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Amal

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YOU TUBE CHANNEL: IT'S AKILAH, OBVIOUSLY


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 FusionHelloGigglesFemsplain, 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:

White Party

 

Some other favorites:

Meet Your First Black Girlfriend

Every Natural Hair Video Ever

How Black People Feel About Haunted Houses


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SWIRL KITCHEN: EL CHALAN AND CHI.CHE, MIAMI


I moved to Texas from Miami three years ago and I have yet to find a good Peruvian restaurant.  For this reason, I always look forward to my yearly trips to Miami.  I love seeing my family and enjoying the home-cooked Peruvian classics my father-in-law lovingly prepares for us.  Ceviche mixto, lomo saltado, his special quinoa with chicken and Peruvian aji amarillo.  I also enjoy eating out at Peruvian restaurants.  My two favorites: El Chalan and CVI.CHE 105.  El Chalan is like a mom-and-pop local eatery where Peruvian food is served comfort-food style.  CVI.CHE 105 is your bourgeois, but not-too-pricey, restaurant serving the cuisine in a fancy-foodie style.

 

El Chalan Restaurant: 7971 Bird Road #17, Miami FL 33155

The description on Google explains it all: “Humble strip-mall outfit with an array of down-home Peruvian fare such as ceviche & lomo saltado.”  But don’t let that description deter you from trying it.  Walking in, you will notice pictures of Macchu Picchu and Peruvian gauchos on the wall.  A soccer game or Peruvian tourist videos will be playing on the TV.  You will most likely not hear any English being spoken (there are English-speaking servers, but maybe take this opportunity to practice your Spanish).  There is nothing fancy about this restaurant.  My favorite dish to order at this restaurant is Chupe de Camarones, or seafood soup.  It is absolutely delicious.  It isn’t light like a lot of seafood soups.  It is hearty and spicy with the right balance of seafood, vegetables, and rice.  I also like Tallarin Verdes, Lomo Saltado (of course), and Tallarin Saltado de Mariscos.  Yum Yum!  The restaurant only has a Facebook page and it hasn’t been updated in 9 months, but an abbreviated menu is available on Google.

 

CVI.CHE 105: 105 NE 3rd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132

For a little fancier atmosphere with equally good food, try CVI.CHE 105.  So I just went to the website and my mouth just watered – oh, Pavlov…  So what to try?  EVERYTHING.  When we had visitors to Miami, we always took them here.  The drinks are delicious (Pisco Sours and Mojitos).  They have an assortment of Peruvian Ceviches and Tiraditos – they were voted best ceviche in Miami four years in a row.  The Causas are delicious, they even have one, Causa Montada con Pulpito al Olivo, that combines Cause with one of my favorite Peruvian dishes of octopus smothered in a creamy black olive sauce.  There is a section of the menu called “Peruvian Classics”.  This is where you find the Lomo Saltado, Aji de Gallina, along with dishes like Risotto Fillet which has filet mignon and shrimp on a bed of parmesan and mushroom risotto. I just drooled on my keyboard.  My favorite desserts here are Suspiro Limena and Mousse de Lucuma.  Suspiro means “sigh” in Spanish, and the dessert is totally a light lemon-y flavor with a creamy merengue on top.  Lucuma…  so lucuma is a fruit found in the amazon that tastes like nutty pecan and sweet potato mixed together.  The mousse is rich and every bit worth the calories.  CVI.CHE 105 does have a website.   Make a reservation before you visit.  I just learned via the website, there is a South Beach location too.


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SWIRL KITCHEN: EASY PULLED PORK TACOS


Easy Pulled Pork Tacos:

Beautiful image via Pinterest

Beautiful image via Pinterest

  • White corn tortillas (fresher, the better)
  • Trader Joe's Pulled Pork (cooked according to package directions)
  • Freshly chopped Cilantro
  • Pico de gallo or Mango Salsa

Assemble. Add queso fresco and/or avocado as a tasty garnish.

Done!

Beautiful image via Pinterest

Beautiful image via Pinterest


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SWIRL HAIR: THANK YOU DRY BAR


DryBar Plano, TX to be specific...

I’m sure I’ve mentioned DryBar in previous post. DryBar, oh how I love thee!  Let me count the ways:

My stylist Deandra! 

My stylist Deandra! 

1.       Décor (beadboard, grey/white/yellow color scheme, tufting, vintage photos of glamorous women)

2.       Girly movies always on cue (Bridesmaids, Mean Girls, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, etc.)

3.       You open at 7 a.m. (I can get a blowout before work)

4.       Champagne, tea, water, and other refreshments on tap

5.       The scalp massage

6.       Efficiency

7.       The cost is worth it (Your time and sanity will be sooooo appreciative)

8.       My girl, Deandra…


My hair in its natural state...


Below are some tips and tricks for blowing out highly textured (fancy for nappy) hair.

 

Stylist/Miracle Worker: Deandra

·       Separate hair into sections

·       Comb out sections before you go in with brush

·       Start with front, work your way back

·       Make sure you work product evenly through hair, her favorites include Velvet Hammer Smoothing Cream and 100 Proof Treatment Oil (she mixes them together) with a wet brush

·       After working product through, twist each section to hold the moisture

·       Use a boar-bristle brush when blowing out the hair

·       Get the hair as straight as possible with the dryer

·       Smooth, curl, and add shine with a flatiron

The finished product...


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DIVERSE TV PICKS: THE WALKING DEAD


When I choose films or TV to watch, I tend to lean towards the survival genre.  It gets my blood pumping and my brain thinking, “what would I do in that situation?” I’m not a dooms day prepper, but I do want Lasik and a gun.  I know, super random, but both would increase my chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse… Which brings me to my favorite show on television: The Walking Dead. 

DIVERSE TV PICKS THE WALKING DEAD via Swirl Nation Blog

After the initial season, you realize zombies are not as much of a threat.  I mean, these aren’t sprinting, agile, World War Z zombies.  World War Z zombies are scary.  The Walking Dead zombies are remnants of once-humans, decaying flesh, no brain functioning, slow, bumbling, basically, you can get around them.  Once you realize this, you understand that the other surviving humans are the real threat.  The show questions good, bad, who is a leader, surviving vs. living.  The main cast is very diverse and next to Shonda Rhimes’ shows, must employ the most actors of color.

I love the theme of surviving vs. living.  The survivors of the show are constantly looking over their shoulder, utilizing their “fight or flight” senses.  They are constantly seeing loved ones die and other humans doing very bad things.  They are also always making actual life-or-death decisions.  It must be like how the first humans lived; however, the first humans didn’t have a life of cell phones, cars, and grocery stores to compare to before they had to survive.  Is surviving living?  If your whole family is dead, who are you building the new world for, and why?  The show gets you thinking in this way and I love it.

The first seasons of the Walking Dead are available on Netflix and make for great binge-watching.  Let us know what you think of the show.


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SWIRL FAMILY TRADITIONS: FASCHING


Growing up, my family didn’t have too many cultural traditions.  We lived in Germany during all of my years in elementary school, never living on the military base.  Naturally, we partook in a few cultural traditions while living in Germany: Nicklaus Day, The Celebration of St. Martin, and my favorite, Fasching.

Fasching is basically Carnival/Mardi Gras, the festivities before Lent begins.  Fasching typically begins on the 11th day of November at 11:11 a.m., or the day after Dreikönigstag (Three Kings Day), and ends the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. 

The festivities culminate in one big party spanning the week before Ash Wednesday.  The events are as follows (courtesy of http://german.about.com/od/culture/tp/Fasching-In-Germany.htm ):

·       Weiberfastnacht - Thursday before Ash Wednesday. This is mainly an event held in the Rhineland. The day begins with women storming into and symbolically taking over city hall. Then, women throughout the day will snip off men's ties and kiss any man that passes their way. The day ends with people going to local venues and bars in costume.

·       Parties, Celebrations and Parades - People will celebrate in costume at various carnival community events and individual parties. Carnival parades abound, it is literally the weekend for people to live it up.

·       Rosenmontag - The largest and most popular carnival parades take place on the Monday before Ash Wednesday. These parades come mostly from the Rhineland region. People throughout the German-speaking countries will tune in to watch the biggest German carnival parade of all which is held in Cologne.

·       Fastnachtsdienstag - Besides some parades which are held on this day, you have the burial or burning of the Nubbel. A Nubbel is a life-size doll made of straw that embodies all of the sins committed during carnival season. It is buried or burned with great ceremony on Tuesday evening before everyone parties one more time till Ash Wednesday arrives.

I grew up in the Rhineland, in Mainz, Germany, so we had one of the biggest parades in the country.  Every year, my parents would have us dress up in our favorite costume and take us to the parades where we would shout “Helau” and have candy thrown at us from the floats.  Polka music abound, my family and I danced with our German neighbors and celebrated like locals. 


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SWIRL BEAUTY: COTTON BALL EYELASH TRICK


I have a small head and small eyes.  False eyelashes look heavy on me and I can never apply them correctly.  False eyelashes either droop, irritate my contacts, or fall off; so you can probably understand my eagerness to tryHuda Beauty’s cotton ball eyelash trick.

So this is less of a “fave” post as it is mostly a “test” post.

What you need:

  1. Cotton Ball
  2. “Spoolie” (same as a mascara wand)
  3. Mascara (I’ve used Dior Show since I could afford it, so about 12 years)

Step 1: Apply mascara

Step 2: Break open a cotton ball

Step 3: With the spoolie, pull out the “innards” of the cotton ball

Step 4: Brush through eyelashes with cotton ball-fiber-laden spoolie

Step 5: Apply another coat of mascara

Step 6: Repeat until desired volume/length of lashes are achieved

I tried it and I only made one pass because I was short on time and paranoid about the fibers irritating my contacts.  I saw a slight difference.  I definitely suggest watching the video and trying it yourself.  Please let us know how your attempts went in the comments.  Happy Hacking J!


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SWIRL COCKTAILS: PISCO SOUR


Almost every country has their liquor or drink of choice.  Russia has vodka.  Italy has grappa.  America has whiskey and bourbon.  Peru has pisco.  Produced in the winemaking regions of Peru from distilled grape wine, pisco was developed by Spaniards in the 16th century to avoid importing spirits from Europe.

My in-laws introduced me to Pisco Sours my first trip to Miami.  The combination of tartness, sweetness, and the frothiness of a latte had me hooked.  We’ve made them from scratch and some of the Peruvian markets have mixes.  The recipe below is from FoodandWine.com.  Enjoy!

SWIRL COCKTAILS PISCO SOUR via Swirl Nation Blog

Ingredients

·       Juice of 1/2 lime

·       1 tablespoon pasteurized egg white

·       2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

·       1/4 cup crushed ice

·       2 ounces Peruvian pisco (1/4 cup)

·       Angostura bitters

In a blender, combine the lime juice with the sugar and mix to dissolve the sugar. Add the pisco, egg white and ice and blend at high speed until frothy. Pour into a sour glass, add a few drops of bitters and serve.

*We like to sprinkle the top with cinnamon.


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