Leslie's List: DIY Gifts, Short Stories, and Pasta

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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This to-do list is culled directly from my own calendar and interests. Most everything on the list can be done no matter where you live, but because I live in L.A., my "Do" each week will spotlight a unique L.A.-based event or activity. If you're inspired by any of these tips or have some of your own to add, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below! Enjoy!

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A few weeks ago, a reader named Bridget (hi, Bridget) commented to recommend that I check out the classes available at the creative space Makers Mess and I'm so glad she did. They offer amazing classes from cocktail mixing to crafting and this Sunday, they're offering a contemporary embroidery class which sounded a little old-fashioned until I stalked the teacher's website (her work is so cool!!). The class is pricey—$149 per person or slightly discounted if you bring a friend—but you'll leave with a ready-to-hang, hand-embroidered hoop and the skills to make one for all of your BFFs. P.S., If you're feeling extra-crafty, make sure to check out the Echo Park Crafts Fair this weekend—it'll be hard to miss since Sunset Blvd. is closing down for it!

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One of my all-time favorite dishes is Linguine alle Vongole (or "linguini with clams", but "alle vongole" is way more fun to say). It's starchy, garlicky, briny, and brothy. It's also incredibly easy to make and I'm on board with any recipe that requires a quarter cup of wine since you can drink the rest while it cooks and pretend you're Julia Child. You can buy clams at most grocery stores, but I've found that they're cheapest and freshest at Asian markets like 99 Ranch Market in L.A. or the seafood stalls in Chinatown in New York (you're going to be paying upwards of double the price at Whole Foods). The whole thing takes about 15 minutes to cook—just make sure you only eat the opened clams. Trust me. 

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Naomi Kritzer's short story written from the perspective of a well-meaning, cat-loving robot who creates algorithms recently won the 2016 Hugo Award and it's easy to see why. It's a haunting portrayal of how much computers know us based on our internet history (emails, credit card activity, etc.) and how the seemingly random ads we see online aren't random at all. 

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I haven't had the opportunity to see the film Loving yet, but after reading this short New Yorker review (after finally sitting down to read a month's worth of issues that had been collecting on my coffee table...), I'll be making it a priority. The film follows the case of the Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision which overturned state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

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Ever since going to her concert, I can't stop listening to Julien Baker, a twenty-one year-old artist with lyrics that are so beautiful and poetic you'd never know she's still an undergrad. While she isn't huge (yet), she has a pretty sizable cult following—when I went to her concert, every single person in the audience sang along with her song Everybody Does and it looked like she could barely believe it herself.

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If you want to gift something impressive but aren't crafty, consider investing in a wood-burning pen (they're only $9 on Amazon!). With it (and maybe a trusty stencil kit, a good DIY, and some gloves), you can make custom cutting boards for your friends.