Blogs I'm Currently Reading

LesLeigh J. - Top 10 Blogs

Today, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite blogs to read. Not a lot of bloggers share the blogs that they like to read and I don't know why. No shade, but maybe it's because they don't want to push anyone's content but their own? I don't really know.

Maybe I'm breaking all kinds of unwritten blogger rules right now, but these are blogs that I find helpful and/or inspiring in some sort of way. And who knows? If you like my blog, then maybe you'll like these too!

Fashion/Style:

1. Cara Loren- I have been reading Cara's blog for probably five years now. She was one of the first bloggers I cam across when I realized that blogging "professionally" was actually a thing. I love her style because it's realistic. She doesn't always push super high-end (expensive) fashion, and I appreciate that. Plus, girl's got mad styling skills! Check her out!

2. Poor Little It Girl- Cathy is awesome! Most of the outfits she pushes are actually affordable, and I LOVE that almost all of her posts are titled with song lyrics. Gotta love her appreciation for good music! She's also petite, so if you're looking for where to find petite clothing (it's not always easy), she's a great resource for that. Check her out!

Motherhood:

1. Lynzy & Co.- I've only been reading Lynzy's blog for a little over a year now. Until I became pregnant, and I didn't really have much reason to peruse mommy-content-heavy blogs. But now that I have my son, I enjoy reading blogs by other moms. Lynzy's content is incredibly helpful; I've bookmarked quite a few of her posts. Check her out, especially if you're a new mom!

2. Small Fry- This is one of the few blogs mom/kid blogs I followed before I was married or pregnant. I didn't read them religiously, but now I love their content. These ladies are always sharing helpful new products for babies and kids, and I enjoy seeing their "picks" for moms too. Check them out!

Food:

1. 100 Days of Real Food- I didn't get into Lisa's blog until my mother in law bought the book and told me about it. I love how easy her recipes are, and that they're kid-friendly. She doesn't push obsessively-healthy recipes. Just real, healthy, delicious food. She's also got another new cookbook out. Check out the first one here, and the second one here

2. Tutti Dolci- Laura is an AMAZING resource for yummy sweets and desserts. I have bookmarked quite a few of her recipes, and I even follow her on Instagram! Cookies, cakes, breads...you name it, she's got a great recipe for it. Check her out!

Creativity:

1. A Beautiful Mess- No surprise here, amiright? I'm pretty sure A Beautiful Mess was the first "professional" blog I ever stumbled onto. Back then, it was run primarily by Elsie, but in the years since, it's now run by both Elsie and her sister, Emma. They also have a host of contributors, all of whom push out great content. If you're looking for DIY beauty tips, recipes, or a great craft project, look no further than A Beautiful Mess!

2. Lovely Indeed- I've got to be honest, I'm not really big into crafting. At least, not on the daily. I love to craft for special events and occasions, though. Chelsea is a great resource for all things creative, whether it's party decor or simple DIY home projects. She makes the processes easy to understand and follow, and I love the way things turn out on her blog. Check her out!

Wellness:

1. Dr. Axe- As I mentioned briefly in my post about Algae Oil, I follow Dr. Axe. He's an actual M.D. who talks about wellness from a holistic approach, which is rare for the medical community. I love  that he gives the pros and cons to everything he posts about, and that he tells you exactly how something will impact your health in the short and long term. Look him up, you won't be sorry!

2. The Skinny Confidential- I've mentioned Lauryn quite a few times, and for good reason. I love her content! She's always trying some new, relatively-obscure beauty treatment or wellness supplement. She always shares helpful products and tips for a healthier lifestyle. Plus, you can a little bit of everything reading her blog. Check her out, if you haven't already!

Do you read any of these blogs? If so, which ones? And do you read any awesome blogs that I didn't mention? If so, please share!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J. 

*This post contains affiliate links*

What's the Deal with Algae Oil?

The Inspired Life-Cooking with Algae Oil

Here's the deal, folks. We all need fat. Yes, you read that right. We ALL. NEED. FAT. So all of these anti-fat diet fads are totally unhealthy, because the human body needs fat to sustain itself. 

Now, the deal is, we need good fat to sustain ourselves. There is a difference between good fat and bad fat, just like there's a difference in cooking your food in a healthy way and cooking it in an unhealthy way.

That brings me to our topic of discussion today: Algae Oil.

I first heard about it a few weeks ago from my mom, and I was intrigued. I mean, I thought EVOO and Coconut oil were as good as it got, but apparently I was wrong. So, like the naturally inquisitive person that I am, I quickly researched it, bought some, tried it out, and here we are today.

The Inspired Life-Algae Oil

When I started researching this magical fatty fluid, I started to feel like I was a little late to the game. Time Magazine wrote a post on it. One of my favorite health resources, Dr. Axe, wrote a post about it. But when it comes to good health, we can never share something too much, right?

At this point, if you're late to the game like me, I'm sure you're wondering...

What are the benefits of Algae Oil?

1. Algae Oil has the highest level of monosaturated fat (the good fat) of any cooking oil. In fact, just 1 tablespoon of AO gives the same about of good fat as 1 whole avocado!

2. Algae Oil has only 4% saturated fat (the bad fat) compared to Olive Oil's 14% and Coconut Oil's 87% (yowza).

3. Because of it's monosaturated fat content, AO helps to keep your heart healthy, it helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure level, and it helps to decrease blood clot production. It also helps reduce inflammation. 

4. Algae Oil is good for pregnant women. It has a high DHA (omega-3) content, so it's great for brain development. Eat up, mama's!

5. Because of the DHA (omega-3) content, it's good for eye health and brain health in adults. It helps to improve memory, and could be good for people suffering from Alzheimer's. 

6. It's a great alternative to fish oil, especially for vegetarians and vegans. 

When it comes to cooking...

Algae Oil has the highest smoke point out of the healthy cooking oils, and you can fry with it. It has a neutral flavor (kind of like vegetable oil), so it won't impact the flavor of what you're cooking or baking. I made a stir fry with it on Monday night, and it turned out great! 

Will I still use EVOO and Coconut Oil for cooking and baking? Absolutely! Sometimes, I prefer the flavor of olive oil in my food, especially when preparing anything Italian. And coconut oil can be great to replace vegetable oil in baking. 

That being said, I still give Algae Oil an A+ rating, and it has become a permanent member of my kitchen. I come from a family with a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's, so I need all the help I can get.

Will you try out Algae Oil? If so, let me know how it goes and what you think of it!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links*

Etsy Home Decor Finds

I hope you guys had an awesome weekend! 

I got to spend most of last week with family, which was really refreshing. My son is now in full crawling mode, so I'm having to chase him around every time he's not contained by a walker or playpen. Tips on keeping your kids in a limited space when you're unable to use baby gates?

Anyway. Today, I wanted to share my top finds for home decor on Etsy! If you're unfamiliar with Etsy, then you're missing out. It's an online marketplace where people and businesses can list their products for sale. It can be like thrifting or antiquing online; you never know what you're going to find, but there can be some real hidden gems!

For Your Walls

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I love both of these light fixtures! If you've seen my wishlist, then you know I'm a sucker for industrial decor, and I just love the character these lights would add to a space. The art prints are lovely, and I may just put them up in our office. And who doesn't love a good looking wooden sign?

Furniture

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All of my furniture picks are pretty rustic/industrial, which is what I would like for my home. If that's not your style, just search for the style and vibe you're looking for (i.e. modern, distressed, traditional) and I'm sure there's a shop that makes it or sells it!

Home Accessories 

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My favorite items in this section are the Mason Jar Makeup Holder, and the Marble Coasters. All I have to say is, there are some pretty creative and crafty people on Etsy. 

For the Kids

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If you're looking to decorate a nursery, throw a baby shower, or buy a unique gift for a niece or nephew, Etsy is the place to look! A Land of Nod or Pottery Barn Kids teepee will run you upwards of $200, but the teepee I've linked is only $60. My favorite item, though, is the rain cloud mobile. How cute!

I did a ton of browsing on Etsy when I was planning my wedding, and some of the decor in my son's nursery is from a few of my favorite Etsy shops. I love supporting the handmade market anytime I can, because people really do put their heart into these items. 

Maybe I'll do a round up of jewelry next. Or cosmetics? Let me know what you'd like to see!

Do you shop on Etsy? If so, what are your favorite shops? Please share!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*All photos belong to the corresponding linked shops.*

Read the Ingredients: Propylene Glycol

Happy Thursday, friends!

Today, I'm beginning a new series called Read the Ingredients, where I will research and discuss common ingredients found in health and beauty products, as well as food. Basically, I'll pick an ingredient, let you know what I find out about it, and talk about whether or not it's a health risk.

First up to the plate: Propylene Glycol...

Image of PG via

Image of PG via

Propylene Glycol is a common ingredient found in liquid and cream products. It is technically an antifreeze, but the not the kind of scary antifreeze that comes to mind when someone says...well..."antifreeze."

1. Propylene Glycol is an antifreeze agent.

However, do not confuse it with its highly toxic cousin, Ethylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is not immediately toxic when you come into contact with it. Ethylene Glycol is used in radiators to help them maintain a certain temperature. Veterinarians often see pets who have been poisoned by ethylene glycol, because it has a sweet taste and pets may drink it if it's spilled on the floor.

2. Propylene Glycol is a byproduct of fossil fuels.

It is known as what's called a "third product." Basically, it begins with propene, which is then converted to propylene oxide, and then water is added, and you get propylene glycol. If sustainability is really important to you, and you want to stear clear of the fossil fuel industry as much as possible, then you may want to skip Propylene Glycol.

3. Propylene Glycol has been classified by the FDA as safe.

The FDA has said that propylene glycol is "generally recognized as safe" for food and other products. The FDA isn't foolproof by any means, and they don't always have everyone's best interests at heart, so I would take their classifications with a grain of salt. But do what's right for you and your family.

4. Propylene Glycol has been given a score of 3 by the EWG.

I personally trust the EWG more than I trust the FDA, and even though 3 is more toxic than 1, it's still considered a "fair" score. The only rub is, there is little to no clinical research done on propylene glycol's safety for humans. Most (if not all) lab tests have been done on monkeys, rats, and other test animals. 

5. Propylene Glycol can be a skin and eye irritant.

It is also used as a penetration enhancer, meaning that if it is, say, in your moisturizer, it is used to make the other ingredients penetrate deeper into the body. This doesn't sound too bad, but if some of the other ingredients are causing your skin to be sensitized, then the propylene glycol is only helping them along.

6. Propylene Glycol could be toxic to Infants.

Our kidneys and liver do the work of ridding our bodies of toxins. Infants' kidneys and livers don't work as well as ours do, so they have a harder time ridding their bodies of toxins. So pregnant ladies, nursing mamas, and mamas in general, be on the lookout for this ingredient in your health and beauty products, as well as the products that come into contact with your baby. 

I'd also note that if you have poor liver or kidney function, you should be aware of potentially harmful products that come into contact with your body. Good apps to have that can help with this are the EWG app and the Think Dirty app. If your products are in their system, they will tell you what the ingredients are and if they're harmful or not.

As always, don't take my word as law. I actually like researching this type of stuff, so I'm happy to share what I find, but always do what works for you. If you happily use products that contain propylene glycol, more power to you. To each his own, as they say!

I hope this post has been helpful, and if it has, feel free to let me know of any ingredient you'd like me to research for future posts!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Interracial Couples are Inspiring

Today, I wanted to talk about something that doesn't get enough attention in mainstream media or film, but is very much a reality for millions of people all over the world.

Let's talk about Interracial Couples. 

According to Pew Research, 12% of newlyweds in the U.S. married someone of a different race in 2013. Also according to Pew Research done in 2015, about 7% of the U.S. population is multiracial. 

I'm sure those numbers have gone up in the last two years, but with numbers like that, why do we still see so few representations of interracial couples and multiracial families in movies and television?

Most Rom-Coms feature both a white male and female lead, or a black male and female lead. Rarely ever do you see leads of different races, unless the male lead is Will Smith. Seriously. When was the last time you went to see a romantic comedy with a male lead who was white, and a female lead who was black? Or Asian? Or Hispanic? 

Obviously, my husband and I are in an interracial relationship. Our son is biracial. And while companies like Target and Ikea are quick to include multiracial people in their TV ads, movies and TV shows are slow to this kind of progress.

That's why I appreciate music artists, such as Adele and Ed Sheeran for diversifying their music videos. 

Has Adele ever dated a black man in real life? The world may never actually know. But the male lead in this music video is black, and while many people may not think much about it, I appreciate it. I like when artists use subtle ways of showing that people of color are worthy of love, too. People of color are beautiful. People of color are funny. We are intelligent, talented, good cooks, good parents. We have relationships too, and not just with other people of color. 

I especially love Ed Sheeran's music video because it features a woman of color. If you ever see black and white interracial relationships represented in film and television, it's usually between a black man and a white woman. Now, it is true that black men are more likely to date and marry outside of their race than black women are, but there are still black women who do. Rarely ever do you see a black woman as the love interest in film. If you do, it's always some kind of forbidden love type of vibe, which pretty lame, if you ask me. 

The main reason for this is because white women are still considered to be the standard of beauty. Don't get me wrong, I know many beautiful white women, and am now related to some by marriage. White women are beautiful, but they should not be the standard that every other race of women is measured against. 

The fact of the matter is, the percentages of interracial relationships and multiracial families are steadily growing, because race shouldn't be an issue when it comes to dating. Everyone has physical qualities they prefer, but to exclude an entire race of people based solely on their skin is so ridiculous to me.

I would like to see my relationship represented in mainstream film and television. I would like for my children to grow up knowing that multiracial families are just as "normal" as any other color of family. 

It all starts with the viewer. Production companies are not going to make films that they don't believe will sell, and they don't believe movies featuring couples of different races will sell, especially if there isn't a big name like Will Smith involved. White viewers usually aren't lining up to see movies (or TV shows) without a predominantly white cast. Why is that?  

Tell me, what are your thoughts? Have you ever dated outside of your race? What do you think about it's place in mainstream media? Let's discuss!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Springtime Fashion Favorites

LesLeigh J. Springtime Favorites

Warmer weather is slowly but surely starting to stick where I live, and I am SO excited about it. I am not at all a cold weather kind of gal. Like, snow is cool for Christmas and all, but after that, give me blue skies and sunshine all day, everyday. 

With the warm weather showing up more often, I'm looking forward to pumping up my wardrobe with a few new tops, dresses, sunnies, and sandals. Plus, a cute handbag never hurt anyone. 

I love off-the-shoulder tops and dresses for Spring. I think they're fun and flirty, and they work well for a date night with your man, or a day out with the fam. You can even switch out some flat sandals for some wedges to take look straight from day to night.

My favorite shoes in this collection are the Jeffrey Campbell Rodillo wedges. He came out with them last year, and I didn't get a chance to get them, but I might this year! He also has a new, similar looking sandal out called the Rayos wedge. They have that same razor-cut design to them, but the pattern is a little different and I am LIVING for it. 

I also love the mint green, floral tee. It's a nice way to be casual and look like you actually tried with your appearance at the same time. It would be great with some distressed shorts and Birks.

Now I'm off to convince my husband that I absolutely NEED $150 sandals. It's life and death, folks.

What are you looking forward to when the warmer weather hits? What's your favorite item in this collection? Let me know!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*