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A Book Giveaway (!) And The Feel-Good Movie We All Need Right Now

Plus, a few thoughts on tending a garden...
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For the first time in my life, I'm the proud owner of a garden! Since buying seeds from Territorial Seed at our neighbor's recommendation, we have a small crop of lettuces, peas, radishes, strawberries, and tomatoes grown from seed that have practically doubled during our previous week of sun in Portland. The process has been so rewarding—and we haven't even eaten any of it yet—but I've already discovered how much I love taking a lunch break to get out under the sunshine and pull weeds and water. I'm looking forward to planting more summer crops: zucchini (which I'm thrilled to hear grows like weeds), eggplant, peppers, and all of the fruit. Until then, here are a few things I loved this week: 

1

True story: In high school, I took myself to a Diana Ross concert and spontaneously wept tears of joy from a corner of the Reno Hilton ballroom when the first few bars of "I'm Coming Out" began and Ross emerged in a pink ballgown and matching boa. (Same thing happened during the first few bars of Taylor's "Welcome to New York" at the MetLife Stadium, but I digress.) Why am I telling you all about my inability to control my emotions in the face of joyous anthems? Not so that I can relive the memories, but to set the stage for what a pure joy it was to watch Ross's daughter, Tracee Ellis Ross, play a superstar singer in the movie, 'The High Note.' In the movie, available on Amazon, Maggie (Dakota Johnson) has worked as Grace Davis's (Ellis Ross) assistant for years, while quietly hustling toward a big break as a music producer. Honestly, I had almost as much fun watching it as I would a Supremes comeback tour. Cheesy and predictable? Yes. But also just an enjoyable flick with a catchy soundtrack and a feel-good (if reality-defying) plot and rich character development. 

2

It doesn't take many Kristin Hannah books to decipher a clear template: Old woman discovers a [chest/diary/ex-lover's dog tag] and relives the pain of having a bad relationship with her [mother/husband/little sister/daughter] but also the joy of discovering [her own untapped power/female friendship/both]. But here's the thing: The template works, and I have thoroughly enjoyed not one, not two, but three Hannah books with her latest The Four Winds, set in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression (think Grapes of Wrath but with less turtle symbolism and more romance). Like The Nightingale and The Great Alone, Hannah's latest novel builds slowly into a book you can't put down, with an unforgettable protagonist who defies the odds of her seemingly hopeless situation as she and her family head west to California.

P.S. I'm giving away the last six (!) books I recommended in The List, just for fun—be sure to follow @shopcupcakesandcashmere for details, announced later today! (And an enormous thank you to book publicists and authors for making this giveaway possible!)

3

When I finally visited Wes Reeve's artist page on Spotify, I realized I'd "hearted" nearly ten of her songs as they caught my ear on various playlists. But for the number of folk playlists she graces on Spotify and the high number of listeners she earns each month, there's surprisingly little information about Wes Reeve online and not nearly enough hype in my opinion. Her songs, like "Flowers in My Hair" sound like a cross between a choir of fairies, maybe a little of Daisy The Great, and a sprinkle of Gen-Z. She has yet to release an album, but is currently releasing a new song each week inspired by the seasons. Listen to her here!

4

Bring tissues. In 'The Father,' Anthony Hopkins isn't quite sure he's in the right apartment—or is it his daughter's apartment? She has, after all, been trying to steal it out from under him for years. But then again, there may be something else going on entirely. As 'The Father' unfolds, so does a stunningly-acted portrayal of a person with dementia, and the impact the disease has on the caretakers around them. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman are brilliant (as Jonah put it, "What are awards even for if Anthony doesn't win?"), but be prepared for a truly heart-wrenching film.

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1. This Vogue cover story on Amanda Gorman is worth your time today.

2. 20 self care ideas for your body, mind, and soul.

3. How to stop ruminating after a breakup, according to a relationship therapist. 

4. This movie looks cute!

5. “Let’s put away the gloves and the Lysol and focus on what works."

6. IKEA's new cookbook (?) actually looks... amazing

7. This is absolutely something Toast would do. No question. 

8. Cupcakes and cashmere reader Angelique Gay recently interviewed Thao on her podcast, Flipflops! (Nothing makes me happier than seeing these connections and I loved their conversation!)

9. Loved this painting DIY by @thehadylife.

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