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Leslie's List: Sundance's Darling, Healthyish Recipes, and Bees

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
Leslie's List-Recovered EDITTED

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!

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If you're looking for some levity this week may I recommend a good, old-fashioned spelling bee? Tonight, The Virgil is hosting a classic spelling bee with a twist: It's a "Slurring Bee." After every word, contestants are asked to take a shot. Since I'm still traumatized from my (very sober) middle school spelling bee, I'll be attending as a cheerleader and DD. Speaking of bees, an incredibly cool new speakeasy with a Mad Men vibe, The Birds and the Bees, is opening this Saturday downtown.

If you're more of a coffee drinker, my all-time favorite brewery, Mikkeller, is opening up their (first ever!) Los Angeles location tomorrow morning, serving (free) coffee at their "kaffe" (or café in Danish!). I've been literally counting down to this moment for months (not exaggerating, I think I checked their Instagram about 20 times for updates since I learned they found a space in mid-June), so I'll probably be the first in line.

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This week, Bon Appetit launched a new website, Healthyish. You can read the editor's letter of introduction here, but essentially, it's an L.A.-ified vertical of the New York-based brand (they mention "yogis" and "herbal-remedies" right off the bat and their intro video on Instagram is a palm tree-filled wonderland). Not that I'm complaining—I've definitely had my fill of Juice Served Here and I dog-eared most of the recipes in the accompanying print issue—but I'm curious to see where it goes. For now, I'll be making Ottolenghi's Root Vegetable Zoodle Soup with Bacon and Basil Oil and working on my self care.

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The Sundance Film Festival is in full-force and the big buzz is all about The Yellow Birds, a film starring Jennifer Aniston and Alden Ehrenreich. While you can’t see the movie (or even a trailer) unless you were at Sundance, we can all read the 2012 novel it’s based on, written by Kevin Powers. It provides an intimate and jarringly realistic glimpse into the Iraq war—which should come as no surprise considering the author was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar in 2004 and 2005.


This is glaringly obvious, but I'm going to say it anyways: The thing to do this week is see the Oscar-nominated movies (if nothing else, so that you can get a leg up on your viewing party ballot bets). I've seen La La Land twice now and wouldn't mind seeing it a third time, 20th Century Women is supposed to be brilliant, and if you're prepared to cry I highly recommend Lion, Fences, and Manchester by the Sea. P.S., If you're as obsessed with La La Land as I've become, you may enjoy watching this trailer for a film Damien Chazelle wrote and directed as an undergraduate at Harvard that shares many similarities with his now-blockbuster—but set in Boston(!!).

While you can't see the Oscar-nominated short films in theaters until the end of February (they usually come out just a few days before the awards themselves!), you can get ready by watching the trailers. I'll be watching them at the Laemmle in Santa Monica when the time comes. It's my favorite L.A. theater—it has the comfiest chairs and they serve beer and wine!


There's been a lot of noise in the news lately and it can be difficult to discern what's actually worth tuning into. I recently downloaded the NPR One app which creates a curated stream of stories. Their slogan: "Playing next? That thing you didn’t know you’d love." is so true and I've already learned so much just by listening to it during my morning runs (when I'm not in need of pump-up music) and on my way to work. 

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