Inspired By Friday Vol. 1

The Inspired Life-Inspired By Friday

I know it's been a hot minute since I've posted regularly! I've been wading through a lot of life change (again), but now I'm ready to hop back in the saddle with regularly scheduled programming.

I decided to start a new series called Inspired By Friday, where I share things that I've found inspiring throughout the week! 

Inspired by Friday Vol. 1

This is my favorite and most inspiring image of the week, by far! It so perfectly captures my little man at this age: always on the move! And I may be a little biased, but is he not the most adorable little person EVER?! I can't believe how much he's changing and growing every day. He's constantly displaying new skills and milestones, and though it makes me SO happy, I can't help but miss my tiny, precious little baby. He's much more toddler now than he is a baby and he's certainly keeping me on my toes!

This vintage perfume bottle is beautiful! I've always loved perfume bottles, almost more than I love the actual perfume.

This podcast by Young House Love on sharing your kids on the internet. I've been following John and Sherry of YHL for years, and I love their podcast. This episode was extremely helpful to me because I think all the time about how much I want to share my son on the internet. We have to remember that, even if we choose to share our lives on social media, our children may not be old enough to choose that for themselves, and if they are, they may not want to share their lives anyway. Just something to consider!

This video about the new Dose of Colors DesixKaty Collection. I feel like I NEED everything in the collection (minus the "nude" lip colors for obvious reasons). 

This interesting article from The New Yorker about time-travelling with words. When I get some free time, I'm going to have to go to this section myself and learn some new (or old) words!

This diffuser is so cute! If you've seen this post or this post, then you know of my love for essential oils. I have been on the hunt for less expensive, high quality diffusers lately, as the Young Living ones are pretty pricey. This one is so chic looking, but appears to be high quality.

Cheers to the Freakin' Weekend,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

I'm a Liability...

Do you ever listen to a song and relate to it so much that it makes you cry? Makes you feel so much yourself that you almost can't handle it?

I feel that way about one of Lorde's new songs, Liability. Musically, it's a simple song, with the same chords played repeatedly, but lyrically, it is magic for my soul. However, the fact that I can relate to it is both a blessing and a curse because of the content of the song. On one hand, I think to myself "I don't feel this way anymore. I've grown past this." But on the other hand, it feels as real as if I'd written the words with her.

So I guess I’ll go home
Into the arms of the girl that I love,
The only love I haven’t screwed up.
She’s so hard to please but she’s a forest fire...
— Liability by Lorde

Sometimes, I feel like I'm the only person who gets me, like I'm the only one who can handle all the mess I have going on. I find interpersonal relationships incredibly difficult (who doesn't?), but I understand my relationship with myself. I know what to do to take care of me. It's taking care of others, or maintaining my half of a relationship (any relationship) that's the real test. 

Many times, it feels like I'm a failure at every kind of relationship you can have. Daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend...
There are days when I don't feel l'm good at a single one of those roles.

They say, ‘You’re a little much for me
You’re a liability
You’re a little much for me’
So they pull back, make other plans
I understand, I’m a liability...
I’m a little much for everyone
— Liability by Lorde

It's funny how we can simultaneously feel like too much and not nearly enough. I feel like women struggle with this more than men, unless men do and they just don't talk about it. But often, I feel like I am too much for everyone I know, and they quit because I'm not worth it, or they secretly want to quit but they don't want to hurt me. 

At the same time, I feel like I'm never enough. I don't measure up. I can't do anything right. I'm a complete failure. I mean, this is the rhetoric that's on replay inside my mind at times. 

I come out feeling like, either way you slice it, I'm not worth the risk or the struggle. I'm a liability.

My wonderful husband tells me all the time that I'm "worth it," and I so appreciate him for that. But sometimes, I just can't shake the voice that says "Don't let them see everything! Cover up the messy stuff. Don't let them know you're struggling. Slap on a smile and keep it together!"

That voice is the same one that tells me I'm both too much and not enough. 

The hardest part is that, sometimes, I agree with it...

-LesLeigh J.

Cayson's "Turning One Tour" Birthday Party

So, I know it's been about a month since Cayson's birthday party, but I recently got the pictures back and I had to share some! We had a rockstar theme since my son is obsessed with all things music and loves head-banging. I'm convinced he's going to be a rock star when he grows up, which I'm not sure I'm completely stoked about, but I guess we'll have to wait and see!

Cayson's party invitations

Cayson's party invitations

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

The colors for his party were turquoise and orange, and I continued those colors for all of the decor. The cake and the cookies were made by me. Find the cake recipe here, and the cookie and royal icing recipes here and here.

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party
The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

I have loved Jones Soda since I was a teenager, and since you can have the labels personalized, I decided that would be a perfect addition to the party. The bottles also makes an awesome keepsake!

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

I did my best, during his first year, to capture a monthly photo, but be prepared, Mamas, it gets harder the more they're able to move around.

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party
The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

I also felt like my multicolored hair made a rockin' addition to the party ;-)

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party
The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

At first, he wasn't sure about the cake, and it took some encouragement to get him to try it. Curiosity won out in the end, though!

The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour
The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party
The Inspired Life-Cayson's Turning One Tour Party

Overall, it was a fun little party, and I still can't believe my little boy is one already! 

The party wasn't as elaborate as I've seen for some one year old's, but I'd rather the parties get more elaborate as he gets older. That way, the more work I put into it, the older he is and therefore more likely to remember it.

How did you celebrate your kiddo's first birthday? Let me know!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*All photos were taken by J. Nguyen Photography. A big thank you to one of my best friends for snapping these amazing pictures!*

How to Celebrate the 4th of July When You're Not Proud to Be an American

Fourth of July

Before I dive into this post, I want to remind anyone reading of my comment policy. I always welcome constructive criticism, but please be kind.

I haven't felt much like celebrating America for a little over a year now. With all the things that have been happening in this country, it's made it difficult for me to feel proud to be an American. That's something that's hard to explain to some people because American pride is so ingrained in us from an early age. 

If you're like me and are a part of one of the marginalized people groups in this country, it can often feel like America isn't even home. But, this is where I was born, and it is my home, and instead feeling saddened all the time at the state of our country, I want to take some time to share how you can celebrate, even if you don't necessarily feel like there's much to be celebrated.

1. Be Thankful for Service Men and Women

I have many family members, friends, and former mentors who have served or currently are serving in the military, and I am so incredibly thankful to and for them. Serving in the military is a sacrifice, whether you die in action or not. Service men and women give up time with their own families and loved ones to protect our freedoms, so we can safely spend time with our loved ones, and I am so grateful to them for that sacrifice and bravery. So I will be thinking of all Service Men and Women on Tuesday

2. Be Grateful for the Freedoms We Have in America

I may not always be proud to be an American, but I'm grateful that I'm free to express that. I'm grateful that I have to freedom to say that I'm dissatisfied with, or even grieved at the state of my country. I'm grateful that I get to worship Jesus Christ freely and openly, and that it's not a crime. There are many countries in the world where certain religions are outlawed, and where questioning/criticizing the government could mean jail time or death. So I'm thankful for the rights and freedoms that I have as an American citizen.

3. Be Mindful of the Work Still to be Done

There is still a lot of work to be done in America so that everyone can truly feel safe here. The rights of many law-abiding citizens are still being threatened, and that's not okay. So much reform is needed, and there is a lot that's wrong. But instead of being weighed down by all that's bad and wrong, I've decided to remember what's right and to work towards what's right every day. Progress is slow, but it will happen.

4. Be Hopeful for the Next Generation

There is always, always, ALWAYS hope that the next generation will do better than the previous one. No generation ever has or ever will get life completely right because mankind is not perfect. No matter what religion, spirituality, or philosophy you subscribe to, I think we can all agree that no one is perfect. But we can always have hope that the next generation will learn from our mistakes, learn what worked and what didn't, and that they'll strive to be better than the ones that came before them. It's like hoping your kids will be better off and happier than you were. I hope that the generation after mine is incredible and that they do amazing things, not just in America, but all over the world.

I hope this has been helpful or inspiring to someone out there. Please know that I am in no way saying that America is the worst country out there. No country gets it perfect because, again, humanity is not perfect. But I just wanted to say that, even with so many terrible things happening in the world, there is always something to be positive about and something good to hope for.

Have a Blessed Fourth of July!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Wonder Woman and the Strength in Femininity

Via

My husband and I went to see Wonder Woman on Friday, and it was amazing. I had a Studio Movie Grill gift card, and we'd been wanting to spend some time together, so it worked out perfectly. 

There were so many things to appreciate about the film. Of course, it was fantastic that for the first 20 minutes (at least) of the movie, there were nothing but women on screen. The movie was directed by a woman, the amazing Patty Jenkins, and the entire film is dripping with female empowerment.

I loved that they didn't over-sexualize Diana. Her outfit was armor and not just glorified spandex. Of course, she was beautiful, but she wasn't overly made up. You could tell that she had on blush and eyeliner, but the rest of the movie makeup magic was very understated. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Gal Gadot is gorgeous anyway. And speaking of Gal, I very much appreciated that she's Israeli. A couple of years ago, when whispers of a Wonder Woman film were first circulating, I for sure thought that they would cast a well-known white actress as the lead. I'm glad that they cast a lesser-known Middle Eastern woman instead. And Gal was incredible, by the way!

I also appreciated that there were Amazons of multiple races. Some were black, some were white, some could have been hispanic. They were of varying ages, too, and every single one of them were beautiful. None of them were wearing much makeup, which is realistic because they're warriors. And it's even more cool that they cast professional female athletes as some of the Amazons!

Via

There are spoilers from this point forward, so if you haven't seen the film yet and you still want to, stop reading now.

As for the story, I like that it wasn't necessarily centered around a man. Steve (played by Chris Pine) appears in Diana's life and is sort of the gateway to her destiny, but the story isn't really about their love. It's about Diana learning who she is and becoming that person. Everything she believes and knows to be true is challenged, and she has to decide what she's going to stand for, and what she'll actively stand against.

At the beginning of the movie, which has modern-day Diana talking about how she "used" to want to save the world, you think that she's given up hope for humanity. But at the end of the movie, you find out that it's because of her hope in humanity that she fights for justice and truth.

The only thing that I didn't like was that Steve sacrificed himself and died. I guess I understand why they did that, though. I mean, Diana is a demigoddess and apparently doesn't age, and Steve is mortal, so what kind of life could they realistically have together? But it did almost seem like they had to give the leading man his hero moment too, which may have been to appease male movie-goers. For comparison, you don't really see the female love interest in most male-centric superhero movies doing anything that heroic. They're mostly just damsels in distress. 

Overall, the movie was fantastic! It left me feeling like I'm capable of anything, and that my femininity isn't something to suppress or overcome in order to be successful or to do great things. The world needs femininity just as much as it needs masculinity. It needs brave, strong women, just as much as it needs brave, strong men. And bravery and strength aren't exclusive to men. Anyone and everyone can have courage and do the right thing when given the chance. 

Have you seen Wonder Woman? If so, what did you think? Let me know your thoughts!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Cayson's Camping Adventure Nursery Tour

I rarely ever do Saturday posts, but since today's post is picture heavy, I thought it would be good for the weekend.

We moved shortly after I finished Cayson's nursery, but I wanted to share the space where he lived for most of his life thus far. Not to mention, I worked really hard on it, so I deserve to show it off.

Camping Adventure Nursery 1
Camping Adventure Nursery 2

I hand painted the changing table, and my husband and I both painted the dresser. The dresser was mine from childhood, and the changing table is a vintage Jenny Lind from when my husband was born. Can it be considered vintage if it's only from the 90's?

Camping Adventure Nursery 3
Camping Adventure Nursery 4

That's the first ultrasound we ever had with Cayson, at around eight weeks pregnant. It feels like it was so long ago and just yesterday, all at the same time. In the middle is the sound machine, which is great when you start crib training your little one. 

Camping Adventure Nursery 5
Camping Adventure Nursery 6
Camping Adventure Nursery 7

The decal above the crib is our Bible verse for Cayson, since his name means 'brave'. It's also cool that it comes from the book of Joshua, which is my husband's name (if you didn't know that already lol).

I wanted a nursery where the theme was evident, but not over-the-top or too babyish, and I really wanted a space that he could grow into. I really like how it turned out, and I can't wait to recreate it, with even more personal touches, once we're settled. 

As for where everything came from:

Crib- Amazon (though we purchased ours from Target)
Decal- Wild Eyes Signs
Teepee Print, Bear Print & Teepee Shelf- Hobby Lobby
Bookshelves- Ikea (hand painted by me)
Glider & Ottoman- Amazon
Sound Machine- Amazon
Red Lantern- Amazon
Crib Sheet  & Changing Pad Cover- Amazon
National Parks Map Print- Belle Paper Market
Texas Camper Print- Inviting Moments

The items not linked or mentioned specifically were gifts from family. For more information on how I picked a theme, check this post

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*