Leslie's List: Sun Lights, Rooftop Yoga, and Strange Beasts

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

After kicking off the long weekend with an old-fashioned sleepover with girlfriends, followed by some memorable nights and meals (highlights included Chinatown Summer Nights and the noodles at Mian in San Gabriel Valley!), I was happy to not make plans for Monday and Tuesday. Instead, my boyfriend and I went hiking in Malibu, stopping to jump in the ocean on the way, and spent the Fourth catching up on books, before driving over to Dodger Stadium to watch the fireworks with friends. Here's what I'm up to this (short!) week:

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Yoga is now being offered from the top of California’s tallest open-air observation deck for less than the price of a Soul Cycle class (which happens to be a few blocks away, if you're partial towards street-level fitness classes). The best part (or worst, if you aren't a morning person), is that it starts at 6 a.m. so you get to watch the sun rise over Los Angeles in between chaturangas. It's only offered every fourth Saturday of the month, but you can reserve your tickets here! More of a night owl? Consider grabbing a drink at L.A.'s tallest open-air bar instead.

This Saturday, I'm headed to the Annenberg Space for Photography for a lecture on what really goes into creating a reality show. Executive producers from The Bachelor and The Hills, along with Whitney Port, will be there to discuss what it's like to be behind and in front of the camera (and how much is actually scripted). It starts at 6 PM, but head there early to be able to see other exhibits!

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I always thought I hated gazpacho until I came across this recipe. Instead of the watered-down salsa or cold slimy soup I had equated the Spanish drink with, this exceedingly simple version just tastes like the bright tomatoes and cucumber that make up most of the recipe. It's the perfect batchable summer dish to serve to friends (or save for yourself).

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Remember summer reading assignments? What used to feel like an annoying interruption in the middle of a day spent running around outside now feels like exactly the opposite—reading a book is one of my favorite things to do to slow down during the summer. The New York Times recently compiled a list of books universities around the country are assigning as part of their orientation programs. They address a range of topics from the sociology of poverty to the psychology of social media mobs (I devoured this in one day over the long weekend—it's really interesting!). It's a great list, especially if you're "beach-readed" out after this long weekend!


One of the most confusing things about social media is that even when you're sharing things with hundreds of friends, it can sometimes feel oddly lonely. This short film, Strange Beasts, takes that simple idea and brings it to a whole other level in a near-future world where people can create augmented reality "strange beasts." Only the user can see the CGI pets thanks to what the film calls "nano retinol technology," or images actually projected straight from a device implanted in the eye. For such a short film (it's under five minutes!), it has unusually impressive special effects and an interesting twist that kept me thinking long after it was over. Once you've watched it, see how they made it here!


Last week, the powerful and beautiful music video for Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) off the Hamilton Mixtape came out. It portrays a gritty and honest look at how hard many immigrants have to work to live in America, once they get here (if they're even able to). You can watch the video, above.

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The DIY projects on the blog Heju are so beautiful and intricate that they definitely go beyond my level of DIY ability (which is, at best, minimal), but still serve as home decor inspiration. In case you're a little more adept with a handsaw than I am, I wanted to leave this "sun light" here, which would make a really nice addition to a bedside table or on a desk for some diffused light.