The Curated Stampede Closet

I don’t know about you guys, but this year seems to be the best Stampede I have experienced in a long time! The weather seems to be cooperating and although it’s rained in true Stampede fashion, it was the cool off we needed to get through the last half of the festivities.

Being a self –proclaimed country obsessed gal, I probably look forward to this time of year more than most. However, for me the best part isn’t the two stepping or outrageous midway food, it’s the fabulous street style that hits our streets for 10 days of the year. I love seeing the creative ways that Calgarians incorporate white lace, red gingham, and anything denim into their regular everyday style.

DSC03974This year I have been working hard to cut down on the size of my wardrobe and invest in items that can be staples all year long. I have even added a few vintage pieces to make room for some diversity and character in my personal style. It’s no capsule wardrobe, but it’s better than it was – TRUST ME!

Luckily for me, many of pieces that make up my Stampede wardrobe are also a part of my everyday street style, just paired in a bit of a different way. This year I am loving baggy silhouettes, paired with hemlines of all lengths, minimalistic colours and anything that will go with a pair of tassel earrings!

Here are a few items that I have carefully curated in my wardrobe that will hopefully help to inspire you when choosing your looks for the last half of the Stampede shenanigans!

Bolo Ties

That’s right ladies, they aren’t just for men! I was lucky enough to inherit some original ties from my Grandpa that I just absolutely adore. Not only do they have a vintage charm that just ties an outfit together so well, but sans the clip, they can also act as a fun choker. I have also been switching up with a long suede choker or bandana, paired with a bold statement necklace.

Daisy Dukes

This may seem like an obvious one, but for curvy ladies with a bum, like myself, sometimes finding the perfect pair of high-waisted shorts can be a serious CHALLENGE! I have found that the key to this is looking through heaps of refurbished Levis denim and trying on anything that catches your eye, without looking at the number. I scored a pair when I was in Vancouver from a pop-up shop called ARK Reworks, where they actually take the denim and rework it to fit an actual booty. Can’t beat a classic!

Jean Dresses

I was so happy to see these resurface a few years ago, and of course in true Kristy style, I stocked up on them! In the process of reorganizing of my wardrobe, I have found a few very cute denim options that paired with boots and the right accessories can be a great way to pull off western chic. They are also incredibly comfy and make those 40-degree days on the grounds a little more bearable.

Shoulders bare all!

Seriously, I love it! I am an old lady when it comes to dressing these days, and to be perfectly honest, it was about time that the super low tank top trend took a back seat. Off the shoulder tops are so versatile and can be worn in a variety of different ways, including during stampede. Add a country twist to this shirt by adding a choker, layered necklaces or a pair of tassel earrings, and tuck it into a pair of daisy dukes or a cute jean skirt. I am also a huge fan of these shirts made with extra large bell sleeves, as it makes for an effortless eclectic and dramatic look.

Embroidered Cow-gal Boots

This is one I am still in search of! In my opinion, there is no use wearing a great pair of traditional cowboy boots for only 10 days of the year, especially if you don’t plan to step on a ranch anytime in the near future. Investing in a pair of specialty boots is way more worth your money and will make you standout amongst the crowds down at the grounds. If anyone finds a pair, new or vintage, feel free to let me know!DSC03990DSC04036DSC04037DSC04020DSC04053DSC04049DSC04061Pieces featured in this article:

  • Dress: Artizia circa 2014
  • Bandana: Free People
  • Gold Statement Necklace: Aldo Accessories
  • Bolo Tie: from my Grandpa’s wardrobe
  • Chain Bolo Tie: Free People

Photographed by Jessica at Antheia Floral!

XOXO Kristy

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Pinkie’s Up!

11 Reasons + Ways to Make Tea Your Summer Fix

Collaboration Between Tearrific + Antheia Floral + FloralandBows

I live for those tiny moments when you take the first sip of freshly steeped tea and you get that warm tingly feeling inside. Tea is one of those delicious beverages that can quench your thirst at any given time of the day, while being adapted in fun different ways to match the weather or circumstance. There is also always a flavour that conveniently goes perfectly with each season. Ahem, pumpkin chai!

Truth be told, it’s a rare thing to see me without a cup of tea in my hand, especially when I am writing. A bold Earl Grey or English Breakfast has the magical power to relax me after a long day and get the creative juices flowing. Needless to say, I have a charcoal teeth-whitener that I use on a regular basis!

Tearrific Hibiscus Lemonade
Tearrific Hibiscus Lemonade

However, with it being summer and the hottest Calgary has been in years, drinking a cup of steaming hot tea may not be everyone’s idea of refreshing, but an iced tea on the other hand is a whole different story.

Since it’s officially patio season, having a pitcher of iced tea on hand at all times is essentially a must, for more reasons than one. Aside from the fact that it is truly scrumptious, tea actually has a variety of health benefits that you can reap the results from in just one cup. Talk about a win win!

I partnered with Tearrific, a loose-leaf tea blender and café, along with Antheia Floral, a local florist, to come up with 11 reasons why you need to hop on the tea bandwagon and to get you inspired when making this refreshing hot weather elixir this summer!

Sencha Green Tearrific
Tearrific Sencha Green
  1. It’s a delicious alternative to water!

Canada’s food guide recommends that we drink approximately 1.5 liters of water in a regular day and even more when it’s hot out. Now I don’t know about you, but with my busy lifestyle and love of coffee, and other beverages, that is a lot of water to consume in one 24-hour period. However, since tea is essentially free of sugar, fat and calories, having a cup or two a day can help you hit that target, while quenching your thirst and keeping you hydrated in the heat of summer!

Tearrific Summer Daze
Tearrific Summer Daze
  1. Can be a natural and herbal remedy

Aside from providing a ton antioxidants, which is no secret, the individual ingredients that tea is made up of contains various vitamins that are crucial in our daily consumption. Certain teas can also act as a natural, drug free remedy to specific conditions or can at least help reduce symptoms. However, it does not replace the need for prescribed medication.

  • Hibiscus: contains a high level of Vitamin C, which works to boost your immune system and lower blood pressure in those people with an elevated one.
  • Licorice: has been known to help reduce the symptoms of Vertigo
  • Ginger: provides relief to a nauseous stomach – hello hangover cure!
  • Chamomile: has been known to also help with an upset stomach, while also successfully treating different sleep disorders.
  • Green + White Tea: both tea’s contain a ton of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in your body.
  1. I HEART Tea

It’s a common belief that drinking specifically, black teas can help keep your ticker in a well-maintained condition. Some studies even go as far to say that it helps reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. Now I am no scientist, so don’t quote me on this, but hey if drinking a cup or two of tea will allow me to continue to go on awesome adventures then I will gladly cooperate!

Tearrific Sencha Green
Tearrific Sencha Green
  1. 0 Calorie Cocktail Mix

What I would like to know is where was this info back when I was in University? Imagine all of the pizza’s I could have consumed instead! Samantha from Tearrific recommends mixing Gin and Earl Grey together, for a delicious energy booster to get the night started. You can also try mixing a fruity tea with prosecco or sparkling wine for a fun and refreshing summertime cocktail.

If you enjoy a good ol’ Pimms Cup, then I recommend trying the ‘Summer Daze’ tea from Tearrific, as it has been compared to this classic English beverage on more than one occasion. Make this tea iced and add some Pimms for an instant replicate of the original beverage, without the hassle of preparing a ton of ingredients. OR have it sans alcohol for a mocktail that still has the flavour of the real deal!

Tearrific Blueberry Burst
Tearrific Blueberry Burst
  1. Homemade Iced Tea

As I have mentioned, having a batch of cold-brewed tea is an excellent idea to have on hand for when we are in the midst of heat-wave and in need of a thirst quencher. But how does one go about making it? Trust me it’s easy, if I can do it so can you!

  • Add 4 heaping teaspoons of tea in 1L of water
  • You can use an empty mason jar or empty container you have lying around the house
  • Refrigerate over night and strain the tea leaves in the morning – if you are not in a rush to drink it.
  • If you plan on consuming the day you make the tea steep it in hot water and then pour it over ice when you go to serve the tea – this can also make a stronger tea if that is how you like it.
  • ENJOY!
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Tearrific Hibiscus Lemonade
  1. Sweet as can BEE

If you do require a bit of sweetener in your tea, honey would probably be your healthiest option, as it is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it good for your stomach and tasty to consume. My honey of choice is a local honey brand called “Drizzle” that you can get at the cutest shop in Bridgeland, Greater Goods, or various other locations throughout the city!

  1. Picky Tea Drinker?

Are you looking looking for a tea that is high in health benefits, but also has a bit of a caffeine kick for those early mornings? An Oolong tea is the perfect solution! It’s a great choice for people who don’t particularly enjoy the taste of black or green tea, as it’s in the middle on the flavour and oxidization scale.

Tearrific Orchard Oolong
Tearrific Orchard Oolong
  1. Kick that coffee addiction!

We all love coffee, but it’s also not always the healthiest option, especially if we are drinking 3 or 4 cups a day – guilty as charged! If you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake, there are a variety of herbal decaffeinated teas out there that are bound to quench your thirst. From spicy to nutty flavours, herbal teas are deemed one of the most flavourful so you will be replacing your cup of joe for something equally if not more tasty.

  1. Tea Baking

At Tearrific, they sell Brown Butter Oatmeal cookie sandwiches with Chai tea infused Buttecream – YUM! Tea is a great no calorie additive that is super simple to bake with and will give your baked goods the most scrumptious aroma. Head over to the Tearrific blog for some tips on baking with tea!

Tearrific Summer Daze
Tearrific Summer Daze
  1. Tea-o-licious Popcicles

On a hot summer day, there is nothing better than treating yourself to an iced cold popsicle! I am licking my lips for one of these as I write this article to be honest! To make them, brew a cold batch of your favourite tea and pour it into popsicle molds and freeze – EASY! If you want to add more flavour or mix it up you can always add slices of fruit, mint or other fun ingredients to your pops.

  1. The more tea you drink the healthier you will be – Truth!

There have been various studies that show drinking tea can help reduce the risk of getting dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other terrible diseases. It also helps to increase your overall health, as it is contributes to your body’s daily nutrient and vitamin consumption, while also keeping you hydrated! Now that is definitely a good reason to start drinking tea if you don’t already!

Tearrific Orchard Oolong
Tearrific Orchard Oolong

Tearrific: is a local tea blending company, formally known as the “Tea Wagon” and now located in Granary Road.

Antheia Floral: is a local florist that specializes in ethically sourced flowers. Be sure to check her out if you ave any floral needs, she makes the PRETTIEST bouquets!

Tea’s featured in this post:

ENJOY your ice tea endeavours this summer. Feel free to tag me, Antheia or Tearrific in any of your pretty recreations and inspirations on social media!

XO Kristy

Redefining Time in One’s Life and Work

Time is a funny thing! It’s bittersweet, to be honest. You have so much of it, yet so little. I for one, am one of those people who perpetually want to do it all in one very moment! My FOMO is literally running out of time and not accomplishing everything I want to see, do and experience. However, as with all things in life, things take time and I consistently have to keep reminding myself that everything happens in the right moment, for the right reasons when the TIME is right.

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One thing, I am unfortunately very guilty of, is complaining that there are not enough hours in the day to complete all the things! Part of that is probably due to the fact that I can get distracted by something as simple as my pen falling onto the floor, the other is that I am constantly taking on more work than one probably ever should. I am always spending time organizing, trying to get my life and business sorted and planned, and yet it still seems like complete chaos! No matter how much I plan, write lists and buy fancy planners, time still seems to run out and I end up writing articles, such as this one at 2 am.

I had a great conversation with a good friend, who also runs her own small-business, and as we got talking about time, being busy and getting burnt out, she introduced me to this quote, which is actually what inspired me to write this article:

Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it” – David Duchemin

I know this is not revolutionary, and most of you are probably thinking “well duh Kristy!” However, this perspective has changed my entire way of thinking and it really got me reflecting on the choices I am making and how I am balancing my work versus my life.

Let me give you some perspective on how a typical day in the life of Kristy Archibald generally goes. 9 am, go to one of my part time jobs (yes, I have two!), throughout the day I will reply to the odd email, post on social for a client and even get some work done on an article if I get a break, 6 pm get off work, 7 pm workout, then I procrastinate and try and work for the next few hours, 12 am WRITE, bedtime is 3 am and then I do it all again the next day! As you can see, efficient is not the word someone would use to describe this schedule and it frequently leaves me tired and unable to do my best work the following day – which is something that I take extremely personally!

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As a result, of the quote above I am slowly, but surely making some major changes. Why? Because frankly as an extrovert I enjoy having a social life and sleeping, while also making an income and doing what I am passionate about all at the same time. It’s possible, it just needs to be done right and how that may be is different for everyone!

This article is not simply to tell y’all how to succeed at time management; because clearly, I have not got it figured out yet and quite frankly I could use some of your advice! These are a couple of ways that I am shifting my focus, in my life, my business and with my relationships. Because I believe you can have your cake and eat it too, because I love cake, you just have to be strategic about it.

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Choosing the right client over making monies AKA saying NO

This one is the main priority! I am a yes girl. My mantra is, say yes and figure it out later. I would say this has been a strategy that has gotten me where I am today in my career, but I hadn’t ever given it any thought that I can be picky with who I work with. Now there is a line with this because at some point one needs to bring in money. However, I have begun to see my client relationships the same as I do a boyfriend. If there is something off, they are simply not a good fit, or we don’t click, then the relationship will never work. Saying no is hard, but I am finding it is crucial for my success and my sanity. I love everyone and I wish I could work with every brand and business, whilst volunteering for everything I am passionate about, but of course that is not possible! Focusing on doing a few things well, rather than spreading myself too thin is what I am aiming for.

Decluttering

I mean everything, but primarily my office! When I am working 24/7, organization goes out the window and I merely end up living out of my home, rather than in it. However, when things get bad and I can’t see my floor amongst all of the clothes, then I know that something needs to be done. When my things are a mess, my head is a mess and that just means that creativity is not going to happen. Minimalizing my life will hopefully allow for more efficient organization, which will result in a more productive Kristy. This is a big project, but slowly but surely I am making my way through it!

Lay it all out in front of me!

This means combining all the sticky notes, calendars, and to-do lists into one sheet that lays out each week for me. Then I can visually see what is coming up, what I need to begin working on and what needs to be prioritized, as well as when I can take a bit of time off. I am a visual person, so I highlight and create a list everything, but the key is having it all in one spot.

Not forcing my work hours

If I am not feeling inspired, or an article is just not coming together at 1 pm, I will either move on to a different task, such as eliminating my inbox or take a break altogether. This is hard, especially when I have multiple looming deadlines, but it’s much more effective to move on to something else rather than wasting 4 hours writing 4 sentences and beating myself up about how I am a terrible writer!

Taking a day off a week!

So far I have only gotten as far as to sleep in till noon on a day that I don’t have to be anywhere. Then I usually get up and dive into my inbox, because by that point it’s usually exploding with keeners who are wildly productive before noon – I wish! Currently, I’m planning in advanced, certain days that I can take off and head to the mountains for a day trip, or just see friends. Then at least I can begin to work my schedule around these days, instead of spending the entire time feeling guilty about all the work sitting waiting for me on my computer.

Put my phone away

As I have mentioned, I am very easily distracted. So when I am working, unless I am posting on Instagram for a client or I have a phone conference, I try my very hardest to “loose” my phone somewhere around my house. I am also finding that unplugging on a day off is key to my rejuvenation. When I have my phone I am always checking my messages, social media, and email. When I see an email come in, it’s my first reaction to is to read and then respond, but then there goes my so-called “day off!”

Working out of coffee shops

Getting dressed and out of the house can do wonders for my creativity. If I am not feeling inspired, heading to a café can be the best thing I can do. The white noise of people is calming for me and allows me to reset and dive right back in to my work. You also never know who you will meet when working in a café, it can be great for networking!

Being more mindful of my time

This can include waking up 10 mins earlier, enjoying the moment while I sip my coffee or being present while I am with my friends + family, rather than having my mind wandering to my work. Specifically mornings and I generally do not get along well and I usually end up getting out of bed at the last possible second, which adds a layer of stress that I don’t need, and sets a terrible tone for the day. Being more mindful of my time, rather than running from place to place will hopefully allow me to spend each moment succeeding at my current task.

If you have any more tips for me in my time management journey then feel free to send me a message! I would love to hear other’s perspectives on this subject!

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Outfit details

This look is fantastic, especially if you’re looking for an outfit that serves multiple purposes throughout the day. I can go from a brunch date, to a client meeting, to a board meeting, to an event while still looking polished and put together. Versatility is crucial when freelancing and buying key pieces that can be worn multiple ways is what gets me through my long crazy days – and its hella comfy!

All photos were taken by the lovely Sarah Beau of Sarah Beau Photography!

XX Kristy

What’s all the Fluff About!

Stay warm, look chic and make these handmade scarfs a part of your everyday look.

With Calgary’s temperamental and unpredictable weather, dressing for winter can be a serious challenge! One moment the wind is numbing my face and I am seriously worried my nose is just going to fall off, and the next it’s above 0 and I’m thoroughly regretting wearing that heavy knit turtleneck under my parka, to the point where I now carry a mini wardrobe in the back of my car – I just can’t win in this season.

To be perfectly honest I really don’t enjoy getting ready when it’s -30 outside, primarily because I end up putting on so many layers that style goes straight out the window! However, layers are key and they can always be removed when it warms up, which is sort of how the mini closet in my car all began.

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Riana Lisbeth Photography

 

With not being much of a hat person, due to my thin hair that is prone to kinks, static and stringiness, I tend to rely on oversized knit infinity scarfs to polish off a look and protect me from those horrendous wind chills. Knit scarves are one of my favorite things, because they are a timeless piece that will really never go out of style and they’re so versatile, while maintaining a level of coziness that makes going out in the cold not SO bad. And, if you’re always cold like me, you’ll relish in the fact that if you pair your scarf with the right look, they can look great indoors as well – yay for it being socially acceptable to basically wear a blanket to work!

Fluff HandCrafted – Modern Crochet + Knitwear 

This is one of my favorite knit brands for three reasons.

  1. They’re a local company based here in Calgary – yay for supporting local!
  2. Founder, maker and local YYC entrepreneur, Pam Morales, crochets all of the products by hand, so the quality of the scarves and cowl’s is unreal!
  3. The scarves come in beautiful neutrals and heather woven yarn, which makes them simple to pair with any look.
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Riana Lisbeth Photography

“I use super bulky wool blend yarns for their unique softness and drapeability that makes it easy to style without irritating your skin,” says Pam. “As a result, my scarves are designed to be high end, as I use detailed stitches that create textures which have a subtle visual effect. I love minimal lines and colors that match most of your wardrobe and can be your go-to daily staple for the season, which is what inspired me to stick to neutral colors. They can blend in or stand out against a blank colour palette, whatever your personal style may be they’re very easily adaptable.”

I teamed up with Fluff to come up with 3 different looks that are styled with Fluff scarves that are practical, warm and stylish – the best combo!

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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography

Outfit details:

This look is probably not wise to wear on a -30 below day, but it is great for those random occurrences when Calgary has a warm spell or then those bittersweet Chinook’s hit. This knit turtleneck paired with Fluff’s “Grey Cowl Scarf” and Mackage leather jacket is a good example of strategic layering and the perfect outfit for spending the afternoon at a gallery, taking a stroll by the river or going for Sunday brunch!

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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography

Outfit Details:

This look is a great example of a how these knit scarves can be utilized as not only outdoor wear, but as an indoor accessory as well. The darkness of the scarf compliments the lines on the shirt and the blue jeans help to off set the color scheme, making this the perfect outfit for a client meeting or casual Friday at the office.

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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography
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Riana Lisbeth Photography

Outfit details:

This casual look doesn’t differ much from the last outfit, but it’s definitely 5x warmer and comfier! Adding a knit instead of the shirt can be the perfect solution when it gets a little bit colder and the best part is that this sweater looks good with any color of scarves that you may have. We switched up the charcoal scarf with the marble infinity scarf to demonstrate the extreme versatility that these scarves have. You could probably pair any of her colors with this jacket and they would all look great – so ultimately it just comes down to personal preference.

If you would like to invest in one of these wonderful scarves for yourself, you can find them at Crafted Goods in the Calgary Farmers Market, or be sure to check out the Fluff Handcrafted Etsy Store. You will also find a few other crocheted gems on there, such as handmade toques and fluffy afghan throws!

xx Kristy

**All photos in this post were taken by the wonderful + talented Riana Lisbeth Khem of Riana Lisbeth Photography!

 

 

 

 

The Aesthetic of Personal Style

As Stella McCartney once said, “I think personal style starts from within, because it’s a philosophy and an attitude. If you’re honest and true to yourself, you will have the best sense of personal style.

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about personal style. This might be quite lucid, due to the fact that I have built a career around lifestyle and fashion. However, for me ‘personal style’ goes beyond simply what you wear, it’s a candid reflection of who you are and what you aspire to be.

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It drives me crazy when I hear people mention that they “have no style” or that “fashion is wasted on them.” I mean, in no way does one need to hold as much interest in the subject as I do, but ultimately everyone has a style, it just comes down to if that style is an appropriate reflection of who you are.

Great style, whether it’s ‘on trend’ or not – doesn’t matter, ultimately is about feeling beautiful and comfortable in your own skin. What you wear should give you the ability to approach each day with poise and confidence. Once you have found this, you have unlocked the gold mine to your very own, unique personal style.

Fashion is a trend. Style lives within a person,” – Oscar de la Renta

How does one find their personal style?

Unfortunately, there is no step-by-step instruction manual to finding your personal style, as it’s, well, personal! With that being said, there are a few tools that you can use to guide you in the right direction.

First of all, as with most things when it comes to soul searching, personal style is always evolving. One day you might love your pair of vintage Levis or Louboutins and the next, you might be chucking them in the giveaway pile. That’s OK! Just because your style changes doesn’t mean you no longer know what your personal style is. It actually means the opposite, that you know yourself well enough to move on from a style or piece of clothing when it no longer suits you – or as Emily Gilmore would say, “if it doesn’t bring you joy!”

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What inspires you?
Everyone has interests, hobbies and people they look up to in some way, shape, or form. These are the things that make up a huge part of who you are, so turning to them for style inspiration is warranted. Whether you play soccer, enjoy watercolor painting or diving into a novel makes you giddy, these are all things that will and could be reflective in your everyday style. The soccer player, may have a bit more of an athletic edge to his/her look, the painter may love wearing beautiful colors and the novelist may enjoy a more minimalistic look to compliment their love for mystery and adventure. You get the idea!

Let your lifestyle tell a story
What you do on a regular day-to-day basis is also a large factor that contributes to your style. If you work in a corporate office setting, chances are business attire mixed with practicality will be a huge part of your wardrobe. However, if you are a freelancer, like myself, and work from home or out of coffee shops, you get a bit (and by a bit a mean a lot) more room to play around with different styles and comfort levels. Your career is a part of who you are, as well as, what you choose to do in your spare time. Allowing yourself the freedom take these situations and wear outfits that are appropriate with your own flare, are what will define a very large part of your personal style.

What are you most comfortable in?                                                                                                                     For me this is sweatpants, leggings, plaid and sneakers – yes that is the definition of lazy. However, I also know women who don’t enjoy going into public without dressing up in a pair of heels and a fitted blazer. For them, the thought of putting on sneakers and leggings is a painful, and vise verse. Now, I realize leggings are not always warranted in every situation. However, scoring a baggy pair of dress pants that flatter your figure, feel like sweats and make it look like you dressed for the occasion, is a perfect instance of combining your style needs with your style wants – especially if they are a staple that you can wear to work every day! Win win!blog-43-fb

Budget
My least favorite word when it comes to a shopping trip. As much as I wish I could shop at Ted Baker and Kate Spade on a regular basis, it’s just not feasible for my bank account – a girl can dream! However, there is nothing wrong with looking at these labels and drawing inspiration from them. Don’t let your budget be the defining factor of what you wear. Instead, shop smart, set boundaries and look for unique pieces that you can work into your wardrobe and style.

Extenuate your assets
What is your favorite asset about yourself? This could anything from the color of your eyes to your always-toned shoulders to your booty. Regardless, buying clothes that compliment your assets is a sure way to find a style that makes you feel confident and good in your own skin.

The key to finding your style is asking yourself the right questions! Is what I am wearing who I want to convey myself as? Do I feel confident? Am I comfortable? Do I feel beautiful? Do I still have money in the bank since I purchased this piece?

If your answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions then maybe spend some time reevaluating. Ultimately, your style should tell a story of who you are and accurately represent your personal brand, while allowing you to feel like the best version of yourself each and every day.

Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others,” – Anna Wintour

What is my personal style?
Well, that is a darn good question! Ultimately being a blogger and freelance writer hugely influences what I wear on a daily basis. Take this outfit, for instance, it’s by far one of the most comfortable outfits in my wardrobe right now, yet it’s something I could get away with wearing to a business meeting.

It took me an eternity to find a pair of boyfriend jeans that actually fit my derrière, and now it’s rare to see me not wearing them. However, they very easily look sloppy and potentially homeless, so I always have to be careful of what I wear on top. This sweater is perfect because it’s cropped, therefore it still gives me a waistline, while balancing the perfect level of baggy – and it’s basically the comfiest sweater I own. I accessorized with a choker and my bow chain. The choker I felt added a bit more complexity and chicness to the outfit, and the bow, well I named my blog ‘floralandbows,’ so there’s your answer to that one. Lastly, my glorious white sneakers I felt just tied the whole outfit together – and they are also SO comfy (are you beginning to see a trend!).

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No matter what I have been doing in my life or how much my style has changed, there are a few, for a lack of a better word, trends that have always remained a constant. I would say these are what make up my true personal style, no matter what sort of fashion phase I am going through.

  • Floral patterns – you can dress it up or down and I always fall in love with the beautiful prints!
  • Button up shirts – these I find you can wear with any sort of bottoms and are so much fun to accessorize. I even find myself mixing masculine shirts with feminine statement necklaces a lot of the time.
  • Plaid – oh how I love plaid! It’s perfect for just about any occasion and is great for layering.
  • Collars – call me crazy, but my dickey is one of my favorite things I own. It can take a crew neck from casual to chic in an instant.
  • Loafers – through the years these have gone from moccasins, to flats to boat shoes to sneakers. Regardless I try and make sure they are the perfect combination of comfortable and chic.

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For inspiration, I would say I pull a lot of styles from the 50’s and 60’s, as those are my favorite fashion eras, along with minimalistic Scandinavian styles and classic Parisian looks. Basically, my personal style is a mix of my life, career, interests and things I have been inspired by throughout my travels – and it’s forever changing and evolving!blog-64-fb

Outfit details:

Choker – Salt Water Tea

Bow Chain – Bronze & Butterflies

Sweater – Community from Aritzia

Jeans – AGOLDE from Aritzia

Sneakers – Adidas Stan Smith Sneaker 

All photos were taken by the lovely Sarah Beau of Sarah Beau Photography!

XX Kristy

10 Ways To Find A New Year’s Resolution Best for YOU

For most people New Year’s is a party and an excuse to get dressed up and drink copious amounts of champagne. I won’t lie, I do generally take part in the festivities, but for me New Year’s is more about the significance of a great year coming to an end and a fresh beginning as a new year sneaks around the corner. It’s a time to curl up with a cup of tea and re-examine the direction my life + career are headed and make some short/long term goals for what is coming next.

New Year’s resolutions are always thought to be so dramatic and life changing, when we all know they generally only last till the end of January and then are forgotten until the following New Year.

This year I challenge you to break this cycle and begin to focus on the things that make you better and grow as an individual! These things can be in your personal life, your career or even how you see yourself. The best resolution you can make is one that will result in you being healthy, happy and confident in your life and your own skin.

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Reflect

Take the time to reflect! Look at where you are now, versus a year ago. Are you happy with where you are in your life and most importantly are you happy with yourself? Reflecting gives us the chance to learn from the past, celebrate successes and see what we would like to do differently in the future.

For all those who think you stop learning once you graduate University – think again! I always say I think I learned more in my first year out of school than I did within the 4 years it took to get my degree. With that being said for a girl who always has a plan, my life has veered pretty far off from what I had pictured it was going to look like. However, I am ok with where I am. You can’t plan when an opportunity is going to arise, you just have to buckle in and go along for the ride. Needless to say I am excited see where life leads me next – plan or no plan!

Keep it short + sweet 

Sometimes less is more! I know this sounds cliche, but in this instance it holds to be true. As C.S Lewis put perfectly:

“ Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”

Think of making smaller changes to your everyday routine and eventually each adjustment will lead to larger accomplishments without you even realizing it. Consider focusing on 1 or 2 goals for the year, instead of creating a laundry list of things you plan on doing within 365 days. Accomplishing a few smaller goals can lead to much larger ones in the future!

Be Specific 

Setting vague goals such as “this year I am going to eat more healthy” or “I am going to be a nicer person” are great things to want to achieve, but difficult to execute. Be specific and create goals that are simple and measurable, such as I will pursue 2 random acts of kindness a day, or I will only have 4 cups of coffee a week instead of 2 a day. Both are attainable and your progress is easily seen – win win!

Write it down 

This may sound silly, but it can be vital to the success of your resolutions. You are creating a contract with yourself and you need to validate it. Write it down somewhere that you will see it daily, such as a note on your bathroom mirror. This will create a daily reminder of where you want to be and allow you to continually check in with yourself to see how you are doing.

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Cut the stress!

According to an article written by the Calgary Sun, 25% of Calgarians are stressed, making us the most stressed out region in Alberta. Given the state of our economy I am not surprised in the slightest! However, stress is dangerous to your health and can subsequently make you underperform in your daily tasks. Think of the things that are causing you unnecessary large amounts of stress in your life and create goals that work towards reducing this, or better yet eliminating it!

Declutter 

Purge your life of anything that is no longer providing you with some sort of value. This might sound a little self loathing, but when you have less around you it allows you to appreciate the small things and have a better perspective on your life. I am talking about everything, including your home, career, heart, head and even the people in your social circle. Letting go of relationships that no longer feed you or give you joy allows you to focus and nurture the relationships that do.

Focus on your strengths 

“When you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” 

Figure out what you are good at and find time to focus on this. Generally, we are the happiest when we are doing something that we are truly passionate about. You also never know when a hobby could create a new opportunity, or lead you to discover something new about yourself.

Try something new 

Whether it be something on your bucket list or something you never thought you would be interested in – try it! As Neale Donald Walsch said:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 

When you are in routine, doing the same things day in and day out, your life can become stagnant and often boring. No longer are you learning new things, meeting new people or experiencing things in life, you’re merely existing. Memories are created when we discover new experiences and do things that give us butterflies. So book that spontaneous trip, sign up for a crazy workout class, volunteer or even try something new in your career!

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Keep it positive 

Maybe you don’t need to focus on eliminating something from your life, rather adding to it. In our society we are so focused on dreading Mondays and our upcoming deadlines. Focus on positive goals and they will reflect positively in your life.

Find your dream job! 

I know this sounds easier said than done, but as the mighty Confucius said:

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

You may as well begin working on it now and if this is not your year to secure the job of your dreams, at least you’re one step closer!

Lastly,

Create a resolution specific to you

Just because everyone else is giving up wine and loosing weight this year, does not mean you have to as well. Jump off the bandwagon and take the time to examine every aspect of your life and figure out the parts that need work, or that you are not 100% happy with. Maybe you just want to read a good book this year! My point is, the decision is yours and no one else’s. This year make it your mission to become the best possible version of yourself and to create a life that fulfills you, makes you happy and that you are confident and comfortable living, because that is what is most important!

xoxo Kristy

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Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m Possible” – Audrey Hepburn

A Christmas Shopping Guide to YYC’s Local Treasures

Warm hot cocoa, cozy sweaters, the crisp jingle of Christmas music filling the streets, the crackle of the Yule log on Channel 4 and of course the delicate rustic holiday décor, are just a few of my favorite things about the holidays – aside from the brisk subarctic temperatures of course. Under all of the fluff and exquisiteness that becomes part of our everyday lives, there is something so lucidly candor about the Christmas season that is unlike any other time of year. People are kinder, controversies are put aside, people are more supportive of others in need, time is made for family and friends that would otherwise be spent on work or the bustle of our everyday lives, selfishness is subsided and the holiday spirit shines through us making it truly a magical season of giving.

Instead of waiting for the inaugural December 1st, this year my holiday festivities began in early November. As a result of my eagerness, that has been compared to that of Buddy the Elf many times, I have come close to wrapping up my Christmas shopping – literally! Yes, I have entered the gift-wrapping phase, and it’s not yet Christmas Eve – it truly is a miracle.

During my shopping endeavours, I decided that I would completely avoid the insanity at the malls and make a conscious effort to shop local this year. Not only am I supporting local talent and fellow entrepreneurs, but I always manage to find presents that are unique and original for each individual that I am buying for, instead of making laps around the mall and settling on a variation of the same mug at David’s Tea for all my friends and family. Without giving away some of the nifty presents I have already purchased, I have crafted a guide to some of some of Calgary’s best kept local secrets, where you can find the perfect Christmas gift for just about anyone on your list!

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Antheia Floral 

Envision decking the halls of your home with bouquets of holly, festive planters, wreaths, and garlands, or having an elegant centerpiece at your Christmas dinner. Even better, provide the hostess in your life with a holiday bouquet of unique, luxurious florals that will be the cherry on top of their Kate Spade inspired Christmas décor. Regardless of the occasion, Jessica, from Antheia Floral will provide you with fresh blooms creatively arranged in a design to suit any of your flower needs. The best part, all her flowers are ethically sourced so you can enjoy a fresh bouquet with a clear conscious.

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Greater Goods

This beautiful boutique, nestled in the historic De Waal Block in Bridgeland, offers a plethora of stunning gifts curated from over 60 different local artists, along with a British-inspired tea room where you can grab a latte to keep you warm as you shop. Here you can find amazing stocking stuffers, such as freshly roasted coffee beans from Calgary Heritage Roasting Co., hand blended loose leaf tea from Tearrific, holiday scented candles from Lavami, day planners from Wrinkle and Crease, sweet honey from Drizzle, knitwear and jewelry from Salt Water Tea, hilariously mismatched socks from the famous Friday Sock Co., and new to the store, tea and coffee mugs from Hands On Clay Collective from Victoria, BC. You will also find their famous wall of exorbitantly hilarious cards for literally every occasion, including the holidays, along with an array of delicious sweets from The Violet Chocolate Co., Pretty Sweet, and Canada’s Sweet Shop.

floralandbows-gg2Be sure to check out their Holiday Pop-Up series that is happening now until December 18th. Go to their website for more details.

Also! Check their individually curated his + her’s holiday gift guides for more ideas for your special someone!

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The Livery Shop

Originally what was considered just a little red barn, has now been converted into a bustling workshop and retail store for local brands, Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitsch. This is a captivating space that is truly unique and beautiful, and the sense of community amongst all of the designers is contagious – I could literally hang out here for days!

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Photo via @LiveryShop

Be sure to check out Camp’s new 60’s inspired f/w line, The Highwood Collection, as you can never go wrong with one of their tees, toques or popular fleece crewnecks. Pair with one of the many statement earrings or necklaces from CoutuKitsch’s new exquisite Reine collection and you will have a gift that is cozy, sensible, practical and fashionable all at the same time – the best combo! You can also find a variety of other local brands that have a general theme of the great outdoors, perfect for the adventurer in your life.

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Liz and Lottie

This concept shop is new to the local shopping scene this holiday season, but man they are killing it! Owned by Heidi Blanchette and Nikki Maas, these two ladies know a thing or two about fashion and they credit their inspiration to the women they named the boutique after – their Grandmothers! Here you can find anything from leather purses, statement necklaces, trendy home décor, sassy collectibles, wine-themed accessories and an array of holiday-themed gifts that make perfect stocking stuffers. If you are struggling to find something for that “person who has everything” on your list, then suggest you head over to this little shop, as I can guarantee you that you will stumble upon something that is uniquely perfect!

Poppy Barley

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” better than a brand new leather purse, or even better, a new pair of shoes. Okay maybe I just have a shoe problem, but in all seriousness, a leather gift from Poppy and Barley is a gift that your special someone will keep and use for years to come. Choose between custom-made leather shoes, for both men and women, or an array of purses, wallets and other leather accessories that will spice up any wardrobe. I am currently lusting over their brand-new black leather “Nubuck backpack” – just in case anyone was wondering!

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Fresh Laundry

Give the gift of healthy! Skin care products can add up to be quite pricey over time, which is why they make the perfect gifts. Visit this brand new, Scandinavian inspired concept shop, located in historic Inglewood and find unique household and bath + body products that are ethically sourced and made with organic ingredients. Shop quality brands, such as Herbivore Botanicals, L:A Bruket, Common Goods Co., Woodlot and my favorite Australian brand, Aesop. This is the best type of gift, as you are getting someone a quality product they may have otherwise put off buying – and they can use it for months to come – win win!

Kit and Ace

This is the place where cashmere dreams come true! If you are looking for the perfect gift for the fashionista in your life, I can guarantee that you will find it in this trendy boutique on 17th avenue. Set at a bit of a higher price point, Kit and Ace is all about providing quality basics that are made for standing the test of time and suiting your busy lifestyle, while allowing you to be comfortable, practical and stylish all at the same time. If you are on a larger budget, one of their luxurious cashmere scarfs or toque + mitt sets would make an excellent present, considering the vicious winter the Weather Channel has prepared us for this year. Or get their “Willow Brushed Long Sleeve,” which is a double-stacked turtleneck that comes in a variety of different colors and is the perfect piece perfect for layering – the receiver will definitely be able to utilize this gift for many seasons and winters to come.

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Photo via @true_buch

Market Hopping

This year Calgary seems to have a ton of different local markets happening every weekend, now until Christmas. My favorite part about market shopping, especially over the holidays, is that I get to shop my favorite go-to artists and makers, while also discovering new ones I never knew existed. This is the best way to find one-of-a-kind gifts that are special and unique to the individual that you are buying for. You will find vendors that offer products ranging from handmade baby clothes, treats for your pet, stunning jewelry, beautiful photography and even food vendors that offer packaged goods that go great in a basket made for the hostess in your life. Some of the upcoming markets that I would recommend are Market Collective and the Azuridge Christmas Market.

I hope this curated article will help you check off some of your Holiday shopping to-do list and allow you to find gifts that are perfect for your loved ones to open on Christmas day!

Happy Shopping!

xoxo Kristy

Feature Image:

Photography: @rianalisbethphoto

Knitwear: @fluffhandcrafted