I’m just a girl looking for a hot cheesy kinda love – correction a hot cheesy pizza! If you knew me during my very brief stint on Tinder, in my opinion, the reason modern romance is dead – but we can save that conversation for another time, you’ll know that this was the only line I ever had on my profile. Screw introducing myself. I simply put it all out there and let any potential suitors know that my love for cheese and warm carbs would always be priority number 1. Let me tell you, the raunchy, hilarious openers I received from it were priceless. I simply couldn’t make some of them up even if I tried. Even though I eventually deleted the app and returned to the real world to spark a storybook romance, I still have some of the best lines recorded in my little black book for those days when I could use a small ego boost and a chuckle – they all got an A+ for trying at least!
Nonetheless, dating life aside, my love for a delicious slice of za has continued on.
What is my ideal slice of pizza you ask? It’s one of two options. It’s either a thick greasy slice of Hawaiian from CPU dripping in cheese, parmesan and ranch dressing or a thin crust delicacy from one of Calgary’s many specialty pizza outlets. For the sake of my overall desire and attempts at being healthy, I try and choose the latter more often than not.
Which brings me to why I am so excited to be writing this article in the first place! One of my very favourite spots to grab a glass of wine and treat my taste buds to a new gourmet pizza flavour, Famoso on 4th just finished renovating their space, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait!
Reopened earlier this month, I finally had the chance to sneak down to Mission and check out their upgraded digs. Since I got my love for hot cheesy pizza from my momma, I brought her along for a little mid-week mother-daughter date!
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a room filled with an abundance of natural light and a rustic wooden center bar that drew you into the space. The outskirts of the room was lined with cozy booths against the windows and the center was filled with high tops and plush seating around the bar. There are really no bad seats to be had in the restaurant, which let’s be honest, is a rarity. My favourite part of the décor was the party lights that were strung above the seats in the main restaurant area and the rustic white and black brick mural that adorned the back wall by the stairs that lead to another semi-private dinning area. Altogether the vintage, rustic elements, mixed with the industrial iron accents and homey touches gave the space an ambiance of a traditional pizzeria straight out of Italy mixed with a modern social house.
My mum and I choose to sit in one of the booths along the windows, because I have a serious attraction to natural lighting and both of us being under 5’4 never usually enjoy having to sit in a high top – we can be a tad extra, I will admit.
After perusing the menu for a while, I realized they had added quite a few items since the last time I had been in. I love trying new things so I was pretty excited by this, but when it came down to choosing it was a challenging decision, as always. With a recommendation from our lovely server, I landed on the Roasted Cauliflower, which was a seasonal za featuring roasted seasoned cauliflower, green olives, toasted almonds and gorgonzola, topped with honey and house-made chili oil – I’m literally still dreaming of this pizza.
My mum got one of their classic staples, which is her favourite, the Pepperoni and Roasted Mushrooms. Both of us made our meals into lunch combos, which just means you get a smaller 7” pizza with a side soup or salad. I tried their house Napoli salad, which was light and the perfect compliment to a heavier pizza and my mum tried the Tomato Bisque which she said was creamy and made for a delicious upper scale take on traditional comfort food.
The best part, or maybe for lack of a better word, the most astonishing part was how quickly our meals came after we ordered. One of the new additions to the restaurant is a signature tiled bell-shaped oven that they imported from Italy and can cook the pizzas in 90 seconds flat. I don’t even know how its possible but our food was at our table within a mere 10 minutes of us ordering, a blissful surprise as neither of us had really eaten much before this, so the quicker the less likely the hangry is to appear. As I said, like mother like daughter.
Filled to the brim and well caffeinated, we proceeded to catch up in the restaurant and then do a little shopping in Mission, which is one of my favourite areas to explore in the city.
From the location to the bright décor to the authentic Italian pizza, this location is by far my favourite in the city. Probably because it feels as though you have been transported into a pizza joint in the heart of Italy, which makes my adventurous soul so happy! It also reminds me that it’s been far too long since I paid that country a proper visit, so I will definitely be adding that to my long list of flight alerts.
To celebrate the reopening of their 4th street location I have partnered with Famoso to give away a $100 gift card so you can treat your partner, friend, parent or even yourself (no judgement here, I take myself for pizza all the time) to a gourmet pizza experience in their fresh new space. Head on over to my Instagram for more details and for a chance to enter!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!