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Leslie's List: Street Festivals, Online Orders, and Care Packages

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! Enjoy! 

P.S., I won't be posting a list next week since I'll be with my family for Thanksgiving, but I'll be back here the week after!

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I'm heading out of the city early Saturday morning to spend Thanksgiving week in my hometown, but I seriously considered staying in L.A. an extra day so I could go to the Open Spotlight street festival on Saturday night. The event includes a screening of the movie La La Land, a Maroon 5 performance, and pop-up shops. Tickets are available here for $25, though I believe each event is first come, first served so plan on getting there early!

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When I worked as a food editor, Thanksgiving started in April with testing turkey recipes, perfecting creamy mashed potatoes, and getting everything ready for the big November reveal (we liked to say that Thanksgiving was our version of Super Bowl). As a result, I still struggle with eating turkey—I once brought home a 14-pound turkey from a photoshoot and ate it by myself over the course over a week—but I now have an arsenal of tried and true recipes to pull from. Here's what to make if you like crispy skin or perfectly juicy meat, if you're short on time, prefer turkey with a kick, or like it saucy. But to be honest, I'll probably be making lamb

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Zadie Smith's latest novel, Swing Time—her first since 2012's NW—only came out yesterday, but has received press for what feels like months. Over the weekend, it saw tens of overwhelmingly positive reviews in addition to this piece on the novel's relationship with dance, which made me even more excited for the book. I've only just started it, but based on what I've read, the novel follows the complicated relationship between two girlhood friends years after their friendship has ended, as they each navigate their careers. I also highly recommend you watch this interview with Smith if you haven't already. Could she be any cooler?


I recently saw the new Amy Adams movie Arrival, which was haunting, beautiful, and touching, especially for an alien movie. Without going too deep into the plot, Adams is a linguist tasked with communicating with an alien pod that's landed in Montana to discover what their purpose on Earth is. It had me so hooked I forgot to eat my popcorn.


Before you jump on all the great post-Thanksgiving online deals, listen to this oldie-but-goodie episode from the Radiolab podcast, which does a deep dive into all the behind-the-scenes hustle that happens between the time you click "Order" and receive your brown box.


This season, make a thoughtful and homemade holiday gift package for a stranger via the Food52 Holiday Swap. The idea is simple: Sign up via this Google doc by November 28th, and you'll receive a random person's address, and someone else will receive yours. You then have a few weeks to put together a package with homemade goodies, local foods, and crafts to send to your "swapee," while someone does the same for you. I've participated in it the past few years and it's become one of my favorite traditions—it feels so heartwarming to receive a thoughtful package from someone who is a complete stranger. Good feels all around.

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