It’s been a tough week as we continue to see an uptick in reported cases of coronavirus in the Houston-area. We’re all on edge. We’re all tired. Some of us are still on the hunt for paper goods amid The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020. But there’s been some light in the darkness. Here are five pieces of good news to lift your spirit while you flatten the curve.

Tolentino Rising

New Yorker writer. NYT Best Seller. Houston-raised journalist and author Jia Tolentino can now add award winner to her ever-growing list of accomplishments. Earlier this week, Tolentino was named as one of the 10 recipients of the Whiting Award, which recognizes emerging writers across the literary landscape. It also comes with a $50,000 cash prize for each winner. Tolentino, whose essay collection, Trick Mirror, came out earlier this year, was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle’s 2019 John Leonard Prize for best first book. Maybe Shipley’s will name a donut for her next—after all her love of its fried treats is widely known.

Houston Helps

Just like in past times of upheaval, Houstonians continue to show what it means to be #HoustonStrong. Local designers are all making face masks for healthcare professionals, Culturemap Houston reported. Meanwhile, Grateful Dane Distillery has converted its operations to produce hand sanitizer for first responders, an announcement that followed a similar move by Gulf Coast Distillers, H-town's largest distillery. If that’s not enough, here’s a final tail wager: last week Houston-area animal shelters announced they were in need of foster homes for their four-legged friends after seeing adoption rates drop-off due to COVID-19. Well, Houstonians heard the call. Friends 4 Life and BARC has both seen an increase in applications. And they’re getting tons of photos of those dogs and cats enjoying their new digs.

J. Lo Still Keeping Selena’s Memory Alive

In case you missed it, Jennifer Lopez paid tribute to Selena Quintanilla-Perez last Saturday with a special video on the 23rd anniversary of the Selena biopic. The tribute features snippets from the film, which chronicled the Queen of Tejano Music’s epic rise to fame and tragic death, as well as interviews with the “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” singer. “There’s a part of you that grows in the beset characters you do,” Lopez says of the role that earned her a Golden Globe nomination. “Selena was that for me.”

Local Arts Bridge the Distance

Even though their doors are closed, local arts organizations are finding ways to keep sharing their art with the community. The newly Grammy winning Houston Chamber Choir launched With One Accord, a new podcast of recordings from the group’s past performances. Each song has been specifically selected to “offer a moment of peace and comfort,” according to a press release. The Society for the Performing Arts has kicked off a new video series, SPA Creative Connection. Every video features a mini performance by a local artist, and any member of the Houston community can apply to have their craft featured.

Mindfulness feat. Lizzo

Inhale—two, three, four—and exhale—two, three, four—because Lizzo’s here to help you put the ohm in “oh my God, it’s lookin’ heavenly.” The “Scuse Me” singer has been taking to Instagram and leading fans in meditation sessions, complete with crystals, incense, and Sasha, her equally famous flute. Just like her poignant lyrics, these segments are full of Lizzo’s patented brand of wisdom. “There's the disease, and then there is the fear of the disease," she said in one. "And I think fear can spread so much hatred, and fear can spread so much negative energy, and fear can spread the disease." Clear your mind and open your heart, H-Town. Our Alief homegirl’s talking truth—and if you really listen, it won’t hurt.

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