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Leslie's List: The Perfect Present, Juniper Pie, and Lady Lovin' - Cupcakes & Cashmere

Leslie's List: The Perfect Present, Juniper Pie, and Lady Lovin'

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

This week's Leslie's List comes to you from a coffee shop in Silverlake! Since we broke early for the holidays, I've been taking full advantage by exploring all the areas of Los Angeles I wouldn't normally get to. So far, I've walked five miles starting from my apartment, stopping in restaurants and coffee shops I've never tried, I checked out the Underground Museum, spent hours at the Huntington Gardens, and got my California driver's license (it was time...). On the 24th, my boyfriend and I are heading on a week-long camping trip through Northern California! Instead of presents this year, we bought each other sleeping bags and campsites—I'm so excited to explore more of my home state! And, as we have for the past three years, we're meeting friends in Big Sur to celebrate New Years with Champagne in the redwoods! I hope you have a wonderful rest of 2017! Here's what I'm up to this week: 

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This week, Rooftop Cinema Club is showing Christmas movies! Through December 23rd, you can purchase tickets to watch Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, and Love Actually on a rooftop in Hollywood! The movie starts at 8 pm, but get there early to catch the killer sunset view and grab a cocktail, snacks, and seats.

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Living in L.A., it can be difficult to find that comfy-cozy feeling of the holidays. Hot chocolate? Too hot. Sledding? Maybe surfing... This pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds feels like a holiday hug—the dried juniper berries (which get ground into the sugar prior to baking) have a sprucey taste to them that perfectly complements the warm pear (and vanilla ice cream, of course). Ever since my boyfriend baked it for Thanksgiving, it's become my go-to contribution for holiday parties—here's the recipe!

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When Mark Lukach wrote a Modern Love piece for the New York Times about his wife's descent into psychosis in 2011, it immediately went viral. The illness came out of nowhere. He wrote, "It was a bewildering decline that snowballed from typical work stress to mild depression to sleeplessness to voices speaking to her in the night." His 2017 memoir, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward: A Memoir, is a deeper dive into the original column and it's equal-parts tender, incredibly frustrating, and exactly the type of story that begs the question, "What would I do if this happened to me?" The answer, as Mark discovers, is complicated. 

watch

If a favorite show is based on how many times you think about it and talk about it, then Black Mirror would have to be mine. The BBC show that now streams on Netflix explores hypothetical situations caused by technology in the not-so-distant future, and Season 4 comes out December 29th! I'm not suggesting you spend the last day of 2017 binge-watching a t.v. show, but I'm also not not suggesting you spend the last day of 2017 binge-watching it. The teaser trailers suggest this season will explore an electronic dating coach that tells you how many years, weeks, or hours you and your date will last, extreme child-safety technology, and a museum that venerates pain

Listen
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Fun (embarrassing?) fact: Within a week of meeting my friend Alice Ann, who I mentioned in last week's List, we came to the conclusion, "We both talk a lot. We should start a podcast!" She rounded up the only other girls she knew in L.A. at the time, and the four of us started meeting every Wednesday night at her place to record ourselves talking about anything and everything. As you can imagine, since we didn't have a theme or any sort of outline, each "episode" consisted of us introducing ourselves then completely forgetting we were recording and talking for hours (about four hours longer than any podcast episode should ever go). By the fifth week, we stopped recording and just started getting together to drink wine. When I heard the podcast "Lady Lovin," my first thought was "This is what we were trying to go for!" In it, Jilly Hendrix, Greta Titelman, and Lo Bosworth get together and just chat—about love, sex, relationships. Once you can get past the uptalk and mentions of "hubbys," every episode feels like a get-together with your own girlfriends. The first episode I listened to was an interview from last year with Eden Eats (who I adore and love even more after her interview!). It's such a fun listen and perfect for binge-listening while getting some holiday baking done! 

Make
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Several years ago, a coworker gave me the most thoughtful present—but I only recently realized how genius it was. It was a tupperware of homemade granola that included enough to last several days. I ended up enjoying it throughout the Christmas holiday, with yogurt and some berries, thinking of her each time. This year, I borrowed her idea and spent this past weekend baking batches of my favorite granola to bring into the office and deliver to friends and neighbors. The ingredients only cost me about $20 and I purchased these bags on Amazon, which I decorated with faux calligraphy of the person's name, a hand-written recipe (in case they like it enough to make more!), and a sprig of pine from a bunch I purchased at Trader Joe's for $5. To make gifts for twenty people, it cost under $2 per person! How often can you say that??

Happy holidays! See you back here with another Leslie's List on January 9th!