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Leslie's List: Crystal Candles, a Deep Stretch, and Healthy Cooking - Cupcakes & Cashmere

Leslie's List: Crystal Candles, a Deep Stretch, and Healthy Cooking

The best things to eat, do, and read this week.
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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!

Do small

You'll find this especially appealing if you ran the L.A. Marathon this Sunday, but it's also something anyone who's ever experienced long runs (or long days) can appreciate. I'm talking about the stretching services at Stretch Lab and The Now Massage. Both facilities offer special services where a trained masseuse or "flexologist" personally stretch you out—all you have to do is lie flat and let them pull and push your legs and arms. Since I needed a deeper stretch this week, after spending most of Monday and Tuesday hobbling around, I stopped by The Now for their "Stretch 25" and it actually left me feeling so much better than any at-home yoga did. I love that it's full time job-friendly (they offer 25 to 35 minute sessions so you can duck in after work) and budget-friendly (an introductory stretch at Stretch Lab is $25). Think of it as a healthy way to treat yourself! 

P.S., If you're a fan of La La Land, consider buying tickets this week to the live orchestra performance at the Hollywood Bowl over Memorial Day weekend before they sell out. I'll see you there! 

P.P.S., The duo Jim and Sam, which I've written about before, is opening for the band Picture This at one of my favorite LA venues tonight. Tickets are still available here if you're looking for last-minute plans!

Eat small

There are a lot of perks that come from being friends with a nutritionist: When I thought Halo Top ice cream might be too good to be true, I texted her an image of the ingredients to see if it was for real (aside from some softeners that are hard on some stomachs, it's good to go!), and when we went camping, she packed such amazing skewers that I made them every night for the week after we returned. She's the type of person who will recipe-test her own cashew-cacao milk, then patiently walk me through it step-by-step when I ask her how she made it so magically delicious. Whenever I go to the farmers market with her, I go without a list because I know that once I hear what she's making, I'll want to jump ship from whatever idea I had to copy her's. All this is to say that I couldn't be more excited that Betsy has (finally!) launched her own blog, Honey B Nutrition. Every recipe is delicious and abides by the philosophy that real food is good food—I've been cooking my way through her Instagram all week. Two of my favorite recipes so far are her Roasted Cauliflower and Miso Tahini Sauce, which I've been pouring over everything—chicken tacos, salmon bowls, even lentil stew. Nothing makes it to the table sauce-free.

Read small 2

I've been reading The Goldfinch for the past two weeks (I may be the last person to read it...), but I took a break to dive into this short essay by George Saunders on the messy, "mysterious" process of writing. He writes, "We often discuss art this way: the artist had something he 'wanted to express', and then he just, you know … expressed it.[...] The actual process, in my experience, is much more mysterious and more of a pain in the ass to discuss truthfully." 

watch

This week, I finally went through New York Magazine's best of 2016 issue (I'm just a little behind), and was surprised to find two shows at the top of their "Ten Best TV Shows of the Year" list that I've never even thought to watch: Atlanta (FX) and The Girlfriend Experience (Starz). The plots couldn't be more different—the first, directed by Donald Glover (Childish Gambino), is about an upcoming rapper in Atlanta, while the latter is about a law student who leads a double life as an escort. What I'm trying to say is I know exactly what I'll be binge-watching next. And while I'm on the topic, Emily Nussbaum's glowing review of a Girls episode has inspired me to dive back into the show after a few seasons off. 

P.S., Is anyone else as hooked on Big Little Lies as I am? Even after reading the book, I can't stop watching (and I'm kind of loving the new plot lines they added!).

Listen

There have been a few obvious new music releases over the past few weeks and days that everyone's talking about—Drake, Ed Sheerran, Brad Paisley—but I haven't been able to stop listening to Swedish singer Zara Larsson. You may already know her from singles Lush Life and Ain't My Fault, and her new album So Good has some of the same token pop/cardio songs, but it's also low-key enough that it's exactly the kind of album I want to put on when I'm home alone and just want to jam. Side note: She's nineteen!

Make

I've never made a candle in my life, but two events recently inspired me to try: 1.) Friends staying with us last week gifted us a handmade candle as a thank you (so cute!), 2.) I saw a very expensive, unique candle in Paris that looked easy enough to recreate at a fraction of the cost. I can't find any photos of the candle in question, but picture this: It had plain white wax, but secured upright in the wax were two long crystals that gradually become uncovered as the wax melts (it looked something like this, but with the crystal actually peeking through at the top). You can buy something similar here, or if you're feeling crafty, buy some crystals on Amazon and do it yourself, as they say.