NEWTWIST Mood Board: Summer Favorites

It’s summertime, and while we feel the warmth and sweetness of the sun shining down on us here in Oregon, it’s no secret that this summer parallels an especially challenging time. We’re living through a global health crisis and in a culture sculpted by systemic racism with injustices spanning centuries, and we recognize that the fight is far from over. But alongside the heartache and necessary demand for change, there is space for hope. This season calls for celebrating things that spark joy, sharing simple kindnesses with others, supporting each other, and loving. That’s why in addition to the work we’re doing to fight systemic racism, we also want to take a moment to highlight people who enrich our minds, palates, and wardrobes, and who inspire us to keep reading, learning and unlearning, and growing.


Reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. We’ve been working through our summer reading lists and these have been two of our favorites! Both novels speak to the African diaspora but through different lenses. Homegoing illuminates slavery’s harrowing legacy. The journey begins in 18th century Ghana and carries its readers to the plantations of Mississippi, the American Civil War, and Jazz Age Harlem through starkly contrasting parallel timelines. Americanah examines race, identify, and immigration through a passionate love story that is challenged and bruised and enduring.

Eating: Raw Pecan Tacos by Tabitha Brown. Learn how to make this recipe with Tabitha by watching it here or following this recipe. Not to mention, let Tabitha fill your day with an extra dose of joy! Her Instagram posts always make us smile and/or excited to try one of her many vegan recipes.

Wearing: Made with Sol, handmade goods and gifts created by Sasha Chang right here in Eugene, OR! We are especially loving this crocheted cherry red crop and summer skirt and can’t wait to put in an order once Made with Sol’s site is restocked and reopened.

Admiring: jewelry makers Valerie Madison and Maggi Simpkins. We are so inspired by what they do and want to share their work with you. Valerie Madison‘s elegant and artful designs fuse classic and contemporary for an aesthetic that’s all their own. From the simple beauty of the salt and pepper marquise diamond engagement ring to the gorgeous brilliance of this halo diamond engagement ring, Valerie’s work is absolutely unreal! Not to mention, she has a degree in Environmental Science & Resource Management and puts the environment first in all that she does; read more about her sustainability practices here.

Maggi Simpkins, a bespoke jewelry designer based in Los Angeles who creates custom engagement rings, not only speaks to us through her gorgeous, one-of-a-kind designs, but also through her #jewelryforchange initiative. Along with Polly Wales and Jamie Joseph, she inspired us to partner with 5 of our jewelry artists to create 5 raffles with 100% of the proceeds supporting Black community organizations like Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) and NAACP. It’s been exciting and beautiful to see what the jewelry world has and continues to achieve collectively through #jewerlyforchange’s effort.

Supporting: Bonton Farms in Dallas, TX. Laura, our web manager (who’s located in Dallas), has been buying most of her groceries from Bonton Farms each week, which she’s found to be a win-win-win! It’s so great to be eating local produce, supporting a local farm, and most importantly, supporting an organization that is working to provide food stability and job opportunities in Dallas’s historically Black neighborhood. Read more about them here. If you’re in or near Portland, OR, check out Raceme Farm Collective, a group of Black and Brown farmers from Chalchi Farm, Flying Dogheart Farm, and Scrapberry Farm.

WatchingSelf-Made, a four-episode series on Netflix. Inspired by the story of Madame C.J. Walker‘s journey to become America’s first Black female millionaire, it’s next up on our to-watch list.

Following: Sophia Roe and Haile Thomas. We love following Sophia on Instagram because of her daily dose of unlearning realness, food ingenuity, and inspiration to love and nurture those around you deeper. Haile’s Instagram invites us into a world of food-love and self-growth. Her new cookbook Living Lively just arrived in the mail and is equal parts wisdom and delicious. We can’t wait to dive into her writing prompts that encourage self-reflection and self-empowerment, and to give her 80 amazing plant-based recipes a go!

ListeningBlack Girl from Eugene Podcast. Creator Ayisha Elliott and guests speak to their experiences living Black in a very white Eugene, OR. Black Girl from Eugene explores the “raw and uncensored monologues and conversations about race relations,” and we are here for it. Give Ayisha’s podcast a listen below and support her work here!

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