OTS for the Weekend

OTS top

OTS top

It’s no secret that I, along with basically everyone else I know, enjoys a good off-the-shoulder style (OTS).  They are reminiscent of the 70s but in modern prints and boho designs that stay true to today’s current style. I love this fresh mix of past meets present, and often I have to stop myself from buying TOO many of these adorable OTS tops!

OTS top

This OTS top is in a gorgeous teal floral print with black and red details. The sheer & breezy nature of it makes it super easy to pair with anything. For this outfit I paired it with my go-to black distressed denim, suede fringe heels, and a red matte lip.

OTS top

Accessory wise I opted to keep things simple, since the top stands out on it’s own, I just accented it with a black crescent necklace, black MK wristlet, and my favorite round sunglasses.

OTS top

Accessories

This outfit was so perfect for lunch in Downtown Saint Petersburg, FL with my sister. It’s just the right amount of dressy mixed with the right amount of casual. I love how confident and hot I felt in this outfit. An OTS top is the perfect way to show a little skin without being self-conscious about it!

OTS top

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Before I Die…I want to Live

before i die wall

before i die wall

Have you ever made a bucket list? Have you ever THOUGHT of making a bucket list? I haven’t, and here’s why. I never like to think about death. I know that sounds pretty freaking obvious, but hear me out for a bit. It’s hard for me to list things I want to do “before I die” because I just want to live while I’m alive. hahaha sounds like a Bon Jovi song I know.

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Since experiencing postpartum depression with Brando, I feel more aware of my life, and realize that I need to not just have a desire to live in the moment, but prepare for the future and make myself some real goals.

before i die wall

Visiting this wall in Downtown Saint Pete with my sister, who is also battling depression was really meaningful to me today. While the chalk didn’t work, and I hadn’t really prepared an answer that settled with me the right way, it still made me think.

before i die wall

In this wall stands so many different stories, so many different goals (ex: sleep with a 27 year old…Sing like Whitney…Find Myself…), so many different people. Yet we all shared a common experience at that wall, we all stopped and thought, and even if they were meaningless, we all for a brief moment- felt our own mortality. So while I couldn’t just think of ONE thing to put on a wall, I made a list.

before i die wall

Before I Die…

I will visit France.
I will watch my boys fall in love with someone.
I will own a house.
I will read Don Quixote.
I will get the “Rules of Attraction” tattoo I’ve been wanting.
I will get down to my goal weight (at least once just to say I did it and know that experience for myself.)
I will make macaroons.
I will look up.
I will visit my grandfather’s grave.
I will write my book.
I will not stop loving, ever.

While I know there’s so much more than this list that I want out of my life. It’s nice to have some goals to reach for. I feel like all of these things are things I’m capable of achieving, and I look forward to checking all these things on my list one day.
before i die wall

What do you want to do before you die?

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Hello Floral Skirt & The Hello Kitty Cafe

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While it may seem unseasonable to most, Spring is basically here in Florida and I could not be more ecstatic. The weather here is nice a breezy daily, and warm-but not too hot. Last weekend the Hello Kitty Cafe stopped by International Plaza and I HAD to wear this new floral skirt I got for the sweet treat adventure.

floral skirt outfit

This skirt is great. (similar)  The elastic waistband allows movement and stretch, so I can continue to wear it comfortably as I start to shed this extra baby weight that’s been hanging around my mid-section. To keep the skirt more casual for a trip to the mall, I paired it with a simple white tank top and a structured mid-rinse denim jacket.

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I finished off the look with these adorable lace-up ballet flats, so I could easily shop around the mall when I was finished waiting in line for the Hello Kitty Cafe.

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For those unfamiliar with the Hello Kitty Cafe, let me divulge. The Hello Kitty Cafe is a food truck painted in pink and serving up treats every little girl (and grown woman) dreams of. I grabbed a 4 pack of petit fours cakes that were adorably decorated Sanrio style. The cafe also offered: Mini Bow Cookies and Rainbow Macaroons which were hard to pass up, but I stayed good to my one cheat.

My outfit matched the truck perfectly as you can see, and I had such an awesome time. Everyone in line at the truck was in a great mood, ready to experience something cool, original, and super fun. Me and Brando made friends with the three guys behind us in line and all laughed and talked about what we’d be purchasing.

The petit fours tasted just as amazing as they looked, and I know for sure next time the Hello Kitty Cafe comes to town, I’ll totally be matching in pink again, and be grabbing those macaroons too! <3

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Going, Going, Blonde.

from dark brown hair to blonde

Anyone else love to make major hair changes when they go through a huge change? (Raises Hand) I recently made some major changes in my life, like a WHOLE lot, and to celebrate my newfound attitude I totally flipped the script and went from dark brown hair, to ashy blonde.

What Changed?

Life wise A LOT. I went through this serious Post-Pardom Depression where I didn’t want to shop and all I really wanted to do was sleep and eat and drink once the babies were in bed, and it was icky. As a result of the depression, I became completely unhappy in every aspect of my life, stopped blogging (you may have noticed), and blamed my marriage for the most part. James and I separated very briefly, but thankfully he’s a trooper and once I was able to sober up, clear my head from the fog, and see what and WHO really mattered, he was still there by my side.

love of my life

I started and finished real estate school and passed my state licensing exam on the first try! Little known fact about me: I actually had my license very briefly in 2007 when I was 19. But the housing market basically collapsed while I was in real estate school, and no one wanted to buy a house from a 19 year old when the economy was in shambles, so it wasn’t really a successful venture at that point in my life.

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Having something to get up and get out and get ready for really brings me joy and I can’t wait to start flipping some houses! <3 PS- Holla if you want to move to Orlando yo, I’ll find ya a great deal 😉

To celebrate all these amazing changes, and my new lifestyle going blonde was something I really wanted to do. I was blonde when I started this blog and going back blonde has been something I’ve been considering over the last year. It’s a huge commitment, because to lighten my hair from dark to ash without having breakage it takes about 3 appointments over a 3 week span.

The biggest thing I can recommend is making sure you chose a stylist with a lot of experience with blondes, high quality products, and someone that you trust. When it comes to hair, it’s important to be direct, let the stylist know exactly what you want with plenty of pictures to back your dreams up so you’re all on the same page.

I have a good friend Jen who works at Eyes on You Salon & Spa, I’ve known Jen for more than 10 years, and knew I could trust her with my locks. Over the past 3 weeks, we’ve spent 3-4 hours a week together getting my tresses lightened and it’s been such a blast.

from dark brown hair to blonde

For starters, the salon uses Olaplex, which helps maintain your hairs integrity while it’s lightening. This is SO important for me because I didn’t want to lose any length during the coloring process. It’s just an extra $25 for the treatment, and I can’t recommend it enough! My hair felt so soft and smooth when it was all done!

from dark brown hair to blonde

Jen has one of those easy to chat with personality’s (as do all the other ladies at this salon), so going in for a 3 hr appointment actually flies by. They make you feel as relaxed and comfortable as you do hanging out with friends in your own house. (plus you know, your kids aren’t running around ROAR-ing like Dinosaurs at the salon, so it’s a little more refreshing)

brown hair to blonde hair

Jen also didn’t rush through our appointments. She took extra time to hand paint on most of my lightening treatments because I personally prefer a little root growth. She did the most perfectly blended natural looking ombre blonde hair I’ve seen. I love how my colors look natural and not so “bottle blonde”. The time she took to put in the extra work really paid off and I couldn’t be more appreciative!

from brown hair to blonde hair

If you’d like to refresh your look for spring and are in the Tampa area, give the ladies at Eyes On You a ring, they will make you look and feel amazing! <3 If you book an appointment with Jen and tell her I referred you (Brittany Clark or XoXo,B) she’ll hook you up with $20 off any treatment of $50 or more! Jen can also do a wide variety of treatment options including event make-up&hair, spray tanning, and individual lash extensions.  Just LOOK at the amazing before and after of these lashes (the top is the after)!

individual lash extensions

 

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The Week of Winter

We don’t get much of a winter in Florida. To be honest, I spend half the year complaining it’s too hot, pining, as I scroll my Instagram & Pinterest feeds, for “sweater weather”. And every January/February I get my wish granted with a week and a half of winter weather which reminds me of exactly why I’m a Floridian.

I do have a winter wardrobe. I’ve collected staple items for cooler weather here and there over the years and since I don’t wear them often, they stay in really good condition.

I’ve had this faux fur vest from Target since 2014! It’s held up great over the past 3 years, and I’ll be wearing it for years to come I’m sure. For this outfit, I paired the fur vest with a mid-length sweater dress. This sweater dress is from The Limited circa 2015, and is made from super warm and soft Merino Wool.

To finish off the look I added tan booties (a FAV of mine), and this awesome antiquated gold and cobalt blue geometric statement necklace.

faux fur vest sweater dress

While I won’t get to wear this exact outfit for another year I’m sure, it was so much fun and perfectly warm on a chilly day.

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DIY Flannel Placemats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BoursinCheese #CollectiveBias

Holiday entertaining is one of my favorite things about the holiday season. Getting my house decorated, baking, and having good friends over for ornament and gift exchanges is just so much fun for me. One of the major decorations I love during the holiday season, is Tablescapes.
Tablescaping is somewhat of a new field for me as we JUST (3 months ago) got an actual dining room table as opposed to the small bar table we had been using for the past 3 years. Holiday season, starting with Halloween has been such a blast coming up with new themed tablescape ideas for each holiday. This year, for Christmas, I decided to go with a “Christmas in the Mountains” themed table along with an incredibly delicious cheese plate featuring Boursin® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese.

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My family lived in North Carolina for 5 years, and during the holidays when it would snow and fireplaces would be lit, is when I miss the mountains the most down here in sunny Florida. A country themed table, filled with lumberjack plaid is the perfect way to pay homage to my past while celebrating the holidays with new friends and family.

To create this table, I wanted some amazing cloth plaid placemats, but I didn’t necessarily want to spend the $9 per placemat that retailers are charging so I got thrifty. I bought 1 yard of a great machine washable red&green flannel fabric and liquid stitch-which is also safe to wash.

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I used last years Christmas placemat to trace the size I needed, then cut out 4 rectangles from the flannel.

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After my mats were cut, I outlined each side with liquid stitch and folded the seam over to create a “seam” so that all the exteriors were perfectly neat.

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I cut the interior corners on the seams at an angle so each mat laid flat and there was no bulging at the edges when they are turned over and used.

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After allowing my completed placemats to dry for 30 minutes, they were then ready to be used!

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This craft was so simple and ran me $7 total compared to the $36 it would have been to buy similar ones in the store! Plus it took less than an hour to complete including dry time!

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To finish off my Christmas Cabin tablescape I added a great wood bowl filled with cinnamon pinecones and mini christmas ornaments, then placed these amazing vintage candlelight lanterns that my mother gave to me on each side of the bowl for great symmetry.

boursin

Once the table was complete I needed something delicious for me and holiday guests to enjoy at the gorgeous tablescape I created! Since having my second child in June, in order to loose baby weight I have been living a low-carb lifestyle. I LOVE the energy the mass amounts of protein I get on this lifestyle, and one of my new go-to snacks is a charcuterie spread.

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The perfect cheese tray is all about balance. It needs to be just as visually appealing as it is tasty, which is why I always choose high contrasting items to arrange on my cheese tray. I center my choices around one good cheese, for this appetizer I selected Boursin® Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese.

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The Boursin line of cheeses is great, you can find all the varieties easily in the fine cheese cooler at Walmart. I’m a sucker for anything garlicy, but they also have these other amazing flavors: Boursin® Red Chili Pepper, Boursin® Cranberry & Spice, Boursin® Basic & Chive, Boursin® Cracked Black Pepper, and Boursin® Cranberry & Apple that are equally delicious. Delicous and full of a surprising WOW factor, Boursin® cheese is creamy and crumbly and perfect for guests at any gathering you plan this holiday season. Now you can enjoy it even more with a special $1.00 cash back coupon on Ibotta!

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After my cheese was selected I chose: dried cranberries, flax multigrain crackers, bacon, grapes, fresh cilantro, and roasted almonds as great low-carb compliments to the cheese. I arranged them on my tray in an alternating sweet-salty patterned circle around the cheese, and garnished with the fresh cilantro to add some great color.

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This charcuterie spread was a HIT and my holiday guests were wowed at the amazing flavors the Boursin® cheese literally brought to the table! I love how such minimal effort goes into a cheese tray, yet it’s always a party hit and absolutely a wonderful option for those guests like myself who are still watching their waistlines during the holidays. Even better, the wood cheese board looked perfectly rustic atop my Christmas cabin themed table!

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Do you have tablescape themes & matching recipes for holiday gatherings? Share them below!

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Sweater Weather

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It has finally started to cool down here in central Florida and I could not be more excited. While I LOVE warm weather, this year has been especially hot, and I’ve been dying to have a reason to wear all of my oversized comfortable sweaters without sweating.

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Since it is cooler in the mornings and evenings, but still pretty warm during the afternoon, layering heavy sweaters over sundresses with boots is one of my favorite fashion trends for the Floridian fall.

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I love how comfortable and laid back this look is. I mixed a great summer floral sundress, with a neutral tan oversized sweater and topped the look off with my favorite new fringe boots from Target.

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I like to accessorize sundresses with great earrings so this dangly pair of gold with white beads from Francesca’s Collections was a great add-on, and I finished the look with my JORD wood watch, and a simple blush pendant.

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What is your go-to look for cooler months? Share it with me below for inspiration!

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A Sweet Christmas Treat Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetnSaltyHoliday #CollectiveBias

I’m gonna go ahead and be 100% honest with you guys. I LOVE baking. It’s a huge passion of mine, and the holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year because I have an excuse to bake non-stop. On Thanksgiving I always try to make two really fancy side dishes to bring to family gatherings as well as one delicious and pretty dessert, and during the entire month of December you can find me baking all day and bringing holiday sweet treat baskets with me basically EVERYWHERE I go!

giftbasket

I am overly joyful when I get to bake, getting in the kitchen with my apron on is therapeutic for me, and I love sharing this hobby of mine with the people who surround me. During the holiday season, I want to recognize my thankfulness to everyone I know, and while budget-wise I can’t cross something off everyone’s wish list, I always bake treats for the sweet people in my life. These gift baskets are a great way to show appreciation to the wonderful staff at my sons’ pediatrician’s office, extended family members, our mail carrier, and to bring to Christmas parties our friends host. They are super easy to assemble, and even if you don’t LOVE to bake like I do, you can buy pre-made things and create the same baskets without all the dishes, if you so please.

There are 3 basic’s that go into my baskets each year, known as my “Staples”:

1. Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods. You melt some chocolate candy melts in the microwave (heat for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted), dip half of your pretzel rod in the chocolate, sprinkle with some festive sprinkles, and freeze for 30 min to let the chocolate set. These are always a family favorite, and take less than 5 min to prepare! All you need is: Sprinkles, Chocolate Melts, and Pretzel Rods!

pretzelrods

2. Marshmallow Pops. Another easy one, 10 min prep time! I get cool colored/patterned paper straws and cut them in half. Then, I stick the straw into a large marshmallow and dip into melted chocolate. After that I dip the pop into a ramekin of sprinkles, and set on a baking tray. Once all the marshmallows are dipped I freeze them for 30 min to allow the chocolate to set, then bag them up!

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3. Sugar Cookies. I always do the cookie cutter cookies, and decorate each individual cookie in a special and different way. This is probably the most time consuming part of the gift basket, but to the baker in me, it’s the best part. This is wear I put my personal touch on each basket, often using certain colors or shapes to decorate to each person’s own individual likes.

cookies

With each of my staple items I add 2-3 of each treat per person on the receiving end. So if I’m bringing this to a couple like my friends Brian & Amanda, I’ll put 4 total Marshmallow pops, sugar cookies, and pretzel rods. If I’m bringing this to a single person like my Aunt Mary Carol, I will put 3 of each item in. This helps you stay organized and do the math to make sure you get the most out of your ingredients, so you can pass out the most holiday cheer.

staples

After I finish my basic basket staples I always like to add a “wow” factor to each basket. I’ll pick something decadent and indulgent that is different from what most people add to their baskets, to really knock the treat receiver’s socks off! This year I selected these amazing Milk Chocolate covered Wavy Lays potato chips. Last year I couldn’t find them in stores so I actually made them because I wanted to try them so badly! Chocolate covered chips are seriously the perfect combination of sweet and savory, so to add even more fun to my treat baskets I also made a delicious sweet and salty dip to go with the Milk Chocolate covered Wavy Lays.

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This dip was SO delicious and pairs perfectly with the chips. It’s only 4 ingredients and you can make it in less than 5 minutes!

Ingredients

14oz Marshmallow Fluff

16oz Creamy Peanut Butter

2 tbsp Honey

1/2 cup mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups

ingredients

Directions

  1. Mix Marshmallow Fluff, Peanut Butter, and Honey together throughly.                                                    mix
  2. Add mini peanut butter cups and mix well.                                                                                                       peanutbutterdip
  3. Scoop into mini-mason jars, top with a few mini-peanut butter cups, and seal lid.           dip

This recipe makes enough dip to fill 4 mini-mason jars fully, but you could easily fill the jars only half-full and top with extra peanut butter cups to make 8 jars with the same recipe.

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SO EASY RIGHT?! This dip is incredible and it’s complemented so well with the Milk or Dark Chocolate covered Wavy Lays. This season they actually have three flavors available in Target: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Covered with Almond Bits.  These two items really upped the anti on gift basket giving that is for sure.

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I finish my gift baskets off with other personal touches, like a hand-written Christmas card and a beautiful handmade bow. In the spirit of giving I always keep an extra one in my car as well to spread some holiday cheer to anyone I meet that may need it.

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Do you make any treats or baskets during the holiday season? If so, what do you put in them? Leave your comments below! <3

 

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Messy Moments & Life.


“This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

The adjustment to two children has been a chaotic one for sure. Cash was such a low maintenance child and continues to be one, while Brando on the other hand wants 100% of the attention 99.9% of the time. There are days full of overwhelm, sleepless nights, and days where I literally can’t even fathom leaving the house with both boys, but then I’ll have those precious gleaming moments that fill my heart with so much joy it makes all the turmoil so incredibly worth it.

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Some of my favorite first moments with Cash were: him getting his first tooth, crawling for the first time, and the moment he said “Mama”. The first time Cash met his baby brother, and then weeks later the first time he actually gave him a kiss melted my heart completely. It reminded me that I gave him a friend for life, and that makes the struggle so worth it. My children’s first smiles were so magical, the moment you know it’s not gas, but in fact them just being completely happy being in your arms, they should bottle the kind of happiness that brings a parent.

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The funniest first moments with both boys were our first “champagne showers” if you know what I mean. 😉 Olivia Wilde said it best when she said, “Being a mother has taught me many things, one of them being that every grown man has at one time, peed in their own face.”

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Brando has recently started rolling on his belly, which means he’s one step closer to being a crawler, and as much as I love these first moments, hitting each one means my sweet baby boy is one moment closer to not being a baby anymore. So I cherish these moments as much as I can.

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I absorb & appreciate the good days when I’m full of energy for the park, when I’m not struggling to keep up, when my husband leaves an iced coffee drink for me in the fridge for me to wake up to. What I have learned, as cliche as it sounds, is that life is just a culmination of all these little precious moments, and it’s so important to appreciate them as they happen, so that the memories of these moments don’t fade. I want to always remember that there’s this HUGE period of my children’s lives where all they really want or need is who I am, and for me to play, laugh, and love them.

waterwipes

Waterwipes understands these moments, and wants to help spread the word that these moments are invaluable. Chemical free, made with 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract, they are the safest wipes on the market for your little ones. I love this video that they created to share our special moments, try not to tear up watching it, as you remember your sweet little babes first moments. I dare you.

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Watch Out with JORD

I have always had a thing for watches. My personal preference is a large face with bold masculine features, and small hints of feminine features. So, when JORD reached out to me for a collaboration, I was SO excited to share their amazing product with my readers.

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JORD watches are made from wood, adding a unique look and texture to any outfit. I selected this Frankie watch for the “boyfriend style” of watches that I enjoy in Emerald and Dark Sandalwood. This watch gets me where I’m going and polishes every outfit with a sense of sleek style that I love.

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When I got my watch in the mail, the first, most notable surprise was the packaging. I am such a sucker for good packaging materials, and it came in the most beautiful wood box, set on a lovely burlap pillow. The fit for me was perfect. You can easily use a measuring tape to get the most accurate size for your wrist. Mine came in fitting like a glove, but since I always like a looser fit to layer my watch with other bracelets, I had 2 extra links, that were included in my watch box, added for the fit I was looking for.

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Selecting the bolder Emerald color is wonderful, as it really compliments the colors of the Fall/Winter season, while still standing out in a fashion forward way. I LOVE the many different ways I’m able to wear this watch, and I’m happy to share a giveaway with you!

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You can click this link right here to enter an amazing JORD wood watch giveaway! This giveaway ends 11/06/16 at 11:59pm EST, so hurry and enter so you can also enjoy Fall fashion with an incredible wood watch of your own!


Wood Wrist Watch

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