Pick Your Battles

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I may be a bit of a slacker here, but I’ve decided that some things just aren’t as important as others when it comes to parenting and that I should focus my efforts on the important things. For instance, Owen is 18 months and wakes 2-3 times a night, usually needing to nurse in order to go back to sleep. In my efforts to remain a somewhat stable, sane being, I have searched and searched for ways to get him to sleep without waking up. After many experiments ranging from soothing sounds to trying to bed-share, we still have a night nurser on our hands. I’m told that I should let him cry himself to sleep. I’m told that I’ve created a bad habit in my child. I’m told that I better cut it out as soon as possible. At first thought, I’m all like, “Yeah! I deserve my sleep! I created him, after all! I can make him do whatever I want him to do! Sleep we will, at all costs!” Pitchforks raised. Torches lit. …and then I think about this battle in the grand scheme of the war.

The war that I want to win is the one that raises the kindest person you’ve ever met, raising the kind of boy who would hug a friend who is crying, raising the kind of man who asks his partner what’s wrong when he notices watering eyes. Call me a slacker, but I’m only going to fight the battles necessary in order to win the war. The sleep battle isn’t one of them. Neither the binky battle, nor the weaning battle. These battles will not help me win the war. And I will not fight them. The battles that I do fight will not involve pitchforks or war cries, they will be led by a loving heart and won by hugs.

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Please do not confuse this with discipline. We aren’t talking about when Owen touches something that he isn’t supposed to or when he is doing something unsafe. We’re talking about things that come naturally to him and things that are appropriate behaviors for a child. I may be a slacker, but I’m not a pushover. The discipline department will also be led by a loving heart, though. Again, because that’s the battle that will win the war.

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Despite our best parenting efforts, our children will grow up with their own personality quirks that we will forever blame on ourselves. I can live with the guilt of raising a child who needs another person to comfort him in order to go to sleep. I can live with the guilt of breastfeeding a child into toddler-hood (and possibly childhood). What I would never be able to accept is if I raised a man who was unkind to others. I want to raise a kind man. …and I will fight every battle necessary to do so, but not a single more.

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P.S. The adorable tees featured in these pictures are from Mama Said Tees, which is run by two amazing mamas with the goal of spreading love and kindness, one t-shirt at a time. They’re fighting the same war as I am. They also happen to be two of the sweetest, most inspiring women I’ve ever had the pleasure of “meeting” on Instagram. I’m honored to own their products and to help spread kindness with them.

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What This Mama Wore: Dressing Up a Tee

Sarah-Grace from Wardrobe Boutique contacted me to join her for Wardrobe Wednesday, where she creates a custom-design monogram tee for a blogger and offers it for $12 for one day only! She was itching to do a state monogram and, of course, Texas was a perfect candidate to introduce the state monograms! I have to be honest and say that I’m not much of a tee kinda girl. I own about 3-4 t-shirts and rarely wear them out of the house, unless I’m walking the dog or running an extremely quick errand. Needless to say, I happily accepted the challenge of dressing up an adorable monogrammed tee!

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When I started brainstorming how I would wear this tee, I immediately thought of throwing a blazer over it or putting a button-down under it! I learned very quickly that I wanted to add some structure and shape to the tee, which is where the blazer won over the button-down. A blazer can define your waist and shoulders when you’re wearing a loose tee, which is essential in dressing it up.

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I didn’t want to completely take away from the laid back aspect of the tee, so I paired it with destroyed boyfriend jeans. Boyfriend jeans and a tee sound extremely casual, but I truly believe in the power of accessories to make an outfit.

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Besides the blazer, I used classic accessories in a bold color to help dress up my monogram tee! My favorite color combination is cobalt blue and hot pink, so, naturally, I threw on some pops of cobalt with a necklace, an arm party, and suede wedges!

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This is definitely my kind of mom uniform! Wearing a tee and boyfriend jeans is undeniably comfortable, but I also felt put together and true to my own style.

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Monogrammed state tee: Wardrobe Boutique

Blazer: Target, similar at The Limited, similar at AliExpress

Gem necklace: AliExpress

Gem bracelet: AliExpress

Boyfriend jeans: Express, similar at Target

Suede wedges: Francesca’s, similar at Deb Shops

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My First Time Highlighting & Contouring

Highlighting and contouring is something that I’ve been interested in for a while, but I’ve been nervous to try it without some guidance. After my lovely Instagram friend, Brooke (@kbstyled), showed us how to highlight and contour, I gave it a try! If you’re looking for directions on highlighting and contouring, please see the pro (Brooke from the guest post)! This post is just meant to share my own results of following her directions and isn’t a how-to.

Makeup is something that I do to look and feel my best, but I’m not the best at it. When I was pregnant, I invested in higher quality makeup products just to help motivate myself to do my makeup each day. I also looked up a few videos and how-tos, so I could keep things interesting. I’m sincerely dedicated to looking and dressing my best, even throughout early motherhood. (More on that here.) Like buying new clothing items, learning new makeup techniques can help motivate you!

My results from following Brooke’s highlighting and contouring tutorial:

I started with a clean, dry, and moisturized face.

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I applied my liquid foundation as normal. Right now, I’m using Mary Kay’s Timewise matte-wear foundation. One of my friends, Jessica, sells Mary Kay and asked me to try some of their products. I’m so glad I did! The matte-wear has been perfect throughout the humid Houston summer, when you melt from taking 2 steps outside. Timewise matte-wear has microspheres that absorb oil and control shine throughout the day, so it stays “fresh” even in our humidity.

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Next, I followed Brooke’s tutorial to apply highlighter and dark foundation/concealer. I used Nars’ Radiant Creamy Concealer to highlight my face. I only use it during the summer, when my skin gets more oily than usual. I have normal skin and it tends to dry my skin out or to look cakey, so I stay away from it during the winter. My absolute favorite concealer to highlight with is Sephora’s Smoothing and Brightening Concealer, because it has build-able coverage and never looks cakey. …it also melts in the summer, because of it’s light-weight formula. I also used Mary Kay’s Highlighting Wand on parts of my face. It gives off a pink tone, so its perfect for cheeks and anyone with yellow tones in their skin. To contour, I used Covergirl’s Invisible concealer. I loved it for contouring, because it has a thin but very pigmented formula. It was really easy to blend, too!

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I then used my blending sponge and flat-top kabuki brush to blend the highlighter and dark concealer.

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I used Urban Decay’s Chill makeup setting spray once I was finished with all of the liquid products, but before I applied any powder products.

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I finished up my skin by using Candlelight highlighting powder by Two Faced and Julep’s Glow pore-minimizing blush.

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Next, I completely finished with brow powder, eyeliner, and mascara. I used L’Oreal’s Voluminous mascara and Mary Kay’s Lash Love Lengthening mascara to both lengthen my lashes and add volume to them.

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The finished result:

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I was so happy to learn how to highlight and contour! I know I’ll continue using darker concealer where my cheek bones should be, since I have such a round face. It will also make my makeup routine a little more interesting for a while! If you try to Brooke’s tutorial, let us know how it turned out! Feel free to share pictures on Instagram and tag us (@beautyandthebinky and @kbstyled)!

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The Liebster Award: For my Nearest & Dearest

I am so honored to be nominated by Janelle at Mommy Lives Clean for the Liebster Award! The Liebster (German for dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, etc.) Award gives bloggers with under 200 followers the opportunity to share more about themselves with the blogging community.  The Liebster Award also introduces you to fellow bloggers and encourages new connections, which I am all about.

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The rules are as follows:

1. Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
2. Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
3. No Tag backs.
4. Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
5. You must tell all the blogs that you have nominated them.

Here are my answers to Janelle’s questions:

1.)  Why did you begin blogging?

I actually started a different blog (affectionately called “Jac Heart” after one of my nicknames) when I was 21. It started as an outlet for some wonderfully-worded rants, but soon turned into a journal of life lessons tat I sincerely wished I could share with other and prevent them from going through the same experiences as me. I transitioned to this blog soon after having my son, but the idea is kind of the same. I want to share knowledge so that others can avoid the negative experiences I’ve had (or at least go into them with more knowledge). Encouraging others is my biggest reason for blogging and social media-ing. (You can do it, mama! Whatever it is; you can do it!)

2.)  What are your favorite blogs to follow?

My absolute favorite fellow mommy blogger is Kate Conner. She is the most real, down-to-earth, and entertaining mama I’ve ever followed. Another favorite blog of mine is Evolutionary Parenting, which is a God-send to my mothering skills. You know that whole knowledge thing I gushed about in question 1? Yeah, she’s got that whole thing down. My newest favorite blog is Moms Without Answers. These 2 mamas are spunky and truthful, with all the right humor included!

3.)  What are you most passionate about?

I am most passionate about loving people well, sharing knowledge, and fighting for changes that need to take place. I know those are some broad ideas, but “leaving the world a better place” just doesn’t have the commitment that I’m into.

4.)  What is a great memory from your past?

A great memory from my past is the day that my sister was born. I was 11 years old, watching the whole birth. I was the first person to hold her, the first person to designate a sacred place in my heart for this brand new, unknown human. Then I promptly handed her back, lost color in my face, and had to go get water. That is our relationship in a nutshell, actually.

5.)  What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is One Day. (Although I have to admit, the book was better.)

6.)  Who is your best friend?

My best friend is Heather, who I met in 4th grade (17 years ago!) and who remains the one person on this planet that is the yin to my yang. We are opposites in every sense of the word, which is the very benefit to our friendship. We have seen elementary school, intermediate school, high school, college, jobs, boyfriends, weddings, and pregnancies together. She was my biggest cheerleader through breastfeeding struggles. She tells me I’m the nicest person she knows and that I always see the good in people. (To be truthful, she doesn’t know that many people. Shhh, I’m still nice.) She sticks up for me without asking any questions and she assumes the best of me. She questions my opinions, fills me with knowledge, and accepts me even when I don’t agree with her. Yeah, she’s my best friend.

7.)  What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?

So far, my favorite place has been Baltimore! My husband and I went there for a conference for my company and we really enjoyed walking around the city, taking in it’s old buildings and northeastern duds.

8.) If you could change one thing about this world, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about this world, it would be the way we raise and educate children. In both parenting and education, there are so many improvements that need to happen in order for our future generation to become a loving and accepting one…and it all starts right here, right now, with how we raise them up.

9.)  What is your favorite post that you have written?  Include a link!

My favorite post that I have written is definitely the post about pumping from my 10 week breastfeeding series. The whole series is really heartfelt, but that post was the biggest motivator for the overall series. I saw mamas struggling, I saw mamas stressing, and I saw mamas resorting to things they didn’t choose because they felt helpless.  I’m really proud of myself trying to reach out and help other mamas. I couldn’t see myself just sitting by and watching others struggle. I’m only one person and I can’t help everyone who has struggles with pumping, but I can definitely reach a good few and I sure as hell mean to try.

10.)  What is your favorite type of food to eat?

My favorite type of food to eat is junky american food, which I know Janelle will cringe at reading! (Interpretation: Chili’s, Friday’s, etc.)

My nominees for the Liebster Award:

Darling Dressed Duo

Myriad Musings

The Little Bits of Us

Mama at Home

Stripes in Bloom

My Tulletorial

Short Broke and Happy

Those Young Twins

The 10 questions for my nominees:

1. What is your favorite topic to read about on other blogs?

2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?

3. What is your go-to staple clothing item?

4. What is the 1, classic clothing item that you think every girl should own?

5. What is your favorite book?

6. If you’re a mama, what is the scariest thing you’ve experienced with your little? If you’re not a mom and hope to be sometime, what do you think will be the scariest part of having a little? If you don’t plan on being a mother, what do you think would be the scariest thing if you found out that you were going to become a mother?

7. What is your favorite item from your childhood?

8. What is your favorite store?

9. Are you personal friends with any other bloggers??

10. When is the last time that you did something for the first time and what was it?

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Motherhood From Every Angle: Jaclyn

A couple months ago, I posted a picture to Instagram that catapulted the idea for this series. It was a typical daily outfit pic, taken in front of a full-length mirror in my son’s playroom. This picture just so happened to showcase the absolute mess that usually resides in this room. I’m not sure how it has been avoided before, but this picture captured every single misplaced toy. In an effort to remain “real”, I posted it anyway. (Let’s be “real” right now, too, I really just didn’t have time to clean the room and also take more pictures. Hey, you do what you have to.) I got a lot of comments about my outfit, but I also got some about the mess! I started thinking about how put together I usually look and I wondered if people assumed that my house was as presentable as I was. (It’s not.)
I know moms who wear yoga pants every day and have a shining kitchen floor. I know moms who have dishes piled so high in the sink that you can’t see out of the kitchen window. And I know moms that look like they just stepped out of a Barbie movie. (Or maybe they are Barbie. Either way.) There are many times that I look around my house and think that it’s just not good enough. It’s not clean enough, it’s not decorated enough, etc etc. I wanted to do something to help moms relate through their strengths and weaknesses, whether it’s the way they dress or their household duties or some other thing that weighs on them. I’ve recruited quite a few moms to share their mommy uniform and their household, so I hope you can relate to one (or more) of them and I hope you can feel just a little bit better about those holes in your yoga pants or that crusted yogurt on your kitchen floor. (Both of which have been real-life situation for me.)
To kick off this series, I’ll begin with my post!
Tell me a little bit about yourself:
Since you’re reading my blog, I assume you probably already know a little about me. I’ll blab about myself, anyway! I’m 26 years old, I have a one-and-a-half-year-old, and I’ve been married for a mere 4 months. I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and I’m a certified teacher. I work at Sylvan Learning Center as a director, which means I’m responsible for…well, everything. I manage the employees, I monitor the students’ learning and progress, I make adjustments to curriculum, I meet with parents, and I work towards the revenue goal for each month. We love to do anything that is outside of our house, whether it’s going to the zoo or just taking a walk. We were catapulted into becoming a family, but it’s just the precise spot that we were supposed to be.
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Describe your mommy uniform:
My mommy uniform is classic, but comfortable. I frequently wear pencil skirts, jeans, button downs, and blazers. These pieces help me maintain a polished look while allowing comfort. They also have accessibility for nursing, which is a must for a breastfeeding mama!
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You won’t find me outside of the house in yoga pants or a t-shirt. Like, ever. I won’t judge if I see you out in your yoga pants, though, sometimes stretchy is necessary. I love this Modern Mama rule from The LB Brand:
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What is your strategy when getting dressed for the day?
I tend to be pretty indecisive, so I try to plan outfits ahead of time. I participate in style challenges on Instagram, which give you a theme for each day of the month. It’s a lot of fun to plan out my outfits when I’m trying to follow a theme and I’ll get to see everyone else’s take on the theme! In general, the Instagram community has amazing outfit inspiration! I usually let Owen play while I change, then I get him breakfast and start doing my makeup and hair. Owen takes after me in that he likes to be in the middle of whatever is going on, so he usually ventures into the bathroom to sit on my feet or pull on my shirt. I have about 4-5 hairspray bottles that have the ability to entertain him for about 8-12 minutes, so I usually break those out in case of emergency! I invested in quality makeup, so getting ready would be more so enjoyable and less of a chore. So far, it has worked out well to motivated me to get ready. I’ve noticed that I keep adding little updates, like a new brush, to help keep it up. I have a rule of thumb that if I say “just” in regards to what I’ll wear or how I’ll do my hair, then I can’t do it. Example: “I’ll just throw my hair in a ponytail.” or “I’ll just wear chambray.” (Both can be stylish, but if I throw “just” in there, then I know I’m being lazy.)
What is your favorite clothing item?
My favorite clothing item is my navy blue, tissue-thin, gingham button down from J. Crew. It is thin enough to wear throughout the hot and humid Houston summer, but always gives a polished look. I love that it matches anything, due to its classic pattern. I also love that it can be casual or polished, worn with jeans or worn with a pencil skirt.
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Describe your cleaning/organizing routine:
My organizing routine is much more of a routine than my cleaning routine, so I’ll start with that one. To keep things organized, I make sure that everything has a place to go and that it’s convenient to put things in their place. For instance, my husband and I always used to throw our keys on the entry bookshelf. Doing so made our bookshelf look cluttered and my son would often find his way to our keys and misplace them. We have a big calendar on the wall above the bookshelf, so we just put a few pushpins in the wall next to the calendar t hang out keys on! Simple, convenient, and it keeps things organized. I also use baskets for a lot of things, like bathroom counter items. I have to be honest and say that I do not have a cleaning routine.When my son naps or goes to sleep, we rush around the house to tidy things. We will actually clean things when we happen to notice that they need it.
What is the one household chore that you wish you were better about?
I wish we were better about vacuuming our carpet. It is so easy to ignore the fact that carpet needs to be cleaned, but having a toddler who is always on the ground should be a good motivator. We also have a dog, so we should be even more aware of how dirty our caret so obviously is. But, we aren’t. In the 6 months that we’ve lived in our apartment, I think we’ve vacuumed twice. I know, we’re gross. Don’t sit on our floor. Who knows what’s down there.
What gives you the most “mommy guilt”?
I get the most mommy guilt from putting minimal effort into my son’s meals. After spending a year and a half (and still going) breastfeeding and pumping in order to make sure Owen got the best nutrition available, you would think that I would put more effort into continuing that nutrition. I’m aware of the protein, fat, and calories he needs and I do well ensuring that he gets it all, but I use convenient ways of doing so. We do a lot of ground turkey, plain tuna, cheese, yogurt, and plain fruits/veggies. I always wish that I spent more time, effort, and creativity on the things that I feed him.
What gives you the most “mommy pride”?
I get the most mommy pride from being present when I’m home with Owen, even though I have other responsibilities and hobbies/commitments. I feel like Owen and I spend a lot of time together, especially since he’s still practically attached to me like a leech any time that we’re home. I maintain a blog, consistently connect with friends, and work full-time while still being present with my son. I know it can be so hard to find a balance between hobbies, friendships, and family life, so I’m proud of myself for doing so.
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I can’t wait to share other mama’s posts with you and help connect mamas all over. Wherever you’re at in motherhood, know that there’s another mama at the same place. Whether you’re at sweatpants central or on clean corner, you’re not alone.
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What This Mama Wore: The Neon Trend

Today, I’m partnering with Saumya from Myriad Musings for Trend Trotting Thursday! Saumya is an incredibly sassy and stylish Indian woman who set herself free from the fences that were forced around her. Now, she’s focusing on maintaining a fun, independent life and blogging all about it! My favorite thing about her blog is that she’s always collaborating with other bloggers to bring her readers a variety of styles! Her personal style is one for the books, too! She’s my go-to for color combinations and ways to brighten an outfit! She’s the perfect person to partner up with for today’s trend:
Trend Trotting Thursday - Neon
I’m a big fan of color and using it to revamp outfits that I’ve already worn. Neon is the perfect accent to spruce up an outfit that you’ve grown tired of. It’s also a great way to spruce up a muted trend, like chambray. With all trends, I try to buy in moderation to avoid overspending on something that I won’t wear for a long time. I usually use accessories as a way to participate in color trends, so I don’t have a closet full of neon shirts when nude becomes the “it” color.
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Color trends come and go…and then come and go again, so accessories make it easy to store a trend until it comes back again. For neon, accessories make it more wearable in general. Neon can become overwhelming, so I try to wear it in moderation. I’m not saying that you have to wear a boring outfit to wear neon. Oh no, my friend. I like to use neon with patterns, too! Leopard, even. From chambray to leopard, neon is the perfect pop of color!
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Neon tassel necklace: Kendra Scott
Neon dot/jewel bracelet: AliExpress
Neon clutch/wallet: C. Wonder, similar at Tory Burch, similar on Etsy

Black v-neck: Forever 21

Leopard shorts: AliExpress
Studded sandals: Wal-Mart, similar from Rebecca Minkoff at Jildor Shoes, similar from Vince Camuto at Shoes.com
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Neon tassel necklace: Kendra Scott
Neon dot/jewel bracelet: AliExpress
Neon clutch/wallet: C. Wonder, similar at Tory Burch, similar on Etsy

Chambray shirt: H&M

Dark skinny jeans: Express
Gold wedges: Target, similar at Michael Kors, similar from Jessica Simpson at Macy’s
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P.S. Make sure you check out Saumya’s neon outfit (and more!) on Myriad Musings for Trend Trotting Thursday, feel free to comment with a link to your neon looks, and use Saumya’s button on your own neon post!
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Shop Feature and Giveaway: Robjant Couture Handmade Jewelry

As much as I love a good statement necklace, I’ve always been a fan of dainty jewelry. There’s something about small details, for me, that really tops off an outfit. Accessories have become a great way for me to complete an outfit and feel “put together”, but I’ve also learned to be careful not to “over-accessorize”. Robjant Couture is my go-to for dainty handmade jewelry that adds the perfect touch to an outfit without going over the top. This handmade feather necklace was the perfect addition to my denim vest. I wanted to keep this look casual without skipping on accessories. I loved that such a dainty piece could add so much to an outfit!

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I was especially blown away by the details on the pieces from Robjant Couture. Dainty jewelry can often look bland or simple, but these items had enough detail to give a statement of their own! This feather necklace has curves, cutouts, and even shadows to give a more realistic appearance. The details are really noticeable when it catches the light.

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Even the tiniest of handmade jewelry at Robjant Couture has amazing detail. These UH-DOR-ABLE pinecone earrings are the perfect example. They’re lightweight and comfortable for all day wear, but there isn’t a single detail sacrificed!

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She has some adorable feminine pieces, like this handmade bracelet and matching handmade necklace.

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She also has some boho pieces, like this daisy ring and matching daisy earrings.

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When it comes to dainty, unique, handmade pieces, Robjant Couture has something for everyone to fall in love with. Not only will you fall in love, but you can also win your own set of daisy jewelry by entering our giveaway on Instagram!

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Simply follow both of us on Instagram (@beautyandthebinky and @robjantcouture), re-post our giveaway picture, and use the hashtag “#flowerpowergiveaway” on the picture. You can get bonus entries by clicking “follow” on my blog and by clicking “favorite” on Robjant Couture’s Etsy shop! (You must comment on the original giveaway picture in order for your extra entries to count.) Good luck to everyone who enters!

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