Leslie's List: The Staves, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Nighttime Hikes

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
Leslie's List NEW

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!

Do small

Now that the weather's finally cleared up, get outside and clear your head! Every Tuesday through Thursday, the Sierra Club leads hikes through Griffith Park. The hikes are divided by level of intensity and destination so that the first level might be a casual stroll while the highest level is often a steep trail run. The best part is that the hikes (which are free) start at 7 PM, so the entire hike, which ends around 9:30 PM, is in the dark, which is something I probably wouldn't do without a large group. I've been going on and off since the summer and I've discovered so many areas of the park I would never have otherwise.

Eat small

For the past year, these chocolate chip cookies have been my favorite dessert. They're hearty, not too crumbly or cakey (I love to dip cookies in milk so it's important that they don't fall apart on me), and so, so good. But here's the kicker: They also happen to be vegan and have very little sugar! It sounds too good to be true, but these cookies are just that magical. A banana holds them together and provides most of the sweetness (I actually prefer them with even less sugar than the recipe calls for), which I've interpreted as a sign I can eat them for breakfast as I would banana bread. I gave Alina a batch to bring with her on her flight to Paris and am planning on doing the same for mine! 

Read small 2

To be completely honest, I haven't read Dark Matter yet, but that's only because I know it's going to be a page-turner—instead, I'm saving it for my flight to Paris on Saturday. Ever since my boyfriend finished it last month, he's said no fewer than twenty times, "You're going to love it. It's so cool." and the sci-fi description—which deals with the many worlds theory—sounds promising in the coolest/nerdiest way possible.

watch

I loved the premiere of HBO's new miniseries, Big Little Lies, so much when I watched it two weeks ago that I bought the book and read it in its entirety before watching the next week's episode. Now that I'm all caught up—it's a quick read!—I'm ready to dive back into the series (even knowing the ending). You can watch the first episode for free here.

Listen

Last week, I went to two concerts that completely knocked me off my feet: a Sofar Sounds show that included Foxtrax (their song Underwater was so good live) and The Staves, (three badass sisters who have the voices of angels) who played at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery—just look at this concert venue. As soon as I posted about The Staves on my Instagram, I was flooded with messages from readers suggesting I watch one of two documentaries about them: Austin to Boston (shout-out to Mary Catherine!) and a mini-documentary of Justin Vernon producing their last album. So once you're done listening to them on repeat (which I've been doing every since seeing them live), buy tickets to their next show, then watch these documentaries while you wait for the concert.

Make

For a number of reasons—a recent foot injury, rainy L.A. weather, and a "treat yo-self" mentality this past weekend—I've been really into taking baths lately. While it's safe to call fancy bath oil a guilty pleasure of mine, it's also a pricey pleasure so I've taken to using essential oils to make my own bath salts which are both affordable and easy to customize. I've been using this guide to make lavender and eucalyptus blends.