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The Most Influential Band You've Never Heard of and an Update from Leslie

Thousands of recommendations later...

It feels more than a little surreal to share that, after five years of Lists and nearly a thousand recommendations (!), this is my last List at cupcakes and cashmere. It's hard to overstate what this job has meant to me—it's often felt like far more than a job—but on Friday, I'll be moving onto my next adventure. I'll be sharing more later this week about what's next for me (as well as looking back!), both here and on my Instagram. Until then, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for reading this column. I've loved receiving your DMs and comments over the years, sharing the book or new artist you discovered through one of my recommendations. It's meant the world to me, and this column wouldn't exist without you! With that, here are a few things I loved this week:


Sparks is your favorite band’s favorite band. Brothers, Ron and Russell Mael formed it in the late ‘60s when they were still far ahead of their time, and are still influencing (and creating) music today. Watch the documentary The Sparks Brothers, then listen here to learn the backstory of the duo behind the musical film Annette, out now and starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. (I have yet to see Annette, but am dying to!)


Michelle Zauner's memoir begins exactly where you might think based on the title, crying in the Korean supermarket H Mart, after her mother's death. "I can tell you with a straight face what it was like watching my mom's hair fall out in the bathtub, [...]" she writes, "but catch me at H Mart when some kid runs up double-fisting plastic sleeves of ppeongtwigi and I'll just lose it." From there, Zauner recalls her upbringing through the lens of her often tenuous relationship with her Korean mother, who she sometimes wishes was a "Mommy Mom," but admires fiercely. Reading it, I found myself marking pages with Korean dishes I want to try—ganjang gejang, jjigae, tteokbokki—and resonating all too well with some of the mother-daughter dynamics. (ILY mom, but you know we drive each other nuts.)

P.S. Here are all the books I recommended on The List this year, and I'll continue to update favorites here.


Over the past two weeks, we've had three sets of friends visit—which has been so much fun, but I was also *thrilled* to sink deep into our couch, with a fresh show when our guests left last week. So many people have told us to watch Sex Education, a Netflix series that takes place in an idyllic small English town (seriously, it's dreamy). In it, Otis, the son of a sex therapist starts a small business counseling other high schoolers on their sex-related concerns. It's incredibly endearing, and just a feel-good watch, as Otis and the students navigate the complicated worlds of sex and high school.


This week, I went to a Portland favorite, Sweedeedee for lunch with a friend. We loved it so much, we dragged our partners there the next morning... and then I found myself there again for dinner this weekend. Their food is just that delicious, so I was delighted to find a recipe for their legendary corn cakes online! They're like pancakes, but heartier and more flavorful.

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1. This compilations album delivers British Invasion vibes, with artists from Arab countries

2. Another mountain movie that looks awesome.

3. Not a link, but my checkout person at Trader Joe's shared the quote, "Don't let anyone gift you negativity." I've been thinking about it a lot!

4. PSA that the new Daily Harvest banana-almond smoothie is delicious. 

5. Anne Helen Petersen's recent newsletter on Peloton celebrity on Ally Love's wedding included all the questions I've been asking myself about the five-day event ("Wait Denis is there? Of course Denis is there"). 

6. Devastated by these photos of Lassen National Park. Hard to believe Jonah and I were there just last month.

Because this is my last List, here are a few things I wanted to tell you about, but never got around to: I love Lorde's single "Solar Power" and its message about tech addiction. Yearbook by Seth Rogan is hilarious, and I reread Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino which should be required reading. I'm still cooking my way through Julia Turshen's Simply Julia and have yet to be let down by a single recipe. I'm already missing White Lotus, but want to watch Cruel Summer, Sex/Life, and Inside Bo Burnham. So many of you recommended Stanley Tucci's Searching for Italy as well! Intrigued by the podcast, "Aack Cast" podcast by Jamie Loftus.

This won't be the last you hear from me this week, but you can follow me on Instagram at @lesliesteph—and I hope you do. This community has meant the world to me, and I hope you keep in touch!

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