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Dear Friends -


While our dreams of springtime in Paris won't be realized this year, we are happily blooming where we are planted. Our first Midwest spring after years in California greeted us with a spectacle of thunder and lightning mixed with snow—mon Dieu! 


Now, the sun is shining, Madison's famous Farmer's Market on the Square has reopened (featured in this week's episode of Top Chef), and daffodils are peeking through the soil. "Spring is the time of plans and projects," Tolstoy wrote. What better project than our rejuvenation? With windows flung open, breathing in the fresh, crisp air, let's embrace this season of possibility. 


Exciting news for this month's edition: my husband Mark has hatched a plan to share two book reviews and commentary on one of our current obsessions: Netflix's original series "Ripley." This will add a dash of variety to our spring selections! 


Breathe deep and blossom wildly, 



Founder & Chief IdeAlchemist


i: @jeniedahlmann

i: @idealchemy


P.S. I receive no compensation for my positive reviews of any books, movies, music, or other items mentioned in this newsletter. Please feel free to reach out to share your favorite books, films, television, music, etc., for me to consider including in the June edition.



Pulitzer Prize-winning “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver, a poignant exploration of the opioid crisis in Appalachia, and “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara, a harrowing tale of abuse and recovery, reveal a haunting parallel between their main characters Damon and Jude. Both navigate treacherous paths from youth using their unique gifts—Jude, adorned with brilliance, and Damon, armed with a fierce survival instinct. Their journeys unfold against a backdrop of relentless pain and unforgiving odds, each page a testament to resilience and the human spirit. Brace yourself for two emotional odysseys, where hope flickers in the darkness, compelling you to keep turning the page.

Reviewed by Mark Pinter



In the sensual and mysterious Apple TV series "Drops of God" (inspired by the manga "Kami no Shizuku,") Camille Léger, the estranged daughter of the famed oenologist Alexandre Léger, must outmatch her father's brilliant protégé, Issei Tomine, to inherit a legendary wine collection. Amidst Japan's and France's vineyards, secrets unravel, and legacies contend, blending rich drama with the fine art of winemaking. Dialogue in French and Japanese also served as an alternative to my DuoLingo lessons.

Steven Zallian’s new original Netflix series “Ripley,” a noir homage to Hitchcock, photographer Robert Frank, and Fellini, is a feast of stunning black-and-white imagery. Andrew Scott’s mesmerizing performance grifts you into rooting for a petty, cold-blooded sociopath. He snatches up a golden opportunity to escape his low-rent existence, (literally) ascending the steps to society’s upper echelon to capture his prey, only to descend again to cover his tracks. Who says dread and beauty don’t mix? Believe it or not, they do. – Mark Pinter



Pomplamoose, the dynamic American duo of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn, is known for its viral covers and original songs, which have captivated over a million YouTube subscribers. Their vibrant mashup of Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" and Lizzo's "Good as Hell" combines soulful optimism with a dash of empowerment—the perfect groove for when you wake up in the morning, love.

As spring gives way to summer, Dutch musician Benny Sings breathes new life into Christopher Cross’ “Sailing” with a groove-heavy, funk-infused rendition. This fresh take on the classic soft-rock anthem is the perfect soundtrack for drifting toward paradise with just a dream and the wind to carry you. His latest album, "Young Hearts," showcases his collaborations with diverse artists



While indulging in the original series "The New Look" on Apple TV, I was thrilled to discover that Christian Dior shared my love for the Lily of the Valley, my favorite flower and scent. For Dior, this symbol of eternal spring inspired iconic designs like his 'muguet' fragrance, Diorissimo, and brought luck tucked into the hems of his runway dresses. Now, thanks to Decant X, you can explore a variety of lily-of-the-valley scents through affordable sample vials before splurging on a bottle.

According to the CDC, over half of women have experienced physical-contact sexual violence in their lifetime. She's Birdie's personal safety alarms empower women to navigate the world more confidently and securely. Designed for ease of use (they attach to a keychain) and quick help, these alarms provide a crucial sense of safety, helping you make some noise and take action when needed. Join 3M+ users in fostering safer environments. Mark bought me one. Get yours, too.

This month on Instagram, I discovered the enchanting work of Virginie Cognet, a self-taught illustrator from the South-West of France. Formerly a fashion designer and art director, Virginie uses gouache to vividly express the joy of life’s simple pleasures—from the thrill of a good book to the first hint of spring. Her art is a colorful antidote to melancholy, gracing everything from children’s books to women’s magazines. Follow her on Instagram and see for yourself!

As someone who loves finding unique, fun gifts for family and friends, I was thrilled to discover ChattyFeet Fun Socks (Freda "Callus" shown here.) Launched from a lively London market stall, this brand collaborates with a global network of designers to bring characters to life on your toes! They also offer creative paper models and more, making every gift a conversation starter. Being grown-up is serious business, so add a little more fun wherever you can!

Brooches are back and bolder than ever this spring, shedding their dusty, grandma’s-trinket-box image to claim the spotlight on both men's and women’s lapels. Spotted on everyone from Oscar nominee Colman Domingo to Beyonce, these chic pins are popping up everywhere from the red carpet to the runway, making a splash with everything from floral motifs to futuristic AI-enhanced designs. I am excited to add this versatile accessory to my thrift shopping list this season.

Topo Chico just released "Sabores," a vibrant new line of drinks blending real fruit juice with herbal extracts, enriched by their signature effervescent mineral water for a healthy indulgence. Enjoy flavors like Lime with Mint, Blueberry with Hibiscus, and Tangerine with Ginger. Explore their delightful mocktail recipes and enjoy the elevated tastes to enhance your spring gatherings. My favorite? The Matcha Mojito, but use the Lime with Mint Sabores instead of the original flavor they list.



Social Goods is an online store that sparks change by offering statement-making goods that encourage meaningful conversations. Each purchase supports a nonprofit, with opportunities for further engagement. On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and opened the floodgates. Since then, 14 states have banned abortion with many more moving to enact serious restrictions. 1973 has become a shorthand for supporting abortion rights. Social Good's 1973 collection, designed by prinkshop, benefits Planned Parenthood's work providing vital reproductive healthcare services and advocating for protecting access to safe, legal abortion and reproductive rights.



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