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Unlocking a New Level and a Lava Cake I Can't Stop (Won't Stop) Making

Plus a heartbreaking/heartwarming movie.
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One of my goals for this year is to learn how to do more outdoor activities that require special equipment: Skateboarding, paddle boarding, getting more confident at city biking, and, as of recently, snow shoeing. Last weekend, Jonah and I signed up with two friends in our pod for a snow shoe lesson through REI (which is still offering their outdoor courses, to small groups). Beyond enjoying ourselves immensely, I felt so empowered by learning something new, like I'd unlocked a new level in a life video game. It's a feeling I've come to love, especially when quarantine can feel otherwise stagnant: learning how to make sushi, how to paint a room or install blinds myself, how to teach Toast a new trick, how to garden (currently working on that one). Here are a few other things I loved this week:

1

Jonah and I are officially on the final season of our "Girls" rewatch and have a few takeaways: Shoshanna is the best, Adam Driver is everything John Oliver describes him to be, the show is better than I'd remembered, and the music is fantastic. Ever since "Roll Up Your Sleeves" played in the closing credits, I've been listening to Meg Mac on repeat (same goes for "iT" by Christine and the Queens and "GIRL" by FLiP). Fortunately I'm not the only person who feels this way, and a quick Spotify search brought me to this playlist featuring songs from the series (once you're tired of listening to the same 15 songs from the official soundtrack, that is).

2

'Minari' has been getting a lot of attention since its Sundance premiere—and with good reason. Jonah and I recently saw it at a drive-in as part of the Portland International Film Festival (though it's currently streaming online), and were completely blown away by the performances (I love the grandmother, played by Yuh-jung Youn), the soundtrack, and the story. The film follows a Korean-American family as they move from California to a farm in rural Arkansas in the 1980s to pursue the father's entrepreneurial dreams, while navigating rural American culture (the film's title comes from the Korean name for the leafy vegetable that grows in the creek by the family's home). It's heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time—you can rent 'Minari' online here.

3

When a baguette recipe I made last week yielded three loaves, I was left with a lot of stale bread. Luckily, I had enough cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs to pull together a panzanella, Italy's gift to stale bread. After searing bite-sized pieces of the baguette in olive oil, I tossed it with most of the fresh vegetables in my fridge (I took quite a few liberties with this part of the recipe), and Ina Garten's panzanella dressing. It was delicious enough that I may deliberately make too much bread next time around...

4

Many of you tuned in for the Instagram Live on @shopcupcakesandcashmere last week with our contributor Jazmine Reed-Clark to discuss her piece on quarantine weight gain and the often arbitrary metrics we measure our success by (kids by 30, GPA, the amount we "should" work out or eat, etc). In our conversation, I mentioned her latest podcast, "Pretty for a Black Girl," where Jazmine de-stigmatizes mental health, and the idea that therapy is only "for white folks." The podcast is for everyone who has every had difficult asking for help—in her first episode, she breaks down how she started attending therapy, and her second episode (out now!) is all about setting boundaries with parents. You can listen to "Pretty for a Black Girl" here and catch a recording of our Live here!

5

Last week, I found myself craving a chocolate lava cake—a dessert I assumed was impossibly complicated to create, until I landed on this recipe for a 15-minute lava cake by Eric Kim (another new skill #unlocked). You guys. It is as delicious as any decadent chocolate cake I've ever had the pleasure to eat (especially with a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream on top), and is so easy to make. In the past, I've recommended a microwaveable mug cake, but this is even easier, tastier, and more fool-proof, so much so that I had it three times last week and didn't manage to get a single photo before devouring it.

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1. A reader recommended this dog puzzle from Outward Hound, for keeping pups entertained. Going to order one for Toast! 

2. These hand-painted candles would make a beautiful gift. 

3. Good news: "Shrill" is coming back in May! Bad news: It's the final season. 

4. This new media site, The Temper (and program, The Tempest) is aimed at helping people maintain, or begin, their sobriety. 

5. A beautiful and creative union between typefaces and music.

6. So excited for this adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 'The Underground Railroad.'

7. A new Julien Baker album, if you're in the mood to feel all the emotions. 

8. I missed this digital tortilla workshop, but will keep an eye out for the next one from La Reinita in Portland. 

9. How Olivia Rodrigo and her producer created "Driver's License." 

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