192 - Leslie Stephens

Leslie Stephens is a Portland-based writer, editor, and brand strategist who is currently publishing the popular weekly newsletter, Morning Person.

Leslie Stephens is a Portland-based writer, editor, and brand strategist whose work you may recognize from Food52, Eater, Tasting Table, or the L.A.-based blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Last year, she launched her newsletter, Morning Person, which quickly became one of Substack's Top Culture Newsletters and is packed with obsessively-curated recommendations around living an intentional and well-entertained life. She is also earning her Master's to become an addictions counselor, in the hopes of treating people who struggle with social media addiction, and is in the process of querying her first novel.

Personal website -> lesliestephens.com


  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
  • Desk
  • Grovemade laptop and headphones stand
  • Varier Balans Chair
  • August Sage Vase
  • West Elm Shelves


  • Analog Timer (My answer to how I get it all done—I use this to timer to time every task I'm working on, for focused work)
  • GoogleDocs and Drive (for writing and organizing)
  • Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (for creating graphics for Morning Person)
  • Sony Noise-Cancelling Headphones (I listen to Rachel Portman soundtracks the entire day I'm working, literally)
  • Google Docs (for writing and editing my novel)
  • Papier Planner (for organizing my school assignments)
  • Google Chrome's Grouped Tabs Feature

What is your favorite item in your workspace?

This desk is the third pandemic iteration of my work space, which began on a couch, and moved to a tiny IKEA desk, and finally this desk when I needed more room to spread out textbooks when working on school projects. I love it, especially paired with my rocking desk chair, which completely eliminated the lower back pain I was experiencing from the dining chair I was sitting on.

How do you spark creativity?

Reading, walking, and remembering to step away from my computer. For my newsletter, I find inspiration everywhere: A conversation at a coffee shop, things happening in my personal life, an article I've read. It's a matter of being able to recognize that fleeting moment of curiosity, then harnessing it into something that can be expanded upon and shared in a way that offers my readers value.

How do you keep the work-life balance?

Ha! The greatest difficulty for me, at the moment, is finding work-work balance. I'm editing and querying my novel, interning every weekend for a problem gambling clinic, earning my Master's and writing my thesis, and writing my weekly newsletter. I have to constantly turn on and off different parts of my brain—so I try to compartmentalize "homework days," "internship days," and "newsletter days." Although I work most weekends, I don't look at my phone or email from 7 PM to 9 AM, period. That's my time to recharge.
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