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.
This 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!
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.
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!
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!Pieces featured in this article:
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
Be 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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Life is about moments: Don’t wait for them, create them.
When I look back at my entire career and see the path I have taken, I can distinguish specific moments that have lead me to this very moment in time – writing this blog post. These were pivotal events that threw me in a direction that was amazing, scary and wonderful all at the same time. For a girl who thrives off having a well-organized plan for almost everything, including a shopping trip to the mall, you can imagine that this was initially a slight shock to my system. However, my career path has been a fascinating ride and I am continually learning and eager to see what is around the next corner.
Here are 7 defining moments that stand out in my career thus far as learning experiences, growing experiences or a moment when I realized I was exactly where I was meant to be!
Let’s start at the beginning…
The moment my love affair with communications began
A close friend had mentioned to me in passing what she was doing in her PR class, it sounded interesting, so I enrolled myself in an “Intro to Communications” class to see what it was all about – I had zero expectations. When I walked into that auditorium there was no going back, I remember listening to my professor discuss the basics of Communications Theory and from that moment on I was officially a communications student.
From there I went on to immerse myself in the communications program and University as much as I possibly could, as I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my 4 years – and that I can truly say I did! I became good friends with many of my professors, I traveled to Spain on a 3 week ‘Food Culture’ group study and I became the President of the ‘Students in Communications’ (SIC) Club for one out of my three years of involvement. I threw myself in and I came out the other end with a BA and a strong motivation to conquer whatever came my way!
The STARS aligned
One of the things that was immensely important to me was graduating with actual work experience within the communications industry on my resume. As a result of my efforts, I ended up with an amazing Summer Student Position at CNOOC Ltd., then known simply as Nexen. I was placed in their Corporate Responsibility Program and got sent to STARS Air Ambulance, on behalf of Nexen, to assist them for the summer.
At STARS I got the unique opportunity to work with the four pillars of their Foundation’s team – Events, Stewardship, Communications, and Fundraising. I had a hands-on summer of completing multiple projects for each individual team, while learning how a non-for-profit worked and was organized, both from an internal and external perspective.
At the end of the summer, STARS offered me a part-time job, as a Development Coordinator, while I finished my degree – I wholehearted accepted the opportunity. This role was streamlined specifically to internal tasks that primarily included creating research profiles for the fundraising team to use when they were going in for an ask and other administrative duties. By the end of my time there I was organizing weekly meetings with multiple teams within the foundation and even chairing a few meetings that involved the research profiles that I had created.
“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll
One of the best pieces of advice I could have ever been told was to “get involved” – sounds simple, but it was revolutionary to my success. Throughout my entire career I have thrown myself into different volunteer initiatives and strategically looked at opportunities for me to put my skill set to good use, while also learning and growing within communications. As a result, I have worked with some incredible teams and witnessed firsthand how powerful volunteerism can be. Each community that I have become a part of has influenced me in one way or another and has empowered me to connect my passion to a purpose, making a difference in something much larger than myself.
Two experiences that stand out are my involvement on the Special Events Committee at Making Changes Association and The Black and White Ball Committee with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Both offered me opportunities to hone in on my digital media skills, as I created detailed social media plans for both events, along with editorial calendars, campaign suggestions and written content to be posted that was consistent with the branding guidelines of both the event and organization. Eventually, I got to the point where I was posting the content directly into Hootsuite myself on the various social media platforms on behalf of each of the organizations and executing the entire social media strategy myself. This opened many doors for me within the world of social media and soon led to my next key opportunity!
#GetSocial with Social Sesame
Through my work with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, I met my soon-to-be boss at the social media agency, Social Sesame, and within a month I was a full-time employee. This is where my career took another steep turn! All of a sudden I was managing multiple clients’ social media accounts on a daily basis and learning the inner workings of the immense world of digital media and social media marketing – and getting paid for it! I adored creating a strong relationship with clients, as we worked together to create a digital marketing plan and strategy, and execute it in a way that would enhance their brand and connect them with their target audience.
It was in this same instance that I began to see my writing career flourish, as this was quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the job. For many clients, whose social media I managed on a daily basis, I would also manage their blogs and be creating original content for them on a weekly basis. Throughout my life, I had always been a creative person, but I just had no idea how to build or sustain a career out of that – this was my official aha moment! Creativity had officially been infused into my career and I could not have been happier knowing I was doing something that fed my soul and made me want to jump out of bed in the morning.
Becoming a lady boss!
“If you can’t stop thinking about it don’t stop working for it.”
Due to the unfortunate circumstances of Calgary’s economy, I became a contractor at Social Sesame and at the same time gained a few clients of my own. It was then I decided to take the time to work on my own personal brand and figure out what my next move was. Starting a blog was always something that was in the back of my mind, but never something that I had pursued, mainly due to time constraints and the overwhelming thought of creating my own website. However, since I was no longer working full time I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take the leap and just do it!
Creating my website was a process – a long one! I ended up teaching myself the ins and outs of WordPress, along with basic coding techniques and other website technicalities, but eventually FloralandBows was born. FloralandBows quickly became my creative outlet and currently contains my fashion and lifestyle blog, my growing writing portfolio and my freelancing services that I offer to my clients. Since launching almost a year ago I have had the sincere opportunity to work with an incredible array of people within the community, write for various magazines, blogs and editorial platforms and once again steer my career in a direction that I could have never imagined.
“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you can see can inspire you.” – Grace Coddington
I very quickly learned that if I was going to pursue a creative career, I needed to find ways to always be inspired. Luckily, I didn’t have to look far, as I found the things I was most passionate about were what inspired me and kept my creativity flowing.
Traveling: discovering and learning about new cultures, while getting to know the people that make up a place and going on memorable adventures is something that feeds my soul. It allows me to grow and learn things about myself I could have never imagined while keeping me active and always inspired.
Fashion: I could talk about fashion for hours – literally! This has been something that I have been incredibly passionate about from a very young age; so being able to incorporate it into my career has been monumental for me. Anna Wintour, Iris Apfel and Bill Cunningham are just three role models that I always find myself greatly inspire by, not only by what they do professionally but by how they go about it and what they represent – individualism.
Supporting the local community: I have always been a huge supporter of local businesses and entrepreneurs within Calgary. I find now more than ever when I get the opportunity to talk to someone who is incredibly passionate about whatever it is that they are doing, I am immediately intrigued. These people always give me new ideas to think about and motivate me to be better in the pursuit of doing the things that mean the most to me.
Living a healthy lifestyle – staying active is how I recharge, clear my mind and allow myself to reset after burning the midnight oil or working on a large deadline with a client.
My Communications family
For me the two most important things that allow you to fully grow within your career is constantly working on your professional development and having a strong network behind you along the way. I found both of these when I joined the Calgary Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/Calgary). I initially joined as a student member, but very quickly found myself becoming increasingly involved within the organization. I began as the Newsletter Coordinator, gathering content and sending out the newsletter on behalf of the organization once a week. Within a year I moved onto the Board of Directors as the “Director of Student Development,” due to my immense involvement within the student community when I was in University.
Now, I currently sit on the board as the “Director of Marketing.” I lead a team of social media rockstars who work to maintain and manage the IABC/Calgary social media channels, that includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our brand-new Instagram account! 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary for the IABC/Calgary. As a result, I am working with the 50th Planning Committee to create a promotional video with a Video Agency that will work to promote the gala and the legacy of the IABC/Calgary throughout the year and for years to come.
I also work to collaborate with other board members and ensure that all marketing efforts are being completed within each portfolio. It’s through this collaboration that I have found a professional network that I can rely on, along with a group of true friends within the industry that are always willing to help and support each other whenever possible.
The here and now!
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”
Whew! What a journey! My career has been nothing close to boring and frankly I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Currently, I am working as a full time freelance writer and am a writing contributor to the Daily Hive YYC, The Yellow Pages Business Pages, Moments Magazine, Dote Magazine Press Board PR, Standout Publications and YYC Girl Gang – just to name a few. The diversity is incredible, as I am always writing on a different industry or topic, which keeps things interesting and allows me to constantly be learning new things. At the same time, I continue to work on the board of the IABC/Calgary, while perusing other volunteer related ventures.
Where do I see myself heading? Good question! It’s my dream to someday be an editor and to work with a team of inspiring, like-minded individuals to create great and wonderful things, while still pursuing my writing and creative career. All I know is that I am eager to see what my next career defining moment will be and where it will take me!
I am still coming to grips with the sheer reality that the end of summer is merely two weeks away – where did the time go! It feels like yesterday I was packing my backpack and escaping to Europe for a month and a half. With that being said, summer of 2016 has been sheer bliss mixed with a magnitude of memories and it’s going take a heck of a lot more adventuring to top it.
With pumpkin spice lattes and warm comfy sweaters just around the corner, I want to do my best to relish the last two weeks that we have of this beautiful season. Here is my bucket list of things I hope to do and experience within the next two weeks, to put the cherry on an already fabulous summer and transition into my favorite season of the year!
Get active and spend time outdoors
Although Calgary has not had a record hot summer, the past couple of weeks haven’t been too bad! I love being able to sit on my patio as I write this article or do things that I would normally do inside, outside – banking on the premonition that it stays above 15 degrees and doesn’t begin raining daily, or worse snow.
This is also around the time when everyone seems to want to knock off those extra summer pounds they gained indulging in Stampede deep fried goodies or a few too many patio beers. In my case, it’s a situation of months of consuming Italian pasta, French crepes, Belgium waffles and British Cream Tea, none of which I regret in the slightest. However, instead of hitting the gym I want to spend the time being more active outside exploring Calgary, while I still can. Lucky for all of us Calgary has a plethora of free and/or relatively cheap activities happening all around the city within the next two weeks that are easy on the budget and a fun, healthy way to spend an afternoon.
Flow by the Bow: for $10 flow through a Yoga class and celebrate afterward with food trucks and a live DJ held at the RiverWalk Plaza in East Village, hosted by Lululemon.
Outsiders Run Club: meet up with Joanna Magik, of The Sweat Style, in the East Village for a FREE 5-8km run every Tuesday night beginning at 6:30pm.
Barre in the Village: join Barre Body Studio in the East Village Experience Centre on Thursday, August 25th for a lunchtime 60-minute full body workout, beginning at 12pm.
Patrick’s Island Games Station: on Sunday, August 28th grab a group of friends and head down to St. Patrick’s Island for outdoor activities such as Bocce, ladder golf and more between 11am-5pm!
Pokemon Go sesh: Yes I said it! I am not normally one to conform to popular fads, but I have to admit I am glad I inquired about this one, because it’s actually a lot of fun! Find a spot in Calgary where there is lots of Poke action happening and spend an hour or two catching rare Pokémon, fighting a few battles and hatching an egg or two, all while reaping the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors – win win!
Explore Calgary’s newfound culinary scene
The landscape of Calgary’s foodie industry has changed drastically over the past summer months, especially due to the upgraded laws around microbreweries. As a result, there has been a significant growth in new restaurants, patios, concept bars, bakeries, coffee shops and game cafes all over the city. This makes my inner adventurous self so happy, because there is nothing I love more than trying out new local hot spots and finding new places to fall in love with in Calgary. If you haven’t already, make it your mission to try out a new spot every so often and contribute to Calgary’s growing local culture!
Restaurants: Ten Foot Henry, Posto Pizzeria and Bar, Una Takeaway, The Guild, Full Circle Pizza, Royale and Flipp’n Burgers & Breakfast
Coffee Shops/ Bakeries: Little Henry, Wow Bakery, Alforno Bakery & Café, Philosafy Coffee, Vintage Caffeine, Framboise Bakery and Made by Marcus Microcreamery
Game Cafés: Hexagon Café
Cocktail Bars: SS106 Aperitif Bar and Frenchie Wine Bar
Annual pre-fall shopping spree
If you know me even the slightest you won’t be surprised to hear that this is probably one of my favorite parts of this time of year! It’s when summer styles go on sale and fall fashion begins to sneak it’s way in, replacing the crop tops and daisy dukes with turtlenecks, blanket scarfs and baggy knits. The next two weeks are the perfect opportunity to wear your summer looks one last time and do a little pre-fall shopping to get your wardrobe ready for the upcoming season. Some of my favorite local shops I will be checking out for fall are Adorn Boutique, Kit & Ace and The Livery – nothing says fall like a comfy Camp crewneck fleece!
Lastly, even if you aren’t going back-to-school, like myself, it doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the frenzy of beautiful notebooks, agendas and supplies to prepare yourself for fall. Indigo’s new back-to-school line is out and my Visa is already not pleased about it!
Dive into a good book
Summer is all about adventure and there is nothing like immersing yourself into a story and traveling to a world different than your own, without having to actually pay for a plane ticket. Take some time over the next two weeks to relax and read a good book even if it’s a short story and breathe in the last few moments of summer.
Joining a book club is always a good way to force yourself to sit down and actually finish reading a book you have started. I am incredibly guilty for beginning multiple novels at once and getting too busy to pick them back up again. If you don’t have a group of friends who share the same love for books as you do, Dote Magazine has officially launched their new interactive Dote Book Club – check out their first book, Mansfield Park by Jane Austin, for the month of August and stay tuned to their social media for book club updates!
Escape to the mountains
There is nothing like ending the summer by taking a day trip or even spending a weekend basking in our beautiful mountainous backyard. Alberta has some beautiful hikes to offer that are great for experienced hikers or those people like myself who are just looking for a casual stroll with stunning views in the wilderness. Check out Alberta’s 25 best hikes here, according to Explore Magazine!
Campfire + s’mores
Nothing says summer more than a causal evening with friends cozied around a campfire, sharing stories and toasting the perfect golden marshmallow. Unfortunately, due to the lack of nice evenings that Calgary has had this summer this has not been a common weekend activity, which is incredibly disappointing to me. If Mother Nature permits it, plan a night with friends, have a potluck and a couple drinks around the campfire and end the summer of 2016 with a bang!
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!