This & That: February 19, 2021

Feb 19, 2021

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A new-to-me series I am absolutely loving, a must-have jazz album, a new memoir from a fashion designer who has stood the test of time and will inspire you to live well, the much anticipated release of a playful film adaptation starring Judi Dench, books for the Francophile and Anglophile, a heartwarming film receiving Oscar buzz and much, much more.


Norma Kamali I Am Invincible by Norma Kamali

As soon as I read the WSJ article and review of designer Norma Kamali’s new book, I knew I wanted to read her part memoir, part handbook. Released on February 2nd and already out of stock until March 1st, “at 75, Kamali looks—and acts—nearly half her age. The secret, she writes, is learning to age with power: Embracing a healthy lifestyle and looking forward to every milestone and the changes they bring, with the realization that reaching one’s potential has no date. With wisdom and wit, Kamali imparts her lessons on authentic beauty, timeless style, career-building, fitness, and health through personal stories, worldly insight, and actionable advice designed to help women of every age create their happiest, healthiest, most successful and fulfilling lives.”

Looking forward to reading soon, with a copy on its way. 🙂

The Panic Years: Dates, Doubts and the Mother of all Decisions by Nell Frizzell

Author Nell Frizzell has chosen to name the years between a woman’s late twenties to early forties as the panic years. Whether I agree with her choice is debatable, okay, more than debatable – I don’t agree, but I understand why this was chosen – it will catch people’s attention when they see the title for one, but I do appreciate her bringing the conversation for us all to digest in her new book released last week.

The panic years, as she defines them, characterized by a preoccupation with one major question: should I have a baby? And from there―do I want a baby? With whom should I have a baby? How will I know when I’m ready? carry the book’s focus through the freelance journalist’s (Vogue, The Guardian, Elle, Vice, The Telegraph and The Independent) own raw and hilarious experiences, shared with honesty and vulnerability.

British Find

Lady Clementine: A Novel by Marie Benedict

A tremendous thank you to a handful of TOP Tier subscribers for recommending Marie Benedict’s novel Lady Clementine, inspired by Winston Churchill’s incredibly influencial wife. After reading Benedict’s most recent novel The Mystery of Mrs. Christie and loving it, I cannot wait to begin Lady Clementine.

Gardening with Carol Klein

Oh, to be in Britain and be able to watch Carol Klein’s new two-part gardening series. Airing on Channel 5, Klein’s new series debuted last evening in the UK with the second episode to air next week. Taped during May and June of last year in her North Devon garden which she and her husband created from basically nothing 40 years ago, be inspired to start your own garden as she shares the basics and provides inspiration for gardeners no matter what their level of expertise. (my fingers are crossed this series will come to BritBox or Acorn soon)


Blithe Spirit

Finally, finally, finally, the film which was supposed to premiere in May of 2020 is now available beginning today wherever you stream your favorite films as well as available in some theaters. The 1945 original film starring Rex Harrison is the premise for a new adaption starring Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, alongside Isla Fisher, Leslie Mann and Dame Judi Dench. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy this playful plot.


“Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners of twenty years, are travelling across England in their old campervan visiting friends, family and places from their past. Following a life-changing diagnosis, their time together has become more important than ever until secret plans test their love like never before.” Look for it wherever you stream your favorite films.

Francophile Find

Fleur de Sel Murders

Recommended by Sharon Santoni on her blog My French Country Home, Fleur de Sel Murders was released in 2018 and looks to be a delight of a cozy mystery read set in France. (Speaking of French cozy mysteries, have you read my latest recommendations for viewing and learning a bit of French to boot!).

The third book in a six-part murder mystery series – Brittany Mystery Series – follows Commissaire Georges Dupin, a Parisian-born caffeine junkie recently relocated from the glamour of Paris to the remote (if picturesque) Breton coast, and the mysteries he is tasked to solve.

“The old salt farmers in the region have always said that the violet scent of the Fleur de Sel at harvest time on the salt marshes of the Guérande Peninsula has been known to cause hallucinations. Commissaire Dupin also starts to believe this when he’s attacked out of the blue in the salt works. He had actually been looking forward to escaping his endless paperwork and taking a trip to the ‘white country’ between the raging Atlantic Ocean and idyllic rivers. But when he starts snooping around mysterious barrels on behalf of Lilou Breval, a journalist friend, he finds himself unexpectedly under attack.” Oh, yep, this looks like a great series to cozy up with.

Julia Child notecards

Just released, for fellow Julia Child fans, if you are looking for a gift for those who love stepping into the kitchen and appreciate Child’s playful quips and exuberance in the kitchen, this is the notecard box set to purchase.


Ella Fitzgerald: The Lost Berlin Tapes

After watching lesson #15 of Alice Waters’ Masterclass, and hearing her describe the music she prefers to play while enjoying a meal with friends at her home, I was reminded why classic jazz just works so well for such occasions. And so it seemed serendipitious this past week to learn about a recent album remastered and released this past fall capturing Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin live in concert in 1962. Learn more about why this album is such a treasure to add to your music collection. Have a listen to the voice, the crowd and the lovely jazz favorite tune below.


Giuseppe Zanotti blush notte leather pumps (70% off)

A simple kitten pump, a classic hue to elongate the leg, and 70% off makes it all the more sweet (many sizes still available).

Jenni Kayne cashmere overcoat

Jenni Kayne recently became a sponsor of The Simple Sophsticate podcast, and I am tickled to have them align with the simply luxurious approach as the LA-based clothing and decor company shares many of the same ethos – a focus on quality, timeless pieces and absolute comfort. Her cashmere overcoat in fawn (more colors avilable) is an item I scooped up with the exclusive code for TSLL readers – SIMPLE (save 15%). As it arrived yesterday, I delighted in the soft comfort and natural fall of the fabric as it draped casually around my attire. From their favorite mule shoes to home decor as well, be sure to peruse their entire site and enjoy extra savings (don’t forget the promo code SIMPLE).

Emilio Pucci light blue belted pleated wool-crepe skirt (60% off)

A lovely spring hue, a quality design and simple to pair with a variety of tops and pumps or sandals.

Oscar de la Renta draped wool-blend crepe dress (58% off), navy also available in size 8

Comfort and quality, chic and feminine. Only a few sizes remain.


Seaside Hotel, (Danish series)

I cannot recommend this new-to-me series enough. I learned of it just recently, and have scooted through three seasons already! Shhh . . . 😉 I know! I know! Premiering in 2013 and with easy to follow subtitles, set on a beautiful summer coastline in Denmark between the years of 1928-1933, Seaside Hotel (six seasons) follows the same group of guests who return summer after summer to stay their three weeks getaway and the drama ensues – not only amongst the guests but with the war we all know is around the corner – interesting business decisions and life decisions add to the plot. A lovely series. I do think you will enjoy (view through PBS’s Masterpiece streaming service on Amazon Prime).

The most lovely long weekend was savored last week as the snow fell and both walks and skiing outdoors were enjoyed along with much snuggling indoors. Plans are moving along on décor projects which helps to distract from the ever-changing school schedule (we were back online this week), and just last evening, the snow returned swirling and blowing, however, melting as soon as it arrived. As I am eager for spring blooms to reveal themselves, yesterday’s weather occasion was ideal. 🙂

If you haven’t stopped by the blog this past week, be sure to check out a new-reader-favorite post – 6 Cozy French Mysteries I Have Enjoyed, and if you are looking for a simple winter dessert full of fresh pears and nutty crunch – give the Pear, Almond and Nutmeg recipe a try. As well, a new episode of the podcast was shared on Monday inspired by a book I cannot recommend more highly, and the Outfit of the Month will have you looking chic and timeless as winter comes to a close. Look for the regular monthly post, Saturday Ponderings . . . to go live this weekend (learn about becoming a TOP Tier subscriber to enjoy), and now to Friday and the start to a lovely weekend. Enjoy more than a few posts, articles and videos below, and thank you for stopping by TSLL. Until tomorrow, bonne journée.

~Discover how much exercise you need for better heart health [The New York Times]

~An introduction to growing flowers and herbs from seed [House & Garden UK]

~How to Feel Happier [LifeHack]

~The duke and Duchess of Sussex shared news to celebrate on Valentine’s Day (and the photo as well as who they chose to take it is worth checking out) [The Guardian]

~What you will want to have for dinner tonight from Nigel Slater – Chicken with Leeks [The Guardian]

~It’s true – Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional – an article to understand the difference and navigate well and productively through what comes to us all [Think Less and Grow Rich]

~Nine good signs you’re in the right relationship [Marc & Angel]

~The Rest Manifesto: 10 New Rules to Reclaim Your Right to Relax [Be More With Less]

~The Olympics are coming to Paris in 2024 and Le Tour d’Eiffel is receiving a touch-up [France24]

~I have enjoyed immensely Austin Kleon’s books (one inspired a detailed post a year ago here on TSLL), and this post is worth reading – Learn to play the fool

~Knowing the reality of how the pandemic has negatively affected mothers in the workplace is part of making sure we never let it happen again [The Cut]. On the same topic, Terry Gross talks with journalist Claire Cain Miller on Fresh Air about the strain the pandemic is putting on mothers.

~Shonda Rhimes shares her favorite room in her 1920’s Italian Villa with Architectural Digest

~Francophiles and classical music lovers, a video for you . . .

18 thoughts on “This & That: February 19, 2021

  1. So many helpful suggestions, Shannon, as we are going into a rainy weekend here. Excited to see that you have included another Scandinavian series this week. I actually think I recommended this to you a few years ago, obviously with the Danish title. They usually release a new season every Easter so I am eagerly hoping for another one. I envy you for all the seasons you haven’t yet watched.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    1. What a lovely and ever interesting series. The parallel with historical events seen through the eyes of the Danish is fascinating. I should have explored your recommendation sooner. I do apologize. It is wonderful.
      Wishing you a fine weekend cozying in with rain falling outdoors. That sounds lovely. Thank you for stopping by. 😌

      1. Absolutely no need to apologize, Shannon. I just think it’s funny how similar my entertainment choices are to yours. I hope you enjoy the series (and the 1930’s wardrobe). 💋

  2. How excited am I for the Kamali book?! Thank for the head’s up on that. And for the link to the emergency brownies – I was in need of an idea for an upcoming loved one’s birthday and this is perfect for a stay-at-home celebration.

    1. Laurie,

      Norma’s book looks to be a gem. I too immediately wanted to read it upon reading that article as I shared, and I cannot wait to begin reading it. I do hope you enjoy as well. 🙂 Wishing you a delicious celebratory weekend!

  3. I just bought “The Panic Years” SO FAST, Shannon! I’m thrilled you included it. As I turn 27 in a few month’s time, I am definitely PANICKING! The late twenties and onwards are certainly starting to overwhelm me so I’m hoping this book provides some much-needed perspective.

    Your snowy weekend sounds delightful! I’m in one of the few states in the US on the east coast that is somehow avoiding any sign of snow…I miss it!

    1. Sydney, I could feel your anxious energy in your comment. While I haven’t read the book yet, I know the author writes about gender and women’s focused issues for her columns in the newspapers and magazines she writes for, so those are worth exploring to see her bias on the issue (bias, not in a negative connotation, but her life experience, etc.). From my own experience, the panic is not worth the energy. Let your life unfold as it will as you strive forward with curiosity remaining open but also brave to trust your unique journey. Life will surprise you in the most wonderful and beautiful ways – children or no children. All of the nervous worry I expended in my twenties and even early thirties in a relationship that was not meant to be while not something I regret, but rather learned from was not worth it as the energy could have been better spent. xoxo

    2. Sydney, I understand and can recall my late twenties and thirties when I wondered how my life would evolve. I have to agree with Shannon’s comment in allowing your life to unfold. It may or may not turn out exactly as you envisioned it. I learned that there are many different paths and things we do not always have control over. There is a freedom in letting things play out and in not putting tremendous pressure on yourself to think that happiness can only come if on one specific path. Life has many twists and turns we may not have imagined and may not appreciate until we look back and see how far we’ve come. It’s so important to enjoy the journey.

  4. I feel a dual movie marathon coming on….I love watching old vs. remakes of movies. Stanley Tucci is a favorite so I’ll be adding that to my list. As well as Seaside Hotel. Though that will need to be when I can concentrate! Happy weekend!

  5. I highly recommend Supernova. Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth both were outstanding. I saw Blithe Spirit this week. I did enjoy it, but didn’t think it held a candle to the original.

    I look forward to checking out Seaside Hotel. As soon as I catch up on Call My Agent!

  6. Thank you for the link to “The Rest Manifesto.” I immediately made my own version (bc I’m not too good at rest yet lol). I’m curious- what “rules” would be on yours and others’ manifesto? I added “thou shalt enjoy the outdoors every week” as I’m noticing the clarity that a simple walk can bring to my mind. I’m looking forward to more rest in March and less justification (to myself!) of my right to it.

  7. Thanks for some more great recommendations. The Norma Kamali book sounds interesting – I know little about her – as does the Panic Years. Being 33 (in a month) means I definitely fall into this category so it would be interesting to gain some perspective. Though I’m enjoying my 30s much more than my 20s so far! I feel much more “settled”.
    I adore Stanley Tucci and Supernova looks fantastic, though a sad one! I remember Blithe Spirit from last year and look forward to watching it now!
    I also really enjoy many of the articles you share. The heart health one was certainly interesting and I love any gardening advice articles!
    I also think I’ll be trying Nigella’s brownies! Though I intend to try your pear crumble recipe this Sunday!
    Happy weekend Shannon x

  8. What delights to peruse Shannon. Can it get any better?.As spring is around the corner I can’t wait to see Carol Klein’s programme. I remember when she burst on our screens with such energy. Her enthusiasm is infectious maybe because she was a teacher! It just.makes you want to dive in to your garden. Have seen on screen how she grew her beautiful garden. . Her husband bought her a most beautiful ornament for her big birthday for the garden but I won’t spoil it for you in case you get the opportunity to see it. I am intrigued to hear about the Fleurs de Sel mysteries. Was unaware of it but the third book will definitely be ordered as I live just on the Brittany border. Norma Kamali is indeed invincible. She looks amazing even though she seem to have been around forever. I think you’re in for a treat with Lady Clementine. Have seen Blithe Spirit and am not keen on remakes but with Dame Judy Dench in it I will have to watch it. How much more amazing will Lady Ella sound in the remastered version? That’s a definite treat. The snow had.melted here in France and this weekend looks promising so looks like a spot of gardening. Wishing you and the boys a bon weekend😊

  9. Hello Shannon

    Just a little correction – The Seaside Hotel is a Danish television series and not Dutch – although both countries have their similarities 😉
    Hugs from a Dane,

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