Apostle News

  • Trend Alert : Hoop Earrings

    Spring Jewelry Trends : Hoop Earrings
    The trend that's always in style

     

    Love hoop earrings, but not quite sure which
    styles suits you best?

    I've got the answers for you right here!

     

    Spring Jewelry Trends Hoop Earrings

     

    It’s no secret, hoops are my go-to earring for any outfit. There are so many varieties available to suit anyone’s style. Of course, when I was buying for the boutique earlier this year, I spotted many designers were coming out with a fresh take on hoops! I thought now would be a great opportunity to share their versatility and highlight some of the details you will find in each pair, I have brought in for the Spring 2021 collection.

    Hoops have always been a classic. When you think of hoops most people imagine solid gold hoops, a true staple. However, with creativity and innovation, there are many ways a simple hoop can take your outfit to the next level, whether you have a more contemporary or classic wardrobe if you like to keep it casual or add a little touch of femininity.

    I recently took a poll over on Instagram and turns out most of you are nervous to take a step into the hoop world, let me formally introduce you to your new favorite accessory.

    Let’s start with an everyday classic: Lover’s Tempo Silvia Hoops. These are a simple clean 12mm diameter hoop with a sterling silver post made out of Vancouver. They add simple detail to any look, great for those who have a capsule wardrobe.

     

    For those who want to take it up a notch, I would suggest Shashi’s Bijou Hoop, while still a clean hoop the parallel bar adds a level of detail and dimension. This gold hoop is a great way to add subtle boldness to your look. If you’re looking for a more gentle feature, I would suggest Gorjana’s Bali small hoops. These have a bubble detail surrounding the hoop. Unlike a classic hoop, these have a huggie backing which gives a stunning 360 degree look, talk about no bad angles.

     

     


     


    Daisy London is your perfect match if you prefer unique details rather than bold statements. I was thrilled to bring Daisy into the boutique this season as they have some stunning details on their hoops. Stacked Rope Midi Hoop has an intricate twist throughout the hoop and is available in both silver and gold. The Leaf Hoop is another option that adds a  natural element to an outfit. To get the best balance of detail and boldness I would suggest the Artisan Woven Hoop. This hoop is a little larger but has unique sketch marks etched around the earring.


    Staying in the mid-range size hoops but with a more delicate feminine touch are the beaded Pan Hoops from Abacus Row. No matter your colour palette I have the ones for you. These hoops are the ideal outfit enhancement whether you're wearing  jeans or a summer dress, all you need is a sunhat and a picnic basket, and you're set for the perfect day out!

    For a true classic, but slightly larger version of the Lover's Tempo. I would suggest our in-house Everyday Medium Hoops. These are available in both Gold Fill and Sterling Silver.

    If you're still looking to amp up your look a bit more, let me introduce you to the Minka Thin Hoops and the Mendoza Hoops. These gorgeous thin hoops, proves sometimes size does matter... while delicate in nature these beauties are bold and in charge, and level up any power suit. Talk about being a boss!

     

    Check out the full spring collection!

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  • Meet Laura Frostad : 
    Originally from Phoenix, Laura met her husband while he was working in the United States and she moved back to his hometown, Calgary, where she started her dream & calling- Laura Brows. Mom to two young boys, lover of coffee and the outdoors, Laura is a mentor, as solid as a rock, and is always truly authentic to who she is. 

     

    Laura Frostad Laura Brows

    Laura Frostad Laura Brows



    I met Laura a few years ago in the same way as many others do- it started on Instagram when I heard about this magical place that could transform my brows with a simple tint and wax. Then I booked an appointment, and though it wasn't with Laura herself, I was really impressed with how Laura conducted herself as "the boss". With a confidence that can only come from a combined years of experience and passion for what one does, Laura made herself available for everything- whether a Brow Artist or a client had a question, she would stop what she was doing to help and share her thoughts. I also noticed how Laura went around to talk to each client and say hi to ensure that everyone felt comfortable, welcome, and like one of the family. 


    And let me tell you, at Laura Brows, you are family. The LB team is an incredibly strong-knit group of women that supports, loves and truly cares for one another. I don't know how Laura does it, but I can't imagine it's an easy task to find a group of people that gets along as well as the LB women do, but whether I'm there for a quick brow appointment or for a day-long Pop Up, I always sense the deep sisterhood that lies within those walls. The best part is that this sisterhood isn't just observed, it's inclusive and everyone that walks through that door is welcomed with open arms! 


    Laura Frostad Laura Brows

    This sisterhood, this team, speaks directly to the type of person that Laura is. She has a beautiful way of showing leadership, friendship and genuine care simultaneously, and as someone who has experienced this firsthand over a cup of coffee, it's a rare quality in a person, and I think it's one thing that makes Laura unique. 

    I mentioned earlier that Laura is as solid as a rock (no relation to the  80's Ashford & Simpson song), and I want to explain this a bit more. There's a certain type of inner strength and consistency with Laura. She is steady and composed, yet full of heart. Laura cares deeply for and about people, and one of my favorite things that she said in her interview is that she gives back to her community "quietly". Her huge heart and generosity is incredible, and because she cares about people so much, she gives both monetary donations and gifts to the homeless, women and children in need, survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation...just to name a few. But she doesn't limit her giving back to her own self, she encourages clients to take part, and she invites her team to share about causes that are important to them as a way to raise awareness and funds.


    Laura Frostad Laura Brows Plant Shop Calgary


    There's no question that Laura Frostad is an incredible, inspiring and generous human, and it's because of all this, that my co-planner, Chelsea, and I wanted her to be a part of this project. We asked Laura some questions to learn a little bit more about who she is, and you can read that interview below. 


    What is one piece of jewelry you don’t leave the house without?
    my wedding band and my Nanas wedding band.


    Why did you decide to start your business?
    It was the only thing I wanted to do, I never saw myself happy doing anything else, so for me it was the only option.


    In the early days of starting your business, what was one of the toughest hurdles?
    The first leap of starting it and everything in the beginning. The learning curve of permits and navigating everyone's option on how I should do it vs. how I envisioned and wanted to do it. After that it still can be hard, but you have the confidence to work through the problems and get better at them.


    Laura Frostad Apostle Boutique Calgary Small Business


    What have been some of the greatest rewards?
    Meeting the most incredible people hands down. Our community is filled with the most generous, genuine people that inspire me and make me a better person.

     
    What advice would you give someone that has an idea/dream but is holding back?
    Everyone has that feeling, it would be weird if you didn't. But what matters is how bad do you want it? Could you live with yourself if you never even tried? If you are worried about failure, tough shit get over it, failure isn't that bad. You pick yourself up and rework the problem with the new lessons and better skills you have from it.  


    What advice would you give someone that's just starting out on the entrepreneur path?
    Keep going, everyone has the feeling of wanting to give up. Don't let your integrity sway and remember it's supposed to feel like a mess. Start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.


    What are three pillars/foundations that your business is built on? And how does this correlate to your personal life? 
    Integrity, that's pretty much it. without integrity your clients suffer, your employees suffer, your business suffers. You can't have this in business and not in your personal life its a way of living in all aspects. If there is a moment when you are out of integrity, as that happens (we are not perfect), you make it right and get back on it. 


    How do you give back to your community?
    Quietly. Sometimes we talk about it to encourage others to give back, but most the time I choose to give back in all ways quietly whether that is a donation, buying goods for those in need, giving time etc.


    What are some of your favorite local businesses?

    I don't think I have any that are not my favorite. 



    Another thing I loved about what Laura said is when she talks about integrity and how when you mess up, you make it right and get back on track. This is something that is so important in both personal and business life. People make mistakes, and we need to remember that for ourselves and for others- nobody is perfect. But what truly makes the difference is how that mistake is handled and that it is made right. 



    Laura Frostad Chelsie Graham Photography



    Laura Frostad is a woman of direction and strength.
    She knows that failure isn't a dirty word, rather it's an opportunity to refine and hone who you are and how you're going about things.
    She is a huge supporter of people, charities and the local small business community.
    She is a woman of deep core values, courage and self assurance.
    She strives to grow, both personally and professionally, even when it seems like things are against her.
    And I am so happy to have shared a bit of Laura's story with you. 



    I also need to thank and acknowledge those that helped make this shoot happen and help create & capture the beauty of this small business community here in Calgary. Yes, there are women in these photos, but there is also a group of women in the background that also encompass all that I talked about- these women are killing it and I am so honored to know them and to have worked with them. 

    Shoot Organizer & co-Planner : Chelsea from Coco & Ash Weddings and Events

    Photographer : Chelsie from Chelsie Graham Photography

    Hair & Make-Up : Priya from Beautymark Makeovers

    Wardrobe : Whitney & Sheri from Crabapple Clothing 

    Location : Plant Shop

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  • YYC Small Business Love - Alyssa

    Meet Alyssa from the Anais Anette Flagship :
    A native Calgarian, lover of her two pups (one significantly larger than the other), wedding enthusiast (and planning her own rescheduled wedding for 2021), the best friend anyone could ask for, and an all around positive and inspiring woman with a heart of gold.

     

    Alyssa Conrad - Anais Anette Bridal

    Alyssa Conrad

     

    Let me be the first to tell you that there aren't enough good things to say about Alyssa Conrad. Whether you are just meeting her for the first time or you've known her for years, it's Alyssa's genuine smile and sparkle in her eyes that draws you in, and her authentic warmth makes you want to stay and hang out for awhile. 

    In September of 2015 Alyssa launched Pearl + Dot, a Calgary bridal boutique that quickly rose to (what I call) bridal stardom and was the place to find your dress. Five years later, Alyssa continues to grow and evolve both her business and her passion & enthusiasm for all things weddings. This past fall, Alyssa transformed Pearl + Dot into the Anais Anette Flagship store and opened the doors to a whole new bridal concept in Calgary.

     

    Alyssa Conrad Anais Anette Flagship Calgary

     

    Anais Anette is a "Canadian made bridal collection for the modern woman looking for that effortless, simple and classic wedding dress" [taken from the Anais Anette website]. With a focus on minimizing the carbon footprint in the industry and giving back to the community, this is a company that believes in quality, experience and people- the partnership with Anais Anette and Alyssa is a match made in heaven.

     

    "I have learnt to not be afraid of change but to instead embrace it.
    I have learnt that I will never settle or do the expected and I will always reach for what's next, because life is too damn short not to reach for the stars. Here's to the next 5 years of taking risks, crushing goals and making waves."

     

    From the way she runs, build and grows her business, to the way she treats those around her, to her easy laughter that could warm even the Grinch's stone-cold heart, Alyssa Conrad is a woman that I have admired and looked up to for years and there was no question that I wanted to tell a bit of her story. 

     

    Alyssa Conrad Anais Anette Flagship Calgary

     

     

    How would you describe your style?

    I find my style really depends on my mood that day! I love a good pair of jeans and a T-shirt, but nothing makes me feel more confident than a killer high-waisted dress pant. The words that come to my mind when I think about my style are feminine, classic + laid-back. 

    What is one piece of Jewelry you don’t leave the house without?

    I never leave the house without my engagement ring [obvi!], but lately I have really been into layering necklaces. I am also obsessed with my new ‘Be The Light’ ring from Apostle ;)! 

     

    Alyssa Conrad Apostle Boutique Calgary Jewelry

     

    What do you do to reset or get ready for something big?

    Taking my dogs for a walk at Edworthy always seems to reset my mood and help my mind relax. Since moving into our home, I have also become a bath girl! I find it the perfect space to relax, and reset for what’s next. 

    How do you give back to your community? 

    We recently set up a campaign at The Anais Anette Flagship where all proceeds from our Anais Anette T-shirts will be donated to BIPOC charities throughout Canada.
    Our first charity that we are donating proceeds to is a wonderful charity out of Toronto called Black Women in Motion. They are a youth-led organization that empowers and supports the advancement of black womxn and survivors of sexual violence. They work within an anti-racist, intersectional feminist, trauma-informed and survivor-centered framework to create culturally-relevant content, educational tools, healing spaces and economic opportunities for black womxn. You can learn more here: www.anaisanette.com/givingback

    What advice would you give someone that’s an idea/dream but is holding back? 

    Someone else is eventually going to bring your idea to life, so why not let it be you? If this year has taught us anything, it is that life is unpredictable and you never know what is going to happen … so why not reach for the stars?!  

    What advice would you give someone that’s just starting out on the entrepreneur path?

    I think it needs to be said more often that the life of an entrepreneur is not all fun and games. It is hard work, and you will be challenged in more ways than you can ever imagine. The rewards can be amazing, but you better be willing to work your a** off to get there!
    As we all know, social media has a way of showcasing only the highlight reel of things and I think a lot of people think 
    entrepreneurs are ‘living the dream’ … but this path is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to grind and make your dreams a reality, because at the end of the day, it is up to you how your story unfolds! 

     

    Alyssa Conrad

     

    I love how Alyssa is so honest about the challenges and hardships that come with the entrepreneurship journey, yet she does it in a way that is encouraging and inspiring. Alyssa has been a mentor to women where she shared her experiences, given guidance and pushed people towards their goals. 

    While Alyssa Conrad is kind, upbeat and exudes a brightness that seems to be so rare, she is a force to be reckoned with. She knows and means business, she is strong-willed, and doesn't let anyone get in her way to making things happen.

    I am grateful to know Alyssa and to be able to share a bit of her story with you- thank you friend, for your generosity of time, spirit and laughter. 

     

    Alyssa Conrad

     

     

    I also need to thank and acknowledge those that helped make this shoot happen and help create & capture the beauty of this small business community here in Calgary. Yes, there are women in these photos, but there is also a group of women in the background that also encompass all that I talked about- these women are killing it and I am so honored to know them and to have worked with them. 

    Shoot Organizer & co-Planner : Chelsea from Coco & Ash Weddings and Events

    Photographer : Chelsie from Chelsie Graham Photography

    Hair & Make-Up : Priya from Beautymark Makeovers

    Wardrobe : Whitney & Sheri from Crabapple Clothing

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  • YYC Small Business Love - Eden

    Meet Eden Simari from Eden Mortgage :
    Born in Invuik NWT and later raised in Edmonton
    and Calgary, mom to a 5 year old daughter, lover of spin, travelling, cooking and a glass of a full-bodied red.

     

    Eden Simari

    Eden Simari Mortgage Calgary

     

     

    What comes to mind when you think of a Mortgage Broker? For me, it's someone we talk to once every five years when our mortgage is up for renewal and are searching for the best deal. But let me tell you, Eden is so much more than just a once-every-five-years kinda gal!

    I'll be honest in saying that I am not fluent in the financial language, but that's why I love Eden so much! Through her social media platforms, Eden shares her expertise and knowledge in a way that I not only understand, but that I find interesting and helpful too. From topics such as how the presidential elections affect the stock market, top 9 money books for millennials, and tips on how to future proof your financial position. 

     

    Eden Simari

     

    Financial world aside, what makes Eden stand out is her kindness and genuine interest in people. She is truly invested in those around her, whether it's a long time friend or someone she's spending an hour with, she is genuinely interested in learning about them. She is effervescent, outgoing and charming, and to top it all off, she has a heart of gold. 

    Giving back to the community is not only something that's entwined in Eden's business model, but it flows through her everyday life as well. Apart from her numerous volunteer efforts, back in May Eden launched her Heart to Heart giveaway campaign with the tag-line "Support front line, shop local, giveback to the community- simple!". For the Heart to Heart Giveaway, Eden asks people to nominate deserving front line workers and their families to receive meal boxes to cover a week of meals, and in turn she has also donated meal boxes to families staying at the Calgary Ronald McDonald House.

     

    When you see Eden you see a tall, beautiful blond woman with a generous smile and easy laugh. And when you get to know her, you learn that she cares deeply, is willing to share her knowledge, and is extremely easy to get along with. She is someone you want in your corner, no matter what type of situation you're in. 

     

     

    Eden Simari

     

     

    To learn more about Eden Simari and the things that
    make her world go round, I asked her some questions
    and posted them below. Take a look and I'm sure
    you'll find something that you relate to and feel inspired by.

     

    How would you describe yourself? 

    Kind, Confident, Intelligent, Giving, a Leader, Funny and Reliable.

    How would you describe your style?  

    Work: Monochromatic Classic Chic Home: Lulu all day err day.

     

    Eden Simari

     

    Why did you decide to start your business? 

    To bring financial confidence and education direct to the consumer. To ensure brighter financial futures for all. To make money and mortgages more approachable and to change the perception of what people believe a broker can do for them.

    What have been some of the greatest rewards? 

    Meeting so many amazing people! Helping clients purchase their dream home, pay off debt, save for retirement, buy a vacation home to spend the summers with their kids. Being a part of major financial milestones in peoples lives and making it fun is so super rewarding.

    Another mega reward, if not the best of all, is showing my daughter how to thrive and impact the community as a young female entrepreneur. That she can do anything with dedication, perseverance and a kind, giving heart.

     

    Eden Simari

     

     

    What advice would you give someone that's just starting out on the entrepreneur path? 

    ENGAGE A POWER TEAM! Mine is a lawyer, accountant and financial planner. Ask for help. Pay for top notch professionals to guide you. You wont regret it!! Know the cost benefits, make a business plan, plan and plan some more. Ask for help, surround yourself with amazing friends/family and never be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.

    How do you give back to your community? 

    I am an avid volunteer in Calgary with Ronald McDonald House, Calgary Food Bank, Terry Fox Run Canada and more. I serve on the Board of Directors and selection committee for an Alberta Non Profit Society called Community Key and have done so for 5 years. (@communitykeyed)

    What are some of your favorite local businesses? 

    Laura Brows, Sphere Optometry, PHI Medical Aesthetics, Liz and Lottie, Accountwell Co, Community Key, Illuminate Skin Therapies, Hella Design Studio, Apostle Boutique, Wymbin, Amborella Floral, Coco & Ash.

     

    Thank you so much Eden for allowing us to take up some of your time to share a bit of your story. I love how you are so dedicated to your work, your clients and to making this city a better place. 

     

    Eden Simari

     

    The hope for this Calgary Small Business Love feature was to learn more about women in Calgary that I admire and feel inspired by, not because they are beautiful (which they all are), but because they are authentic to who they are, they don't give up when faced with challenge, and they juggle so many things (including Giving Back, which is huge to me!!) but seem to do it in a powerful and fierce way.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't want it to seem like juggling life is easy and perfect, and that some balls don't get dropped from time to time. I see these women juggling all the things (running a business, being real and genuinely kind, giving back, being a friend, wife and/or mom, doing things for themselves) in a way that is true to them and living a life that they love and doing things that they are passionate about. 

     

    I also need to thank and acknowledge those that helped make this shoot happen and help create & capture the beauty of this small business community here in Calgary. Yes, there are women in these photos, but there is also a group of women in the background that also encompass all that I talked about- these women are killing it and I am so honored to know them and to have worked with them. 

    Shoot Organizer & co-Planner : Chelsea from Coco & Ash Weddings and Events

    Photographer : Chelsie from Chelsie Graham Photography

    Hair & Make-Up : Priya from Beautymark Makeovers

    Wardrobe : Whitney & Sheri from Crabapple Clothing

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  • YYC Small Business Love - Danielle

    Meet Danielle Gordon from Sphere Optometry :
    lives, works & plays in Calgary, mom to two young kids,
    wife to Ryan, business owner, philanthropist (Fit To Read and
    See The Good Project)...just to name a few. 

     

    Danielle Gordon

    Danielle Gordon Sphere Optometry

     

    Before I met Danielle, I knew that she was a good, kind person with a smile that warms your heart. She started Sphere Optometry just over a year ago, and she blew up social media and it felt like Danielle and Sphere had been around for years- everyone was talking about Sphere and the work that Danielle was doing!

    There was no question that we wanted to feature Danielle in this Small Business Love photo shoot that highlights a group of inspiring women that are also business owners in Calgary. We officially met the day of the shoot, and I have to say that when we left Sphere, all of us were in love with Danielle. 

     

    Sphere Optometry Calgary Small Business

     

    When you meet Danielle you'll notice her smile and the kindness and warmth in her eyes. She isn't outgoing or loud, but she has a calm, quiet demeanor, and is  genuinely interested in people and their stories. She is intelligent, both as an Optometrist, as a business women, a people-person, and a friend. Danielle is also generous with her time and things- never before have I been on a photoshoot where the whole team (myself, Chelsea from Coco & Ash Events that helped plan, the photographer Chelsie Graham, and the hair & makeup artist Priya from Beautymark Makeovers, and Whitney from Crabapple Clothing that helped with wardrobe) was given a gift. But Danielle changed that- she went out of her way to put together a gift bag for each of us, it was such a special gesture that made us feel seen and appreciated. 

    The more I learn about Danielle, the more I understand that this is just how she is- she makes people feel seen, heard and appreciated. Whether you are a client, a friend or loved-one, or someone that crosses her path momentarily, Danielle makes the time so that you feel special, even if it's just with her beautiful smile. 

     

     

     

    Danielle Gordon Calgary Philanthropist

     

    To learn a little more about Danielle and her business,
    and in hopes to inspire you, I asked her to answer a few questions for me. The interview is below:

     

  •  How would you describe yourself?
  • That’s a tough question – it’s always a challenge to describe yourself accurately! There are, however, a few traits that I consistently notice in all areas of my life. I tend to be a fun-loving introvert and I get my energy through sharing time with small groups of people or recharging solo. I think that’s why I love being an optometrist, because it gives me the opportunity to connect one-on-one with my patients in a really meaningful way. I’ve also been told that although I’m mild-mannered, I’m tenacious and gritty and I think I’d have to agree there. If there’s something I’ve decided to do, I can be pretty relentless in getting it done. I’m also a curious person and I love to learn new things!

  •  Why did you decide to start your business?
  • I had always wanted to take part in owning a practice and in my field, practice ownership is more commonly achieved through partnering with or outright buying an existing practice. That didn’t seem to be the path that was laying itself out for me and I thought that meant I should put the idea to bed. To get the idea of ownership out of my system, I even went so far as to write a business plan for my dream hypothetical practice so I could file it away and move on with my life.   However, when I saw the concept of Westman Village - a development that focused on locally owned businesses, and creating a community hub – I felt compelled to dust off that business plan and give it a shot!

    Oftentimes, the delivery of health care can feel transactional and formal, and with Sphere I wanted to create a space that would still allow for high-touch intuitive medical care, and also the fostering of a deeper long-term connection with our patients. I dreamt of building a harmonious team with a foundation of radical honesty and trust, and a space that would be universally inclusive and compassionate. I also wanted Sphere to be a place that would house a hand-selected collection of small-batch independent eyewear and be our patient’s most direct connection to the work of these eyewear designers. So far, building Sphere over the past year and a half with our little team has been a dream come true!

  •  In the early days of starting your business, what was one of the toughest hurdles?
  • Given that Sphere is just a little over a year old, I would say we are still in the early days! I think it’s pretty safe to say that navigating a new small business through this ongoing pandemic comes to mind as our toughest hurdle to date! I heard somewhere that business ownership essentially breaks down to problem-solving over and over again, and that definitely rings true as we continue to adapt to the curveballs that come our way this year. That being said, I feel so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing team who has had to pivot with me at work and also in their personal lives. Their support and willingness to pull up their sleeves and get into the trenches has been a blessing and so inspirational.  

  •  What have been some of the greatest rewards?
  • I don’t think there’s anything better than pleasantly delighting a patient, whether through the delivery of compassionate health care, taking a little extra time with our patients, or choosing just the right frame and lenses for their needs. We all truly love what we do and I like to think our patients really feel that when they spend time in our space!

     

    Danielle Gordon Calgary Small Business

     

    What are three pillars/foundations that your business is built on?  And how does this correlate to your personal life?

    Sphere Optometry is a purpose-driven full-scope optometric practice and we’re all about kindness and connection, ocular and holistic wellness, and giving back on a local and global level. As I mentioned earlier, we also harbor a deep love for independent hand-crafted eyewear and the delivery of intuitive and compassionate health care.

    I feel like the core values we hold close to our hearts at Sphere are just an extension of my personal life philosophy and also are in harmony with the personal values of our whole team. Concepts like kindness, inclusiveness, honoring people and their stories, and taking genuine care are weaved into everything we try to do in and out of Sphere. We are also constantly working to improve in these areas. I think that’s a key reason why being at work for us doesn’t feel laborious because our personal and business values are so well aligned.  

     

    How do you give back to your community?

    Our philanthropic efforts, or our heart work as we like to call it, are mainly funneled into our Fit To Read Project, an initiative to connect books with kids.  All year round we collect books to give back to Calgary Reads, an amazing organization that strives to improve literacy outcomes in children. Additionally, proceeds from every eyewear sale, and sale of our Fit To Read apparel, goes through the project to organizations like Calgary Reads every year.  

    The Fit To Read Project is so special to us because helping children to read has the potential to significantly and positively impact their future, and ultimately helps to spread the joy of reading in our homes and in our communities.  Approximately 80% of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually, and as an optometrist I see the incredible impact that improving a child’s vision can have not only on their daily activities, but also on their confidence in the classroom and their desire to read and learn about the world around them. Being in the healthcare system, I also see first-hand the role that optimal wellness, both physical and mental, can have on our quality of life, and that includes the many benefits that reading can bring: peace, tranquility, focus and joy. 

     

    What is something that you try to do daily/weekly/or monthly that is just for you?  That brings you joy?

    It’s pretty basic, but I get up really early (usually between 4-5 am), get in my workout, and peacefully get ready for the day while listening to a podcast or two and letting my ideas flow. I love quiet solitude, and with a husband and two little kids it’s rarely quiet in our home when we’re all awake! If I can frontload my day in this way, I find everything else falls into place a little more easily!

     

    Danielle Gordon Sphere Optometry Calgary

     

     

     

    I want to thank Danielle for sharing her time, space and story with me. The hope for this Calgary Small Business Love feature was to learn more about women in Calgary that I admire and feel inspired by, not because they are beautiful (which they all are), but because they are authentic to who they are, they don't give up when faced with challenge, and they juggle so many things (including Giving Back, which is huge to me!!) but seem to do it in a powerful and fierce way.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't want it to seem like juggling life is easy and perfect, and that some balls don't get dropped from time to time. I see these women juggling all the things (running a business, being real and genuinely kind, giving back, being a friend, wife and/or mom, doing things for themselves) in a way that is true to them and living a life that they love and doing things that they are passionate about. 

     

    I also need to thank and acknowledge those that helped make this shoot happen and help create & capture the beauty of this small business community here in Calgary. Yes, there are women in these photos, but there is also a group of women in the background that also encompass all that I talked about- these women are killing it and I am so honored to know them and to have worked with them. 

    Shoot Organizer & co-Planner : Chelsea from Coco & Ash Weddings and Events

    Photographer : Chelsie from Chelsie Graham Photography

    Hair & Make-Up : Priya from Beautymark Makeovers

    Wardrobe : Whitney & Sheri from Crabapple Clothing

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  • Winter has come, but that doesn't mean our style and accessories have to get packed away with our cute summer clothes. When we cozy up, layer up and warm up, there is still a ton of potential to polish off that outfit and showcase your style. 

     

    Sweater Weather Style Inspiration

    Yes, winter has its downsides, but there are also many upsides:
    Warm drinks, the calmness that comes with fresh falling snow, winter
    activities (skiing, skating, sledding, and for some- hockey), and of
    course cozy sweaters and all the winter fashion.

    But great winter style can be tough to navigate.
    Just how do we put together the best winter outfits, and how do we
    accessorize them? The answers to these questions are right here!  

     

    To create some amazing winter outfit style inspiration, I joined forces with some of Calgary's bests :

    Janine Deanna is not just gorgeous on the outside, but she has a heart of pure gold, a brilliant mind and her personal sense of style is one to watch (and I watch all of her style stories and am eagerly awaiting her next style-focused blog post).

    Avenue Beauty is among the best of the best for hair & makeup, and owner, Robin, is top notch in every way. She has both a "can do" and "how can I help?" attitude, a kind heart, gentle spirit...and as if that's not enough, but her talent and passion for her work is incredible and admirable. All of this combined makes Robin one of the best people to be with. 

    Christy Swanberg, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways... Christy has a way of photographing and capturing joy, emotion, calmness, ease, and beauty, and is in a league all of her own. Her work is clean, fresh and classic, and her attitude of community, connection and gratitude is infectious...oh wait, no, that's her laugh! And if you spend two minutes with Christy, you will laugh. She is bold, energetic, and full of joy.

    Now, as if this wasn't a great team of Calgary women, but then we thought that the best location to reflect a cozy, warm and inviting feeling was none other than Calgary Heritage Roasting Company. The building is vintage, brick'y (that's a word, right?), full of charm, natural light...and owners Jamie & Mike are simply THE best! They created a space that is truly reflective of who they are : warm, inviting, interesting, and after just a few minutes, feels like home (now, in the sense of Jamie and Mike, you feel as if you have known them forever. In the sense of the coffee shop & roasterie, you go in and immediately want to find a place to sit in the sun, take off your shoes and relax).

     

    Calgary Photo Shoot Christy Swanberg, Janine Deanna, Avenue Beauty, Calgary Heritage Roasting Co, Apostle Boutique

     

    Let's go through some of the best
    Sweater Weather winter outfits and chat about
    how to style them and what to watch out for to
    ensure that you don't have just the same-old outfit!

     

    While there are many different types of winter outfits and sweaters, every outfit is based on a basic shape or neckline. That said, knowing how to accessorize both the necklines and that additional sweater "bulk" that is so necessary to stay warm, you can take that winter outfit from "ok" to looking next level, polished, complete, and hella-good! 

     

    Outfit one :

     Winter Outfit Style Inspiration

     

    This is the kind of outfit that you can wear anywhere - work, school, out for dinner, shopping... The black jean could easily be swapped for a nice skinny pant, and I don't know of a single situation where a long sweater or cardi over a lightweight base layer doesn't look good! With these three elements (dark pant + long cardi + lightweight top) you can go anywhere! 

    An outfit like this is like a blank canvas for your accessories. The open sweater creates a really nice vertical line (and we love vertical lines because of the nice slimming effect it creates), wearing beautiful drop earring paired with a couple layered necklaces continues this line and falls very nicely with the top. 

     

    Winter Work Outfit Style Inspiration

     


    Go ahead and add some delicate rings and a cool watch. If you want to roll up the sleeves and put on a bracelet, that will work too. But when layering necklaces, you'll want to keep the wrists simple so that the look isn't overdone.  

     

    Winter Outfit Sweater Weather Style Inspiration

     

    Things to watch for : When you have a crew-neck (high neck) top like this, the light fabric allows necklaces to lay flat. If you're wearing a crew-neck sweater that is a bit heavier, you'll want a longer necklace with a bit of weight to it. This will ensure that the necklace doesn't disappear in the bulk of the sweater, but also that it will lay properly.  

    Jewelry Shown : Bamboo Earrings (contact for details), Sono Necklace layered with the Constant Necklace, Knot Today Ring, Minuit Full Black Watch

     

    Outfit 2 :

     Winter Outfit Sweater Weather Style Inspiration

     

    Layers are both functional (warmth) and fashionable (there's the "rule of 3" - an outfit should have at least 3 additional pieces to be complete). I love how Janine layered a basic tee with an open denim top and cozy cardigan. This isn't a trio that many of us would think of, but one that we all love (and will likely now try ourselves). Because of the layers on top, keep the denim clean and simple (no fading or distressing). And the piece de resistance, that hat!! A great hat can amplify any outfit and take it to that next level of style. 

     

    Winter Outfit Ideas Layers

     

    When it comes to accessorizing this outfit, it's important that we keep it all in balance. With the layered tops, a short and delicate necklace that sits just above the neckline is a great option. Even if your neckline of the base layer is a V-neck, select a necklace that sits within the V-shape and doesn't overlap. This will keep it clean and balanced, rather than having too much going on and creating a top-heavy look. 

    A cool, bold earring that hangs (or drops) 1-2 inches is the perfect addition to this outfit because it adds a nice vertical line (which we like) and balances the layers by bringing the eye up to your lovely face. And go ahead, roll up those sleeves once or twice and add a couple of great bracelets to finish off the look. 

     

    How to style accessorize winter outfits

     

    Things to watch for : You might be tempted to wear a long necklace with this outfit, but that will add too much bulk to an already layered area of your body. This is why the earring should be a bit bigger- too delicate of an earring won't look "at home" with this outfit but something bold will balance everything off nicely! 

    Jewelry Shown : Mezi Large Hoop Earrings, Floating Disc Necklace, Braided Sparkle Bracelet with the Mazi Bangle, and a stack of Glimmer Rings

     

    Outfit 3 :

    Sweater Weather Cozy Winter Outfit Inspiration

     

    Who doesn't love a cozy knit sweater?!! Add extra points if it's a little oversized, because that is just the best thing to put on to relax and enjoy a warm drink as you gaze out the window at the snow gently falling. 

    Now that I have painted that peaceful winter scene for you, let's look at this outfit. Cream or off-white is one of my favorite colours to wear, but while it may not look awesome on every skin tone, something that I do encourage you to look for is texture. A great textured knit not only looks great, but it hides a multitude of sins (such as stains, pilling, lumps & bumps, the turkey-induced bloating, etc). Texture and pattern distracts the eye from such "sins" and I love having at least one item like this in my closet (because let's be honest, I'm clumsy and spill all.the.time.).

    When you have a bit of an oversized sweater, I always suggest that you try tucking it in a little. While oversized is super comfortable, we don't want it to make you look oversized, and tucking it in just a little gives you your waistline back without taking away from the sweater. If the sweater neckline is wide (or off the shoulder) or deep, a cute tank or cami underneath adds a great unexpected detail.

     

    Sweater Weather Cozy Winter Outfit Inspiration

     

    To keep this outfit simple, the accessories should be simple too. I love a mid-length necklace that has a little oomph to it- a great chain and/or a cool pendant is the perfect addition, and the mid-length creates that pretty V-shape (or vertical line) that balances the oversized sweater. Finish it off with a classic and simple style earring, and you will look SO good as you gaze out your window, meet a friend for coffee, or have a relaxed night with family. 

     

    Sweater Weather Cozy Winter Outfit Inspiration

     

    Things to watch out for : Maintain the casual look of the outfit with casual jewelry. While you want a necklace that won't disappear in the knit of the sweater, or an earring that is so small that its obsolete, make sure you don't have something too bulky, heavy or glam because that will take away from the laid-back vibe of the outfit.

    Jewelry Shown : Straight & Narrow Earrings, Triple Charm Necklace

     

    Outfit 4 :

    Sweater Weather Winter Outfit Style Inspiration

     

    Ahh the turtleneck! Such a great sweater for those winter months, but it is the one look that creates so much style uncertainty. How do I do my hair- up or down? What kind of earrings? Necklace, or no necklace? *insert head-explosion emoji here

    With a high neck, I love the look of having your hair pulled back and away from your face- this creates the appearance of a beautiful long neck (plus you don't need to worry about your hair sticking to the sweater, or getting knotty or static'y). 

     

    Sweater Weather Winter Outfit Style Inspiration

     

    Here is where personal style really comes in, because I like the clean look of no necklace, but also wearing a sleek long necklace is very slimming and is an easy way to dress it up. 

    With the earrings, I find that a simple stud just isn't quite enough. If you can find a really cool bold stud earring, or even better, an ear climber, this brings attention up to your face. Another great option is a small drop earring or small hoop. This style of earring continues with elongating your neck and bringing attention to your face. 

     

    Sweater Weather Winter Outfit Style Inspiration

     

    Things to watch out for : If you choose to wear a necklace, I find that a length that hits at or below the bust is ideal for creating a long & lean (aka slimmer) look. A turtleneck sweater already has a lot going on around your neck and shoulders, so we don't want to add more, but we want to draw the eye up and down with a long necklace. 
    For the earrings, make sure that they aren't so long that they're coming in contact with the sweater. Jewelry should have space to move freely- both for look and function (you don't want to ruin your jewelry or clothing with snags).

    Jewelry Shown : Wing Ear Climbers and the Everyday Hoops (coming soon in gold and silver, contact for details), Petite Paddle Pendant Necklace, La Boheme Multi Link Watch

     

    There really is so much potential when it comes to winter outfits and polishing off that Sweater Weather style. Great layers, textured knits,
    hats, a solid denim, and of course, the perfect accessories! 

     

    It might seem overwhelming, but if there are just two things I want you to take away, this is them :

    Balance : Where your outfit has the most bulk, don't add to it with jewelry. Instead, add jewelry to other areas to create balance.

    Vertical Lines : We love creating vertical lines and V-shapes, why? Because they are slimming! Use both your clothing (think necklines and layers) and your jewelry to achieve this! 

     

     

    Winter Outfit Style Inspiration

     

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