We've loved the McClure Twins ever since we featured them on our blog back in March as a Featured Multiracial Family! The other day I was on YouTube and stumbled across this adorable video of the girls, Ava and Alexis, discovering they look exactly the same. It is the most adorable thing ever! You can follow all of the cuteness that is the McClure Family on their YouTube Channel!
One thing I really love about having Swirl Nation Blog as an outlet, is that is provides me with the chance to promote and support amazing men, women and families! Next month we will be featuring the adorable Seestone-Ramirez family from Provo, UT as a Featured Multiracial Family, but will mom Anna was filling out her profile she shared her business Leo's Letters and I became obsessed! So I wanted to share the cuteness with all of you:)
Leo's Letters (named after Anna's son Leo) is an adorable business Anna started custom painting letters for kid's rooms and nurseries. Anna is a mom, a full time student and a business owner all at the age of 22! These letters would make the most amazing holiday gift for a kid of any age!
Check out some of the projects she has worked on and go to her Etsy page to order some for a cute kid in your life!
So, I’m not entirely sure this story is true, but let’s pretend it is because it’s AMAZING! For the past few days several news outlets have been reporting that 32-year-old Prince Henry of Wales (better known as Prince Harry) is dating 35-year-old American actress of “Suits” fame, Meghan Markle. I don’t know what’s better, the fact that she’s three years his senior or she’s a gorgeous mixed woman! I honestly can’t remember that I’ve ever heard of someone in the British royal family being linked romantically to someone of mixed race (don’t quote me). While growing up queens and princess were always white, and the first black princess I can even remember (besides, Lisa McDowell in “Coming to America”) is Tiana in “The Princess in the Frog.” The problem here – both of those stories were fictional, and this story is real (well, maybe). Anyway, I love this rumor because I hope whether it’s true or not it gives little mixed girls hope that they someday can be princesses, too. Go Meghan, get you a prince!
I am currently OBSESSED with The.Wav! And honestly I have been for the last few years. Watching the evolution of these magnetic artists has been amazing. The.Wav combines different rhythms, sounds, and cultures to create their own sound, which they describe as Afro-Trap.
The group itself is comprised of 4 members, Gregory Stutzer, Kelly Be, Cardigan Deville, and Badí. Each from a different cultural background, and their backgrounds are definitely reflected in their music and even in the title of their new album, Diaspora of Sound.
This album has something for everyone! From the Caribbean pop Carnivál vibes of their hit single “Love Games” to the hypnotic lush jungle rhythms of “Claim My Love”, you’re sure to find yourself winding your waist and drifting off with the music.
The.Wav will be hosting an album release party on November 3rd at Los Globos in Los Angeles. And just in case you needed any more reasons to love them, the party will feature all female DJ's and percussionist from different cultural backgrounds! Talk about representation!
There will be a special guest list for friends of Swirl Nation Blog.
To RSVP, please shoot an email to email@example.com
We hope to see you there as we get down to multi-cultural grooves and celebrate the diverse beauty of the diaspora!
Check out their website for music and videos.
Mom Life Yo! Mom life is crazy, as those of us who have experienced it know all too well! I love this new online radio show where the creators, T Lopez and Breegan Jane, share their thoughts on mom related topics as well as sharing music. It is designed for mom's to listen to while they multitask!
Music is something that binds these two friends together. T Lopez is an award-winning Mexican-American singer, actress and television host from Southern California. A former member of the Latina group Soluna, T Lopez has toured the world with Grammy artists Enrique Iglesias and Marc Anthony; she has also recorded with top artists T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Jon Secada. Now a solo artist and mother of two girls, T Lopez is serving up bilingual entertainment on the stage, television, big screen and behind the mic.
Breegan Jane is a DJ, interior designer, and restaurateur born and raised in Southern California. She is the entrepreneur, owner and designer behind LEONA Venice, one of the city's most popular and stylish restaurants. As a DJ, Breegan’s passion for music echoes throughout her curated playlists of blended rhythms and feelgood vibes. You’ll find Breegan spinning and dancing her heart out with her favorite clients, her two boys.
I love that these two busy moms are taking the time for friendship and also to share their experiences! Motherhood can be such an overwhelming experience at times, I love the mix of casual conversation and fun music that Mom Life Yo has!
Take a listen!
I was lucky enough to meet brothers Kohshin and Delfin Finley last fall through my friend Elizabeth, who is best friends with Kohshin and Delfin's mother, Blanca. The moment I saw their work, I knew I had to meet them and I was lucky enough to collaborate with them on an art show very soon after!
Both brothers are clearly extraordinarily talented painters and all of their work is incredible, but my favorite pieces are the ones that dive into social issues, specifically tied to their experiences as young, multiracial men.
In Kohshin's piece Camouflage For The Modern Man you see a black man with white paint on his skin, representing a need to camouflage his blackness in order to stay safe in today's world. Similarly in Only Way To Make The News At 25 you see Kohshin actually as a self-portrait also covered in white paint for protection.
Delfin's piece Dead Man Walking shows a young man crumpled onto the pavement.
I think you will find their work as powerful as I do! I can't wait to see these two young talents take over the art world!
KOHSHIN FINLEY, CAMOUFLAGE FOR THE MODERN MAN
ABOUT KOHSHIN FINLEY
Kohshin Finley is a contemporary painter based in Los Angeles, CA. He received a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design. Kohshin utilizes traditional oil painting techniques and contemporary text-based imagery to communicate a character’s emotional travels; where they were; where they are; and where they will be.
Kohshin explains his work by saying, “Los Angeles’ graffiti covered walls and sign-lettered awnings are as artistically inspiring to me as the classic works of the Renaissance. Just as a songwriter tells stories through rhythm and melody, I tell my stories with brushes and paint. The subjects of my paintings are captured in a vulnerable state of being, at their most honest and revealing. Poems and short tales are written in diaristic scrawls throughout the paintings as if the characters wrote them. I utilize traditional oil painting techniques and contemporary text-based imagery to communicate a character’s emotional travels; where they were; where they are; and where they will be. I create paintings in this way to showcase my own vulnerabilities, and to give the viewer permission to discover something about themselves when viewing my paintings. I utilize traditional oil painting techniques and contemporary text-based imagery to communicate a character’s emotional travels; where they were; where they are; and where they will be.”
DELFIN FINLEY, DEAD MAN WALKING
ABOUT DELFIN FINLEY
Delfin Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles and always felt a great connection to the art that sprouted around him. Instead of letting his spirit sink with the chipped paint and broken windows of the abandoned buildings, he saw beauty in the vibrant colors and lines of the graffiti embellishing the alleys. He found even more inspiration in the people that found their voice through a spray can.
He was born with a need to journal his experiences through drawing and later through oil painting. He speaks through his images, which flow more easily than words. His portraits convey the emotion and angst of love lost, the pain of depression, racism and ultimately the joy and beauty of a moment forever captured on canvas.
I love art. Like LOVE, LOVE, LOVE art. The walls of my apartment are overflowing with pieces from amazing artists, many of whom I discovered online or on Instagram. Recently I came across an artist's Instagram profile that instantly caught my attention!
Let me introduce you to the work of Isreali illustrator, Amit Shimoni.
His series HIPSTORY has reimagined world icons such as Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Queen Elizabeth II, Che Guevera, and of course Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump into technicolor hipsters!
The pieces are amazing! Barack all tatted up, the Dalai Lama in a hoodie and a mohawk, Martin with the flat brim, and Hillary rocking purple ombre hair- each one has special details and I love the bold, colorful style.
On his Facebook page, Amit shares this philosophy about his work:
I am Shimoni, a young designer, illustrating is my love. I think anything can be turn into an illustration, seriously anything, whether it is scenery or a feeling; and I believe an illustration has a place anywhere, seriously anywhere, whether it is in the Louvre, or on coasters, if it is illustrated I love it.
I see my creation process as a game of "Ping-Pong" with the reality, I capture things that
arouse thoughts and feelings within myself, and through my filters, I bring it back to world as a drawing. I hope that after going through my filters, these final outcome will light something in you, or at least give you something to contemplate about, but not less important I hope you will find them beautiful.
Amit told the Huffington Post:
“When I started ‘HIPSTORY’ I only wanted to deal with the dead leaders,” he said. “But with today’s personification of politics, you see how leaders are being iconized already in the process of their election. And Trump is a good example of that.”
I can’t wait to see who hipster-izes next! I also need to figure out a way to clear some wall space so I can start my own HIPSTORY collection!
Yesterday at work I was aimlessly wandering the internet looking for inspiration when I came across the most adorable baby, doing the most adorable things. Now, I am a mom, but I am not one of those baby freaks. I think my baby (who is now 12 and 5'8") is adorable and the greatest human being I have ever met, but I do not melt in the presence of random babies. But baby Joey Choiz could change that!
The Huffington Post shared out this article about how baby Joey's mom dresses her up while she naps in pop culture inspired costumes. Not just a little prop here and there, but full-fledged amazing costumes. They are absolutely the cutest thing you will see all week! Follow mom Laura's Instagram account to see tons more! Also as mentioned in the Huff Post article, the captions are on point too!
Prior to focusing on eating less carbs I don't think I really thought about radishes at all. I mean, if they were in a salad at a restaurant I would eat them, but I never bought them. But then I read that they are super low in carbs, so I decided to see what I could do with them.
Last week I think I created the holy grail of radish recipes and it is seriously SO EASY.
ROASTED RADISHES WITH BROWN BUTTER SAUCE
- Preheat the oven to 450
- Clean the radishes
- Slice off the ends (you could use the tops, but I didn't because I had purchased my radishes at a Japanese grocery store that had already cut the ends off)
- Slice the radishes in half and place in small bowl
- Mix in Olive Oil and sprinkle some pink salt
- Pour onto a cookie sheet and roast for about 15 minutes
- If you want them a little crispy you may want to cook them a little longer
- Stir 1/2 way through
- Pull them out
- Then melt some grass fed butter with another pinch of pink salt until it starts to slightly brown
- Plate your radishes and pour butter sauce over top and then garnish with parsley
Beautiful! My daughter was skeptical when I told her what I was making (that is usually her first response to my experiments;) but she LOVED them! This will now be a regular side dish for us!
If you are looking for the perfect summer dinner this is it! It is quick and doesn't require too much cooking.
CURRIED SHRIMP AND LETTUCE CUPS
- Heat oven to 425
- Cover two chicken breasts with curry spice (any organic curry mix is fine), salt and pepper. Then drizzle olive oil over top and place in oven for approximately 15 minutes.
- Heat skillet to medium and add 1tbsp of olive oil
- Sprinkle with curry spice, salt and pepper on top of shrimp and place in skillet.
- Cook a couple minutes on each side until shrimp look pink
- Get a bowl and mix 1/4c of mayo, 1/4c of Greek yogurt, and half a small dallop of something sweet. I used Walden Farms Calorie Free maple syrup because it doesn't have carbs. If you aren't Keto you can use honey. Mix together.
- Then add 1/8c of golden raisins, 1 piece of celery chopped small, and a small bunch of purple grapes sliced in half. Set aside.
- Add sauce mixture to lettuce cups
- Place protein on top
- Add cashews for crunch
And serve! Delicious!
Summer time is the perfect time for GIRL POWER! Right now I am obsessed with three “I got the juice/Best you ever had” songs.
First up, Rihanna! Rihanna has been known for her in your face attitude, but this song seals the deal for me. “Needed Me” is an unapologetic “Boy bye! Don’t get it twisted.” to the guy who just can’t seem to understand you simply do NOT need him.
Needed Me – Rihanna
Next up, Ms. Lopez comes through with in your face girl power, chanting “I aint your mama” and a list of things she AIN’T gonna be doin’ this summer.
“Ain’t your mama” – J. Lo.
Finally, we have Fergie! It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Fergie Ferg, but she’s back and celebrating her success as both a mother and an independent boss in her new song. Plus the video features some cameos from some pretty bad celebrity mamma-jammas including Kim K and Chrissy Teigen.
“M.I.L.F. $ ” – Fergie
I don’t get to wear a swim suit very often, so mine usually hangs out at the bottom of a drawer waiting for summer and the day I get to hop on a plane to a tropical location. So when I finally dug it out of the depths for my trip to the Big Island, I was surprised at how sun bleached it was. Then when I landed in Kona, I pulled out my yellow iPod Nano (circa 2011), plugged it into the car… And realized just how sun bleached my playlists were looking, too. A little faded, a little worn from one too many listens, not to mention, I think the newest album on my trusty litt player might be the Arctic Monkeys’ AM. It might be time to get some new tunes, but for now, I don’t mind sticking to the songs that served as my soundtracks for summers past. Though I might be in the market for a new swim suit. Without further ado, here’s my Sun Bleached Summer Playlist:
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Pass This On - The Knife
Sunset - The xx
Lysergic Bliss - Of Montreal
Into the Sun - Sean Lennon
Sunday Girl - Blondie
Play with Fire - Rolling Stones
Oslo in the Summertime - Of Montreal
Summer’s Thirst - Pretty Lights
It Is Not Meant To Be - Tame Impala
Golden Brown - The Stranglers
Holy Roller - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Losing You - Solange
Vacation - The Go-Go’s
I have become somewhat Obsessed with Malaysian singer Yuna. Her voice is addicting and her style is fierce too. I’ve been listening to her old album a lot lately, the self-titled Yuna came out in 2012. Lullabies is my favorite song, it totally transports me. There isn’t a video for Lullabies, not sure why, but take a listen:
The tone of her voice and this particular song also totally remind me of this other singer I used to LOVE, her name was Hope and I would listen to her song Who Am I To Say about 100 times a day.
Ok back to Yuna... her new album is titled Chapters and came out this year. She has a song called Crush with Usher that I also love. Her voice is like silk. I also love the interracial love story that plays out in this video between a young asian boy and black girl.
I also love that Yuna is one of the rare pop stars that has a more modest style which makes her stand out and she wears a headscarf or hijab at all times. You can see that on display on her Instagram page.
This week I am sharing a different low carb recipe every day! I love to cook and get creative with food, so I hope you enjoy the recipes and let me know if you try any of them! First up is Deviled Eggs! I LOVE deviled eggs. Like LOVE! So I make them a lot. My all-time favorite is BLT Deviled Eggs. I've been making them forever and they are always a crowd pleaser.
BLT DEVILED EGGS
- Cut eggs in half (obviously)
- Place yolks into a bowl and mash them together (I use a fork)
- Then I place a mixture of mayo and sour cream with the egg yolks. 2 parts mayo, 1 part sour cream. I think this is a key part and what makes my eggs different than most people's, the sour cream is delish!
- Once it is mixed smooth I add pepper and ground Pink Himalayan Salt
- Place the mixture in a ziploc bag, cut a small corner and fill the eggs
Then the toppings are bacon, sliced tomatoes, basil and paprika
- Break up crispy bacon into small pieces
- Cut up tomatoes into small slices, it is important that you only use the tomato skin- the insides of the tomato will make your eggs weird and mushy
- Cut small pieces of fresh basil
- Finally top with a small amount of paprika
If you don't have basil or tomatoes handy you can of course just make them with bacon and paprika and they will still be amazing!
I discovered Elizabeth Israel because of this Buzzfeed article which was about how some loser was shaming her online for looking drastically different when she was wearing makeup vs bare faced.
Elizabeth told Buzzfeed
“I love wearing makeup because in my eyes it’s art, yes, it boosts my confidence, yes, I feel more lively wearing it, but no, I don’t rely on it or love myself any less without it.”
Her girlfriend then went on social media with this kick ass response:
Elizabeth does makeup tutorials that are pretty impressive. She definitely completely transforms her face and has some great tips. I would categorize her makeup style as "Kardashian like". Much heavier than I would typically wear, but then again I basically only wear eyeliner and mascara unless I'm going out.
Here are some of her videos, watch and learn!
EVERYDAY EYE MAKEUP
MY CURRENT EYEBROW ROUTINE
YouTube is one of my favorite ways to not only listen to music and watch videos, but gives my ears what my daytime life cannot afford me since I’m working and that’s The Real. The Real is a diverse group of daytime talk show hosts that is akin to The View or even The Talk except more appealing, fun, and honest.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate what The View and The Talk have done for it’s worldwide audiences, but The Real is the first daytime talk show I can relate to as a millennial. The group of women is comprised of all ethnic backgrounds with comic Loni Love (Black), singer/actress Adrienne Bailon (Hispanic), Fashion Expert Jeannie Mai (Vietnamese/Chinese) and biracial actress Tamara Mowry-Housley. It’s important to get a group of women with varied careers, personalities, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds so the conversations are fresh, entertaining and educational.
The subject matter they discuss covers everything from trending topics, politics, fashion, interviews with celebrities, and candid opinions that are reflective of not only their beliefs, but where they come from in their respective industries and lives. I do not get the opportunity to tune into the TV when they are on live so YouTube allows me to see clips and highlights from the show throughout my day. It is not only a nice refresher for what can be a long day in the office, but also the co-hosts are very charismatic which keeps me engaged instead of bored.
On the YouTube channel you will a lot of content that ranges from games they played, interviews, key topics and focused discussions on daily news to what is going on in pop culture. It does not feel rehearsed or that I’m watching a conversation that I in no way can understand or relate to, it is in fact just the opposite. As an audience member I feel like I’m participating in conversations that I am invested in and have either had in real life or am grappling with in my personal life. Check out The Real, these ladies are bringing fresh, fun voices to television and I’m so happy they are getting the Emmy nominations they deserve along with recognition on multiple networks and media platforms.
Check out some of my favorite moments on The Real:
I first discovered Akilah when I was writing my cultural appropriation post. She made a hilarious parody poking fun at such things like thinking it is ok to fetishize adopting a baby from another culture than your own… She had me at “OMG, I want to adopt a white baby!” I occasionally go down the rabbit hole of what is her YouTube Channel, oddly called SmoothieFreak.
A little about Akilah, from her website:
Hello there! Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you know that I’m Akilah…obviously. I’m a comedian (stand up, sketch, improv, writer, YouTuber, etc.,) originally from Cincinnati (who dey?!) who is now hanging out in Brooklyn, NY. I write for Fusion, HelloGiggles, Femsplain, and Refinery29, and I am a sketch and improv person trained at Upright Citizens Brigade. I take lots of photos and make lots of YouTube videos, and generally have too widespread of an interest pool to be one of those niche blogs. Here you will find posts about hair, pop culture, race, comedy, being a 20-something lady, fashion, makeup, being good at things, being terrible at things, moving to NYC and pretty much any topic in-between.
Below are some of my favorite videos. Enjoy!
The video that started it all:
Some other favorites:
Meet Your First Black Girlfriend
Every Natural Hair Video Ever
How Black People Feel About Haunted Houses
EATALY: 43 EAST OHIO ST, CHICAGO, 60611
Living in Chicago has afforded me the chance to be completely exposed to all different types of foods from all over the world. Whether I want to eat in Greektown, grab a coffee in Wicker Park, dine on deep dish in South Loop, or head over to the luxuries of River North I am surrounded by different eateries. I will say I have not explored the city half as much as I would like to be completely settled on a favorite place, but instead think of where I suggest most for my friends to eat and dine.
When I started working at Eataly as a fine dining hostess I had very rough idea of what Italian food was and that Olive Garden was pretty much the peak of that. Don’t get me wrong after reading this post because I love Olive Garden and would still dine there in a heartbeat because, breadsticks/salad- YES. Eataly, takes Italian to a whole other level by brining the traditional, cultural flavors of Italy to America. The two-story facility here in Chicago provides a variety of different restaurants, a deli, pastry shop, wine retailer, cheese shop, bakery, gelato bar and so much more inside.
So why Eataly? It revolutionizes the idea of Italian food by bringing you imported Italian products and serving up menu’s that are specific to the Italian culture. You will not find Chicken Alfredo, breadsticks, or salad to accompany your plates of food. Instead you can get fresh meat/cheese boards, olive oil and hand cut bread, hand-rolled pasta and in house fresh mozzarella. Eataly is an experience, and while it sounds like I’m marketing for it, I promise you I advocate that facility alone is an experience worth having. It pushes customers outside of their comfort zones by giving you taste/flavors that are specific to this culture instead of an Americanized version of them. As of now there are two current Eataly facilities in the United States (NYC/Chicago) with current plans to open an L.A./Vegas/DC/Philadelphia in the impending future.
HAPA CUPCAKES: 105 W. AMERIEGE AVENUE, FULLERTON, CA 92832
The following post has been a while in the making. First I tweeted (maybe more than once). Then I found them on Instagram, so of course, I had to follow them… And like all their photo’s in the process. I admit it, I kinda stalked the ladies of Hapa Cupcakes, but guess what? It worked. Not only did they partake in Hapa Hour, but they also invited me to their bakery when I was in town a couple of months back. This does not mean you should go out and stalk someone until you get the results you want….
Sadly, I did not get to meet Hanayo Martin and Akemi Lee. However, their employees were expecting me and they let me pick out 4 different cupcakes and a mini cake to take home! So sweet of them!
I finally ended up with: Whiskey Oreo cookie, Kahlua Mocha, Strawberry Champagne with Chocolate Frosting, and Strawberry Cheesecake. Hapa Cupcakes are known for their liquor infused creations. The Whiskey Oreo Cookie Cupcake was great. The Strawberry Cheesecake was great too! My Mom and Grandmama loved the Kahlua Mocha one the best. I, however, loved the Strawberry and Champagne Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting.
I have to say these were some of the best cupcakes I have had, and I’m a cupcake snob from living in NYC. The cakes were perfectly moist and those frostings! Oh man, wish Hapa Cupcakes could ship me a tub of that! It’s easy to see how they were on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
If you live anywhere near Hapa Cupcakes in Fullerton, California, you must go. Sorry NYC, there isn’t one here. Maybe if I bug Akemi and Hanayo enough they will open one out here.
For more info on Hapa Cupcakes please visit their website.