As Cupcakes and Cashmere has grown, so has the need for a larger team to help me manage our editorial content while I juggle the day-to-day tasks that come with running a company. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to our new Associate Editor, Leslie Stephens. When I began writing this blog eight years ago, I was at the age she’s at now. I had just moved to Los Angeles, was dating G, and navigating my confusing-but-thrilling early ‘20s. A lot of you evolved with me as I moved in with my then-boyfriend, got engaged, married, bought my first house, and had a baby—while a lot of you are new to the blog and closer to Leslie’s age. I’m excited to have her begin covering some of the topics I’ve since aged past, like budgeting for fashion, food, and decor, navigating your early career, and figuring yourself out at such a transitional age.
Over the past few weeks she’s integrated seamlessly with our team and has already become such a valued addition. We’re so thrilled to have brought her on board and wanted to ask her a few questions so you can get to know - and love - her as much as we do.
Where were you before Cupcakes and Cashmere?
Before Cupcakes and Cashmere, I lived in New York and was an editor at the website, Food52.
What was your cross-country move like?
My boyfriend and I moved within two weeks of finding out I got the job, so we threw all of our belongings into a rental truck and drove West. It was long (Kansas is enormous), exhausting (we drove for 10-hour stretches), and there was more than one occasion when we had Spicy-Hot Cheetos for dinner, but it was amazing. I had never been to the middle of the country before, so we made a point of tasting the barbecue in St. Louis and hiking in Colorado. Our cat was also amazingly calm and spent most of her time napping on the passenger’s lap, which was a small miracle.
What made you want to move to LA?
I was born in Los Angeles and still have a lot of family out here, so I had always toyed with the idea of moving back at some point, but there were a few factors that sealed the deal: I was ready to live in a place with easier access to the outdoors (and trees, for that matter), some of my closest friends had recently moved here, and, of course, this job. Now that I’m here, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.
What’s the best thing you’ve done here so far?
Last time I lived in Los Angeles, I was eleven, so it feels like an entirely new city now that I’m twenty-four—I can barely keep up with everything I want to do here. In the past month, I’ve gone to a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Sunset, a concert at the Hollywood Bowl (my first time there!), backpacking in Malibu, and countless dinners (plus one “juice date”) with friends. It’s hard to pick the single best thing!
What was your relationship with Cupcakes and Cashmere before starting here?
I first learned about the blog when my best friend introduced it to me my freshman year of college. It was Finals Week so I spent most of the time I was supposed to be studying backtracking through all of Emily’s previous posts. It had me hooked at first sight and I’ve read it every day since.
Favorite part of the job so far?
To be honest (and not just because my boss is reading this), there are so many things I already love about this job: How welcoming Emily and Geoffrey have been, that no two days are ever the same, and the fact that I get to work with people I respect and admire.
Are you a before-work or an after-work person? What’s your routine like during that time?
While my answer has always been “before-work”—I’m definitely a morning person—“after-work” has been giving it a run for its money recently. My boyfriend and I just finished setting up our patio furniture and our now-nightly glass of wine under our enormous grapefruit tree is hard to beat.
What’s playing on your Spotify right now?
Ninety-percent of the time I’m either listening to Phil Cook, Noah Gundersen, Paul Simon, Bahamas, the entire Hamilton soundtrack, or Spotify’s Coffee Table Jazz playlist. The other ten percent of the time (today, at least) I’m listening to Fleur East’s song Sax—it’s so catchy.
Most recent trip and next trip?
Two months ago, I spent a week driving around New Zealand with a friend and this summer I’m planning on going to my boyfriend’s family reunion in Wisconsin! So basically, I choose my trips based on where the best cheese is.
One thing you never leave the house without?
As of recently, my glasses. I’m in denial about how badly I need them, and often left them at home in New York, but now that I’m in L.A., I need them to drive—even if I take them off as soon as I’m safely parked.
Share something weird about yourself.
I have a tendency to break into celebratory jigs.
What would be your ideal free day, with an unlimited budget?
It’s a three-way tie between settling in with a book and a beer at the coffee shop down my block, backpacking somewhere new, or flying first-class to Copenhagen to have lunch at noma with ten of my closest friends (You said no budget, right?).
Favorite food: Orange Chicken from Panda Express <3
Favorite item of clothing: A vintage Ralph Lauren belt my mom wore in high school
Cat or dog: Dog (but I’m a recent cat convert after adopting my cat Meesh last year)
Savory or sweet: Savory! Pass the salt!
Beach or mountains: Mountains. You can’t ski at the beach.
Instagram or Snapchat: Instagram
Most-used app on your phone: Maps (and I still manage to get lost every time)
Thing you could do for hours and never get sick of: Chat with my boyfriend and close friends (or just talk, in general, to anyone…)
One word friends would use to describe you: Adventurous
What did you go to school for: Psychology and English at Wellesley
Go-to drink order: Negroni
What do you like to read and watch: I’ll read anything my friend Willa recommends (I’m currently on a David Mitchell bender) and I alternate between Game of Thrones and Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, for balance.
In 2016, you’re most excited for: This job, having a patio that isn’t a fire escape, and getting to know L.A. better!