Leslie's List: Meditation, Nick Viall, and Latte Recipes

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!

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When yesterday's post about New Year's resolutions went up, we were delighted at how many of you commented to say you'll be incorporating meditation into your 2017 routines. I've also recently started attending meditation classes at Unplug in L.A. after a positive experience at the New York meditation studio, MNDFL. There's something deeply calming about physically going to a space that's dedicated to slowing down (even if my mind almost always ends up drifting to my to-do list). P.S., They're running a two-weeks-for-$35 deal now which is pretty good! 

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One of the challenges of eating frugally (after a very not-frugal holiday break) is finding recipes that are fresh, moderately healthy, seasonal, and colorful—i.e., not just a baked potato or simple pasta. This recipe for a chickpea, mint, and fennel salad fills that slim space—it's bright and fresh, and when I paired it with a French-style potato salad, it made for a perfect winter meal that was filling without being overwhelmingly heavy. 

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Over the break, I read one of the most engrossing, captivating books I've read in a while: Ready Player One. Set 30 years in the future, it takes place in a world divided by global warming and housing crises, where most people prefer to spend their time in the high-tech virtual reality world known as OASIS. When the founder of OASIS (think: a Steve Jobs-type) dies, he sets up a scavenger hunt within the virtual world where one lucky winner has the chance to inherit his entire, vast fortune. The resulting journey is action-packed and chock-full of '80s pop references—I could barely put it down after the first page. Oh, and Steven Spielberg is currently filming the movie to be released in 2018! 

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I've said it before and I'll say it again (though I know it's controversial): The Bachelor is one of the best shows on television. Yes, it's ridiculous at times, but the experience of watching it is so fun and social that I look forward to it every season. Since Nick Viall's season started Monday night, I've joined three fantasy leagues (which I've never done before!), including one with my boyfriend and his guy friends (they may be more obsessed than I am...) and another with the C&C team. It's already made the experience of watching even more enjoyable. If you're interested in joining a league, grab some friends and have them each contribute a set amount to the pot (I did $10 for each of my leagues), "draft" your bachelorettes, and use a set point system (this one is supposedly the gold standard). May the best woman win. 

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Yesterday morning, I listened to a very short NPR piece about a wall in Rio de Janiero that's a gathering place for both locals and tourists. It paints a picture of a social sanctuary where people head to meet friends—old and new—and have long conversations over cold beers. It's an inspiring reminder that friends can be made anywhere, and that there are still parts of the world where people gather, for the simple sake of conversation and meeting new people.

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My New Year's resolution is to spend an hour reading by myself one morning per week, a crucial part of which is my morning caffeine. While I'll still be relying on my rushed Nespressos or English Breakfast Tea most days, I'll be making more advanced drinks when I have a little more time to make the slow mornings feel that much more special.
Here are some of the recipes I'll be making:
1. Zabaglione al Caffé (I can't over-emphasize how amazing this stuff is, spooned into a shot of espresso)
2. Iced Turmeric Latte (to help you fight a cold)
3. Masala Chai
4. Pumpkin Spice Latte (made with actual pumpkin)
5. Matcha Latte.