This & That: April 2, 2021

Apr 02, 2021

You have 4 free post views remaining this month.

Become a subscriber and view posts without restrictions.

Books for relaxing, for being inspired, for being informed, for sweeping you away to Paris, for helping you find your purpose and calling, a new series to sweep you back to an unknown story which took place during WWII, a film to reveal something you may not have known, cottage gardeners, a series for you to delight in, timeless and chic clothing for spring and summer and yes, so much more.


The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone

A TSLL reader who has steered me in the right direction on previous titles recommended Sharon Stone’s new autobiography. “Stone, one of the most renowned actresses in the world, suffered a massive stroke that cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. In The Beauty of Living Twice, Stone chronicles her efforts to rebuild her life and writes about her slow road back to wholeness and health. In a business that doesn’t accept failure, in a world where too many voices are silenced, Stone found the power to return, the courage to speak up, and the will to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children around the globe.”

Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Passions and Talents and Transform Your Life by Ken Sir Robinson, PhD

More than ten years ago Ken Sir Robinson gave a TEDTalk which inspired his bestselling book The Element. In 2013, he followed it up with a companion book which also receiving great praise – Finding Your Elements. “The practical guide that helps people find their own Element. Among the questions that this new book answers are:

   •  How do I find out what my talents and passions are?
   •  What if I love something I’m not good at?
   •  What if I’m good at something I don’t love?
   •  What if I can’t make a living from my Element?
   •  How do I do help my children find their Element?

Worth exploring if you are trying to figure out where to channel your energy and invest your time and attention. I can say with confidence, seeking it out is worth the initial confusion because when you find it, your life will change in ways you could never imagine, and yes, for the better.

Hooked: Food, Free Will and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Additions by Michael Moss

Released earlier this month, and further drilling down on what many of us had at least an inkling about, “Michael Moss uses the latest research on addiction to uncover what the scientific and medical communities—as well as food manufacturers—already know: that food, in some cases, is even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.”

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

When I first learned of this book, I immediately put it on my shopping list. I look forward to reading it soon as from “Clayton M. Christensen, comes an unconventional book of inspiration and wisdom for achieving a fulfilling life. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, notably the only business book that Apple’s Steve Jobs said ‘deeply influenced’ him, is widely recognized as one of the most significant business books ever published. Now, in the tradition of Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and Anna Quindlen’s A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life is with a book of lucid observations and penetrating insights designed to help any reader—student or teacher, mid-career professional or retiree, parent or child—forge their own paths to fulfillment.”

Joy in the Little Things: Finding Happiness in Style, Home and the Everyday by Kerrie Hess

Speaking the language of living simply luxuriously, Australian illustrator Kerrie Hess has written a lovely book detailing oodles of ideas for welcoming simple joys into your daily life. Released on Tuesday, if you want a boost to your style, your home, your everyday life, even your upcoming travel plans, this beautifully illustrated book is worth welcoming home.

British Find

Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

For anyone who loves their cosy mysteries, but would be perfectly happy if the murder part was removed, this is the British series for you. Written in the 1930s, D.E. Stevenson’s four-part book series set in a small English country town centers around Miss Barbara Buncle and book #1 is Miss Buncle’s Book. I am nearly done with it, and only put it down when I have to catch some sleep.


Serena & Lily Teak Slink Chair, on sale (more colors)

Summer is coming, and these lovely sun or beach or porch chairs are timeless in their look and simple in their functionality and design.


The Mauritanian

Certainly anything but a light-hearted film, Jodie Foster along with Benedict Cumberbatch (listen to his American accent – it isn’t that bad :)) are receiving great reviews for their performances in The Mauritanian inspired by a true story based on the 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Salahi. Salahi’s details his experience of being held for fourteen years without charge in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Learn more about the film in this PBS Newshour profile and view the trailer below. The film streams wherever you watch your favorite films beginning today.

Francophile Find

Dear Paris: The Paris Letters Collection by Janice MacLeod

Released last month, “what started as a whim in a Latin Quarter café blossomed into Janice MacLeod’s years long endeavor to document and celebrate life in Paris, sending monthly snippets of her paintings and writings to the mailboxes of ardent followers around the world. Now, Dear Paris collects the entirety of the Paris Letters project: 140 illustrated messages discussing everything from macarons to Montmartre.”


Life in a Cottage Garden w/Carol Klein, BritBox

BritBox just added Carol Klein’s eight-part series which debuted about eight years ago on the BBC but is still more than worth watching. Master gardener and host of Gardeners’ World Klein takes viewers into her own garden in Devon beginning in January and then month by month takes viewers through the entire year. See her garden evolve through the seasons and the tireless work, yet inspired attention she gives to the space after having lived and designed nearly from scratch the property she and her husband purchased 40 years ago.

The accompanying book which was published to pair with the television series is seen here of the same name – Life in a Cottage Garden.


Anna Weatherly Palatte Sky Blue Teacup and Saucer

Absolutely gorgeous.

Ulla Johnson Joni Dress

Hello spring and summer. I could live in this dress at all times. Gorgeous, timeless, feminine, understated and just as brilliantly fabulous.

Vasic Play Marche Bag

Unique in its structure and perfect for spring and summer.


Atlantic Crossing, PBS Masterpiece

Premiering this Sunday at 9pm, this eight-episode limited series spotlights the often lesser known story which took place during WWII.

“A princess steals the heart of the president of the United States in an epic drama based on the World War II relationship of Franklin Roosevelt and Norwegian Crown Princess Martha. Kyle MacLachlan (Twin PeaksSex and the City) stars as Roosevelt, opposite Swedish star Sofia Helin (The Bridge) as the beautiful Martha, who flees the Nazis with her three young children and lives under Roosevelt’s protection.” View the trailer below and enjoy!

Rebel, new series on ABC

Starring Katey Sagal as Annie ‘Rebel’ Bello and “inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich today, Annie ‘Rebel’ Bello is a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.” Premiering next Thursday April 8th on ABC, check out the trailer below.

The first week back after a wonderful Spring Break here in Oregon, and while abrupt, good things revealed themselves in many arenas of life.

On Thursday, the above recipe was shared exclusively with TOP Tier subscribers along with a video kitchen tutorial (in 15 minutes, this five ingredient recipe for Molten Lava Cake will make your tastebuds dance in absolute pleasure) in the monthly A Cuppa Moments w/Shannon video chat (learn more about becoming a subscriber here). Now with a fresh new weekend ahead, I look forward to slowing down, tinkering in the garden and putting some final pieces together for the bathroom and bedroom projects, and I cannot wait to continue to read the books I am loving – I shared one above in today’s This & That and the other in yesterday’s A Cuppa Moments.

Thursday morning, Norman and I came across these first daffodils along the river sharing their golden beauty. There is something so hopeful and as one TSLL reader described, triumphant and thus encouraging about seeing the daffodils rise from the soil.

The week also brought the release of TSLL’s annual Spring Shopping Guide which is full of 65+ shoppable items as well as a breakdown of the nine trends worth investing in. And to begin the week, on Monday, a book I enjoyed throughly recently was the focus of the weekly motivational post – 9 Ways to Think Like A Monk, as taught by Jay Shetty.

I think Spring might finally be arriving in Bend, and upon hearing the first birdsong from my bedroom window last weekend, I cannot wait to see everything begin to bloom and awaken in the garden. I hope you had a week of productivity and regular moments of rest, and may the upcoming weekend – whether you celebrate Easter or simply revel in a few days to celebrate the new spring (or fall) season, be full of beauty and oodles of free time to do what you please. Below I have gathered up more than a few articles you might enjoy. Thank you for stopping by and until Monday, bonne journée.

~Step inside Vogue contributor Jo Rodger’s renovation of a 19th century London home (find solidarity in the process if yours, like hers, is taking more time than you thought possible)

~Where our strength comes from and what it means to be strong [Tiny Buddha]

~An article I enjoyed on Sunday while sitting outside on my front porch (see below) – Slip away to Jasper Conran’s Dorset country home and garden [The New York Times Style Magazine]

~I feel fortunate to have been introduced to her books as a young girl (looooove Ramona Quimby). Celebrating Beverly Cleary’s life upon learning of her passing last Thursday. Listen to this segment which includes clips from an interview she gave a handful of years ago [NPR]

~recipe for Crab, Cucumber, radish and herb salad [House & Garden UK]~

~Bring the spring blossoms inside and discover how to arrange blossom branches in your next floral arrangement [House & Garden UK]

~A new month, a new post full of Monty’s monthly gardening tips!

~How Paris is attempting to become Europe’s greenest city by 2030 [The Independent]

~We want our friends back, but which ones? [The New York Times]

~For my fellow classical music lovers – discover the 10 Classical Concerts to stream in April [The New York Times]

~Find out what the third lockdown in France means and how it came to pass [The New York Times]

~Tour Arne Maynard’s English garden in Oxfordshire [House & Garden UK]

~Learn more from NPR‘s journalist living in Paris Eleanor Bearsley about the new lockdown rules in France

12 thoughts on “This & That: April 2, 2021

  1. Shannon – thanks so much for giving the information on the Jasper Conran article as well as a lot of reading and viewing ideas that I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. Have a lovely holiday weekend!

    1. Edith, so happy you stopped by. 😌 Stop by each Friday for this post (going on nine years now) to discover similar finds, articles and recommendations. Thank you for saying hello and wishing you a lovely weekend as well. 💛

  2. Hi Shannon,
    nice mix of things – as always. I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on Atlantic Crossing as it has created quite a debate here in Norway in regards to creative licence in historical dramas.

    I just wanted to let you know that the link to “Joy in the Little Things: Finding Happiness in Style, Home and the Everyday” leads to Elements instead. If they are affiliate links you might want to fix that.

    1. Thank you for letting me know about the error in the link. Here it is directly and it has now been updated on the blog –

      As well,

      Thank you for sharing what the response was in Norway. Hopefully, it will provoke viewers to look beyond the film to other sources of the film piques their interest in this piece of the war’s history. Thank you again very much for sharing an International perspective on this series. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you fir stopping by. 😌

  3. Hi Shannon,

    I just discovered TSLL (recommended by a friend who said “this is for you!”) and, oh my, what a wealth of inspiration, wisdom, and tips. Looking forward to reading all the news in this edition of This & That. Love the podcasts, too!

  4. Good grief, what a bounty of wonderfulness this Friday, Shannon. Thank you so much. I actually feel like that runner in a foot race who’s so far behind she thinks she’s first– I just realized I have barely skimmed the last two This & That columns and am umpteen other articles, podcasts & videos behind. For instance, I’ve been saving the April Cuppa until I “have time” to sit down & just relax with it, but also realize this isn’t going to happen until I decide it needs to. It does, & so I have.

    Your entire blog is a much-needed exercise in understanding that living my “best” life does not necessarily mean living my most “efficient” life 🙂 Yes, being “efficient” brings joy to my little nit-picky Virgo heart, but there’s even more joy to be had from letting things find their optimum pace so that efficiency flows easefully & naturally. As my husband reminded me about retirement last week, “you know no one’s paying you to be this organized anymore, right?” LOL!

    So much goodness, from the Sharon Stone book (I’d had NO idea she suffered a stroke) to Katey Sagal’s new series (I’ve loved her since the horrifying role she played on Sons of Anarchy) to the Lava Cake (which I tried & over-baked, but it was delicious even though there was more cake than lava). No daffs or tulips yet but we’re close (of course we also had snow this morning, between the sunshine & the thunderstorm: ahh, spring in the Pacific NW!).

    And last but by no means least, a very belated but sincere Happy Birthday, Shannon! Have a fabulous Easter weekend.

    1. Susanne, Oh my goodness, thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂 I smiled the entire way through reading it. Thank you for the birthday wishes and aren’t springs in the PNW special? 🙂 I love slipping away to Portland or anywhere in the Willamette Valley in late April or May and just reveling in the beauty. Thank you again for all that you have shared and delighted you enjoy your time at TSLL. Have a lovely weekend, 🙂

  5. Salutations. I am ver much Looking forward to Atlantic Crossing. I watched Miss Scarlett and the Duke with my fatherduring my last trip home and we both loved the show and our time discussing it over meals. I am fairly new to your world so I am enjoying playing catch up with everything! I will have plenty of podcasts to get me to and from work for the foreseeable future!

    1. Sarah, thank you for stopping by and saying hello. So happy to hear both you and your father enjoyed Miss Scarlett and the Duke. I too absolutely enjoyed it. I look forward to season 2 which I hear is likely to happen. Enjoy perusing the site, the podcast and all that piques your interest. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  6. I may as well just fling money everywhere! LOL All these delicious looking reads, oh my! One that particularly caught my eye is Dear Paris. I’ve received the newsletter “Paris Breakfasts” for quite sometime now, from Carol Gillot, which includes snippets of Paris and Carol’s watercolors. She also has an Etsy shop where you can receive Paris Mail. I subscribed previously for myself and as a gift for a friend. Delightful!

    And Miss Buncle’s Book. Though I am not a huge fan of mysteries, this one sounds quite intriguing.

    Happy Easter!

  7. Dear Shannon, wanted to say a very big thank you for sharing the link to the interview with Beverley Cleary, along with the news of her passing after an amazingly long life! She is not a well known author in UK ( to my continuing amazement) and the news was not reported here. The article and the memory made me cry- all her books, ‘Ramona’ stories in particular were a defining part of my childhood. I came across one 40 years ago by accident in the local library and loved it sooooo much ( stories about a normal family, not English boarding schools or fantasy worlds) that I wanted to read them all. They were not generally available here, but the librarian went to the Herculean effort of tracking them down for me in other libraries across the country and getting them sent to my town library. Both the character, the stories and the discretionary effort of that librarian have stayed with me forever and shaped my character. When Amazon was invented, the first thing I bought was the full set- and I’ll be re-reading this weekend. Thanks again Shannon, TSLL content and community never fails to offer me more contentment than I could imagine. Wishing you the best for spring season, Katherine

    1. Katherine, Thank you so much for sharing with me. I had no idea they wouldn’t report her death internationally; and looking at her storylines through the way you have described it as compared to British stories of families and children, indeed her families would have been quite a contrast. And the determination of your librarian – that indeed is a memory of great kindness. Yes, she did live a long life and how she came to be the writer she was is inspiring – quite generous and thoughtful, and I can still see Klickatat Street in my mind’s eye. 🙂 Thank you again for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *