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*

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.*

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.

Movie Monday: Moonlight

Via

Joshua and I went to see Moonlight on Friday evening, and my goodness, it was such a good movie.

It's the first film I've ever seen where the movie isn't built around a leading actor, but rather the lead character. The lead character, Chiron, is played by three different people, and somehow each of them manages to capture the essence of the character. They really do make you feel like you're watching the same boy at three different stages in life. They all portrayed Chiron excellently, using the same facial expressions and body language. It feels like you're a part of Chiron's life, watching him grow into a man along the way.

As far as the cinematography goes, this film was beautifully perfect. The lighting and the camera angles help to tell the story with incredible detail. It's not an overly-produced film, meaning there aren't car chases and explosions, or lots of CGI graphics. Even still, you're totally enveloped into the story, feeling every scene and not just watching it. 

The score was so well-composed, evoking the proper emotion with every scene. It built the drama in all the right parts. The lack of sound was impressive as well. There were moments where all you could hear was breathing, or the slamming of a door, or the waves in the ocean. It allowed you to feel the weight of the scene, as if you were there in the movie, but the weight wasn't so heavy as to drag you down.

The story was so beautiful and so poignant. It takes you on a non-traditional journey of self-discovery. It truly was deserving of Best Film at the Oscars. It was so good, that I'd go see it again.

It's a movie that I never thought I would have been interested to see a few years ago. I mean, it's a complicated story, with aspects of the black community, poverty, drugs, and the LGBT community. But I am so glad that we went to see it. All things considered, it is one of the best, most artistic and creative films I've ever seen, and I have seen a lot of movies in my life.

If you haven't seen it, please make plans to go see it before it leaves the theaters. You won't be sorry.

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Bits + Pieces

Happy Monday, Pals! 

Here are some bits + pieces (in iPhone pics) from my life over the last couple of weeks. 

Bits + Pieces One - L.J. The Inspired Life

This little guy is trying to learn to crawl! I cannot believe it. It literally still feels like he was just born yesterday, and now he's already trying to sit up and crawl. He is in such a cute phase right now! He's got so much personality and he's so fun to be around. He's already got such a sweet disposition. He loves playing, exploring, and snuggling. I can't believe I've been blessed with such a precious little boy. 

Valentine's Date- L.J. The Inspired Life

Joshua and I went on our Valentine's date the Saturday before Valentine's Day, and we had such a fun time! I haven't gotten dressed up like this in a while, so it was nice to get a little fancy for the evening. My outfit was also 100% affordable. I think everything cost maybe $55. What a steal...

Chicken Pot Pie- L.J. The Inspired Life

I've been working on creating my own scratch recipes for homestyle favorites. Recently, I made my first chicken pot pie, and it was DELICIOUS. I'll be honest, I didn't make the crust from scratch, but I can work on that later. Don't you just love it when you make a recipe for the first time and it turns out exactly how you wanted?

In other news, I'm currently...

Watching: Big Little Lies on HBO. I read the book so naturally, I have to watch the show. And Joshua and I are watching The Crown while we wait for House of Cards, OITNB, and Game of Thrones to return.

Reading: My mom's book! It's a sci-fi novel, without being TOO sci-fi. I don't want to give too much away, but it's about time travel. If you're into sci-fi, or young adult fiction, you should check it out on Amazon! I'm also reading Bossypants by Tina Fey. I love her!

Planning: An anniversary party for my in-laws! This year, they will be celebrating 30 YEARS of marriage. That's amazing, and especially so considering half of their generation has gotten divorced. I don't know about you, but I actually enjoyed wedding planning (for the most part). Party planning is so fun to me, so I'm excited to do this for them.

Wanting: A vacation! We have one planned for later this year, but I could definitely use one now, you feel me?

What have you guys been up to lately? Share!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J. 

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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My Wedding Day: 9.3.15

Since yesterday was Valentine's Day, I wanted to continue the love theme today and share a few photos from my wedding day! It's been almost a year and a half since we got married, so I know I'm a little late, but I never got a chance to share much of my wedding or wedding planning on the blog. But here we are!

Betsey Johnson Shoes & Wedding Rings
The Filter Building-Wedding Reception

I loved our venue! We chose it because it had that industrial, urban feel to it, but it was still classy. The vibe for our wedding was 1920's, with a nod to The Great Gatsby. That's my favorite classic novel and I love the color gold, so it just fit. Plus, Joshua and I both really love Big Band music, so we had to have a wedding that allowed for it.

Wedding Table Centerpieces

The table centerpieces were completely DIY, and every table featured a quote from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Our wedding colors were orange and fuchsia, with pops of gold and white.

Orange & Fuchsia Ombre Wedding Cake
Lace Back Wedding Dress

My wedding dress was one of my favorite things about our wedding! I absolutely loved the back of this dress. My mom, mother-in-law, and maid & matron of honor helped me to pick it out. We all loved it because it has a timeless look about it, like it could fit into almost any decade. It was sparkly without overkill, it had lace but wasn't too lacy. It was the right mix of both sexy and elegant. It was just perfect for me...

Walking down the Aisle

I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle, and I walked to "Turning Page" by Sleeping At Last. That is one of my absolute favorite songs.

Wedding on the Lake
Wedding on the Lake 2

Joshua and I chose to write our own vows, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. But be prepared to cry if you go this route.

First Kiss
After the Vows

The lake backdrop for our ceremony was beautiful, and the weather that day was perfect. We got married in Dallas, Texas, and Texas weather can be pretty finicky, so it was awesome that it cooperated for our day.

Blush & Grey Bridal Party
First Dance

We had our first dance to our song, which is "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz.

A dance party isn't complete without the Wobble! We had an incredible DJ who allowed us to customize our reception experience. He also did the sound and music for our ceremony. He was completely professional and an all around rad guy. If you're planning a wedding in the Dallas area, I highly recommend his company! 

This photo was taken during our last dance. We had everyone clear out of the reception hall and get ready for our send off, and we got to spend some time just the two of us, dancing and talking. Even our DJ left the room after he started the song for us. We danced to "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. 

Sparkler Send Off

Vendors: Photography, Brett Vance// Music, True DJ's of Dallas// Decor, DIY// Wedding Dress, LuLu's Bridal// Wedding Party Attire, Stardust Celebrations// Catering, Celebrations Catering// Wedding Cake, Society Bakery// Groom's Cake, Nestle Tollhouse// Venue, The Filter Building// Flowers, Global Rose

Even though I didn't want to share every single moment from our wedding, I did want to share some of it. I worked hard to plan my big day, and I had friends and family that worked hard to help us pull it off, so I wanted to document it in this space, even if it's just for me. 

I did DIY almost all of the flowers and decor, so if you want a more detailed post about how I did that, let me know!

Thanks for letting me gush about my big day (that was a year and a half ago)!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.