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Leslie's Best Buys of 2016

Our editor shares the best things she bought all year.
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1. Annual Joshua Tree Pass: Entry to Joshua Tree National Park costs $20 per vehicle, but an annual pass is $30 and is valid for 12 months after purchase (talk about a great deal, amirite?). Not only that, but when the lines are crazy to get into the park, it allows you to just flash the pass and go around them. Considering the park is home to gorgeous camp grounds and hikes, and only two hours from Los Angeles, it's something I'll be getting a lot of mileage out of this year since I only purchased it two months ago. 


2. Rag + Bone Jeans: I live in denim, so I'd long been considering investing in a high-end pair. I purchased three pairs of Rag + Bone jeans this year at a sample sale, which was still a splurge, but considering I wear them more than anything else in my closet, they were well worth the investment. 

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3. Subscription to Sunday New York Times:  I've relied on mooching off of my parents' account to the New York Times ever since I left home (as with most of my online subscriptions), but I always missed the routine of reading the real thing. Since my boyfriend and I went halfsies on the Sunday Times this past year, it's become something I look forward to every weekend. We'll divide the paper in half (I almost always start with the Arts&Leisure section, then move onto book reviews), then switch. I've never felt so much like an old married couple—especially when we're tackling the crossword over a hearty oatmeal breakfast—but I love it. 

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4. IKEA Patio Set: My outdoor patio table is my most-used piece of furniture aside from my bed. It's where my boyfriend and I eat dinner every night (thank you, L.A. weather) and has been the site of countless get togethers with friends that have lasted well into the night. Come to think of it, it's probably my favorite place in all of L.A.


5. LA Boulders Membership: I discovered years ago that rock climbing gyms are actually the best place to meet new people and hangout with friends, but I only bought a monthly membership this year. It's been so rewarding to get better at climbing, plus I love that my membership includes workout classes, like yoga, and TRX, at a fraction of what they would normally cost in addition to providing a fun place to hangout.

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6. Nespresso Machine and Reuseable Capsules: It took awhile for me to bite the bullet and invest in a Nespresso machine, but I'm so glad I did. Since my boyfriend doesn't drink coffee, I never wanted to go to through the hassle of making a whole pot, so the single serving espresso format is perfect. My only qualm was the number of pods I went through, so I bought a stainless steel reusable pod (pictured to the right of the machine), which is better both for the environment and my wallet.

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7. Jade Plants: When it comes to plants, I kill everything I touch. Those succulents they promise are "impossible" to kill? Totally possible. I bought these jade plants months ago and water them when I remember to, and they've been thriving. They add a nice touch of green to a very not-nice part of our house—our laundry room and home to my cat's litter box. 

*I look way better in this photo than I actually am, promise.

*I look way better in this photo than I actually am, promise.

8. Surf Lessons: On a whim after a hike one morning in Malibu, I called the closest surf shop, Radfish Surfshop in Malibu, and an hour later was in the water with the owner Tony for my first two-hour lesson. I immediately fell in love with it and have been going semi-regularly ever since. It feels so empowering to take lessons for an activity I never thought I could do.

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9. RMS Un Cover-Up: I've always been a fan of wearing as little makeup as possible, but often resorted to foundation when I felt self-conscious of a breakout or splotchy skin. Since discovering this product, I've been able to stop wearing foundation altogether, since it provides such smooth coverage that blends directly onto my skin—no additional product needed.

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10. Ultimate Book of Card Games by Scott McNeely: Gonna go ahead and file this into the "nerdiest things I've ever said," category, but I've gotten so much joy out of this little book. My boyfriend and I bought it when we still lived in New York as something to do on nights where we didn't want to go out, but also didn't want to just watch a show or movie. Since then, we've gotten really into it—I'll make us each a Negroni (my favorite cocktail)—and we'll sit on the floor and learn a new game. It's almost as nerdy as our newspaper-reading ritual, but it's surprisingly fun and relaxing and provides a necessary respite from days filled looking at screens. 

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