I'm starting to get the hang of this, is a weird thing to say in the middle of a global pandemic, when I'm afraid to leave my own apartment for anything more than a weekly walk, friends of mine are entering their second week of non-stop fevers, and literally every person in the world is experiencing their own private trauma. But inside the confines of my apartment, where our weekly CSA provides us with plenty of food, someone down the hall just messaged about fresh-baked cookies, and we can put the news down whenever we want, things are fine. In a lot of ways, for those lucky enough to be sheltering in place, mental health is dependent on being able to set aside the broader reality and focus only on what exists in our homes. It's a paradox I recognize daily: At the same time I dance along to Amanda Kloots' obé classes, I check Instagram obsessively to see if there's been any update on her husband's minute-by-minute fight against the virus; Jonah baked cardamom buns from a normally bustling bakery that's now only open for delivery; and my favorite podcast is back, but the hosts can't be in the same room together. It's a strange time, to say the least, but here are some of the things I've been loving:
An entire genre of comforting podcasts from home has cropped up since the world began sheltering in place. There's "Together Apart," Samin Nosrat's "Home Cooking," "Staying In with Emily and Kumail," a new podcast by Crooked Media, and my personal favorite, Cheryl Strayed's "Sugar Calling." Similar to her popular "Dear Sugar," Strayed's new podcast is deeply comforting. In the two released episodes, she's called novelists (a group I always turn to when I'm down) George Saunders and Margaret Atwood to ask for advice, insight, and courage. They laugh, read poetry, and share in what's become my favorite thing to listen to while doing the (many, many) dishes.
P.S., Still Processing, one of my all-time favorite podcasts, is back with a new season!
The first time I saw dalgona coffee, the whipped coffee that's taken over our Instagram feeds, it reminded me of an indulgent addition I'd made to my own coffee for years but somehow completely forgotten. Similar to dalgona, zabaglione is a whipped coffee but—dare I say?—better, thanks to the addition of cardamom pods. For years, I made this recipe every Saturday morning so I could add it to my coffee and even over vanilla ice cream throughout long, lazy weekends. If you don't have cardamom pods on hand, the ground spice works great! One recipe will make several servings and keeps well for a few days, which is ideal because we could all benefit from a little added indulgence in our morning coffees.
Speaking of cardamom... we were on a major kick this weekend. Jonah also made these buns from Fabrique's recipe, in New York, and they were incredible!
I started making a "Stay Home" playlist this weekend but stopped when I realized all I wanted to listen to, really, was this self-titled album by the Black Pumas. Like the band's name, the retro-soul music has harbingers of the 1970s, with nods to soul and jazz artists from that era. But it's only just grabbing enough that I could still listen to it while reading on a Sunday morning, enjoying the beats and Eric Burton's voice subconsciously.
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It's difficult to fathom the reality of spending eighteen years on a book, only to have it come out on March 10th, in the heart of the coronavirus in the States, but that's exactly what happened to Kate Elizabeth Russell when she published My Dark Vanessa last month. Fortunately, her book became an instant best-seller, but countless authors haven't been nearly as lucky. In Leigh Stein's newsletter, she wrote about the launch of The Wing-inspired thriller The Herd by Andrea Bartz, "Andrea is one of many authors whose book launch has been impacted by Coronavirus." A cupcakes and cashmere reader, Halley Sutton (whose debut novel comes out this fall!) sent me a short list of her friends launching books in the middle of COVID-19 that you can support by purchasing:
- The Return by Rachel Harrison: "A group of friends reunite after one of them has returned from a mysterious two-year disappearance in this edgy and haunting debut."
- Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar: "A spellbinding novel of psychological suspense that follows a young archivist's obsession with her subject's mysterious death as it threatens to destroy her fragile grasp on sanity."
- Braver Than You Think by Maggie Downs: "At age 34, newly married and established in her career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, Maggie Downs quits her job, sells her belongings, and embarks on the solo trip of a lifetime: Her mother's."
- Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls by Nina Renata Aron: "A scorching memoir of a love affair with an addict, weaving personal reckoning with psychology and history to understand the nature of addiction, codependency, and our appetite for obsessive love." (Quick side note: I love this title.)
P.S., You may notice we've stopped linking books to Amazon and have been linking to Bookshop, which we earn affiliate revenue from while also supporting independent booksellers! You can view the list of books above here!
The last thing I need is another reason to stare at my phone screen, but this weekend I fell into a hole of mobile story-telling after reading this piece in New York Magazine, about Snapchat's made-for-phone reality show, Endless Summer. As the article points out, mobile-storytelling can't be directly compared to any other medium—it's an extremely quick-moving, usually vertical, format designed to grab your attention in seconds, not minutes. But this week, it's getting a lot more attention from the recent launch of Quibi.
This weekend, I gave it a try: I began with Endless Summer, then moved onto Snapchat's Zombie thriller Dead of Night, filmed entirely from the protagonist's phone screen (like the movie, Searching), then dabbled in the Quibi documentary I Promise, and the comedy Flipped. After a few hours, I felt a little bit entertained but also like my brain had melted (kind of like the afternoon I lost to TikTok). While there's so much more content I'd prefer to watch on an actual screen that I can't see myself returning to Quibi while sheltering in place, I can see its appeal while on a treadmill at the gym someday or, you know, in an avenue-long Trader Joe's line.
1. These at-home escape rooms look like a fun activity for kids or roommates!
2. A cupcakes and cashmere reader wrote this piece on finding joy in teaching remotely.
3. One of our team's favorite beauty brands MAELOVE just donated hundreds of products to hospitals via Donate Beauty. Even more reason to love them!
4. "My fear is the restaurants that survive are going to be the big chains, and we’re going to eradicate the very eclectic mix that makes America and going out to eat so vibrant and great." It's worth reading this David Chang interview to the end.
5. When life imitates art, the results can be hilarious.
6. My to-be wedding photographer recently shared 10 days of wedding photos—start here and work your way backwards. They're beautiful!
7. The Girls' Night In newsletter launched this wonderful resource.