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!
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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!
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!
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’ve had the same dream destination for awhile now. The perfect images of the white houses on cliffs overlooking the ocean, electric blue roofs and doors, and pops of fuchsia bougainvillea… Santorini, Greece is definitely in my future travel plans.
The only snag in my plan is that I feel like I can't go to Greece until I go with someone I am in love with. It just seems like the most romantic place on earth. So as soon as that happens I will hop a plane to this amazing place and who knows, maybe I'll never come back!
Breathtaking isn't it?
I love bacon. I actually don’t really trust anyone who doesn’t love bacon. Now that I eat ketogenic (high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs) I have to get a little bit creative with my Cinco De Mayo choices, but I can eat all the bacon I want so I present you with Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers! I found this recipe on Pinterest originally and tweaked it a little bit, it is super easy and super delicious!
- 3 fresh jalapeño peppers
- 2tbsp cream cheese (softened to room temperature or I used whipped cream cheese)
- 1tbsp of shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
- 3 slices of bacon cut in half
- 6 toothpicks
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the stems off of the jalapenos and then slice the peppers in half. Clean out the ribs and all of the seeds.
Mix the cream cheese and shredded cheese together and stuff the peppers. Take ½ a slice of bacon and wrap it around the pepper and secure with a toothpick. You could probably actually use a whole piece of bacon and really wrap that pepper up!
Place them in a baking dish (I used a square glass pan) and bake them for about 30 minutes or until the bacon looks crispy.
I love D'Angelo and this is a beautiful rendition of Sometimes It Snows In April, which obviously has new meaning now. Also it is cool to see Maya Rudolph singing backup. A very moving performance by all of them.
This week we're all sharing our favorite Prince moments in memory of the icon's passing.
I had my own Prince moment about 15 years ago. My friend Staci and I were dancing at a club in Denver called The Church when all of a sudden a man with gold plated ears (yes, seriously...) came up and tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for us to go with him. For whatever reason we trusted this strange man lol and we followed him up to the balcony and when we got there Prince was standing there. I don't even remember if we talked to him, but I do remember him spending the majority of the night talking to a guy a in a wheelchair and he seemed like a really kind person. I'm glad I at least got to share the same air with him that night. 57 is definitely too soon to go.
Enjoy a week full of some of the moments in his life we are most obsessed with. I am starting with Prince and Beyonce, because of course I am obsessed with Bey and the two of them together were incredible.
It’s swimsuit season! This might not be exciting to everyone, but I live at the beach and if I could I would only wear swimsuits 24/7. A lot of people like a classic swimsuit, but I love color and prints. Some of my favorite prints come from designers like Trina Turk, Nanette Lepore, Mara Hoffman, and Maaji.
Many of them have an North African, specifically Moroccan, influence to the prints and colors. Nordstrom has some really beautiful ones right now. I probably have 30 swimsuits in my closet right now, but I can always use a few more:)
Btw as I was putting this post together a couple weeks ago I was pretty disappointed that Nordstrom didn't have much diversity in their swimsuit models. I think diversity in skin tone as well as body type would be a very welcome change in my opinion. As went and looked again today I found a couple new suits that still fit the theme with more diverse models you can see below! Now we just need some curvy bodies in there! I feel like fashion thinks everyone is either stick thin or plus size, but most of us are actually somewhere in between!
What's your favorite swimsuit trend?
For Spring 2016, Christian Louboutin introduces a pointy-toe ballet flat for every skin tone.
Big cheers to designer Christian Louboutin for his new line of flats in a line of nude tones that encompass a wide range of skin tones from "porcelain Nude #1" and "deep chocolate Nude #7." In total there are seven shades and three styles to choose from; the shoes went on sale this week.
"The expansive collection ensures that every woman can find a nude perfectly suited to her complexion," the company first announced in a statement in January.
Like the brand's other shoes, the new nude colors don't come cheap. The pointy-toe ballet flat Solasofia, for example, is priced at $595. I haven't tried them on yet so I can't speak to their comfort, but I will always applaud inclusiveness especially in the world of fashion where it is often lacking. I agree completely with this Facebook fan:
"Designers often treat nude like it's a synonym for light tan, thereby excluding women of color," one Facebook user wrote. "So it's good news that Christian Louboutin has expanded its nudes collection, adding a larger spectrum of skin-tone shades to ensure that no matter what your ethnicity, you can find a shoe to match your complexion."
Who else is running out to buy them?!
I love color and long dresses so when I saw Mara Hoffman’s new Spring line I was instantly in love. One small problem is that in my experience Mara’s clothes are made for women with zero boobs so for now I will just admire the pictures. The campaign was shot in Mexico and you can see the Mexican influence in the prints and colors she chose for the collection. Makes me want to pack my bags and head to Tulum!
One of my favorite new shows is Quantico. Quantico is about a bunch of sexy, young FBI recruits who have come to the base for special agent training. They are all super accomplished, but of course, they are also all full of secrets. The premise is that one of the recruits was actually the mastermind behind 911 and the show tries to figure out who is the terrorist.
The cast is very diverse, which I love. There are gay and straight characters. There are black, white, south asian and middle eastern characters. There are muslim and mormon characters. The diversity opens up a lot of compelling storylines.
The star of the show is Priyanka Chopra, who plays Alex Parish. Priyanka is drop dead gorgeous, which makes sense because she is a former beauty queen and a huge Bollywood star. She is actually the first South Asian woman to headline an American network series (crazy right?!).
Overall the show is full of drama, romance and friction. Kind of like a Shonda Rhimes show, but set at an FBI training camp. In fact The Washington Post called the show “if a Shonda Rhimes series hooked up with a paranoid ‘70s political thriller”. Very accurate, worth a watch!
This week we’re sharing a cultural tradition or event we each appreciate. Whenever I think of my upbringing I always think of Norwegian baking. My Grandma Betty was always baking something and my mom has carried on some of her recipes during the holidays.
The three treats that always show up to holiday meals are:
My favorites are Sandbakkels, which are delicious Norwegian cookies that are made in miniature tins. I’ve never made them, but I love to eat them! I would describe them as almond cookie tartlets.
My mom uses a recipe from an old Minnesota cookbook. She uses “Helga Hagen’s” recipe as seen in the photo below.
You can fill the tartlets with whatever you want. We usually keep it simple and put homemade whipped cream with fruit inside (blueberries and raspberries usually), but you can get creative!
I think every Scandinavian family probably has lefse on their table. I always describe it as something between a tortilla and a crepe. It is made with potatoes. My Grandma Betty always made her own, but my mom buys it. She used to buy it from some women in her hometown of Fairmont, MN but now she buys it at AJ’s Fine Food near her house in Arizona.
Then my mom whips up a butter sugar mixture to spread on the inside. My daughter loves that part and she helps spread it on all the lefse and then rolls them up. The end result is a plate stacked high with yummy lefse!
Here is a cute video of a Norwegian-American couple making lefse. Uff da!
Rosettes are beautiful! They look like fried snowflakes that you sprinkle granulated or powdered sugar on top of at the end. These cookies are made in many different cultures, it’s not just a Scandinavian thing. I know in Mexico they are called Buñuelos, and I have read that in Asia they often use coconut milk instead of regular milk. Universally yummy! Here is a video on how to make them.
Enjoy! Let me know if you've tried any of these treats before!
We’re sharing our favorite makeup tips with you this week! I love buying makeup, but honestly I don’t wear a ton of it. Most of the products I own just sit in a drawer or a case. But one product I use almost every single day is a shimmer brick.
I usually use it as an eyeshadow and then at night I also use it on my temples and above my cheekbones as a highlighter. The best part about any shimmer brick is that they last FOREVER! The first one I ever owned was by Bobbi Brown and now I’ve been using a MAC one for a long time. Since I am a beach girl, the shimmer is perfect with my tan in the summer but I use it all year around.
Bobbi Brown makes a lot of different shades so there is one for every skin type. It is just a perfect product to add some all around glowy-ness!