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The artists painting the Obamas post-presidency portraits are incredible.

After each presidency, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the White House commission portraits of the former commander in chief and first lady.

Prints of the portraits are then given to the gallery and White House.

This year, of course, it's the Obamas' turn.


Photo by Yui Mok/Getty Images.

On Oct. 13, the Smithsonian announced that artists had been selected to paint the 44th president and first lady in portraits set to be unveiled in early 2018.

Kehinde Wiley, who will paint Barack Obama, and Amy Sherald, who will paint Michelle Obama, arethe first black artists to paint a president and first lady for the occasion.

Kehinde Wiley. Photo by Tony Powell, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

Amy Sherald. Photo by Paul Morigi, 2016/AP Images for National Portrait Gallery.

Let's start with Wiley.

It might seem obvious, given he won over Mr. Obama, but it can't be stressed enough: Wiley is very, very good at what he does.

Another work in progress. #equestrian #laborday #deadline

A post shared by Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley) on

Like, mind-blowingly talented.

Portrait of Natasha Zamor, 2015 Oil on canvas 72 x 60 in

A post shared by Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley) on

Wiley isn't just a terrific artist either. He's a very fitting choice by the first black president.

Wiley is a standout in the art world for his vibrant depictions of black life and culture.

"Wiley’s signature portraits of everyday men and women riff on specific paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in those paintings with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African-Americans from historical and cultural narratives," the Brooklyn Museum once described his work.

As Wiley explained to HuffPost:

"Many people see my early work simply as portraits of black and brown people. Really, it’s an investigation of how we see those people and how they have been perceived over time. The performance of black American identity feels very different from actually living in a black body. There’s a dissonance between inside and outside.”

Wiley is also openly gay, a part of his identity that he often reflects in his work.

The former president's choice to select an openly gay artist is meaningful — but not necessarily surprising.

Ethiopian Jews in Tel Aviv. Alios Itzhak, 2011 Oil and gold enamel on canvas 96 x 72 in @thejewishmuseum

A post shared by Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley) on

Obama was the first sitting president to embrace same-sex marriage and led the country toward unprecedented progress on LGBTQ rights throughout his tenure in office.

All in all, it seems like Wiley is the perfect fit for the job.

Work in progress. Oil study on linen for a Nigeria series of portraits. 📸 @bradogbonna

A post shared by Kehinde Wiley (@kehindewiley) on

Sherald, too, is a quickly rising star in the art realm.

Like her husband, Mrs. Obama handpicked the Baltimore-based artist, whose work predominantly focuses on challenging stereotypes that confine African-Americans and explores black identity.

“We get the same stories of who we are ― stories filled with pain, oppression, and struggle,” Sherald explained to Huffington Post of her work.

“But there are other sides to black lives that are not often represented. I’m painting these people.”

A post shared by Amy Sherald (@asherald) on

Sherald’s oil painting “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)” won first place in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Competition.

Her work, seen below, rose to the top out of more than 2,500 entries, the Smithsonian noted.

Photo by Frances and Burton Reifler; oil painting by Amy Sherald.

Having two black artists paint the first black couple in the White House is just as huge as it seems.

Given the deep-seated racism captured in American art throughout the centuries — where people of color were often solely depicted as slaves or exotic novelties created by white artists — Wiley and Sherald are helping to break artistic and political barriers that have stood in place since our country's founding.

“Both [Wiley and Sherald] have achieved enormous success as artists," Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a statement. "But even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century."

Who else can't wait to see these portraits next year?

Health

4 simple hacks to help you meet your healthy eating goals

Trying to eat healthier? Try these 4 totally doable tricks.

Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

Most of us want to eat healthier but need some help to make it happen.

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When it comes to choosing what to eat, we live in a uniquely challenging era. Never before have humans known more about nutrition and how to eat for optimal health, and yet we’ve never been more surrounded by distractions and temptations that derail us from making healthy choices.

Some people might be able to decide “I’m going to eat healthier!” and do so without any problem, but those folks are unicorns. Most of us know what we should do, but need a little help making it happen—like some simple hacks, tips and tricks for avoiding pitfalls on the road to healthier eating.

While recognizing that what works for one person may not work for another, here are some helpful habits and approaches that might help you move closer to your healthy eating goals.

man pulling chip out of a chip bagOur mouths loves chips. Our bodies not so much.Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Goal: Snack on less junk food

Tip: Focus your willpower on the grocery store, not your home

Willpower is a limited commodity for most of us, and it is no match for a bag of potato chips sitting on top of the fridge. It’s just a fact. Channeling your willpower at the grocery store can save you from having to fight that battle at home. If you don’t bring chips into your house in the first place, you’ll find it a lot easier to reach for something healthier.

The key to successful shopping trips is to always go to the store with a specific list and a full stomach—you’ll feel much less tempted to buy the junky snack foods if you’re already satiated. Also, finding healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your cravings for salty or crunchy, or fatty foods helps. Sugar snap peas have a surprisingly satisfying crunch, apples and nut butter hit that sweet-and-salty craving, etc.

slice of cakeYou can eat well without giving up sweets completely.Photo by Caitlyn de Wild on Unsplash

Goal: Eat less sugar

Tip: Instead of “deprive,” think “delay” or “decrease and delight”

Sugar is a tricky one. Some people find it easier to cut out added sugars altogether, but that can create an all-or-nothing mindset that all too often results in “all.” Eating more whole foods and less processed foods can help us cut out a lot of ancillary sugar, but we still live in a world with birthday cakes and dessert courses.

One approach to dessert temptation is to delay instead of deprive. Tell yourself you can have any sweet you want…tomorrow. This mental trick flips the “I’ll just indulge today and start eating healthier tomorrow” idea on its head. It’s a lot easier to resist something you know you can have tomorrow than to say no to something you think you’ll never get to have again.

Another approach when you really want to enjoy a dessert at that moment is to decrease the amount and really truly savor it. Eat each bite slowly, delighting in the full taste and satisfaction of it. As soon as that delight starts to diminish, even a little, stop eating. You’ve gotten what you wanted out of it. You don’t have to finish it. (After all, you can always have more tomorrow!)

colorful fresh food on a plateA naturally colorful meal is a healthy meal.Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

Goal: Eat healthier meals

Tip: Focus on fresh foods and plan meals ahead of time

Meal planning is easier than ever before. The internet is filled with countless tools—everything from recipes to shopping lists to meal planning apps—and it’s as awesome as it is overwhelming.

Planning ahead takes the guesswork and decision fatigue out of cooking, preventing the inevitable “Let’s just order a pizza.” You can have a repeating 3-week or 4-week menu of your favorite meals so you never have to think about what you’re going to eat, or you can meal plan once a week to try new recipes and keep things fresh.

It might help to designate one day a week to “shop and chop”—getting and prepping the ingredients for the week’s meals so they’re ready to go in your fridge or freezer.

woman holding blueberries in her handsOrganic foods are better for the Earth and for us.Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Goal: Eat more organic/humanely raised food

Tip: Utilize the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” lists to prioritize

Many people choose organic because they want to avoid pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals. Organic food is also better for the planet, and according to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that organic produce is higher in certain nutrients.

Most people don’t buy everything organic, but there are some foods that should take priority over others. Each year, researchers from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyze thousands of samples of dozens of fruits and vegetables. From this data, they create a list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables, indicating what produce has the most and least pesticide residue. These lists give people a good place to start focusing their transition to more organic foods.

To make organic eating even simpler, you can shop O Organics® at your local Albertsons or Safeway stores. The O Organics brand offers a wide range of affordable USDA-certified organic products in every aisle. If you’re focusing on fresh foods, O Organics produce is always grown without synthetic pesticides, is farmed to conserve biodiversity, and is always non-GMO. All animal-based O Organics products are certified humane as well. Even switching part of your grocery list to organic can make a positive impact on the planet and the people you feed.

Healthy eating habits don’t have to be all or nothing, and they don’t have to be complicated. A few simple mindset changes at home and habit changes at the grocery store can make a big difference.

Teacher starts period in front of class, turns into a lesson

Teachers are almost always teaching even when it's not in their lesson plan.

Those that were born to be teachers find teachable moments everywhere and one woman found herself in one of those moments. Though this one was likely just a bit more personal than she probably would've liked.

Emily Elizabeth posted a TikTok video about how she found herself in a predicament in front of her classroom full of 10 and 11-year-old kids. The teacher explained that she was noticing a lot of commotion and whispering among the little girls in her class while she was wearing white pants. After reminding the girls to stay on task, the whispering continued, prompting Emily to be more direct.

That's when one of the girls asked to speak with her privately dropping the bomb that no one that gets periods wants to hear in public.

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Mario Mirante criticizes a mom he saw at the park.

TikTokker Mario Mirante is going viral for his video that brings up two significant issues: smartphone addiction and whether people without children have the right to criticize parents.

It all started when Mirante saw a young boy playing alone in the park.

“The kid is just playing quietly, not being annoying. I don’t hear a peep from him; he's just doing his thing on the playground,” Mirante said in a video that has nearly 6000,000 views. “The mom the entire time is on her phone, staring right down at her screen. Doesn’t look up one time.”

The boy climbed up to the top of the slide and called down to his mother, who didn’t even look up from her phone. “I hear, ‘Hey mom, watch. Watch, Mom,’” Mirante recalled. “And at the top of her lungs, shrieking like a Velociraptor, this mother screams, ‘One second!”

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Education

Mother of 7 stunned to learn the ‘Alphabet Song’ has been changed to get with the times

There's a good reason for the update. But it's jarring, to say the least.

Jessica Skube can't believe that they changed the 'Alphabet Song.'

The oldest published version of the melody to the “Alphabet Song” was in 1761. However, because it’s the same melody as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” it's hard to trace it to its original composer.

The “Alphabet Song” is so deeply entrenched in American culture that it almost seems sacrilegious to change a piece of music that’s one of the first most of us ever learned. But after all these years, some educators are altering the classic melody so that there is a variation when the letters L-M-N-O-P are sung.

This change shocked popular TikTokker Jessica Skube, who documents life raising 7 children with her 2.6 million followers. Nearly 10 million people have watched her video revealing the significant change, and it’s received over 56,000 comments since first being published in late 2020.

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Identity

Watch this 104-yr-old woman break the world tandem skydiving record

Dorothy Hoffner tried skydiving for the first time on her 100th birthday and loved it.

Dorothy Hoffner is pure #agingoals.

If you're looking for some aging inspiration, look no further, because Dorothy Hoffner is about to blow your mind.

At 104, Hoffner just became the oldest person to parachute out of an airplane in a tandem skydive. That's right, skydive. At 104 years old—or to be exact, 104 years and 289 days old—beating the previous world record set by a 103-year-old in Sweden in May of 2022.

But it's actually even more impressive than that. It's not like Hoffner is someone who's been skydiving since she was young and just happened to keep on doing it as she got older. She actually didn't go on her first skydiving adventure until her 100th birthday.

On Oct 1, 2023, she joined the team at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, for the world-breaking tandem skydive. Though she uses a walker to get around, she manages the physical toll of plummeting through the air at 10,000+ feet before parachuting to a skidding stop strapped to a certified U.S. Parachute Association (USPA) tandem instructor with impressive ease.

“Let’s go, let’s go, Geronimo!” Hoffner said after she boarded the plane, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Watch her do what many of us would be too terrified to attempt:

The way she rolls right out of that plane cool as a cucumber! Hoffner told the Tribune that on her first skydive, at age 100, she had to be pushed out of the plane. But this time, knowing what she was in for, she took charge with calm confidence.

“Skydiving is a wonderful experience, and it’s nothing to be afraid of," Hoffner shares. "Just do it!”

That's some seriously sage advice from someone who knows firsthand that age really is just a number. Learn more about skydiving with Skydive Chicago here.

Education

Unearthed BBC interview features two Victorian-era women discussing being teens in the 1800s

Frances 'Effy' Jones, one of the first women to be trained to use a typewriter and to take up cycling as a hobby, recalls life as a young working woman in London.

Two Victorian women discuss being teens in the 1800s.

There remains some mystery around what life was like in the 1800s, especially for teens. Most people alive today were not around in the Victorian era when the technologies now deemed old-fashioned were a novelty. In this rediscovered 1970s clip from the BBC, two elderly women reminisce about what it was like being teenagers during a time when the horse and buggy was still the fastest way to get around.

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Can we bring back some 50s fridge features, please?

There are very few things that would make people nostalgic for the 1950s. Sure, they had cool cars and pearl necklaces were a staple, but that time frame had its fair share of problems, even if "Grease" made it look dreamy. Whether you believe your life would've been way more interesting if you were Danny Zuko or not, most would agree their technology was...lacking.

All eras are "advanced" for their time, but imagine being dropped off in the 50s as someone from the year 2023. A recent post by Historic Vids on Twitter of a 1956 commercial advertising a refrigerator, however, has some people thinking that when it came to fridges, maybe they were living in the year 2056. I don't typically swoon over appliances, yet this one has me wondering where I can purchase a refrigerator like this.

Of course, there's no fancy touch screen that tells you the weather and asks how you'd like your ice cubed. It's got more important features that are actually practical.

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