17 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . .

Jul 29, 2020

July arrived before I knew it and flew past more quickly than I could have imagined.

For a variety of reasons, celebratory and not so, the month was a speedy one, but thankfully, there were many things to celebrate, and thus moments and events that made me smile.

This past Sunday I found myself sitting on the porch (captured in the picture above), after arranging simply some freshly snipped lavender from the garden, and delighting in the simplicity of the moment that I can only hope I will have the good fortune to enjoy many times more in the coming days and years.

Perhaps this time in which we find ourselves truly can be the reset we spoke about earlier on the blog in so many ways, and if the slowing down makes us realize how wonderful slower moments can be, than for that I am most grateful.

I hope you too had and are having many moments to savor and celebrate during this seventh month of the year. Below are 17 that were thankfully a part of my days.

1.Fresh lavender to harvest or simply enjoy along with the bees

2. The Albrighton rambling rose beginning to bloom

3. A conversation with author Lindsey Tramuta for the upcoming new episode of the podcast which will air during French Week (August 9-17th).

~check out her book The New Parisienne on Amazon or Bookshop.

4. Finding a new-to-me podcast for introverts and being an entrepreneur.

One of the first episodes I listened to spoke to the truth behind what the “perfect” job for an introvert is, and I enjoyed her production quality along with the thoughtful content that I wrote a five-star review.

5. Celebrating the first cherry harvest in my garden!

The first two cups were turned into this recipe (see below), and the remaining eight cups were pitted and frozen so I can continue to enjoy them in the coming months.

6. Finally cutting the cable cord

After years of hemming and hawwing over whether or not to cut the cord and let go of the cable tv subscription, I did it. I found myself over the past couple of years only watching cable television for a few shows and the rest of my television viewing was from streaming services which were purchased individually. Although I knew I wanted to be able to watch a few shows live – Award Shows, Tennis Events, the Tour de France, there was very little else. So I explored Hulu and Hulu Live, discovered I could still record my favorite series and programs and cut the cord earlier this month. I love it! I can easily save at least $50 a month, and the tailoring to my viewing is far more user-friendly.

7. Sitting on the front porch swing enjoying a variety of tasks

Whether it is typing away, chatting with a friend on the phone, reading a book, sipping my tea in the morning or taking a nap, the porch swing has become my favorite spot in the house this summer.

8. Farm fresh eggs for breakfast

The two hearts are dog treats for the boys who receive a treat for behaving while meals are enjoyed.

9. Coming across sunflowers on a morning walk in the park along the river.

10. (not only did I smile, but I laughed outloud frequently) Shaun Bythell’s first two books about being a bookseller in Scotland

Book #1 (released in 2017/2018)

Book #2 (released in 2020)

11. My mother’s peonies in full bloom (enjoy the full tour here)

12. Paula Sutton’s (@hillhousevintage) IG account

View this post on Instagram

I was goofing around shooting something for a campaign today and I suddenly said to my teenage daughter – “Do you ever feel embarrassed about your fifty year old, arthritic Mother prancing about in dresses requesting to be photographed?” She said that she loved the fact that she had a Mother who didn’t take herself too seriously and the fact that we have serious amounts of fun whilst doing it. Plus my shoots usually end with bountiful amounts of feasting on cake – so what’s not to like! It made me think about the moments that I cherished and missed the most with my own Mother. My Mother and I were never able to get through a conversation without guffawing and snorting at some sort of nonsense like giggling schoolgirls. We loved to laugh with each other, (and also with my Aunt Helen – also now departed, who would add to the cackling gaiety whenever she was with us – not unlike the hurley burley of Macbeth’s three witches!) I miss that comfortable laughter with two of the women that I loved the most – although my sister and my daughters are all doing a seriously good job of slowly stitching up and repairing that mirth filled gap in my heart. They say that laughter is the best medicine and I quite agree. My heart will now always have a little patch that is slightly more fragile than the rest – but as long as I can have fun and my dodgy knees will allow me to keep leaping about in my garden for my pictures then I’ll keep on smiling and attempting to find joy in the everyday. This leap is for you Mummy. 🙏🏾💕💫xxx • • • 📸: @phibb_ Dress – Ad/Gift @linennaive #joyseeker #seekthesimplicity #findingjoy #findinghappiness #joyafterloss

A post shared by Paula Sutton (@hillhousevintage) on

13. Morning walks amongst Mother Nature with the dogs

14. This moment with a hummingbird (see below)

15. The discovery of a new classical music piece I have added to my Spotify Classical Music playlist

As the author of Year of Wonder shared, pour yourself a lovely glass of something wonderful and savor this gentle, soothing French horn and piano pairing.

~Nocturno, Op. 7 by Franz Strauss

16. Finding something on 1stdibs for the kitchen, haggling and reducing the original price by a significant amount!

~The sycamore cookbook stand from 19th century France was a treasure I am tickled to be able to welcome into the kitchen. Find the recipes for both items – Courgette & Herb Bruschetta with Prosciutto & Clafoutis aux Cerises – here. ~

17. The kitchen renovation has begun!

Since talks began with my contractor last October, I have been envisioning the reality of customizing a space that worked for the life I live personally and professionally. As I shared earlier this month on the blog, it all finally and now quite swiftly and successfully (so far!) began on July 20th.

I wanted to share a quick glimpse of the pre-painted shelves installed for the cookbook library bookcase (all will be revealed in the premiere episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen, season 3 in September). When these shelves were installed, I was quite giddy (see the before picture in this post). A simple change, but as the house already had this insert, I thought it would be perfect for shelves without taking up any additional space.

I hope upon reflection you too are grateful for much this month, and may the upcoming month be just as abundant and even more so full of simple pleasures, celebratory moments and small steps of progress.


~17 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (June 2020)

~15 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (May 2020)

~16 Things That Made Me Smile this Month, So Far . . . (April 2020)

~15 Things That Made Me Smile in March (March 2020)

~16 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (February 2020)

~12 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (January 2020)

~2019 Round-Up of What Made Me Smile Throughout the Year

~15 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (November 2019)

~15 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (October 2019)

~12 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (September 2019)

~11 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (August 2019)

~16 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (July 2019)

~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . .  (June 2019)

~10 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (May 2019)

~11 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (April 2019)

~13 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (March 2019)

~10 Things That Made Smile This Month, So Far . . . (February 2019)

~12 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, (January 2019)

11 thoughts on “17 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . .

  1. Love your podcast and blog! I wanted to thank you for a recommendation from one of your past podcast episodes – the HBO Max show “Love Life”. I just finished watching the series and found it delightfully entertaining. I can’t wait to share it with other friends. Thanks again. Always look forward to your next podcast, blog post and social updates.

  2. Good morning Shannon! You have been my main source for discovering new books; most recently “The Diary of a Bookseller”. I have spent a few hours smiling and laughing while reading the author’s irreverent insights. Mr. Bythell certainly feels like a “kindred spirit” and his book will go on my “read frequently” shelf along with your two inspiring books. Thanks for this and all of the excellent book suggestions. Encouragement and a good laugh are so necessary in our current disturbing world.

  3. How do you get your lavender to look so good? I’m concerned mine is over or under watered. A bleated thank you on the post you did on your rambler- I just planted one about a month ago and it’s been fun to watch how quickly it is growing. Also, I can’t wait for French week!

    1. Cathy, soooo happy to hear about your rambler! Yes, when they get settled in the soil, they really start to grow! Excited to see what they will be in 2-3 years time. Regarding the lavender: first, they were a part of my landscaping when I purchased the property which is three years old. We have very arid, well-draining soil and they get watered every other day for 15-20 minutes. They love the warmer temps and can thrive with less water probably. I hope that helps somewhat narrow in on what would work best in your garden. Thank you for stopping by and wishing you many wonderful moments in your garden. 😌

  4. Wonderful list, as always, & I delighted in the photo of your rose. There has been an empty lot across the back lane from us since we lived here, with huge mature trees (one an ancient pear that gave us pounds of perfect fruit we shared with the raccoons, deer, birds & bears), plus two heritage rambling roses. Then someone bought it & bulldozed everything to the dirt. The day the bulldozer came in, I tore over & risked life & limb taking cuttings from the roses & am coddling them like the precious things they are. All but one died (it was too early in the year to take successful cuttings), but one is clinging to life — I thought it too was dead, then spotted a tiny bit of green & kept it in the water & lo, it’s sprouted 4 leaves & some roots. It’s ready to be potted up now & while I have NO idea if I can keep it alive, I’m going to do my best. With luck, it’ll emulate yours next spring!

    1. Susanne, I am so happy you were successful in your determination to save the rose! I was cheering you on as I was reading your comment. 🙂 I am confident you will see it respond positively. Thank you for sharing this and a reminder that with patience, our plants can rebound if nurtured.

  5. The rambling rose is gorgeous, and the lavender also. The Scottish bookseller sounds like an interesting read—now on my list, thank you. And I love Paula @Hillhouse, she is fascinating and has a lovely sense of humor.
    Hard to believe we are coming into the 8th month of 2020 already.
    Thanks for sharing such wonderful inspiration and ideas.

  6. I’m jealous of your lavender and the rest of your garden. I stopped trying to grow it years ago. Lavender and the SC heat/humidity do not mix. Your new home is coming together wonderfully. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Janet. The Lavender Seems to love our high desert climate. I feel most fortunate as if I were in Portland, I am not sure it would be so happy for similar reasons you have shared for SC. 🙂

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