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Leslie's Last Day: Saying Goodbye to the Job That Shaped My 20s

Leslie's last day at cupcakes and cashmere.
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In 2016, I uprooted Jonah's and my lives in New York for an Associate Editor position at cupcakes and cashmere. In retrospect, I'm surprised I wasn't more nervous; I'd only met my future coworkers over Zoom (then just three people), and my entire perception of Emily came from the blog. But I was excited to join a company whose growth I believed in, and I was hungry for the responsibilities that would be available to me on such a small team. At the editorial job I left, colleagues often reminisced, from our gorgeous Flatiron office and test kitchen, about the days when they'd take food photos on the founder's bedside table and recipe-test in her kitchen. I wanted to be at a company where I could tell my own version of the bedside table story.

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A few weeks after I started at cupcakes and cashmere, Geoffrey and I walked from their home to Larchmont, toting a bouquet of hydrangeas, so he could take photos for my introduction post. I had dressed the part of what I thought a "cupcakes and cashmere girl" looked like, wearing a top from the fall collection I'd grabbed from the office and an oversized gold watch, leaning maybe a bit more 2012 than 2016. I was thrilled to see myself on cupcakes and cashmere, a full-circle moment that felt surreal considering the hours I'd spent reading it.

It's impossible to summarize what the past five and a half years have meant to me—I'm lucky to have amassed not one, but several "bedside table" stories. There was the hectic downtown shoot, which I kicked off with a 4 AM flower mart run and weeks of location-scouting, but yielded some of my favorite outfit shots of Emily for the clothing line. There was the day we spent watching Halloween movies at Emily and G's, eating pumpkin pie with sprinkles in the crust, and the many, many conversations about life around our office lunch table. I learned how to hire models, and drove around in our videographer's Jeep as we location-scouted walkable spots for our shoe launch video—after which the entire office had the song stuck in our heads for weeks. I brought on our first external contributors to the blog, many of whom I'm lucky to call close friends, and oversaw every post and graphic that went live over the past five years, including The List which became one of our most popular series ever, and the source of nearly a thousand recommendations. I organized all of the vendors for our ten-year anniversary party, and met countless readers (I've never once said "No" to a request to meet and my life has been so much richer from the friendships I've made through this community.).

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At 29, I'm an almost entirely different person than I was when I started this job at 24—which has often felt like so much more than a job. On the blog, I recognize myself now as someone who has come into her own, having publicly shared all the bumps and stumbles along the way. I'm incredibly proud of the ways I've helped to shape and grow this company, and I'm enormously grateful for the coworkers and interns I've been lucky enough to work with, and bounce creative ideas and challenges off of. I truly can't say enough wonderful things about our team—Lisa, Jess, Kelly, Cass, Lauren, Shobi, Jayme, Ashley, and Carlos, who have all been amazingly supportive of this transition—but particularly Emily and Geoffrey. From the moment I started, they trusted my editorial vision, and served as invaluable mentors and cheerleaders.

Saving the best for last: Thank you. The cupcakes and cashmere community is a unique one, made up of some of the most impressive people I've had the pleasure to meet in person and engage with online. None of this would have been possible without your support, suggestions, thoughtful conversations, and trust. 

In the next few days, I'll be off on my next big adventure, heading to graduate school in an entirely new field. But that isn't to say I'm leaving editorial completely! I'll be sharing more soon on my Instagram @lesliesteph, as I create my own bedside table story. I hope to see you there!

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