It was exactly one year ago today I walked across the stage at the University of Calgary, and two years ago today that I had the pleasure of breaking my foot in a foreign country, but ill leave that story for another time!
When I walked across that stage I had no idea what the next year was going to look like, which was both terrifying and exciting all at the same time! I was leaving that auditorium with a degree and a full sense of accomplishment and motivation to go out and conquer the world. I still have that drive, but throughout the past year it changed, I changed, my path changed – basically everything changed. Some for the good and some not so much, but life would be pretty boring if it was all smooth sailing.
Needless to say, I followed a very different path than I ever could have anticipated and every experience I have had along the way has led me to where I am now. I still don’t know where I am headed, but this year has given me the confidence to be able to say that I am excited and ready for the adventure.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent some serious time reflecting on the past year, looking at what I have accomplished, what I haven’t, what I feel I have fallen short on and on the person I am and who I want to be. In reality, I am just winging it, crossing my fingers and my toes, hoping that I come out somewhat smoothly on the other side – but let’s be honest it won’t be graceful, nothing ever is with me!
Who am I, Kristy Archibald
Well, I am not too sure, but I am looking to find her! The past year showed that I am a creative being and I need to capitalize on that and pursue life in a creative way, in both my work and personal life. Sitting down and reading a great book, going for a beautiful walk or watching a documentary on the legends that created the world as we know it, feed my soul and inspire in so many ways. Yes, I am aware I sound like an incredibly old lady, but I love seeing how things were started and what it took for people to truly ‘make it.’
What does this look like for me? I have no idea, but I know that in every documentary and story I have read it’s very obvious that you can’t follow the crowd. I know that sounds incredibly cliché and cheesy, but it’s true! Bill Cunningham didn’t just photograph someone because they were the present ‘it girl’, he photographed them because they had true style and if they didn’t, he didn’t bother. This was something that at the time had never been done, but he paved the way for street style to be what it is today!
As much as I love my alone time, I am a true extrovert and as a result, I also value and cherish the time I spend with my friends and family. Checking out the newest local hotspot, going for brunch and being a tourist in my own city with the people that I love is extremely valuable to me. More importantly, having that network behind me to support me and encourage me in everything that I do and vise versa.
I am an avid adventurer, passionate learner and I try to embrace every new opportunity with open arms in order to experience everything around me. I think I can truly say that over the past year this has been the key to aligning myself onto the right road.
I also learned that: I am still late for life – 24 years later, I don’t need to shower every day, but every second day is a must, good quality skin products are not a hoax, I can cook more than just cupcakes and mac & cheese, I still love fashion, I love to write, I am an ‘entrepreneur’ – scary, I still don’t like bananas, olives , mayo or mushrooms and I will never stop learning – my education didn’t end when I finished school that’s for sure!
Creativity: from crafting to creating new ideas
As a creative you must always be looking for the next way to become inspired. I had no idea that I was already doing this until this year. Since I was a little kid I have always enjoyed looking and experiencing everything around me, finding a way to document my experiences in some way shape or form.
Working from home has proven to be a huge challenge for me over the past year. It’s something I never thought that I would do and it can be tough some days to become inspired. Trust me it’s not easy to work in your PJ’s, naps are a serious problem! Here are just a few ways that help me keep that creativity flowing and work to give my brain a refresh!
- Working out: usually, I go to Barre Body Studio. It’s a full body workout that only takes an hour and it leaves you feeling refreshed and energized for the day.
- Traveling: This is a big one! I tend to get antsy every 7 or 8 months and I have a strong urge to see new things, experience new cultures, learn about people and discover AMAZING foods I never knew existed. I visited Montreal, Toronto and New York last year, 3 of the best cities to venture to if you are looking for any sort of inspiration within your work or in your life in general.
- Drives & long walks: these work to clear my head and help me to become focused when I get too many things on the go – which is often!
- Collaborating: whether this be with like-minded people or not, working together with passionate individuals allows me to discover new things and develop different perspectives. I truly believe that we work better when we collaborate and build each other up, rather than compete against each other. I always find it amazing when I bounce thoughts back and forth with someone else, as we always end up brainstorming things I would have never thought of on my own – it’s a magical process. As I said we are better together people!
- People watching: I know it sounds creepy, but I love to see how others interact and how they are unique when they are put in a position to truly be themselves.
- Writing about new things: when I receive an assignment from one of my editors to write about something I know nothing about I get giddy! This is an opportunity to research and learn about something I would have otherwise never known about and find a way to creatively put it together for a client.
My career is my baby and the thing I live and breathe, without it I would be lost! This is probably the main thing that has affected my entire life and steered me down an incredible journey. From starting this blog, to becoming a freelance writer, to working in social media, to joining a professional association board, to meeting a whole slew of new people, the learning, growth and self-discovery that has taken place is a whirlwind. Such as, apparently I love to write – seriously who knew!
I have learned so much on how to create my own work schedule, work independently, prioritize projects and create my own deadlines – I would be a pro- University Student now. Before I began freelancing I struggled with online courses, let alone being my own boss!
“It’s very important to take risks. I think that research is very important, but in the end you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless.” – Anna Wintour
Taking risks has been huge for me over the past year. Going from a 9-5 job to contracting within the span of a couple weeks was both exhilarating and scary- lets just say I have had more than one stressed out sleepless night. Beginning my blog was also a huge risk that I took. Putting yourself and your skills out there is tough and has been something that I really struggled with at first, and I still do occasionally. However, through time, experience and having an incredible support system behind me, I have developed the confidence to feel good about putting my work and who I am out there for the world to see!
Give them what they never knew they wanted! – Diana Vreeland
My version of success does not mean making a lot of money – although it would be nice in order to sustain my shopping habits and severe travel bug. I value quality and hard work. It doesn’t matter how many people know your name, if you don’t produce something that makes people stop and go WOW, then you haven’t arrived yet. I decided a long time ago I want to be known for the quality of my work, not how many events I can attend. It’s so easy to get caught up with social media, perusing people’s Instagram’s and comparing yourself to others, but something I have learned is that you can’t look at someone’s success and compare it to your own, especially if you are just starting out.
Social media, friend or foe?
We are millennials, so therefore it’s a natural habit to obsess over followers, likes and posting the right things to give our life a glazed over look that is not true to who we are. The social media marketer in me fights me on this, but regardless I believe that whether you are working for a company or on your personal brand, authenticity is most important. Why live in a world that is completely fake when you can be out exploring and experiencing everything first hand, and thus sharing these amazing adventures with your following. My social media is me, and what I post is who I am. If you follow me you’ll get the sincere pleasure of seeing the good, bad and the ugly – enjoy!
“Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Anna Wintour
Fashion is something I have loved since I was 12 years old – before that I just wore overalls! If the past year has taught me nothing, it has taught me to be even more confident within my own personal style and embrace my love for eclectic pieces and to push the boundaries. Through my research and getting the opportunity to attend various fashion events since starting this blog, I have molded my style into something that is much more true to myself. If I am going to talk about the style to others, I must have an identifiable one of my own! My hemlines continue to get longer and my necklines higher. I have spent more time this year playing around with different prints, color blocking and bold accessories, while adding some sporty, boxier and more edgy pieces to my wardrobe. The one rule I have when it comes to my style is to always wear something that allows you to be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t wear something because it’s “in,” wear it because it makes you feel like a better version of yourself. As Bill Cunningham said, “If you like it, wear it!”
I have learned a TON about myself over the past year and I have done that through learning about others. I have learned to cherish the relationships that are already in my life and to take the time to nourish them and allow them to grow. Sometimes this means growing apart and sometimes this means growing closer. I have dated, networked and introduced myself to some extraordinary people over the past year and through every interaction I have learned or experienced something new that has given me years worth of great stories and valuable memories.
Be in love with your life!
Without fun, life doesn’t have substance. Spending time laughing, gathering moments and being truly happy is most important. I always have some sort of photographic device on me to capture moments as they are happening. I honestly think the older I get the more fun I have!
Life is about moments – don’t wait for them, create them.
However, when it comes to having fun something I have learned one too many times is that I am no longer 18, therefore I can’t party like I am and frankly I don’t want to. It takes less to feel worse the next day and unfortunately I have yet to find a cure or remedy for that. Maybe I will have that for next year’s blog post!
Things I am still working on:
- My work life balance
- Becoming a morning person – I am attempting at least!
- Creating a career I love while also being monetarily secure
- Always finding something to laugh about – even on Tuesdays
- Juggling a million things at once
- Letting the little things go and not being such a perfectionist
- Continuing to nurture my relationships and make room for quality time spent with family and friends
- Being a leader, rather than a boss
Life the life that people write novels about!
Some very exciting things! I still don’t know what my entire future looks like, let alone a 5-year plan, but I have a rough idea on how I want it to go. Frankly, I am just along for the ride!
- Traveling to Europe for just over a month – I am beyond excited for this adventure! The ideas, inspirations and the stories I plan on creating and bringing back with me are going to be amazing I just know it.
- I plan on enhancing my blog and molding it even more to who I am and what I envision it to be.
- An entrepreneurial venture – STAY TUNED!
- Then who no’s- but I can tell you this it won’t be boring!
Cheers to a new year full of fresh starts, new experiences, memorable adventures, grand opportunities, new friendships and growing into the woman I am meant to be. I am extremely excited to see where life leads me next!
Photo Credit: Jenna Cavanagh
Shorts: Club Monaco
Shirt: Oak and Fort
Shoes: Steve Madden