My Cartier Love...And What it Means to Me

"This, is the beginning of loving yourself.
Welcome home."

Why, hello there old friend. It's been awhile. Almost three years to be exact.
And what a breath of fresh air it is to be back.

I didn't intend to take such an extended break from here, but sometimes life throws you an unexpected curveball and you just have to take the time for yourself - to heal, to grow, to go on a journey, and to truly find yourself. I don't think I realized how much my mind and my soul needed this period of respite so I could re-discover who I am, what I love, and what sparks joy. And finally, finally, three years later, I feel ready to come back and start doing this thing again that I loved for so long. 

During my time off I put some deep thought into Refined Couture. This blog has grown with me over the years and while I love what it used to be, I also know that it's time to take it in a slightly new direction. While personal style will always be a core part of the Refined Couture DNA, I think it's time to focus in on the topics I truly spend so much of my free time collecting, using and researching. So going forward, this blog will have a hard focus on luxury and skincare, a soft focus on beauty and fashion, and just a sprinkling of lifestyle and travel as we go. And for everything in between, there will always be Instagram if you want just a little extra dose of life lately. With that being said, let's jump into the inaugural post in this new decade of Refined Couture: my Cartier Love bracelet...and what it means to me.

**If you came here only for the review of the Cartier bracelet, scroll down to the second to last photo for all my thoughts...**

My Cartier Love is a rather new addition to my collection - it was a 28th birthday gift from me, to me. To be quite honest, I never thought I would own this bracelet let alone purchase it for myself. I've always liked the bracelet, but I used to be of the thought that if I ever owned it, it would be as a gift from my significant other. Nowadays I chuckle at that idea, because it truly speaks volumes to the person I used to be versus the person I've grown into. 

I used to be the kind of girl who had a timeline and a plan for her life. I {thought} I knew the kind of guy I wanted to be with, what age I wanted to get married, when I wanted to have kids, and what I wanted to do after having kids (translation: quit my job and be a stay at home mom). So I found that for myself - I spent years with a guy who checked all of the boxes that I had drawn for myself at a young age, an age before I really knew who I was or what I wanted. We were together for many years, until we weren't. In lieu of details, it wasn't until the relationship ended that I realized how much of myself I had lost during our time together. Yes, in those years I had undoubtedly learned how to love, but I'd forgotten along the way that loving someone else doesn't mean you need to forget how to love yourself.

I think our early adult years are about becoming, but without realizing, I had let someone else influence my becoming. At 18, I was barely an adult - I had just begun to meet myself. But it was also the age where I committed myself to this guy and stuck through this relationship even as I slowly realized that the future I had originally pictured for myself was no longer the future that I wanted. By 23, I had seen glimmers of the person I wanted to be but I didn't know how to walk away from this person I'd spent so many years growing my life with. If you've been in similar shoes, you'll know how hard it is to walk away from love when that love feels comfortable. 

It really wasn't until after we broke up that I was able to see how dependent and small that relationship had made me feel. Inherently, I am not a "take the backseat" kind of person. I'm a dreamer, I'm competitive, and I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I'm creative but also a perfectionist; I'm strong-willed, I hate failure and I can be stubborn to boot. But somehow along the way, I had compromised so many parts of myself because I thought to love was to sacrifice, so I compromised and compromised until I didn't even recognize myself anymore. I felt like I gave up my chance of growing as an individual - I didn't try the things I wanted to try or go to the places I wanted to go, or even become friends with the people I wanted to be friends with. I let another person make me feel guilt for wanting to feel free. 

So that's what I've spent these last three years doing...making up for all the lost years of loving myself. Yes, in the beginning there were a lot of sad days and a lot of tears, but there was also so much love and support from the people who anchor me, and for that I will be eternally grateful. It has been three years of joy and three years of living, and for the first time in ages I felt like I could be myself and just breathe. These were the three years of my 20s that I would never trade because they were the years where I finally met me. They were my years of saying yes to all the things I would've previously said no to, the years of embracing the unknown and just rolling with the punches, the years where I spent my time only doing the things I love and the things that bring me happiness. I look back on these years and it immediately makes me want to both laugh and cry because simply put, I don't think I've ever had this much fun. All I had to do first was weather the storm.

 In these last three years I found my self-worth and my value. I became my own biggest advocate and actually started dreaming about all the things I wanted to accomplish. And that's what this bracelet means to me. It's my love letter to myself - to the girl I lost along the way sometime after 18 and finally fully found again at 28...gosh how I've missed you. Don't you ever forget who you are or the things and the people that make your face light up. Never settle for anything less than feeling utterly cherished for being just the way you are. Don't apologize for being passionate or having opinions or working hard to be successful. Never, ever give up your daydreams for another person. And most importantly? Never let a man tell you what kind of love you deserve, because you and you alone are enough.

And for those of you who came here strictly for the review...
Let's just jump straight into it. This Cartier Love Bracelet currently retails for $6,300 + tax. It is the plain one with no diamonds or other stones. Is it a hefty price tag? One hundred percent. Do I recommend it? Also one hundred percent. I honestly did not expect myself to love this bracelet as much as I do, but I think it is one of my most loved, if not my most loved item (yes, even more than my Chanel's). If you made it through my story above, then I think you'll understand that for me a huge part of my love for this bracelet comes from what it means to me. But that aside, it is truly a beautiful piece of jewelry. I thought it would bother me to have it constantly on my wrist, especially at night since I'm a side sleeper but truth be told it hasn't bothered me a bit since the day I put it on. I wear it to shower, sleep, workout, work, etc. Yes, it is going to get scratched but personally that (surprisingly) doesn't bother me. I'm neurotic about scratching my handbags, but oddly with this bracelet I think the scratches add to its character and add to its story. I want it to look well-loved the day I pass this on to my children. 

I recommend going to a Cartier store to try this on before you purchase it. I tried it on a couple times before I bought it. The SA's are some of the nicest I've come across in luxury boutiques and they're happy to let you try on multiple styles, sizes, etc. without making you feel pressured to purchase. For reference, I am a size 16 which is equivalent to roughly 6 inches if you were to measure the diameter of your wrist. I did consider buying the thinner version of this bracelet because it's a little over $2,000 less than this one, but at the end of the day I thought this version would age better with me. If you have any other questions leave me a comment down below or shoot me a DM - I'd be happy to help! 

What I'm Wearing:
14k Gold Necklaces - similar here and here

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