Back in Action: Part 2

Before we officially hit the reset button, I want to just mention a few other bits of housekeeping, ‘er, blogkeeping. For those of you that don’t know, I’m excited to announce that I am currently 25 weeks pregnant! I let my blog baby fall by the wayside soon after we found out back in February. All of a sudden I just had this incredible urge to be more present in my life and focus on growing our new addition. One of the first things to go was worrying about blog posts and projects. I was EXHAUSTED and it just didn’t seem to matter. Then I got to thinking about the blog in general, like I mentioned in the previous post, and if it was something I wanted to maintain. And if so, in what form…what would I talk about, how strictly would I adhere to posting, how schizophrenic did I want it to be? Did I even want to share a stitch about pregnancy and my growing family? I was feeling very private all of a sudden. And for the most part, I’m still feeling that way. While I’m happy to make our little announcement here, I won’t be discussing much about pregnancy here. Frankly, there is quite literally nothing to share. Not only have I been blessed with an uneventful pregnancy, I haven’t had a stitch of morning sickness, no real cravings, and until about 6 seconds ago (quite literally, I poo you not) I haven’t even felt that pregnant. Right now…I feel massive. WTH. Other than that, you won’t be reading any “state of the uterus” addresses, we don’t know the gender (who woulda thunk it…I hate surprises!), and I won’t be posting my birth plan, birth story, or otherwise birth related birth bits. No one cares that I’m planning to try cloth diapering (why yes, I am, and we’ll leave it at that) just as much as I’m sure no one cares about yet another new lamp I’ve purchased and placed on table in a completely uncreative and uninspired way. Nor are we really doing, or plan to do any major blog worthy re-decorations or renovations in the near future. Yes, most of our house is builder basic but it’s frankly not that bad. Not to mention, time and funds don’t really allow for any major blog worthy overhauls. And do you really care that we just put new Pottery-Barn-look-a-like-great-deal-at-Home-Depot bar lights over our kitchen bar and they look fab? Didn’t think so. The play by play of Andrew climbing the ladder, taking down old lights, putting up new ones, now wow, here’s a picture, just isn’t that thrilling. Want to see them? Come over, I’ll make you dinner and we can stare at them as long as your little heart desires. Wow, I’m being a snarky and hard on myself I suppose, but I’m trying to (not so gracefully) segue into what this blog will now be about. Hope I haven’t excited you too much because the niche isn’t that original but I hope at least 90% of the content will be. I’ll be focusing most strictly on original DIY and craft based projects. Posts will come as infrequently or as frequently as I find time and inspiration for projects I create. I plan to begin documenting some of these projects shortly as I have a few DIY ideas in mind for my nursery which I MUST get cracking on…oh, only 14 more weeks till Baby C arrives? NBD. As an example, what my blog posts will NOT be is a play-by-play of my entire decorating process for the nursery. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That’s not to say I’m not hoping to share some nice photographs of my projects actually in place in a completed space…and if anyone is begging for a source list I’ll of course provide a short list of details of the main elements but again, I won’t take you through saga’s of choosing paint colors. Seriously, you want a saga, go watch Game of Thrones…I mean seriously WHAT THE HECK was with the last 2 episodes of season 3? I’m still recovering.

On that note, I’m excited to get started on some projects and try to develop some DIY projects from the ground up. Both large and small. I do hope you’ll join me on this revamped journey. I’ll plan on keeping all of my previous posts intact and accessible on this blog for posterity’s sake but otherwise, anticipate a new focus going forward. Oh! And a new blog design! Finally! My ultimate goal is to keep things consistent and inspired. Looking forward to your visit!

Back in Action: Part 1

Long time, no see. I’ve missed you. Although “you” probably refers to my Dad, who I believe was my only consistent reader, like, ever. But for what it’s worth, I’ve missed blogging. This is not the first time I’ve fallen off of the proverbial wagon when it comes to updating Get Carey’d Away. I get distracted, uninspired, bored, and pressured (all self-inflicted) and I take a hiatus. Only to begin to feel the itch to circle back, and rekindle the relationship once again…sort of like that bad-for-you boyfriend who gives you a headache more often than not but inevitably is your soul mate and you just can’t live without. Ok, overly dramatic analogy but I have to admit it sort of sums up my relationship with blogging so far. The rub is I actually do love blogging. Mainly, I do it for myself and I’ve decided that sometimes I need the outlet and other times, I can completely do without it and can’t be bothered. I stick fast to the mindset that if readers come, than great, but if not, I’m doing this mostly for my own entertainment and enjoyment and so long as I find it fulfilling, I’ll keep at it. I’m still undecided how consistently I want to post. Part of me continues to remind myself that this blog is first and foremost for me…primarily started as a way to journal life, keep family updated, and dabble in discussing and sharing some of the things I enjoy and find inspiring. The other half of me feels pressured to find a focus and at times, when the blog feels like a chore, I feel I’m left with the decision to either treat it as if it matters to other people and I owe whoever may be reading worthwhile content vs. just ignoring it for awhile. That’s the other problem. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not entirely sure I’ve offered anyone any worthwhile content. My husband uses a great description when it comes to what makes a good blog, and he reminds me of this point: “no one cares what you ate for lunch today”. Seriously, blogging can end up being about really mundane cow poopy. To date, mine probably is. For example, I don’t think I’ve been too terribly original. The blogosphere has EXPLODED, even in the time that I’ve been writing, and it’s hard not to subconsciously latch onto been there, done that trends, write about similar topics, and be inspired by the same things where most posts end up looking virtually the same across all blogs. I mean, even I’ll be the first to admit…how many posts can we read about painting your living room gray? Don’t get me wrong, I did it, and I love it. But was it original, no. In a nutshell, I’ve had a great deal of fun finding my voice on this blog so far. I’ve enjoyed trying my hand at discussing things that interest and inspire me, but I’ve decided that if I am going to continue this blog, then I need to significantly narrow my focus. It just feels right…more manageable, more enjoyable, and overall, more fun. In fact, I debated starting an entirely new blog altogether but I’m just too married to my blog name. So, we’ll let the past be the past and move forward refreshed and refocused. Stay tuned. I have some more brief updates to share!

You Are My Sunshine

Today, in honor of all things love and Valentine’s Day week, I’m featuring the anniversary gift I purchased for Andrew this past October.

On October 22, 2012 we celebrated our one year anniversary. HOW did that happen so fast?! It’s been an amazing year and we celebrated by visiting Grand Cayman for a few days and exchanging the traditional one year anniversary gift of paper. Paper was actually a pretty versatile medium and it was easy to get creative. Andrew constructed an album through Shutterfly featuring some of our favorite photos taken in all corners of the world. It was super special and I love looking at it. Most of our photos are simply uploaded to our hard drive or posted to Facebook so it’s nice to have an album to curl up with and look through.

I decided that a small hallway that connects our bedroom to the master bath needed a little love and I figured what better way to remind Andrew how much he lights up my life but with a little artwork we can appreciate frequently as it’s a “high traffic” area.

So, you know that children’s lullaby, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy, when skies are gray”…that’s sorta our song. Whenever I’m having a bad day, Andrew will just randomly belt that out and sing me out of my funk. It’s just one of those things that melts your heart and gives you the warm fuzzies…I live for hearing that song. Ok, you can stop rolling your eyes now. Mushy bit over.

I found this shop on Etsy, Heartsees, and absolutely fell in love with this print. What better gift of art than a Glicee print featuring this statement that is so meaningful to us.

il_570xN.375524793_tp8pYou Are My Sunshine Print

Here it is hanging in our Master wing hallway.

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The seller was a pleasure to work with. Shipping was prompt and since the print was sold fully framed, I was extremely pleased with out carefully it was packaged for protection during shipment. I was so pleased with this purchase and Andrew loves it. We get a lot of joy walking by it every day.

I am not compensated for featuring this seller. This post expresses my own independent purchase and opinions.

JE T’AIME

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Je T’aime Cards by Anthropologie

A little fun find for your Tuesday morning. Aren’t these the most adorable notecards you ever did see?! My heart pitter patters for these…fitting since it’s almost V-Day. I inherited my Mother’s obsession with all things paper and stationary. These are just too perfect and great for sending a little love note to that someone special.

 

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Love is in the air. Speaking of love…I j’adore online window shopping. I especially j’adore putting together compilations of some of my favorite things. While the husband and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day or give one another gifts (well, we exchange cards, go out for dinner, and give each other a little extra squeeze) I still think there are some great festive gift ideas and I love constructing little visual wish lists. Here are a few of my favorite things that looked especially presh in all shades, pink, red, and lovey.

For the Love of Fashion

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Pintucked Ponte Dress(Anthropologie), Cashmere Cardigan in Windowpane Check(J.Crew), Darby Leather Loafers(J.Crew), Fanned Seashell Bralet(Anthropologie), Heart Intarsia Sweater(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Home

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Aviary Coverlet(Anthropologie), Live Love Pillow(Anthropologie), Ceramic Melon Knobs(Anthropologie), You Are My Sunshine Pillow(Anthropologie)

For the Love of Travel

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Leather Colorblock Passport Case(J.Crew), BAGGU for J.Crew Printed Bag(J.Crew), Printed Case for iPhone 5(J.Crew), Spiral Notebook(J.Crew), Printed Backup Battery for iPhone(J.Crew)

For the Love of Beauty

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Happy Heart Fragrance(Clinique), FACE Stockholm Nail Polish(J.Crew), Fresh Bloom All Over Colour(Clinique)

For the Love of Baubles

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Beaded Rose Necklace(J.Crew), Blooming Fondant Bib Necklace(Anthropologie), Dipped Rope Necklace(Anthropologie), Pink Stone Teardrop Earrings(LOFT), Beaded Rose Bracelet(J.Crew), Polished Planes Earrings(Anthropologie), Lily Mineral Necklace(Anthropologie), True Love Ring(Anthropologie), Daisy Chain Necklace(Anthropologie)

I have not partnered with, nor was I compensated by, any of the brands featured in this post. You should understand my general obsession with all things Anthropologie and J.Crew by now (wink).

What are you getting your special someone for Valentine’s Day? Do you have any super special gifts planned? Any special traditions?

Much love, xoxo

DIY Three Strand Beaded Statement Necklace

DIY-three-strand-statement-necklaceI love DIY. Whether it be something for the house or something to wear. Creating makes me happy. In fact, it was a big part of my childhood. Many Christmases would bring gifts of craft supplies and endless projects to be completed. And I was always dabbling…I’d try my hand at painting, knitting, sculpting, drawing…you name it. While I would not classify myself as some artistic genius, I always managed to construct a reasonably decent project. And most of all…it was fun.

I’ve stifled this for a long time and this past year, this blog has helped reignite the creative side of me. It’s been serving as an outlet for all the stresses of adult life and I’m finding that creative kid in me again.

So, let’s set the scene…of course, I was at Michael’s craft store…and I happened to wander into the beading section. As you know, I love jewelry (hey, jewelry ALWAYS fits) and the desire to create something myself started brewing. Problem was, I had no idea what I was looking at…what materials to choose, what tools did I need, could I even construct something half decent? So, I just explored, I took mental note of materials that appealed to me and I found myself in the book section giving myself a crash course in jewelry construction over the course of about 30 minutes. I read pretty fast and have a pretty photographic memory so I flipped through a book (sorry, don’t recall which one) on basic jewelry projects to get a handle on basic tools, and materials. I mean, what the heck were crimp beads and jump rings anyway. Then, I went home and took a peak at some jewelry I already own for inspiration. In fact, I have a necklace or two from LOFT that is very similar in construction to this one that I crafted. Studying the piece, I got a general handle on construction and then was sort of able to make it up from there. I returned to  Michael’s, purchased my supplies, and hoped for the best. Here’s how:

DIY Three Strand Beaded Statement Necklace 

For this project, I chose jade green beads. Because I wanted the necklace to be cooler in tone, the metal accents I chose were silver.

Jewelry Chain

Monofilament Illusion Cord .012 in

Variety of Beads (I chose two sizes a slightly larger diameter for the bottom strand with matching smaller diameter beads for the other two)

Jump Rings

Crimp Beads

Spacer Beads (each package had two different sizes (one slightly larger and one smaller)

Lobster Clasp

Chain Nose Pliers

Flat Nosed Pliers

Wire Cutter

I also purchased a small storage case as I plan to make more jewelry in the future and wanted an inexpensive way to keep my tools organized.

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First, you’ll begin by stringing beads for each of the three strands. You’ll want three different lengths of monofilament, each progressively shorter, so the strands lay in a tiered fashion when worn. I cut each strand of monofilament at 20, 18, and 16 inches respectively.

To start a strand of beads, string one jump ring and one crimp bead onto the monofilment.

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Loop one end over the jump ring and back through the crimp bead for form a loop leaving about one inch of monofilament as a little tail. Using either chain nose of flat nose pliers (doesn’t really matter) squeeze the crimp bead tight to secure. You are now ready to begin stringing beads.

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(TIP: I found the monofilament to be at risk for sliding back through the crimp bead. I had to be sure to squeeze tight to secure. While I’m not an expert, next time, I may choose a very thin metal wire to string the beads as I assume it may provide a little more grip and security against the metal of the crimp bead. Thoughts? I’d love to hear your recommendations/experiences if you’ve done something similar.) Either way, it seems secure enough so I began stringing beads.

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I began with my larger green beads and alternated green with a silver spacer bead. I continued stringing until I had approximately 3 inches of monofilament left. Then, add another crimp bead and jump ring and repeat the first procedure to finish the strand. Be sure to pull the crimp bead and jump ring close enough to the last bead. You can then either string the remaining monofilament back through the beads or trim it off.

statement-necklace-tutorial-7Using the existing jump ring on one end of your complete strand, take the next shortest length of monofilament, string through the jump ring and secure with a crimp bead using the procedure above.

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All three strands of beads will be attached to the one jump ring on either end. Once secure, I completed the same beading pattern, this time, using my smaller diameter green beads and smaller spacer beads. Complete the strand, attaching to the opposite jump ring in the same fashion. Finally, complete your last and shortest strand in the same manner. For the shortest strand, I threaded my smaller diameter beads without the use of spacer beads. As you work. it’s helpful to lay the necklace out on your workspace or hold it up to you neck to be sure the lengths of your strands are laying in the desired fashion. It actually worked out very well and I hardly had to adjust measurements at all.Here are what your completed strands will look like.

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The next step is to attach some jewelry chain and your clasp. You will need 2, 4.5 inch lengths of jewelry chain (shorter or longer depending on how you would like your necklace to look), 3 more jump rings, and a lobster clasp. Also, you may need to use two sets of flat nosed pliers for this step…just raid your toolbox for an extra pair. Using wire cutters, trim your chain to the desired length.

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Gently pry open a jump ring with two sets of flat nosed pliers. Attach an additional jump ring to each ring on either end of your beads and then attach a loop of jewelry chain to the jump ring. Close with the pliers once again.

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Finally, on one side of the necklace, open a final jump ring and attach through the last loop of jewelry chain on that side along with a lobster clasp before gently closing using the pliers. The lobster clasp will easily attach to a loop of jewelry chain on the opposite side.

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I completed this project this past Friday and yesterday, I wore it most of the day to a bridal shower, church, and then out to dinner with the husband for an early Valentine’s Day date. It held up beautifully! I had visions of one of the strands breaking loose, beads flying everywhere, and slipping and falling on rogue beads. Luckily, no disasters occurred.

Overall, this project was super fun to make and I have all sorts of jewelry projects I’m designing in my head and would love to try. Overall, the materials cost me approximately $25.00. I downloaded the Michael’s App on my iPhone and had a 25% off coupon so I saved some money too! While I agree it’s just as easy to go out and purchase something similar for the same price, I get a lot of satisfaction creating something of my own and the process is very relaxing for me so for that reason alone, the project is worth it.

Of course, you know what I want…I wanna hear if you’ve tried a DIY jewelry project! Try your hand at some statement jewelry on a whim? Or, if you are a regular DIY jewelry master, lead me to your favorite resources, projects, you name it. I’m all ears!

Note: I was not compensated nor did I partner with any product or company mentioned in this post. I practically live at Michael’s because it is essentially the only craft store in my town :)

The Homies 2013

Exciting news to share!

homiesI have been nominated for the Apartment Therapy The Homies 2013! Specifically in the category for the Best Home Design & Inspiration Blog.

I was nominated last year and while I had no notions of winning then, or now for that matter, it’s super cool to be nominated and stand in line with so many other amazing, inspirational blogs out there. Many that are on the list are ones that I already visit frequently and the others are just new gems to be discovered!

On that note, please head over to Apartment Therapy and cast your vote for my own and other blogs that you admire (that handy link right there gets you to where you need to be to cast your vote). I am eternally grateful for all the support I’ve had from family and friends over the past year as I’ve pursued this hobby. I hope to grow it in so much more and could never accomplish that without you. You guys rock.

Much Love,

Catie

Den Updates

So, this isn’t new. In fact, I’ve had this shot posted on Instagram and Facebook for a while but have yet to post it here.

We have a new sofa for the den!

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Our den space is sort of odd…it’s not the largest space and based on the layout with the fireplace, built-ins, and the fact that it’s an open floor plan with the kitchen, I was left with few options for furniture arrangement. It was important to me to keep this space feeling open and not clutter it with furniture. While we entertain in this space frequently, we are blessed with Florida weather and the party often spills right onto the adjacent pool patio so we are rarely in dire need of seating in here. A sectional fit our needs perfectly allowing some extra space to kick back and lay out. Paired with an accent chair already in the room and some cozy floor cushions…I think it was all we needed.

This past Thanksgiving, we began our search. Of course, we were looking for a budget option. Honestly, this was going to be a high traffic sofa and while you may get more durability from a more expensive piece of furniture I firmly believe it’s all mostly the same crap at the end of the day….whether you pay $6,000 or $1,500. Our decision was to attempt to find a solid piece of furniture, that didn’t drain the bank account, and that I wouldn’t feel guilty replacing in 5-10 years when it inevitably starts to look shabby. They just don’t make furniture like they used to. Given that we don’t live in the most urban area, local furniture shopping pretty much revolves around one establishment. In Gainesville, that is Furniture Country. We purchased our living room furniture here and have been pleased. The best part, they have some GREAT sales so you can get even more of a bargain. Given that we shopped over Thanksgiving, we scored a Black Friday deal and received an additional 20% off of the price.

As we were walking the store, we had our eyes on different sectional sofas. We knew the dimensions we needed and my preference was for leather. We spend most of our down time in the den with the dogs and the cat and we wanted something durable and that would make fur clean up MUCH easier. I’m over the days of pet hair sticking to upholstery. UGH. Given that our dogs are on the small side and we are able to keep their nails trimmed to discourage punctures or scratches in the leather, we decided that this material was perfect for our needs.

The sofa we ended up purchasing was displayed on the showroom floor in a lime green fabric. My big tip is to look beyond the upholstery when purchasing furniture. Often, the retailer will have questionable choices when it comes to the fabric and color of the furniture they display. Look for the lines and proportion and explore options from there. Much to my delight, this sofa could be upholstered in leather and even more delightful, a shade of leather that I thought only existed in my head was available. I was shocked! I knew I wanted a taupe/gray color but most leather furniture you see is either black, brown, or gasp, white! I chose the leather based on this 4 x 8 inch swatch and was a little fearful it would look dated but once it was delivered I knew it was the right choice. We love it. The pillows you see on the sofa came with the purchase. I was asked to pick fabric and believe it or not, this was the least offensive of the choices. It’s a graphic floral print on twill in shades of taupe, burgundy, and navy. I actually sort of like the pillows but they won’t be permanent as it’s not the look or color scheme I’m going for in this room. Either way, free is free. I’ll either recover these in the future or replace them altogether. I suppose I should give you a few details on the sofa! We went with a right arm chaise sectional sofa made by England Furniture. We chose real leather in the color Salvador Mushroom. Final sale purchase price was $2,111.90. I call that a great value for a leather sectional!

 

This room still has a long way to go but just wanted to share this little update!

How about you? Any good furniture finds lately?

Guy & Eva: Meet Brenda and Laura

I mentioned in this post that I have taken the plunge into the business of direct sales and have become a Style Advisor for Guy & Eva Jewelry. It’s been a really exciting process so far and I’m learning a lot about business practices, marketing a brand, and all the creativity and effort surrounding that. This is my first experience in this niche of the industry and while I’m not sure it’s for everyone, I’m very pleased with my decision so far.

I think I’ve hinted at that in addition to home design and DIY, I’m also very inspired by fashion, jewelry, and all things accessories. Now, here’s the huge disclaimer. I AM NO EXPERT! I am not trying to pretend to be an expert, generally, I’m just trying to pretend to be fashionable and lord knows…SO many people do it better than me! But, who cares. It’s something I enjoy, I think we’d all agree style makes us each feel good, and it serves as a creative outlet, so I figured I’d share a few glimpses, well, right here!

A big aspect of Guy & Eva is learning about jewelry styling. Style Advisors are given education to help customers choose the best accessories for their skin tone, face shape, body type, and overall personal style. Here’s the most important take away rule: choose what you love! The other rules are helpful to assist in refining some of your choices, but you have to love it and it has to speak to you. So, in that spirit, I’ll be offering some occasional style tips and product features here on the blog. Welcome to my first installment!

Today, I’ll be featuring two of my favorite and very versatile pieces. Each stands alone very well but pairs together beautifully.

The Jewelry

The Brenda Necklace

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The Laura Earrings

laura_20350_300The pendant styling of the necklace is very flattering and I personally feel like it’s a slightly more streamlined way to interpret the “statement” necklace. Additionally, I often find it difficult to pair a statement piece of jewelry, such as the necklace, with other pieces. It begins to feel like overkill. This is especially true when it comes to pairing items like the Brenda necklace with earrings. I would frequently shy away from pairing a drop earring with a necklace such as this one in favor of studs, but the Laura earrings work perfectly as they are coordinated to match the necklace. Additionally, the Laura earrings are streamlined and though they are drop earrings, they offer the same flare as drop earrings without completely overpowering the look.

How to wear it: 

Generally, pulling your hair back and up and out of the way of your face can be a great way to showcase a great pair of earrings or let the necklace become the focus. However, in the example I provide below, I took a slightly different approach.

On Saturday night, we went out for a friend’s birthday and I opted for the skinny jeans, tunic, and heels uniform. The day before, I scored a great teal blue tunic from Ann Taylor Loft. It was the perfect top to pair with a pair of Loft skinnies I currently own and a pair of nude platform heels. I love the versatility of this look and it’s flattering on most body types. A great fitting pair of skinnies and heels lengthen the legs and a flowy tunic balances the look. Finish with some awesome jewelry and a great bag and viola.

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In fact, when I was purchasing the top, I already knew that I’d plan on pairing it with this necklace and earrings. The pendant really stands out against the bold tunic and the earrings finish the look and dress it up a bit. I was personally liking the hair down for this particular look so I left it at that. Probably for the fact that I recently had it done and it’s not looking like a rat’s nest yet! Finally, I feel the length of the necklace added to the overall elongating look of the outfit and complemented the shape of the tunic.

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Ann Taylor Loft Tunic

Ann Taylor Loft Modern Slim Jeans

Old Navy Heels

Guy & Eva Brenda Necklace

Guy & Eva Laura Earrings

J. Crew Polka Dot Envelope (converts to clutch or shoulder bag)

Finally, if you’d like to purchase the jewelry featured just visit www.guyandeva.com/catiecarey

So, let me know what you think! I’m always, ALWAYS, open to fashion advise! If I’ve shared a complete fashion don’t, I wanna know about it! If it’s a fashion do, then great! Please share your tips and suggestions. And yes, I know I could have ironed the shirt…I just realized how wrinkled it was. Forehead slap.

PS: The Guy & Eva corporate office does not compensate be for featuring these products. I am an independent Style Advisor and I am personally choosing to feature products and my jewelry business on this blog. If you make a purchase, I receive a commission for all products sold. Thanks for your support!