ANNOUNCING....OUR NEWEST BLOG CONTRIBUTOR & 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HER

Hello Lovely,

I don’t know if you’ve noticed the extensive use of “we” in certain posts lately. If you have, you’re probably wondering who this other person is. If not, don’t feel bad, I’m going to tell you anyway. Awhile back I put out a call for a new blog contributor and an angel answered! Her name is Mechelle Sweeting, a fellow cat lover, outdoor enthusiast and foodie extraordinaire! So far, she’s been working behind the scenes for a few weeks to help with the expansion and you’ll soon see some changes like a cleaner homepage and a wider variety of content on the blog. So who is this mysterious woman, you ask?

She loves to eat and cook various cuisines from around the world, including Italian, Asian and Bahamian.  Trying different foods and out-of-the-box dishes like escargot, seaweed salad and sushi fuels her love for travel and exploration. Mechelle loves writing; using it as a main source of self-expression: “When you feel it, as you feel it - write it!”

No need for expensive store-bought products, DIY skincare is her everyday go to and nail therapy is a MUST: stiletto, coffin, almond, and gemstones – the whole shebang! She’s a girly-girl through and through with a strong spirit and a big heart! I’m so glad to welcome her to the team and I know you’ll love her!

Here are 10 Fun Facts Mechelle is sharing with us for you to get to know her better! Take it away Mechelle:

Hello Everyone! It’s so great to be a part of the team. I can’t wait to begin sharing with you and giving your life a personal touch! But before we get into that, here are 10 fun facts I wanted you to know about me!


·         Usual Sushi order – Seaweed salad, as well as a side of eel sauce and extra ginger to accommodate my roll.  I prefer salmon rolls with avocado or cream cheese fillings but I am branching out into ahi tuna

·         Favourite Desserts- cheesecake, guava duff, carrot cake

·         I prefer cats over dogs - They’re fluffy, warm and snuggle up around your ankles at just the right times. Mr. Wiggins will soon be added to the Sweeting family.

·         I can go weeks without meat! From my late teens I spent many years following a vegetarian lifestyle and was content not eating meat.  I easily have meals of just vegetables such as smashed plantain, boiled butternut squash or pumpkin.

·         In case you're wondering.......it's Mrs. Sweeting ;) My hubby and I love to watch movies and cuddle up on the couch or in the theatre (snacks are ALWAYS included).

·         I'm in love with the outdoors and gardening (thanks Mom!).  I continue to find inspiration and tranquillity through plants wherever I go.

·         My fitness preferences are Yoga, Spinning and Walking.

·         Although I started my natural hair journey 11 years ago, I’ve grown my locs for 9, with many trims and styles in between. 

·         I binge watch Food shows such as Chopped, Top Chef (my favourite), Hell’s Kitchen and enjoy Food Documentaries such as Fed Up!, Food Inc. and Hungry for more.

·         I am an avid user of fresh citrus for face masks such as orange or lemon (P.S. lemon and honey is an excellent mix!)

Join me on Pinterest to see what else I’m inspired by and tune back tomorrow to read my first post!

Tuesday Ten: 10 Quick and Easy Back to School Breakfasts

Hello Lovely,

For many of you, school has been in session for weeks, but for some of you, school just started yesterday. Wherever you're at in your school journey, I'm sure the hardest part of getting ready for school in the morning is meal preparation. If you struggle with meal prep and ideas like me, here are ten awesome breakfast items you can try when you're in a jam, or prep ahead of time, in very little time.

1. PUMPKIN BANANA QUINOA BREAKFAST

Have you heard?  Quinoa breakfast is the new oatmeal.  If you haven’t tried quinoa for breakfast yet, let your obsession begin here.  This Pumpkin Banana Quinoa breakfast is creamy, lightly sweet, and perfectly spiced for fall.  You’re going to love it. 

2. Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

This quick and easy shrimp and grits recipe will wow your family as a week night meal, breakfast or impress guests at a dinner party.

3. SNAP CHALLENGE: SPINACH RICE BREAKFAST BOWLS

The basic formula is rice, greens, a soft boiled egg, and a splash of hot sauce. You can use different types of rice, different seasonings, different types of sautéed greens, and even different kinds of fat.

4. Breakfast Patty Melt

Go beyond basic bacon, egg and cheese with our fun-to-make spin on the classic. Mix up the buns and fillings and stack up something delicious and healthy today!

5. KALE VEGGIE MINI FRITTATA

This kale veggie mini frittata recipe is the perfect breakfast to fuel you up with the goodness of veggies and eggs. Tender pan cooked veggies are arranged in a muffin pan and a mixture of eggs, herbs and kale is poured over them. These mini goodness bites are baked and served on whole grain toast breads with a sprinkle of parmesan and more kale—the classic egg breakfast made easy, healthy and delicious!

6. Chocolate Hazelnut Waffles

Breakfast is served with this quick and easy dish that you can whip up in 20 minutes before heading out the door!  It'll make you feel like you're having dessert for breakfast!

7. Arugula and Cheese Muffins

These quirky savoury muffins will make vegetarian guests feel extra special – and meat eaters will love them too.

8. BACON & EGG BREAKFAST MUFFINS

Bacon and eggs...in a muffin! These are great for "grab and go". This makes 4 large muffins (Texas muffin tin size - Note 3). This recipe isn't suitable for ordinary size muffin tins as it isn't large enough to hold the egg and batter.

9. Ham and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

This recipe gets tons of flavor thanks to Arla Dofino Smoked Gouda. The cheese is simply their regular Gouda that gets it’s smoky flavor from a dance with hickory wood chips. Because it’s a softer cheese it melts like a dream.

10. FRITTAFFLE

The latest egg creation are these Frittaffles. That’s right, Frittaffles – a breakfast fusion offrittatasand waffles

I hope these items serve to be an inspiration to you and help you to move faster in the mornings! If you attempt any of these recipes, don't hesitate to share your photos and experience by emailing me at xxoliviarussellxx@gmail.com.

Tuesday Ten: THE 10 BIGGEST PACKING MISTAKES YOU’RE MAKING

Hello Lovely,

This summer has definitely been a blast, but it's not over yet! On Friday I'm jet-setting to Miami for three weeks. I will spend a part of this trip repeating last year's road trip to Tampa, sans boyfriend, but with my family instead (so please pray for me). I plan on doing a lot of shopping, so I've got to be very strategic and that includes the way I pack my suitcase! I can never seem to get it right. I always either over-pack or under-pack. One time, I under-packed so badly, I had to Febreeze my shirts just so that I could keep wearing them, and go to Kmart to get more clothes to wear! I don't know what I was thinking on that trip. But hopefully I can say lesson learned this time around. And that's thanks to these awesome tips from Rachel over at Department of Wandering, some of which I've been using for years!  Here are the best packing tips that will help you master the most common mistakes and have you quickly becoming a packing pro

1. Not checking your airline’s luggage limits

It might come as a bit of a surprise, but your luggage allowance depends on a few different things: the airline you’re flying with, your class of ticket and your destination. Budget airlines generally only include carry-on in the base fare and you’ll need to pay extra if you want to check bags. Checked baggage allowance also varies from airline to airline. So make sure you pay in advance or have the funds when you get to the ticket counter!

I remember a time when my luggage was overweight on Jetblue and I had to pay $100 for the overweight bag, but had I bought another piece of luggage, I would've only paid $35 for a second bag. Whereas, flying on Bahamasair, the first checked bag is free and a lot of times, they're willing to look the other way if your bag is overweight.

2. Packing slowly and as you think of things

A trap I’ve fallen into time and time again is slowly packing over a few days, placing items in my case as I go. Trust me when I say that this ALWAYS results in over-packing! What I started to do instead was devoting a specific chunk of time to pack and I laying out everything on the floor before putting anything in the case. This means that I can easily see what outfits work well together, which items are versatile and which aren’t. This also helps me to avoid the urge to pack extra things ‘just in case’ I was forgetting something because I can see it all laid out in front of me.

 

3. Not checking the weather before you travel

Okay, I know that the weather is always unpredictable, but it does help to check the upcoming forecast to get a sense of what the general climate will be like. It might be summer in your destination but the nights might still be cool or there might commonly be thunderstorms in the afternoons. Pack smart and arrive prepared for the weather conditions. The last thing you want to be doing when you arrive is madly hitting the shops in search of a raincoat or a sunhat!

4. Using a packing method that doesn’t work for you

Over the years I've evolved from simply folding clothes to rolling them. Some people say it works wonders but despite this magic space saving method, I have noticed it tends to make my luggage feel a bit heavier. Be sure to use a packing method that you’re comfortable to help you feel in control.

5. Letting hidden space go to waste

Space is sacred when you’re packing your bag and it’s sinful to let it go to waste. Pack smart by stuffing your socks, chargers and adaptors into your shoes, scrunching your underwear into the cups of your bras and even rolling a belt around a collared shirt. (It's also a great way that we Bahamians evade Customs taxes).

6. Bringing mismatched outfits

The key to smart and effective packing is planning your outfits beforehand. Pack essentials that you can easily mix and match. Organise your outfits around a simple colour scheme like monochromes or neutrals, add a pop of colour with a scarf, hat or jewellery and you’ll never be stuck for something to wear!

7. Not protecting containers of liquids

After a leaking bottle of avocado oil completely emptied itself in my suitcase during transit, destroying a lot of clothes in my suitcase, I now never forget to protect my bottles of liquid. The changes in air pressure means that bottles can pop open or simply leak unexpectedly throughout the flight. Don’t let this happen to you! Use some cling wrap under the lid of the bottle before screwing back on or my personal favourite, duct or masking tape and always wrap your toiletries back in an extra plastic bag to be doubly safe.

8. Packing heavy items that you can easily buy once you arrive

Leave that gigantic 1L bottle of conditioner or shower gel at home! Seriously, that thing would take up most of your weight allowance alone. Instead, squeeze small amounts of liquids into travel-sized mini bottles and simply buy more when you arrive at your destination. And hotel shower gels won't kill you!

9. Bringing more than three pairs of shoes

I always do this! I don't know why, but I always do! It's at the point where I've had to leave a pair of shoes at my boyfriend's house that I haven't worn in years! Trust me when I say this, no matter where you’re going and at what time of year, you’ll never need more than three pairs of shoes. As long as you bring something comfortable for active days (sneakers), something casual (sandals or flats) and something more dressy  (boots or heels), you’ve got all bases covered.

10. Using luggage that’s difficult to use

I’ve tried and tested lots of different styles of bags over the years, from backpacks to duffle bags. When you have a bag that’s difficult to carry or secure, especially when you’re moving around a lot, it can cause endless frustration — believe me, I’ve been there! Don’t underestimate the importance of good luggage when travelling and make sure you invest in the right bag for you.

Do you have any packing tips? Share them in the comments below!

Tuesday Ten: My Favourite Shots from an Impromptu Shoot

Hello Lovely,

Last week I was supposed to have a meeting with my supervisor, but it got cancelled, leaving me with an entire afternoon of nothing to do. That is, until my best friend Gary called me over to help him with his birthday shots. When I got there, he was editing photos that he had already taken of himself. So while he did that, I had fun with my own little photo shoot. Of course, at that point, I wished that I had washed my face before going over because my skin was so oily! But that's what happens when you have impromptu photo shoots in the middle of rainy weather.

What I love about impromptu shoots is the spontaneity of it all! I had oily skin and two stains on an non-ironed Hollister romper I hadn't worn in years, but I didn't care! It was so much fun posing and dancing for the camera. It was my first time using a trigger for a self portrait so I loved that I could learn while having fun. I even tried a jump shot (didn't make the cut), and totally lied about it when Gary asked me if I was trying to jump. I'm sure I'll get it next time.

Then Gary got some shots of me before we went back to taking his photos. I channelled my inner Chanel Iman, and really strut my stuff! And Gary did not disappoint either when it was his turn. I can't show those photos because they're being used for a different project, but trust me, they came out great! So here are some of my favourite shots from last weeks' impromptu shoot!

I would encourage everyone to have a pop up photo shoot with their friends. Even if it's pulling over on the side of the road to pose in front of that mural you drive past everyday. Impromptu shots are a great way to celebrate life and the people you have in your life. They're also a great way to capture a moment in time; maybe its a new hairstyle or favourite outfit. Maybe it's a mural that will soon be painted over. There are so many buildings and statues that are gone now that I wish I was able to capture. So I'm seizing every moment from now on. And when you're done, it'll make a great scrapbook!

How do you like to capture your favourite moments? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

Wait! Don't go yet! Check out other photo shoots that I've done at the links below:

Kpheras Sun Jewelry Shoot

Romantic Maternity Session

EJ & Janae | Unstoppable Love Engagement Photo Session

Tuesday Ten: 10 Summer-Ready Outfits for Work

Tuesday Ten: 10 Summer-Ready Outfits for Work

Summer is coming and with it a whole new set of office-appropriate-attire rules to follow. Make the most of every single day—and balmy night—this summer with any one of these gorgeous inspirational looks that will help you seamlessly transition between the boardroom and after-hours cocktails. And with my added tips, you'll be sure to rock this summer in style (without getting fired)!

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Tuesday Ten: 10 Outfits That Are Safe for Work, But Not Boring

Tuesday Ten: 10 Outfits That Are Safe for Work, But Not Boring

You can stop wondering what to wear to work to look as stylish as you do outside the office. I've found ten work outfits that are far more chic than suits for women. Find your perfect mix of office-appropriate dresses, shoes, skirts, bags and sweaters. Whether your job is ultra-corporate or incredibly creative, here are ten outfit inspirations that make dressing for the office a simple job—and might help you land the corner office you deserve.

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Tuesday Ten: Get Your Summer Reading List Ready!

Spring signals so many things: The start of new relationships, as well as the end of many, especially due to graduation ceremonies. Once all of the cramming is over and done with, some of us find ourselves lacking, and good book perfectly fills that void. With travel plans and beach weather on the horizon, now is the best time to pick out your summer reading list and to get a head start (it’s okay to cheat sometimes. It was really hard trying to find only ten books, but I think I did it (Yay me!). All of the books I listed below, I've either rated at least 4 stars on ‘Goodreads’ or have received a lot of good reviews from others. I've read books that ranged from sunshine-and-daffodils, to the skies-opening-up-and-blood-raining-down, and OMG – have-to-read-that-again. But no matter the content, I'm always entranced.  The books I listed contain at least some sort of romance, action, adventure, paranormal, adult content and language, humour, and just good stuff amongst them. The last two books I included aren't a romance book, nor is it fiction, but I felt it best to throw in two last good reads. I hope that you guys can choose at least one of these books and fall into another reality and live there happily between the pages as I did (plus did I mention some of the characters are hilarious and just hot).

-Books are a hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose. I am a happy victim of books. Are you?

1.      Birdie – Carr, M.C.

What's on your book list to read this year? Did any of my picks make your cut? Let me know in the comment section below!

XoX,

Amanda

Tuesday Ten: Ten Items I Have to Have in my Desk

Hello Lovely,

So here's the deal! I spend on average 40 hours per week at work and that's if I don't stay back late or come in early (which is hardly ever) so really I spend about 50 hours per week at work. That's a lot! So I have to be prepared for anything that could happen, and be comfortable during those long work days. So here's ten items that I have to have in my desk!

1. Flats

I work in a school as a secretary, which means a lot of running around (sometimes literally) to deliver messages or fetch students. Trust me on this one. You want to keep a pair of flats at your desk in case of emergency (it's good to have a backup pair of shoes) or if your feet are killing you from a long day in heels.

2. Feminine Products
We’ve all been there. And depending on your relationship and office culture, it can be a little uncomfortable asking a co-worker for a tampon. It’s a personal matter, so it’s best to be prepared.

3. Gum or Breathe Mints
Even though I am not a fan of gum or mints, I still keep a jar on candy on my desk, so that my co-workers can have fresh breath all day long (no matter what they eat or drink).

4. Hand Sanitizer
When one person in an office gets sick, it can be hard to avoid catching the bug. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer tucked in your desk drawer, which is your best defence against the flu that’s bound to spread around your workplace every once in a while. I keep mine on my key chain so that I can carry it everywhere with me.

5. Reusable Water Bottle
Don’t forget to hydrate, ladies! Sipping on water all day long is not only good for you but it will help you from feeling sluggish. Keep a refillable water bottle so that you don’t have to buy a bottle each time you are feeling thirsty. It’s easier on your wallet and much better for the environment.

6. Hair Ties
You never know when you’re going to want to throw your hair up in the middle of the day. I keep a pack of hair ties and hair pins in my desk, because with my natural hair, the style I left the house with may be a frizzy hot mess by lunchtime.

7. Lip Balm and Mascara
If you’re heading to happy hour after work or going to an event, it’s best to keep some beauty reinforcements on hand. Just a swipe of mascara and a hint of lipstick, and you’re ready to go!

8. Snacks
When your mid-afternoon cravings hit, keep some nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, or oatmeal packets in your desk. Or even make something at home to snack on if you know that you fall into the trap of bad snacking. They’re great for when you need a healthy pick-me-up, and don’t want to be tempted to buy something out of the vending machine.

9. Earphones

This is something I think everyone should have. If I want to listen to a song or watch a video on my computer, I don’t want to burden my office with the sound. It’s unprofessional and annoying to play office DJ. They’re also great because if someone starts talking to you, you can just pluck one earphone out and they have your full attention!

10. Something decorative

Whether it’s fresh flowers, a sculpture, or your polka dot clipboard, you should have something on your desk that makes you happy when you look at it. And if your co-workers don’t understand, who cares! It’s meant to make you happy, not them!

What necessities do you keep at work to help get you through the day?

Share below in the comments!

XoX,

Olivia

 

Tuesday 10: 10 Style Rules Every Girl Knows Like the Back of Her Hand

Find the Right Underwear

Spinning around and checking yourself out in the mirror is no longer enough. Grab your roommate or S.O. and have him or her snap a photo of your look from the front and back - especially if the material you're wearing is thin. Running outside and letting the natural light shine down on you isn't a bad idea, either. It's not just contrast colours you should keep your eyes peeled for, but pantylines or the hem of a slip.

 

Don't Incorporate Too Many Trends in 1 Look

We get it, the whole colorblock effect is cool, but don't overdo it. These patchwork jeans actually work well with metallic pumps, which up the fancy factor of the overall look. But if these heels were anything but neutral colors that work with anything, they might overshadow the detail on the denim. Know when to break up your look with a simple white tee, and remember that sometimes a little goes a long way - especially when it comes to supertrendy items.

Steer Clear of Drowning Yourself in an Oversize Silhouette

Got a maxi that's just too long or too big? Add a tight white tee to break it up and give off the illusion of a skirt. And don't let it take over! Playful pumps that accent a statement necklace work to round out your outfit and create balance.

Strike the Right Shoe-Pant Proportion

This mistake can happen with a pair of jeans and boots, palazzo pants and heels, or a jumpsuit and flats. When it comes to nailing your shoe-pant proportion, any combination can be a recipe for disaster if you don't check yourself out before you walk out the door. If your bottoms are meant to be cropped, more than just your ankle should be visible. If your skinnies are tight, try rolling them, especially if your booties have little details meant to be shown off, like a suede tassel. Try to avoid unflattering combinations, like a wide-leg silhouette and flat shoes, which might give off the illusion of shorter legs. Instead, a pointed-toe heel will elongate your stems and make you appear taller, even in breezy trousers.

Don't Overlook the Length of Your Slit

If you're wearing a dress or skirt with a slit - especially for a fancy event - test it out with the shoes you plan on wearing. Walk down the street in it! Take long strides! Make sure your silhouette is movable and doesn't constrict you. Most importantly, ensure that you're not showing too much skin from behind or too much leg from the side.

Know When to Tuck in Your Top

I am a big fan of tucking my top in. I do it with almost every outfit! I like the sleek lines it gives me because I feel sloppy if I leave it out. Just be frank about it - if your go-to jeans make your booty look great, let the area shine. Just because your top's a little slouchy, doesn't mean you can't tuck it in, tie it up, or pull it to the side. A too-long tunic with structured denim just doesn't work in your favor. Practice coordinating your separates and make sure they meet in perfect harmony.

Choose Hemlines That Are Appropriate For Your Height

Cut-offs that are too long for your short legs, crop tops that are too short for your long torso - these slip-ups happen. But don't let them discourage you from trying out trendy items. For example, petite women can wear longline utilitarian vests, and this look is proof! Just make sure you're buying pieces in the right size and wearing them with complementary accessories. If you're not sure, bring along a friend who's got an eye for style on your shopping trip. Or try asking a sales associate: "Does this fit me correctly?"

When You're Going For a Monochrome Look, Don't Clash Your Separates

Monochrome looks are actually ridiculously easy to pull off, when you're sticking to basics. A dark heather sweatshirt will meet your light-wash gray denim, subtly drawing attention to the creases in your jeans. Instead of reaching for similar materials, the key to monochrome actually lies in contrasting textures. Accenting your look with a striking pair of shoes or playful jewels also helps to pull it all together and contributes a little extra polish.

Be Sure Not to Reveal Too Much of Your Bra

Sexy, strappy bras are on the rise. In fact, we've got a bit of our wardrobe sectioned off for them. But revealing the eye-catching details can be tricky. You want to show off your lingerie with sophistication and class. So, if you're managing this with a white top, make sure it's opaque and not too loose. Finish your outfit with stylish separates, like frayed denim, that scream, "I'm here to make a statement." And most importantly, work your look with confidence.

Don't put yourself inside a box

Don't feel like because you like preppy clothes, that you have to dress preppy 24/7. Feel free to mix it up! Do grunge one day and dinner with the President the next. The great thing about fashion is that's it's basically a buffet. Style is how you own it. And style, should be fun!