10 Ways To Find A New Year’s Resolution Best for YOU

For most people New Year’s is a party and an excuse to get dressed up and drink copious amounts of champagne. I won’t lie, I do generally take part in the festivities, but for me New Year’s is more about the significance of a great year coming to an end and a fresh beginning as a new year sneaks around the corner. It’s a time to curl up with a cup of tea and re-examine the direction my life + career are headed and make some short/long term goals for what is coming next.

New Year’s resolutions are always thought to be so dramatic and life changing, when we all know they generally only last till the end of January and then are forgotten until the following New Year.

This year I challenge you to break this cycle and begin to focus on the things that make you better and grow as an individual! These things can be in your personal life, your career or even how you see yourself. The best resolution you can make is one that will result in you being healthy, happy and confident in your life and your own skin.

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Reflect

Take the time to reflect! Look at where you are now, versus a year ago. Are you happy with where you are in your life and most importantly are you happy with yourself? Reflecting gives us the chance to learn from the past, celebrate successes and see what we would like to do differently in the future.

For all those who think you stop learning once you graduate University – think again! I always say I think I learned more in my first year out of school than I did within the 4 years it took to get my degree. With that being said for a girl who always has a plan, my life has veered pretty far off from what I had pictured it was going to look like. However, I am ok with where I am. You can’t plan when an opportunity is going to arise, you just have to buckle in and go along for the ride. Needless to say I am excited see where life leads me next – plan or no plan!

Keep it short + sweet 

Sometimes less is more! I know this sounds cliche, but in this instance it holds to be true. As C.S Lewis put perfectly:

“ Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?”

Think of making smaller changes to your everyday routine and eventually each adjustment will lead to larger accomplishments without you even realizing it. Consider focusing on 1 or 2 goals for the year, instead of creating a laundry list of things you plan on doing within 365 days. Accomplishing a few smaller goals can lead to much larger ones in the future!

Be Specific 

Setting vague goals such as “this year I am going to eat more healthy” or “I am going to be a nicer person” are great things to want to achieve, but difficult to execute. Be specific and create goals that are simple and measurable, such as I will pursue 2 random acts of kindness a day, or I will only have 4 cups of coffee a week instead of 2 a day. Both are attainable and your progress is easily seen – win win!

Write it down 

This may sound silly, but it can be vital to the success of your resolutions. You are creating a contract with yourself and you need to validate it. Write it down somewhere that you will see it daily, such as a note on your bathroom mirror. This will create a daily reminder of where you want to be and allow you to continually check in with yourself to see how you are doing.

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Cut the stress!

According to an article written by the Calgary Sun, 25% of Calgarians are stressed, making us the most stressed out region in Alberta. Given the state of our economy I am not surprised in the slightest! However, stress is dangerous to your health and can subsequently make you underperform in your daily tasks. Think of the things that are causing you unnecessary large amounts of stress in your life and create goals that work towards reducing this, or better yet eliminating it!

Declutter 

Purge your life of anything that is no longer providing you with some sort of value. This might sound a little self loathing, but when you have less around you it allows you to appreciate the small things and have a better perspective on your life. I am talking about everything, including your home, career, heart, head and even the people in your social circle. Letting go of relationships that no longer feed you or give you joy allows you to focus and nurture the relationships that do.

Focus on your strengths 

“When you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” 

Figure out what you are good at and find time to focus on this. Generally, we are the happiest when we are doing something that we are truly passionate about. You also never know when a hobby could create a new opportunity, or lead you to discover something new about yourself.

Try something new 

Whether it be something on your bucket list or something you never thought you would be interested in – try it! As Neale Donald Walsch said:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 

When you are in routine, doing the same things day in and day out, your life can become stagnant and often boring. No longer are you learning new things, meeting new people or experiencing things in life, you’re merely existing. Memories are created when we discover new experiences and do things that give us butterflies. So book that spontaneous trip, sign up for a crazy workout class, volunteer or even try something new in your career!

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Keep it positive 

Maybe you don’t need to focus on eliminating something from your life, rather adding to it. In our society we are so focused on dreading Mondays and our upcoming deadlines. Focus on positive goals and they will reflect positively in your life.

Find your dream job! 

I know this sounds easier said than done, but as the mighty Confucius said:

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

You may as well begin working on it now and if this is not your year to secure the job of your dreams, at least you’re one step closer!

Lastly,

Create a resolution specific to you

Just because everyone else is giving up wine and loosing weight this year, does not mean you have to as well. Jump off the bandwagon and take the time to examine every aspect of your life and figure out the parts that need work, or that you are not 100% happy with. Maybe you just want to read a good book this year! My point is, the decision is yours and no one else’s. This year make it your mission to become the best possible version of yourself and to create a life that fulfills you, makes you happy and that you are confident and comfortable living, because that is what is most important!

xoxo Kristy

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Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m Possible” – Audrey Hepburn

My Career Highlighted in 7 Defining Moments

Life is about moments: Don’t wait for them, create them.

When I look back at my entire career and see the path I have taken, I can distinguish specific moments that have lead me to this very moment in time – writing this blog post. These were pivotal events that threw me in a direction that was amazing, scary and wonderful all at the same time. For a girl who thrives off having a well-organized plan for almost everything, including a shopping trip to the mall, you can imagine that this was initially a slight shock to my system. However, my career path has been a fascinating ride and I am continually learning and eager to see what is around the next corner.

Here are 7 defining moments that stand out in my career thus far as learning experiences, growing experiences or a moment when I realized I was exactly where I was meant to be!

Let’s start at the beginning…

The moment my love affair with communications began

A close friend had mentioned to me in passing what she was doing in her PR class, it sounded interesting, so I enrolled myself in an “Intro to Communications” class to see what it was all about – I had zero expectations. When I walked into that auditorium there was no going back, I remember listening to my professor discuss the basics of Communications Theory and from that moment on I was officially a communications student.

From there I went on to immerse myself in the communications program and University as much as I possibly could, as I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my 4 years – and that I can truly say I did! I became good friends with many of my professors, I traveled to Spain on a 3 week ‘Food Culture’ group study and I became the President of the ‘Students in Communications’ (SIC) Club for one out of my three years of involvement. I threw myself in and I came out the other end with a BA and a strong motivation to conquer whatever came my way!

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One of the things that was immensely important to me was graduating with actual work experience within the communications industry on my resume. As a result of my efforts, I ended up with an amazing Summer Student Position at CNOOC Ltd., then known simply as Nexen. I was placed in their Corporate Responsibility Program and got sent to STARS Air Ambulance, on behalf of Nexen, to assist them for the summer.

At STARS I got the unique opportunity to work with the four pillars of their Foundation’s team – Events, Stewardship, Communications, and Fundraising. I had a hands-on summer of completing multiple projects for each individual team, while learning how a non-for-profit worked and was organized, both from an internal and external perspective.

At the end of the summer, STARS offered me a part-time job, as a Development Coordinator, while I finished my degree – I wholehearted accepted the opportunity. This role was streamlined specifically to internal tasks that primarily included creating research profiles for the fundraising team to use when they were going in for an ask and other administrative duties. By the end of my time there I was organizing weekly meetings with multiple teams within the foundation and even chairing a few meetings that involved the research profiles that I had created.

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We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersoll

One of the best pieces of advice I could have ever been told was to “get involved” – sounds simple, but it was revolutionary to my success. Throughout my entire career I have thrown myself into different volunteer initiatives and strategically looked at opportunities for me to put my skill set to good use, while also learning and growing within communications. As a result, I have worked with some incredible teams and witnessed firsthand how powerful volunteerism can be. Each community that I have become a part of has influenced me in one way or another and has empowered me to connect my passion to a purpose, making a difference in something much larger than myself.

Two experiences that stand out are my involvement on the Special Events Committee at Making Changes Association and The Black and White Ball Committee with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. Both offered me opportunities to hone in on my digital media skills, as I created detailed social media plans for both events, along with editorial calendars, campaign suggestions and written content to be posted that was consistent with the branding guidelines of both the event and organization. Eventually, I got to the point where I was posting the content directly into Hootsuite myself on the various social media platforms on behalf of each of the organizations and executing the entire social media strategy myself. This opened many doors for me within the world of social media and soon led to my next key opportunity!

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#GetSocial with Social Sesame

Through my work with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, I met my soon-to-be boss at the social media agency, Social Sesame, and within a month I was a full-time employee. This is where my career took another steep turn! All of a sudden I was managing multiple clients’ social media accounts on a daily basis and learning the inner workings of the immense world of digital media and social media marketing – and getting paid for it! I adored creating a strong relationship with clients, as we worked together to create a digital marketing plan and strategy, and execute it in a way that would enhance their brand and connect them with their target audience.

It was in this same instance that I began to see my writing career flourish, as this was quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of the job. For many clients, whose social media I managed on a daily basis, I would also manage their blogs and be creating original content for them on a weekly basis. Throughout my life, I had always been a creative person, but I just had no idea how to build or sustain a career out of that – this was my official aha moment! Creativity had officially been infused into my career and I could not have been happier knowing I was doing something that fed my soul and made me want to jump out of bed in the morning.

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Becoming a lady boss!

“If you can’t stop thinking about it don’t stop working for it.”

Due to the unfortunate circumstances of Calgary’s economy, I became a contractor at Social Sesame and at the same time gained a few clients of my own. It was then I decided to take the time to work on my own personal brand and figure out what my next move was. Starting a blog was always something that was in the back of my mind, but never something that I had pursued, mainly due to time constraints and the overwhelming thought of creating my own website. However, since I was no longer working full time I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take the leap and just do it!

Creating my website was a process – a long one! I ended up teaching myself the ins and outs of WordPress, along with basic coding techniques and other website technicalities, but eventually FloralandBows was born. FloralandBows quickly became my creative outlet and currently contains my fashion and lifestyle blog, my growing writing portfolio and my freelancing services that I offer to my clients. Since launching almost a year ago I have had the sincere opportunity to work with an incredible array of people within the community, write for various magazines, blogs and editorial platforms and once again steer my career in a direction that I could have never imagined.

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Staying inspired

“Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you can see can inspire you.” – Grace Coddington

I very quickly learned that if I was going to pursue a creative career, I needed to find ways to always be inspired. Luckily, I didn’t have to look far, as I found the things I was most passionate about were what inspired me and kept my creativity flowing.

  • Traveling: discovering and learning about new cultures, while getting to know the people that make up a place and going on memorable adventures is something that feeds my soul. It allows me to grow and learn things about myself I could have never imagined while keeping me active and always inspired.
  • Fashion: I could talk about fashion for hours – literally! This has been something that I have been incredibly passionate about from a very young age; so being able to incorporate it into my career has been monumental for me. Anna Wintour, Iris Apfel and Bill Cunningham are just three role models that I always find myself greatly inspire by, not only by what they do professionally but by how they go about it and what they represent – individualism.
  • Supporting the local community: I have always been a huge supporter of local businesses and entrepreneurs within Calgary. I find now more than ever when I get the opportunity to talk to someone who is incredibly passionate about whatever it is that they are doing, I am immediately intrigued. These people always give me new ideas to think about and motivate me to be better in the pursuit of doing the things that mean the most to me.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle – staying active is how I recharge, clear my mind and allow myself to reset after burning the midnight oil or working on a large deadline with a client.

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My Communications family

For me the two most important things that allow you to fully grow within your career is constantly working on your professional development and having a strong network behind you along the way. I found both of these when I joined the Calgary Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC/Calgary). I initially joined as a student member, but very quickly found myself becoming increasingly involved within the organization. I began as the Newsletter Coordinator, gathering content and sending out the newsletter on behalf of the organization once a week. Within a year I moved onto the Board of Directors as the “Director of Student Development,” due to my immense involvement within the student community when I was in University.

Now, I currently sit on the board as the “Director of Marketing.” I lead a team of social media rockstars who work to maintain and manage the IABC/Calgary social media channels, that includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our brand-new Instagram account! 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary for the IABC/Calgary. As a result, I am working with the 50th Planning Committee to create a promotional video with a Video Agency that will work to promote the gala and the legacy of the IABC/Calgary throughout the year and for years to come.

I also work to collaborate with other board members and ensure that all marketing efforts are being completed within each portfolio. It’s through this collaboration that I have found a professional network that I can rely on, along with a group of true friends within the industry that are always willing to help and support each other whenever possible.

The here and now!

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together”

Whew! What a journey! My career has been nothing close to boring and frankly I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Currently, I am working as a full time freelance writer and am a writing contributor to the Daily Hive YYC, The Yellow Pages Business Pages, Moments Magazine, Dote Magazine Press Board PR, Standout Publications and YYC Girl Gang – just to name a few. The diversity is incredible, as I am always writing on a different industry or topic, which keeps things interesting and allows me to constantly be learning new things. At the same time, I continue to work on the board of the IABC/Calgary, while perusing other volunteer related ventures.

Where do I see myself heading? Good question! It’s my dream to someday be an editor and to work with a team of inspiring, like-minded individuals to create great and wonderful things, while still pursuing my writing and creative career. All I know is that I am eager to see what my next career defining moment will be and where it will take me!

XOXO Kristy

 

A 1 Year Journey Worth A Million Years in Memories

It was exactly one year ago today I walked across the stage at the University of Calgary, and two years ago today that I had the pleasure of breaking my foot in a foreign country, but ill leave that story for another time!

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There I am!

When I walked across that stage I had no idea what the next year was going to look like, which was both terrifying and exciting all at the same time! I was leaving that auditorium with a degree and a full sense of accomplishment and motivation to go out and conquer the world. I still have that drive, but throughout the past year it changed, I changed, my path changed – basically everything changed. Some for the good and some not so much, but life would be pretty boring if it was all smooth sailing.

Needless to say, I followed a very different path than I ever could have anticipated and every experience I have had along the way has led me to where I am now. I still don’t know where I am headed, but this year has given me the confidence to be able to say that I am excited and ready for the adventure.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent some serious time reflecting on the past year, looking at what I have accomplished, what I haven’t, what I feel I have fallen short on and on the person I am and who I want to be. In reality, I am just winging it, crossing my fingers and my toes, hoping that I come out somewhat smoothly on the other side – but let’s be honest it won’t be graceful, nothing ever is with me!

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Who am I, Kristy Archibald

Well, I am not too sure, but I am looking to find her! The past year showed that I am a creative being and I need to capitalize on that and pursue life in a creative way, in both my work and personal life. Sitting down and reading a great book, going for a beautiful walk or watching a documentary on the legends that created the world as we know it, feed my soul and inspire in so many ways. Yes, I am aware I sound like an incredibly old lady, but I love seeing how things were started and what it took for people to truly ‘make it.’

What does this look like for me? I have no idea, but I know that in every documentary and story I have read it’s very obvious that you can’t follow the crowd. I know that sounds incredibly cliché and cheesy, but it’s true! Bill Cunningham didn’t just photograph someone because they were the present ‘it girl’, he photographed them because they had true style and if they didn’t, he didn’t bother. This was something that at the time had never been done, but he paved the way for street style to be what it is today!

As much as I love my alone time, I am a true extrovert and as a result, I also value and cherish the time I spend with my friends and family. Checking out the newest local hotspot, going for brunch and being a tourist in my own city with the people that I love is extremely valuable to me. More importantly, having that network behind me to support me and encourage me in everything that I do and vise versa.

I am an avid adventurer, passionate learner and I try to embrace every new opportunity with open arms in order to experience everything around me. I think I can truly say that over the past year this has been the key to aligning myself onto the right road.

I also learned that: I am still late for life – 24 years later, I don’t need to shower every day, but every second day is a must, good quality skin products are not a hoax, I can cook more than just cupcakes and mac & cheese, I still love fashion, I love to write, I am an ‘entrepreneur’ – scary, I still don’t like bananas, olives , mayo or mushrooms and I will never stop learning – my education didn’t end when I finished school that’s for sure!

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Creativity: from crafting to creating new ideas

As a creative you must always be looking for the next way to become inspired. I had no idea that I was already doing this until this year. Since I was a little kid I have always enjoyed looking and experiencing everything around me, finding a way to document my experiences in some way shape or form.

Working from home has proven to be a huge challenge for me over the past year. It’s something I never thought that I would do and it can be tough some days to become inspired. Trust me it’s not easy to work in your PJ’s, naps are a serious problem! Here are just a few ways that help me keep that creativity flowing and work to give my brain a refresh!

  • Working out: usually, I go to Barre Body Studio. It’s a full body workout that only takes an hour and it leaves you feeling refreshed and energized for the day.
  • Traveling: This is a big one! I tend to get antsy every 7 or 8 months and I have a strong urge to see new things, experience new cultures, learn about people and discover AMAZING foods I never knew existed. I visited Montreal, Toronto and New York last year, 3 of the best cities to venture to if you are looking for any sort of inspiration within your work or in your life in general.
  • Drives & long walks: these work to clear my head and help me to become focused when I get too many things on the go – which is often!
  • Collaborating: whether this be with like-minded people or not, working together with passionate individuals allows me to discover new things and develop different perspectives. I truly believe that we work better when we collaborate and build each other up, rather than compete against each other. I always find it amazing when I bounce thoughts back and forth with someone else, as we always end up brainstorming things I would have never thought of on my own – it’s a magical process. As I said we are better together people!
  • People watching: I know it sounds creepy, but I love to see how others interact and how they are unique when they are put in a position to truly be themselves.
  • Writing about new things: when I receive an assignment from one of my editors to write about something I know nothing about I get giddy! This is an opportunity to research and learn about something I would have otherwise never known about and find a way to creatively put it together for a client.

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Lady Bossin! 

My career is my baby and the thing I live and breathe, without it I would be lost! This is probably the main thing that has affected my entire life and steered me down an incredible journey. From starting this blog, to becoming a freelance writer, to working in social media, to joining a professional association board, to meeting a whole slew of new people, the learning, growth and self-discovery that has taken place is a whirlwind. Such as, apparently I love to write – seriously who knew!

I have learned so much on how to create my own work schedule, work independently, prioritize projects and create my own deadlines – I would be a pro- University Student now. Before I began freelancing I struggled with online courses, let alone being my own boss!

“It’s very important to take risks. I think that research is very important, but in the end you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless.” – Anna Wintour

Taking risks has been huge for me over the past year. Going from a 9-5 job to contracting within the span of a couple weeks was both exhilarating and scary- lets just say I have had more than one stressed out sleepless night. Beginning my blog was also a huge risk that I took. Putting yourself and your skills out there is tough and has been something that I really struggled with at first, and I still do occasionally. However, through time, experience and having an incredible support system behind me, I have developed the confidence to feel good about putting my work and who I am out there for the world to see!

Give them what they never knew they wanted! – Diana Vreeland

My version of success does not mean making a lot of money – although it would be nice in order to sustain my shopping habits and severe travel bug. I value quality and hard work. It doesn’t matter how many people know your name, if you don’t produce something that makes people stop and go WOW, then you haven’t arrived yet. I decided a long time ago I want to be known for the quality of my work, not how many events I can attend. It’s so easy to get caught up with social media, perusing people’s Instagram’s and comparing yourself to others, but something I have learned is that you can’t look at someone’s success and compare it to your own, especially if you are just starting out.

Social media, friend or foe?

We are millennials, so therefore it’s a natural habit to obsess over followers, likes and posting the right things to give our life a glazed over look that is not true to who we are. The social media marketer in me fights me on this, but regardless I believe that whether you are working for a company or on your personal brand, authenticity is most important. Why live in a world that is completely fake when you can be out exploring and experiencing everything first hand, and thus sharing these amazing adventures with your following. My social media is me, and what I post is who I am. If you follow me you’ll get the sincere pleasure of seeing the good, bad and the ugly – enjoy!

thumb_IMG_4716_1024Personal Style 

“Create your own style. Let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Anna Wintour

Fashion is something I have loved since I was 12 years old – before that I just wore overalls! If the past year has taught me nothing, it has taught me to be even more confident within my own personal style and embrace my love for eclectic pieces and to push the boundaries. Through my research and getting the opportunity to attend various fashion events since starting this blog, I have molded my style into something that is much more true to myself. If I am going to talk about the style to others, I must have an identifiable one of my own! My hemlines continue to get longer and my necklines higher. I have spent more time this year playing around with different prints, color blocking and bold accessories, while adding some sporty, boxier and more edgy pieces to my wardrobe. The one rule I have when it comes to my style is to always wear something that allows you to be comfortable in your own skin. Don’t wear something because it’s “in,” wear it because it makes you feel like a better version of yourself. As Bill Cunningham said, “If you like it, wear it!”

Relationships 

I have learned a TON about myself over the past year and I have done that through learning about others. I have learned to cherish the relationships that are already in my life and to take the time to nourish them and allow them to grow. Sometimes this means growing apart and sometimes this means growing closer. I have dated, networked and introduced myself to some extraordinary people over the past year and through every interaction I have learned or experienced something new that has given me years worth of great stories and valuable memories.

Be in love with your life!

Without fun, life doesn’t have substance. Spending time laughing, gathering moments and being truly happy is most important. I always have some sort of photographic device on me to capture moments as they are happening. I honestly think the older I get the more fun I have!

Life is about moments – don’t wait for them, create them. 

However, when it comes to having fun something I have learned one too many times is that I am no longer 18, therefore I can’t party like I am and frankly I don’t want to. It takes less to feel worse the next day and unfortunately I have yet to find a cure or remedy for that. Maybe I will have that for next year’s blog post!

Things I am still working on: 

  • My work life balance
  • Becoming a morning person – I am attempting at least!
  • Creating a career I love while also being monetarily secure
  • Always finding something to laugh about – even on Tuesdays
  • Juggling a million things at once
  • Letting the little things go and not being such a perfectionist
  • Continuing to nurture my relationships and make room for quality time spent with family and friends
  • Being a leader, rather than a boss

What’s next? 

Life the life that people write novels about! 

Some very exciting things! I still don’t know what my entire future looks like, let alone a 5-year plan, but I have a rough idea on how I want it to go. Frankly, I am just along for the ride!

  • Traveling to Europe for just over a month – I am beyond excited for this adventure! The ideas, inspirations and the stories I plan on creating and bringing back with me are going to be amazing I just know it.
  • I plan on enhancing my blog and molding it even more to who I am and what I envision it to be.
  • An entrepreneurial venture – STAY TUNED!
  • Then who no’s- but I can tell you this it won’t be boring!

Cheers to a new year full of fresh starts, new experiences, memorable adventures, grand opportunities, new friendships and growing into the woman I am meant to be. I am extremely excited to see where life leads me next!

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Work hard, stay humble and be kind!

xoxo Kristy

Photo Credit: Jenna Cavanagh

Outfit 1: 

Shorts: Club Monaco

Shirt: Oak and Fort

Shoes: Steve Madden 

Necklace: Coutukitsch

Outfit 2: 

Dress: Aritzia

Necklace: Coutukitsch