This & That: April 5, 2019

Apr 05, 2019

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The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy by Shunmyo Masuno

Sharing 100 daily lessons in his new book, Buddhist monk Shunmyo Masuno “draws on centuries of wisdom to teach you to Zen your life”. Rather than seeking out extraordinary experiences to elevate your life, The Art of Simple Living suggests making small changes to your everyday. I have to say, I like how this guy thinks ;). From understanding how the concept of ichi-go ichi-e can make everyday interactions more meaningful, how immersing yourself in zazen can sweep the clutter from your mind, how planting a flower and watching it grow can teach you to embrace change, how practicing chisoku can help you feel more fulfilled, and how going outside to watch the sunset can make every day feel celebratory, readers will come to find how extraordinary experiences need not require extraordinary changes.

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles

Released in 2016, Amor Towles novel set in 1922 Moscow, gradually, but now most certainly, is a bestseller. Recently profiled on CBS’s Sunday Morning in which the author returned to the hotel in which he set the novel, the plot centers around a Count, Count Alexander Rostov, who is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel located across from the Kremlin. Forced to live in a small attic room above the grand rooms, the novel tells his tale of finding his purpose even when his physical being is confined.

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl

Released this week, food critic and former Gourmet magazine editor in chief Ruth Reichl’s new memoir is a journey of a woman with a dream who arrives a graduate from Berkley in New York City determined to not lose her soul in the Big Apple. Paired with recipes as well as her swift wit and insight Reichl’s personal journey is of a “woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark” and navigating well even went everything isn’t going as she had hoped.

British Find

Bonsoir of London Pajamas

Cozy pajamas seem to me to be more than just a luxury, but a rather a necessity. Perhaps having a sleep capsule wardrobe should be a new post in the upcoming months because sleep, good, restful sleep, is crucial to living well. And what we wear certainly can help increase the quality of this daily ritual. Bonsoir is a clothing company based in London selling cotton and silk pajamas, robes and other sleepwear. With many different colors and patterns, choose something you love and rest assured you will not only sleep well, but feel comfortable in the evenings and mornings as you leisurely ease into the day each morning and gently get ready for bed each evening.


What the Constitution Means to Me

This is the play-to-see of the season. If you happen to be heading to New York City, I would highly recommend trying to find a ticket. After listening to multiple interviews with the writer and actress of the new to Broadway play What the Constitution Means to Me (I highly recommend listening to her conversation with Terry Gross) and then reading this review from The New York Times’ theater critic, Heidi Schreck’s play opened this past Sunday and critics are overwhelmingly recommending it to audiences.


The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals that Make the Most of Your Ingredients by Ronna Welsh

What a cookbook this is! Having a recently released copy of The Nimble Cook to hold and enjoy in my very own hands, is a treat as it is a resource to teach you how to cook without the recipes. While it does contain recipes, the primary goal of this beautifully illustrated book is five-fold:

  • discover how to get the most from your ingredients and your eforts in the kitchen
  • learn how to use parts of ingredients you might normally throw away
  • prep foods so they’re easier to cook
  • put ingredients, not recipe, first
  • learn new techniques for releasing flavor so you can eventually cook without recipes

Organized into sections by ingredients not meals (i.e. Aromatics, Leaves, Heads and Bulbs, Summer Fruits and Vegetables, Fish and Shellfish, etc.) you will learn how to shop for ingredients, rather than recipes; cook by circumstance, not by rote; and eat something delicious each time, not just something expected. Yep, my kind of cookbook.

Francophile Find

My Stylish French Box (May) Blue & White

Sharon Santoni continues to send beautiful, unique French finds to subscribers of her My Stylish French Box, and this coming May’s box will also include something special – a print edition of her new My French Country Home magazine. Having had the opportunity to read the first two editions of the magazine, if you haven’t already subscribed and love French finds and travel to France (or look forward to doing so in the future), you will want to add this reading material to your library. For only $7 an issue and $36 for one year, read profile pieces on French businesses, tour the grounds of gardens, homes, receive special, exclusive discounts on beloved French brands and so much more.

Sharon’s eye is impeccable, and I appreciate her attention to detail as well as the insights only someone who lives and loves living in France can share. If you are interested in subscribing to her new magazine (a digital version is now available and the print is coming soon) or/and if you are interested in purchasing a single or annual subscription to My Stylish French Box (a perfect Mother’s Day gift, perhaps?), be sure to apply the promo code thesimplyluxuriouslife when you order, and enjoy receiving gifts from France as well as ideas for your next visit whenever it may be.


Sur la Table Semi-Annual Cooking Sale

Through April 15th enjoy saving money on the investment cooking items that you need to make your kitchen create the symphony of flavors you love. From Le Creuset Dutch ovens, All Clad skillets and even a few Mauviel copper pieces, I have shopped what is on sale and have shared my favorites below, but be sure to check out the entire sale as well.


Aranaz Mathilde Tote

Having a sturdy, and large enough summer straw tote is a must-have for my summer wardrobe, and Aranaz’s tote is certainly a signature piece if it speaks your style.

By Malene Birger Ribbed-knit navy sweater

A simple navy knit sweater with a touch of color on the hem is a wonderful piece to mix well with a variety of items in your transitional seasonal wardrobe.

Villa Rouge Sophie Slide Sandals

Looking a bit like the Valentino classic heels and flats with the metal detailing, but without the hefty price tag, these soft leather sandals are simple, yet chic.

April is bringing the showers, and a happy dance my feet could not tap more gleefully! Oh my goodness. With each day, the daffodils in my yard grow it appears a foot in height! Okay, maybe only 1/2 inch each day, but the difference each morning is tremendous and makes me smile profusely. Spring has an amazing power of waking us up to the power of rest (winter) and the gift of feeling re-energized. Such a transformation takes place in a matter of weeks, that it is sometimes hard to believe we were buried in snow only four weeks ago.

I hope your April has begun well, and you are smiling as well when you see the blooms of the season. With spring’s arrival is TSLL’s annual Spring Shopping Guide which was released this past Monday, and already some wonderful fashion finds are being scooped up. I do hope this past week went swimmingly for you, and whether it did or didn’t, I hope you have a gentle weekend full of good food, lovely conversation and exactly as must rest and rejuvenation as you need. Below are a few articles you might enjoy, and until Monday, bonne journée!

~How to Always Choose Happiness Even During Tough Times [Life Hack]

~If you are looking to improve yoru productivity, check out the 3 Habits MIT found to be the Habits of the Most Productive People [Thrive Global]

~Monty Don’s April To-Do List for the Garden

~There is a new Galeries LaFayette on the right bank in Paris and Paris Breakfast took a visit. To learn more about the new Paris shopping destination on the Champs-Elysées, click here.

~Let’s stay in Paris and check out some cheese shops with Lost in Cheeseland

~But why not get out of Paris!? The 10 Best Places to Visit in France – Outside of Paris! [Le Long Weekend]

~Which cookbooks are really worth having in your kitchen? Read The Daily Beast’s list of The 18 Cookbooks that Cookbook Authors Actually Use

17 thoughts on “This & That: April 5, 2019

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow is such a lovely story. One of my favorites. It makes me slow down and think about living the best life I can right now. Funnily enough, I did not like his other book Rules of Civility.

  2. For me, A Gentleman in Moscow is one of those books that should be savored and read while drinking a cup of tea. Some books you can rush through, but this book is one to savor.

  3. Hi again.. Love all your posts and podcasts. I was wondering if you would ever post some french bohemian fashions, as I am retired and no longer dress as crisp as I used to. I am much more relaxed now and yet wish to remain as french as possible. lol… You skimmed on this a bit in your books ( I have both),, but pictures would help a lot..

  4. I quite enjoyed listening to A Gentleman in Moscow. It reminded me of stories my Grandparents would tell – finding joys / moments of light in the disparity of war. Most books I don’t listen to a second time. But this one will stay in my library.

  5. A Gentleman in Moscow is one of my favorite novels. I had enjoyed the author’s other work, “Rules of Civility” so I bought A Gentleman in Moscow as soon as it was released. I loved it so much, I read it again immediately after I had finished it the first time. I agree with the comment Michelle wrote that this is a book to be savored. It is a jewel of a story, worth savoring more than once.

  6. I enjoyed A Gentleman from Moscow so much I read it twice. It is really a lovely beautifully crafted novel. They are making a film of it starring Kenneth Braugh. But I am excited to learn about The art of Simple Living. It looks like just what I need.— inspiration. Last week I saw a marvelous exhibition. Paris 1900 at the Cincinnati Art Museum. It is made up of 200 the commemorative pieces from The City of Paris and The Caravalet Museums. Divine.

  7. Dear Shannon,
    Thanks for another inspiring newsletter. I just added “A Gentleman in Moscow” to my to-read list. 🙂

    I can vouch for Bonsoir of London pyjamas. I have two sets, 100% cotton, and they are superb.

    Have a great week,

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