How to Grow Your Instagram Account
I get a lot of questions about how to grow and build a business through Instagram so today I am sharing the tips and tricks that took me over a year to figure out!
In the past year, I’ve started using eye glasses as a fashion accessory for my everyday style. They complement and accentuate who you are, whether it be a trendy, preppy or hipster look. Glasses have become so fashionable and so much more affordable, that people are buying them to wear even without prescriptions. Purchasing eyeglasses online has become a really convenient and a great way to save money.
While on maternity leave, I refrained from getting a new pair of spectacles because I didn’t have benefit coverage. That is, until I noticed this adorable pair of glasses on former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe. I was determined to possess them. I finally found out that the “Notting Hill” frames were by a company called EyeBuyDirect. I quickly searched their website, silently accepting that I would be spending a couple hundred on these glasses until I saw that they were only $36. Huh? The cutest, trendiest prescription eye glasses for $36? Now $29 with coupon code harpershatsxebd !
And so began my EyeBuyDirect obsession. I am a big lover of this company. I now own 2 pairs of sunglasses and 4 pairs of eye glasses. My husband is constantly asking me, “don’t you have enough already?” The answer is “no, I do not”. I recommend them to everyone and get tons of fan questions about them on my Instagram. The quality it amazing and they fit great (even the $6 pairs!).
At first, I was a little nervous about buying before trying but with 6 pairs under my belt, I couldn’t be happier. You can read reviews and even upload a photo of yourself to “try on” the glasses. Their premium brand RFLKT is worth the upgrade too. These photos are showcasing the gorgeous Aurora sunglasses in Fleck Ivory and Horizon glasses in Nebular Blue.
Sign up for their newsletter and be the first to know of their awesome promotions, like BOGO. Get any pair of glasses for 20% off at EyeBuyDirect.com using coupon code: harpershatsxebd
P.S. These photos were taken in front of Calgary’s Cinnamon Barn, built in 1906, in the trendy community of Inglewood.
Merry Christmas friends! I hope you all had some quality family time during these past few days. I’ve been so fortunate to spend it with my family here in Calgary this year. It’s always hard missing my husband and I’s extended families in Ontario but it’s just so hard to travel during the busiest time of year with two little kids.
A little tradition that we started last year was to spend two nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs right before Christmas. It is a magical wonderland during the winter in Banff, Alberta, Canada, but “Christmas at the Castle” is extra special. The hotel is filled with decorated Evergreens, giant gingerbread houses, a Santa’s workshop and even nightly bedtime stories.
Our kids spend a couple days swimming in their outdoor, heated pool and my husband and I spend a couple days relaxing. Getting away from the city can be just what you need to unwind.; leaving the daily stresses of work, schedules and household chores!
If you want to enjoy the snow, there is an outdoor skating rink, tobogganing hill and cross-country skiing trails, all surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. Just don’t forget to bring your warmest gear as the temperature dips well below freezing during the day! Shop my picks for warm winter outerwear in the links above.
What are your favourite family traditions during the holidays?
Love, Kiki Davies
I absolutely love family photos. Every fall, I round up the gang and despite complaining, arrange to have our family life captured in a moment. It’s always a bit of a race against time here in Calgary. The leaves change colour quickly with the cooler weather, giving you a small window of two to three weeks before they fall to the ground. This year I chose Kaley Hayward Photography: an awesome local Calgarian photographer that I will definitely use again next year! I love how bright and natural our photos turned out. She also caught some beautiful candid moments.
I love yearly photos for a few reasons:
1. If you do this in the same season, you will have a great snapshot of how everyone has grown in a year’s time.
2. It makes for beautiful photos to use to decorate your home.
3. Use these photos for your Holiday cards and photo gifts to family members. Check out Shutterfly for great options!
1. If you have young kids, do a mini-session! This was our first time doing an official mini-session this year and it was perfect! These sessions usually have a 20-30 minute time frame and it’s just enough time to get some great shots before your children run out of patience. It is also much cheaper than a full photography session.
2. Choose 3 colours for your colour scheme. For our photos this year, I chose navy blue, forest green and cream. Whatever you choose, try and get at least one neutral colour in there as it is easier to match. One bright colour is great too (think red!). I ALWAYS go to Joe Fresh for family photo coordination. This time of year, their stores are filled with cozy sweaters, plaid flannels and cute jeans… in my opinion the perfect combinations. It’s easy to coordinate and everyone will look casual without looking too dressed up. Jeans are always a great option for everyone!
3. Get your photos outside. The natural lighting and beautiful backgrounds are exactly what you want. A cloudy day is actually better than a sunny one for outdoor photos! No shadowed faces or squinty eyes to worry about.
4. Pick a prop! I wanted to have a few fun, matchy-matchy toque photos for our Christmas card. I went with Cooper Toques in cream, blue and sky blue for my boys and a Ryan Beanie in charcoal for my hubby. I love how cute it turned out! Check out my Etsy Shop to order some for your family or email me: email@example.com
5. A couple little tricks for the mommas: wavy hair looks better than straight, make your smile stand-out with a darker shade of lipstick, and a little extra make-up will still look quite natural on camera.
If you’re looking for my outfit details, shop them on my previous post.
Now say cheese!
Love, Kiki www.harpers-hats.com
MY OUTFIT : Racerback Shirt – Halter Shirt from Express / High-waited belted pants from Forever 21 / Bracelet & Earrings from Stella & Dot / Ballet Flats or here from Yosi Samra / TIP: I love this split back shirt, pair it with high waisted pants to give just a hint of skin at the back!
MAKE-UP: Smoky eyes and Nude Lipstick from Forever 21 / Nails – Rose Gold Sparkle and Sugar & Spice from Jamberry TIP: When choosing a dark eye look, go for a light neutral lipstick so that you don’t look washed out or too dramatic!
LOCATION: Ollia Macarons & Tea ~ 810C 16 Ave SW, Calgary, AB (403) 457-9775
Sometimes a woman needs a good girl’s night out. A chance to dress up, drink wine and gossip with friends. When you have children, these nights become few and far between. So why not make it something special?
A macaron backing class is just that kind of special I was looking for. I have always had a big sweet tooth and these colourful little French delicacies are one of my absolute favourites. When my good friend Chelsea and I heard that a new macaron bakery in Calgary was offering evening baking classes, we couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Ollia Macarons & Tea is an adorable little spot, with gorgeous window displays that just lure you right in. They make THE BEST macarons I have ever tasted. There are so many recipes and blogs out there boasting secrets on macarons making, but I was interested in learning from the best. I knew that if left on my own, in my kitchen, I would NOT be able to make these little clouds of perfection. It probably would more than likely end up with round meringues thrown all over my floor in frustration.
So learning from Ollia shop owner David Rousseau was the solution for me. During the intimate class, you get almost 3 hours of step-by-step instruction, a booklet with the recipes and instructions from the night, plus macaron and tea sampling. Even sweeter? The almost 3 DOZEN macarons you get to leave with… that YOU made!
After squeezing pretty pink meringue out of a piping bag and gossiping with my friend, I felt pretty fulfilled after our girl’s night. I was even so confident to buy a few of the tools to try this baking venture on my own in the future. That will just have to be another girl’s night, I guess!
If you are dying to try making these classic French desserts, book your class at Ollia by clicking here. If you aren’t in Calgary, check around your city for macaron bakeries and research on their websites fi they offer this type of learning experience. Cooking and baking classes are such a great way to learn something new and do something different!
Bonne nuit mes amis,
My short and sweet travel guide on how to see the best sights of Italy in 10 days.
I am a mother with 2 young kids so my husband and I rarely get to take a trip together. We love traveling but getting away for an extended length of time can be really tough. We’ve always wanted to see Italy so for our 5 year wedding anniversary, we decided to do it. I must admit, I am a crazy planner when it comes to traveling somewhere. I have a phobia of showing up to a new place and missing out on something because I failed to know about it. So for Italy, I spent hours in front of the computer researching Trip Advisor and flipping through my Fodors guide book trying to plan the best trip in a short amount of time. With so many places to go and things to see, Italy can be a bucket list trip.
Here is our 10 day Italian itinerary with overnight stops in Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Siena and Rome with a pit-stop in Pisa. Don’t forget about other cities like Milan, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. It’s just so hard to choose!
A few tips:
*On a short time frame, stay in the heart of the cities. Don’t waste time commuting in everyday to see the major attractions.
*Get good maps and ask for directions! Especially if you are driving.
*Fly to Venice and work your way down or to Rome and work your way up.
*On the first Sunday of every month, Italy offers free admission to all museums.
*If you can purchase your admissions tickets ahead of time it may save you a lot of waiting!
Venice is my absolute favourite city in Italy. We started our journey here and I don’t think you could pick a more unique and romantic place to stay. You will love getting lost in a maze of walkways and bridges as every time you turn a corner, you are greeted with a new sight.
*Basilica di San Marco
*a Gondola Ride
*Strolling through the neighbourhoods of San Marco and Dosoduro
*Pizza lunch at Antico Forno
Florence is easily the cultural centre of art history in Italy. Get here in a couple hours by taking a high speed train from Venice to Florence. The city is easily accessible by walking or biking and it’s easy to cover a lot of ground in one day. The Duomo is the heart of the city and an absolutely magnificent sight. Climb the windy stone staircase to the top if you aren’t too claustrophobic!
*Galleria dell’Accademia (home of Michelangelo’s David)
*Piazza della Signoria
*Gelato at Grom
My husband and I decided to rent a car for 4 days to visit the Italian Riveria towns of Cinque Terre and then the Chianti Wine region town called Siena. Rental cars can easily be reserved ahead online. Although driving can be confusing, if you get a good map and directions ahead of time, this is a wonderful way to explore Italy.
You cannot beat the culture and beauty of Cinque Terre. I could have stayed much longer exploring these 5 coastal villages. Monterosso Al Mare is the larger town and offers more in the way of dining and lodging but all towns are worth thoroughly exploring.
Pisa can be a pit-stop. We stopped here while driving from Cinque Terre to Siena. We found free street parking and spent an hour touring around the grassy piazza of the Leaning Tour of Pisa. It is a beautiful plaza that is worth a stop.
The Tuscany wine region is most easily accessible by car. I would highly recommend seeing this region by this mode of transportation as it is wonderful to have a bit of open freedom after touring some of the larger cities. Siena is a beautiful walled medieval city with fantastic surrounding views. If you don’t want to stay in town, I would suggest booking a villa in the countryside. If you’re looking for a different option than Siena, try the town of San Gimignano.
After spending our first day walking and sight seeing in Siena, we spent our second day touring around the Tuscan Chianti region in our rental car. This was the perfect way to relax and go at our own pace. Take your time lunching and wine tasting along your drive between Castellina , Radda and Gaiole in Chianti.
*Piazza Del Campo
*Duomo and Cripta
*Castello di Brolio (castle tour and wine tasting)
*La Prosciuterria – the most delicious meat and cheese boards from local produce.
*Ice Cream in the town of Castellina in Chianti
*Hotel Athena (the above photo of the countryside is the view from our room and they include parking!)
Rome may be a little overwhelming after 8 full days of traveling. There is enough to do and see to fill your days here. The long lines and flocks of tourists may seem daunting but everything you see will be worth it, especially St. Peter’s Basilica.
After returning our car to Florence we took another high-speed train to Rome. Rome is one of the only Italian cities that has a subway system so use it when your legs need a rest. It also can connect you to the airport which is super convenient. There are “hop-on hop-off” bus tours too that take you to all the main attractions. This is a good option when traveling in those hot summer months.
*St. Peter’s Basilica
*The Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel
*Trattoria il Tettarello (we ate here both nights we loved it so much, best pizza ever!)
Whether you are blessed with more time in Italy or less, choose an itinerary that suits your needs. We definitely tried to cram as much as we could into our ten days but I didn’t want to miss any of the spectacular sights in these six cities (see, it’s my phobia!). It’s true I felt pretty exhausted on our journey home but my soul felt full.
It was date night last weekend! It’s not often that parents with young kids get to go out and enjoy some adult time. I’ve been finding all of these neat things to do in Calgary through Social Media lately (Thank you Jenna King!). It wasn’t hard to convince my friends to join me on a night out in a mystery game room.
The Locked Room is a real-life interactive escape room. You and your friends are locked into a themed room for 60 minutes. By solving a sequence of puzzles, you unlock clues to eventually reveal the key to your escape. It’s not as easy as it sounds, trust me. The Locked Room has only a 15% solve rate. The good thing is that if you are totally stuck, you can ring a little doorbell and ask for a clue.
The experience was so much fun! All 6 of us worked together using our individual strengths to unlock lock after lock. You feel the adrenaline with the red digital clock ticking away and the pressure to finish on time. So did we escape? HECK YES WE DID! We finished with only 5 minutes to spare and were pretty darn proud of ourselves! I actually did the running man to celebrate.
Playing the game was a great way to spend an hour, trying something new. Our winning high kept us talking about it for the next 2 hours over dinner. If you get hooked like me, you can pre-book their new zombie room opening soon! And if you aren’t in Calgary, do a search and see if your city offers something like this!
Now, with any adult night out, I always like to seize the opportunity to dress up a little bit…
I love this classic black and white look because you can add any coloured accessories to make your look pop. My Kate Spade tote arrived in a dust bag print with gold letters “ she tucked her coral lipstick away and floated back to the party”. Not only did I find the perfect match the next day, it started my love for Revlon Colorburst matte balms (mine is Audacious).
I’ve been seeing this striped skirt everywhere this summer. It is a must-have piece that will take you into the fall. This option from Shein is really easy and comfortable to wear as the high-waist is elastic and zips-up at the back. Oh and did mention it is only $9.99? If you are tall, opt for the longer version.
Yep I’m the shortest one in the bunch!
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram!