Leslie's List: Parchment Fish, Podcasts, and How to Volunteer From Home

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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Leslie's List HERO 2

After weeks of working New York hours (6 a.m. to 3 p.m.) from home, my boyfriend started a new job this week! Last night, we celebrated by heading to one of our favorite restaurants (which happens to be conveniently between our two offices), Petit Trois, for Champagne and dinner. Since we're both extremely careful about saving money, it felt so indulgent to splurge and eat to our hearts' content—which is exactly what a celebration should be! Okay, proud girlfriend spiel over. Here's what else I'm up to this week. Cheers! 

Do small
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One of my good friends Maggie (hi, Maggie!) basically lives a parallel life with me—we met rowing crew freshman year, worked as research partners in our Senior year Psych lab, and then both moved to L.A.!—aside from the fact that I fondly look back on my very unused Psych Major as a "hobby," while she's been a total Psych badass. Though she's volunteered with them for years, she recently started working full-time for Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that offers people in crisis free 24/7 access to a Crisis Counselor via text. It's a pretty amazing organization and they're hosting an info session for volunteers this weekend at the West Hollywood coffee shop, The Assembly. While I can't make it to the info session, I've admired the organization from afar for years—this event has inspired me to (finally!) sign up online to volunteer (which you can do from anywhere!). Hope you can make it! RSVP here.

Eat small
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The fact that my boyfriend worked from home for the past year meant that weeknight dinner was always very convenient. While we used some strategies for meal planning, most nights he would do the cooking and I'd come home around 8 p.m. to a finished meal (nice, right?). Now that we're both working traditional hours, I've been adjusting our meal planning strategy. Over the weekend, I roasted a ton of vegetables, which I've been keeping in the office freezer with frozen, ready-made rice, hummus and some other sauces from Trader Joe's, and hard-boiled eggs so I can mix and match throughout the week without really having to think about it. For dinner, I've been cooking a ton from Gwenyth Paltrow's cookbook, It's All Easy, which is filled with easy weeknight dinners like three ways to cook fish in parchment paper. A favorite is "Asian-Steamed Halibut with Scallions & Bok Choy" with wild salmon instead of halibut. It's so quick and easy, and it since it makes four servings, I've been making four at a time so that I have fish in parchment paper I can just pop into the oven the next night. Serve it over a grain, and you're set!

Read small 2
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This weekend, I'm taking a red-eye to New York for my best college friend's wedding. Since I've never been great at sleeping on planes (though the phrase "Prepare for landing." somehow has a narcoleptic effect on me), I'm preparing for my flight by downloading some fun plane reading, most notably Samantha Irby's collection of essays, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. The titles of the essays alone ("I'm in Love and It's Boring," "The Real Housewives of Kalamazoo") were enough to convince me to get it. I couldn't help myself from diving into the first essay, a fake application to become a "Bachelorette," and it's as hilarious as I hoped it'd be, with lines like, "Age: 35ish (but I could pass for forty-seven to fifty-two easily; sixtysomething if I stay up all night)." 

watch

Since I was out of town the weekend of the Charlottesville protests, I missed a lot of the initial coverage, and didn't fully grasp how horrifying it all was (is) until early last week. This weekend, I watched Vice's documentary on it and felt so disgusted I barely knew what to do with myself. As difficult as it is to watch, it should be required viewing.

Listen
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On that note, there's been a lot of news (and noise) lately, but I've found that listening to two podcasts, in addition to reading about it, primarily from The New York Times, helps distill it all into vital information. For the past two weeks, I've started listening to New York Time's The Daily, which is twenty minutes-long (exactly the length of my commute), with news and interviews that cover the essentials. On top of that, I listen to Pod Save America (which I've written about before!), which is hosted by four former Obama aids who give smart and obvious feedback ("Denouncing Nazis is so f***ing easy.") and brilliant commentary. 

Make
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When these Loeffler Randall slides came out last year, I added them to my cart and stalked them, watching the price drop from a whopping $350, then hover around $170 and sell out before they reached a price where I could justify buying them. If only I'd discovered this DIY before putting myself through the anguish of letting the perfect shoe slip me by (okay, it's not that bad, but still would have been nice to know about this!). To make them, grab some affordable slides like these ($35), these ($29) or these heeled mules ($19), and follow the instructions here