The nature of working with a small team means that every work day is packed to the brim with things to do, but the past few days have been busier than usual thanks to a special project that launches next week! As a result, most of my after-work plans have been limited—drinks here, a quick dinner date with my boyfriend there—with one day a week reserved for computer-free time so I can shut off and recharge. This weekend, I went for a hike to Bridge to Nowhere in the Angeles National Forest (and incidentally did some very unplanned bungee jumping, but that's another story). It's about ten miles round-trip with river crossings, rock scramblings, and beautiful scenery just an hour out of the city (bring a swimsuit if you go!). Here are some other things I've been enjoying this week:
The first month I moved from New York to L.A. (now almost a year ago!), I spent a lot of time doubting myself. I loved L.A., but I'd left behind so many incredible things in New York: amazing restaurants, Broadway shows (I'd mastered the pre-show lotteries by the time I left), and the Museum of Ice Cream. No joke, I nearly cried when I learned I'd just missed the opening of a museum dedicated to ice cream with a pool of sprinkles (I was in a fragile state). Well GUESS WHAT? Like most great things (Shake Shack, the cronut, Milk Bar, pastel macarons), The Museum of Ice Cream finally came to L.A. Starting this Saturday, Angelenos can dive into the pool of 100 million sprinkles and play in the melted popsicle jungle. Emily and I are planning on going to a sneak preview this Friday—follow along on @Shopcupcakesandcashmere's Instagram!
If one ice cream event isn't enough for you this week, Jeni's Ice Cream is opening a new scoop shop on Larchmont this Thursday and is throwing a grand opening party with free ice cream from 7 to 11 p.m. (Their brambleberry crisp, salty caramel, and pear lambic flavors all tie for my favorite.)
If you're looking for a more under-the-radar foodie experience this week, consider buying tickets to this interactive food-art tasting at Greenbar Distillery in the Arts District for $25. And just a reminder that Earth Day is this Saturday, so spend some time outside! If you want to partake in a beach cleanup or just get outside, this list of events is a great resource and this website aggregates off-the-beaten path hiking trails.
The New York favorite bakery Milk Bar opens in L.A. later this year, but if you don't live within driving distance—or can't wait—you can bake my favorite (and arguably, most underrated) Milk Bar sweet at home: Blueberry and Cream Cookies. Imagine the best part of a blueberry muffin (the top, obviously) but even better. They're an investment in time—the process includes making something called "milk crumbs"—but well worth it!
If you're looking for something on the savory side, try a more affordable spin on a classic brunch staple: carrot lox. Even if you aren't vegan, this stuff is delicious—not to mention costs less than $5 to make when you could easily drop a few twenties on the real thing. You can DIY with this recipe (I follow it exactly, but skip the liquid smoke only because I like the taste of carrots more than the taste of smokiness), or stop by Orchard Bakery in New York for their version.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, consider visiting the California African American Museum for artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle's exhibit The Evanesced. The exhibit includes 100 "un-portraits" representing the tens of thousands of of black women who go missing in America every year. It's a painful subject, represented beautifully with sketches painted and drawn by brushes the artist made herself, often from found or foraged objects. If you can't make it, I still recommend listening to the artist's interview with Madeleine Brand on Press Play.
Released yesterday, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann is equal-parts chilling murder-mystery and true (albeit stranger-than-fiction) historical account. It takes place in the 1920s, when members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma were being killed off one by one—likely over the oil beneath their reservation, which had made them some of the wealthiest people in the country. When the death toll reached over two dozen, a then-new government agency, now known as the FBI, took over the case—and then badly bungled it. The book uncovers secrets from the past and includes new evidence. If you still aren't convinced, you can read the first chapter here or listen to the NPR interview that convinced me to purchase my own copy.
If you're looking for something shorter: This New York Times article on the first homeless Girl Scouts troop is a ray of sunshine amid a lot of terrible international news. Also, apparently we should all be eating "three eggs a day, two of them raw."
If you live in Los Angeles, you may want to check out the Festival of Books at USC this weekend. Admission to the festival is free and tickets to the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, hosted by (my personal favorite comedian) Tig Notaro, are available for $10 here. See the full schedule of speakers and "conversations" here.
This week has been a great week for T.V., with the finale of Girls last Sunday, the premiere of Veep season six, The Leftovers season three, and Fargo season three premiering tonight. If there's ever been a time to binge-watch and catchup, now is the time!
Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Sylvan Esso, an electric folk-pop band (that's the genre they use to describe themselves) that's the collaboration between folk singer Amelia Meath and electronic producer Nick Sandborn. I loved their 2014 album with the song Coffee, and over the past few months, they've released several singles to tease their new album, What Now, out this Friday. If their songs Radio and Die Young are any indication, their new album is going to be amazing. A reader also recently emailed me (hi, Erin!) to recommend the podcast, Song Exploder, which has a great episode about what went into creating the Sylvan Esso song Coffee. It made me love the song even more!
P.S. If you like folk, Feist is also coming out with a new album this Friday. I'm not the biggest fan of her new singles—they're more experimental and guitar-heavy than her past releases—but I'm interested to hear the album when it comes out!
While I usually avoid buying cut flowers (to help my wallet more then anything else), it can be hard to stick to in Spring when there are so many beautiful bouquets at the farmers market. To make the most of each bouquet, I've been using this florist tip for opening flowers by hand, which can make petaled blooms like roses look even more dramatic (How cool is that?).
P.S., I'm often asked where I find ideas each week, and one of my most frequent answers is, "From listening to NPR during my commutes." I love Los Angeles' public radio station, KCRW, which has some really amazing programing including Morning Edition, Morning Becomes Eclectic, and Press Play, but unfortunately it's at risk of being defunded with the latest proposed national budget. If you've ever listened to life advice from Ira Glass or, really, turned on your radio (90% of stations are public!), you can support your local station by becoming a member (I'm one of KCRW) or visiting this website, which was formed out of a grassroots campaign to protect public media.
About Leslie's List: 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!