Leslie's List: Grilled Zucchini, Kayaking, and Fermi's Paradox

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

This weekend, I took an unconventional three-day MDW on a goat farm in the Angeles National Forest (which I'll be writing about in more detail soon!). Between learning how to milk a goat (turns out I'm a natural?) and hiking, I spent hours reading and catching up on podcasts, my favorites of which I've listed below! As for this weekend, I'm not sure what my plans are yet. My boyfriend told me yesterday that he's taking me on a surprise trip, so it's all up in the air. I'll keep you posted! For now, here's what I'm reading, watching, and listening to this week:

Do small
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The L.A. River isn't exactly known for its beauty and potential for outdoor adventure, but now is as good a time as any to change that: This week, it opened for the summer to kayakers. You can either BYOKayak (but check this guide first for allowed entry points!) or book a group tour which promises small rapids (!). There are two available stretches—one through Elysian Valley that's a little rougher, and a calmer paddle through Sepulveda Basin—so you can choose your own adventure. 

Eat small
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After a weekend of eating cheese and only cheese (I brought three types to a creamery), I was craving something light for last night's dinner, but still distinctly summery. After flipping through cookbooks and magazines, I landed on a meal that fit the bill: grilled shrimp and Torn Zucchini with Mint and Calabrian Chiles by Samin Nosrat (the author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat). After grilling everything, I served both the shrimp and zucchini on a plate of Greek yogurt thinned by olive oil (inspired by a trick I learned from one of my all-time favorite recipes), which I ate outside with a glass of wine. Yay summer!

Read small 2

The essays in Scaachi Koul's autobiographical One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter are equal parts hilarious, truthful, bizarre, and wise. In one, the Buzzfeed Culture Writer gives insight to internet trolls ("what they say to me online is the purest distillation of the rage they feel"); in another, she recounts awkward conversations with her bikini waxer. Since the stories each stand on their own, it's the perfect thing to pick sporadically throughout the summer, though you'll have a tough time not finishing the entire thing in one sitting. 

watch

Remember when summer was full of bad T.V.? In the interim between seasons of Friends, there was nothing to watch besides game shows and soap operas, but now that couldn't be further from the truth. If you aren't already watching The Bachelorette, The Keepers, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Leftovers, then maybe you had time to watch last night's premiere of House of Cards, as Claire and Frank take over the world, or at least the U.S. (as my friend recently texted me, "Too much tv, too little time"). While I stopped watching House of Cards somewhere in the middle of Season 3, the trailer looks so good (and spooky!) that I may have to dive back in (as soon as I finish Monday's Bachelorette!). 

Listen

Once in a while, a podcast episode comes along where I feel the urge to broadcast a text message PSA to all of my friends to listen to it immediately. Usually, I resist (only because every other sentence that comes out of my mouth is already, "Have you listened to [blank] podcast??") but this week, I couldn't help myself. I needed someone to talk about two mind-bending episodes with me: This American Life's Fermi's Paradox and Radiolab's Nukes. The first addresses the fact that there's a pretty good chance we're the only intelligent life in the universe (which is either depressing or great, depending on how you frame it) and the second asks the question, "Does the president really have the unbridled ability to deploy a nuclear weapon?" (Short answer: Yes, he does.)

Make
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A few weeks ago, after I nearly lost my entire makeup collection at the gym, I decided to take matters into my own hands and completely re-do my approach to it. First, I ruthlessly cleared out my cosmetics cabinet and kept only the things I use every single day (with a small pouch of "nighttime" makeup), then I ordered doubles of my daily products. It was an investment, but makes me feel so much better that I know have a designated "gym bag" and permanent collection of makeup at home. The next step is housing them all in an easy-to-see way, and I love the idea of this spice-rack-turned-makeup-shelf. Anything to get ready just a few seconds quicker in the morning!