Madness; it’s about to get Cray Cray in here!

For the next two weeks, it’s all about St. Patrick’s Day here on the blog. That’s right, we’re turning into leprechauns! I mean, what’s not to love about rainbows and beer? Am I right? But we don’t want to leave you basketball fanatics (and basketball wives) out. So we’re whipping up some fun basketball themed recipes to serve while you root for your favourite teams.

And that’s not all! March also signals the beginning of Spring. What could you possibly not love about Spring? Flowers are in bloom and for us, it’s already 80-degree weather (not like it ever really went away). So get ready to put on your brightest colours and put away the animal print. (I’ve got a mint green sweater that I’ve been dying to wear since last September). You don’t want to miss all of the Spring themed posts coming your way including much more DIYs! Whether it’s Spring cleaning, spring tablescapes or the usual Spring-themed recipe, Life By Olivia is going to keep you fit, full and cherry this Spring season!

 

Spring Fling: Why it's the Perfect Time to Wear The Colours of The Year

Hello Lovely,

Spring is a time for new beginnings! We shed our winter clothes (and our winter weight) and start anew! It’s also the perfect time to resume my love affair with pastel colours. They’re so soft, yet bright and happy. This is why the perfect colours to rock this spring are the colours of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity.

Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace. The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of colour association. If you don’t believe me, just take a peek at these five outfit inspirations below…

 

1.      Not Your Boyfriend’s Jeans

I love this simple look of pairing a rose quartz jacket with boyfriend jeans. It’s so effortlessly chic!

2.      And Twirl

What’s better than a flirty skirt? This look is perfect for work and strolls in the park.

3.      One-sided

Are you just head over heels in love rose quartz? Wear it from head to toe!

4.      Easy breezy

There’s nothing simpler than a flowy maxi dress. It creates such a high impact. Just take a look at this one:

5.      Just the tip…

If you can’t fully commit to the colour, try wearing it in just your accessories!

Will you give these pastel shades a try?

XoX,

Currently Craving: White Party Attire

Hello Lovely,

Last week my dad invited me to our high school's alumni association White Party, which is happening at the end of the month, at The Nassau Yacht Club. I guilt tripped a fellow graduate to go with me, so now I'm going. Only problem is, I don't own much white clothing. This is because every time I wear white, it gets dirty within an hour of me wearing it. Or worse, it gets stains on it, while simple hanging in my closet; stains that never come out so I end up having to throw them away. But I'm going to bite the bullet and look for a white dress. While I want something elegant and breathtaking, I still want to be able to dip it and do it, and pair the dress with flats in case my heels start to hurt. It would be a shame to be squeezed into something so tight I can't find room in my tummy for cocktails, or drop it like it's hot. So with that in mind, here's my inspiration:

I know they're all different, but I'm trying to keep my options open. I've already narrowed my search down to the three dress seen below:

So now that you've seen my top picks, I’d love to know…

Which of these pieces is your favourite?

XoX,

Letter from Olivia: Spring into Action

Hello Lovely,

It’s April! That means that it’s spring time, which also means we’re one step closer to summer! While I'm not excited about the summer heat that has already hit us (sorry for those still experiencing snow), I am excited for school to close, freeing up more of my time! And if you’re not as excited as I am (maybe you still have snow), don’t feel bad. This month is all about shaking off those winter blues and springing into action!

That means actually working towards that summer body (summer is only 2 months away) and getting back on track with those resolutions. Of course I'm still going to bring you yummy new recipes, and I'm always here if you need advice on a sticky situation. In yesterday's Motivational Monday, I shared tips on how to create a healthy balance of work and your personal life that you do not want to miss! I’m sure my fellow busy bees can appreciate that!

But we’re also super excited about Mother’s Day next month! And next month, I’ll be meeting my future mother in law for the first time, so I’ll share my tips on how to make a great first impression and of course what my experience was like. I’ll also share great Mother’s Day cards that you can exchange, but it’s for my subscribers only so you have subscribe if you want to get in on the action.

Stay tuned!

What are you most excited to see on LifeByOlivia.net this month?

Leave any blog post requests in the comments below.

XoX,

14 Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Singledom This Spring

Hello Lovely,

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

1. Host Sunday Brunch With the Girls

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

Everyone girl has a Serena to her Blair!

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

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

2. Take a Just-Because Road Trip

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

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

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

3. Plant a Garden With a Pal

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

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

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

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

Cause Knowledge is Power!

Cause Knowledge is Power!

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

5. Train For a Race

Go DIVA GO!

Go DIVA GO!

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

6. Hit Up Happy Hour With Co-Workers

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

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

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

7. Hike Your City

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

8. Bake With Your BFFs

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

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

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

9. Spend a Day at the Bookstore

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

10. Treat Yourself to Fresh Flowers

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

11. Start a Romance-Novel-Only Book Club

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

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

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

12. Sign Up For a Dance Class

Run? I thought they said Rum!

Run? I thought they said Rum!

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

13. Indulge in a Solo Spa Day

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

Inhale peace, exhale the bull...

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

14. Plan a Relaxing Vacation

Summer beach body here I come!

Summer beach body here I come!

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