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A Dispatch from Portland and a Book Good Enough to Distract You From Anything

Plus, a movie I highly recommend you watch this week.

It's hard to believe that Jonah and I have only been in Portland for eight days—at eight hours, it already felt like home. Portland is the first city I've ever moved to on a hunch, rather than for a specific opportunity, so it felt more like a leap of faith, but since receiving our keys to our apartment on Sunday morning we've fallen hard. In spite of moving in the middle of an extremely stressful week, we've fully embodied the Californian-in-Portland stereotype (in spite of being warned by multiple people not to shout that fact from the rooftops...). I go full Gene Kelly every time it drizzles, say "wow" out loud each time I walk under another tree, bright-yellow with fall, and I've had to temper myself from greeting every person with, "WE'RE NEW HERE!" Aside from the obvious benefits, like our walkable northeast neighborhood and ample trails, I'm enjoying the process of learning all the things that only come from living here, like the names of the bridges that cross the Willamette, that "Couch St" is pronounced like "coo," that Wildwood Trail runs parallel to Leif Erikson in Forest Park, and that Coava, Heart, and Good Coffee all have a cult following but there are countless smaller shops that are just as great. 

I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks, including photos of our apartment (we're fully moved-in, but waiting on final touches, like a media console and bedside tables), but DM me or comment below with anything you'd like to know about our move! Until then, here are a few things I loved this week:


If nothing else, it's worth watching On The Rocks to see Rashida Jones and Bill Murray on a stake out in New York, eating caviar and blinis from a car's center console. After all, Sofia Coppola describes the premise as a father and daughter talking about relationships over martinis in this interview. An exceedingly charming father convinces his daughter that her husband may be cheating on her. The two commence in stalking him, which is somehow less creepy than it is sweet and funny. It's the perfect thing to watch with family over Thanksgiving, or really any evening, and is available on Apple TV+. Be forewarned: It will make you miss New York and indoor restaurants! (Remember those?)


I knew I'd love Kiley Reid's novel Such a Fun Age before I even opened the first page—it was a bestseller earlier this year, and when I asked a friend in publishing for a recommendation, it was the first on her list. At its heart is the relationship between Emira, a young Black woman, and the white mother of the toddler Emira babysits. What's already a problematic, if externally functioning, relationship gets split open after Emira is accused at a grocery store of kidnapping the child (at the "concern" of the most Karen-y Karen). The book has as many twists as a thriller, which makes it an extremely quick read, but Emira's relationship with her best friend Zara, the conversations about race and class that switch effortlessly between white and Black characters' perspectives, and rich subplots (like the mother's letter writing business) place it among my favorite books of the year. If nothing else, the fact that I was able to carve out time to read it last week should speak for itself!


This Kale, Sausage, and White Bean Soup from Sweet Paul Magazine has taken the cupcakes and cashmere team by storm this week (I also mentioned in back in 2019, but trust me - it's good enough to warrant a second callout!) Though Jess originally recommended it in our recipe Slack group a year ago, I scrolled back to resurface it when Portland's blue skies turned to rain last week. The morning after I posted about it on my Instagram, Emily messaged me to tell me she was whipping it up too! Here's what makes it so good: Not only is it delicious, but it's incredibly easy. The prep time takes all of ten minutes, then it simmers for 30 minutes. I served it over buttery white rice, with Parmesan and Greek yogurt on top, and it was the perfect first meal to make in our apartment! Simple, yet satisfying. 


Speaking of rice! I consider myself to be a pretty proficient home cook, but rice is something that has always eluded me; it either turns out too mushy or burnt on the bottom. When my mom threw some water and rice into an automated rice cooker when I was home in Reno last week, I was downright amazed by the minimal effort required for perfectly fluffy grains. Jonah and I quickly researched the options, and purchased this one with a Sur La Table gift certificate we had on hand. You guys. My love for it is almost on par with my obsession with my pasta maker (and you know how much I love my pasta maker). Forty minutes after adding rice, water, and butter, I literally forgot about it until it sang me "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to announce that my perfectly cooked rice was done. Call it lazy, but I'm never going back to pots. 

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1. Going to be watching the Georgia Senate runoff veeery closely! Stay tuned for volunteer opportunities—I'll be posting them here! Speaking of Georgia, Stacey Abrams and her organization Fair Fight are an incredible example of the difference one person can make. 

2. I loved this piece on the "The Engagement Myth" (reminded me of the NYT piece on marriage becoming, oddly, a "mark of privilege").

3. Stephanie Nass (of Chefanie) is teaching a virtual Thanksgiving workshop to raise money for Edible Schoolyard this Sunday.

4. This Tweet made me laugh! (Also did anyone else listen to Matthew Mcconaughey on Armchair Expert?)

5. I wanted to mention a festival from Love as a Kind of Cure—the same festival we partnered with in July! In their festival Before Thksgvng, which kicks off this week, they're celebrating Native American voices, with grounding conversations and keynotes (including a discussion with Tommy Orange, whose book There, There I still think about often!). They're generously offering free tickets to cupcakes and cashmere readers with the promo code, CupcakesOnNativeLand. 

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