This & That: August 7, 2020

Aug 07, 2020

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A documentary for bibliophiles, a new film to enjoy, pasta lovers – a must-have cookbook for you, sale items for the home, your wardrobe and more, as well as books for improving your fulfillment in everyday life, shifting your perspective on time and a podcast to help you make it through the pandemic well-fed.


The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Treasured Time by Joseph Mazur

Time. We know it’s finite, in theory – we only have 24 hours in a day and we cannot buy more – but what if we could change our perspective of time to improve the quality of our lives? Award-winning author and mathematician Joseph Mazur shares in his new book how “insights into how our technologies, our bodies, and our attitudes can change our perceptions. Ultimately, time reveals itself as something that rides on the rhythms of our minds. The Clock Mirage presents an innovative perspective that will force us to rethink our relationship with time, and how best to use it.”

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Author and professor Cal Newport (his most recent book is Digital Minimalism) wrote in 2016 a book that may be even more pertinent in our current times as we are required even more so to be on our devices for work and communication. “Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four ‘rules,’ for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.” He coins the phrase “deep-spending our days”, a skill that can have incredibly powerful, positive effects on our true fulfillment. Describing deep work as a super power that while rare is incredibly vital to a life well-lived, perhaps this book will help in how you channel your focus in our highly digitized world.

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

Illustrator Grant Snider shares a delightful new book “full of one- and two-page comics that explore bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading.” Inspired by his website Incidental Comics (see a post from the site below), if you love books and want a lovely lighthearted visual read, you will I have a feeling enjoy his new book (April 2020).

The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Fiona Davis

Released this past Tuesday and already a Good Morning America Book Club Pick, Fiona Davis’ new novel involves the famed lions that guard and grace New York City’s public library’s steps as the story centers around “a series of book thefts roil[ing] the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.”

British Find

—Endeavour, Season 7 premiere

Shaun Evans returns in Season 7 of Endeavour on PBS Masterpiece this Sunday at 9pm. Starring as writer Russell Lewis’s character Detective Constable Morse, who is also behind the beloved British mystery series Inspector Lewis and Inspector Morse, viewers thankfully will be able enjoy a new season that was filmed before the pandemic began. Slip away to Oxford with the cerebral and solitary detective and find justice for the victims of each of his cases. View a preview of the season below.


Released this past May on AppleTV a film about trying in all of life’s many roles. While on the surface the film is about a British couple trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child, more deeply it is about all of the “trying” we are doing in our lives – trying to be a good partner, trying to be a good person, trying to be emotionally secure, trying to be calm and confident, and so much more. Check out the trailer below and sit back to enjoy a film about real life.


Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks by Vicki Bennison

Pasta. Comfort food. Seasonally adaptable to year-round cooking. Pasta Grannies is a cookbook for your kitchen library. Released in 2019 and quickly becoming a best-seller along with earning the James Beard award in 2019 for Single Subject, discover how “to make pasta like Italian nonnas do.” Readers will learn about “pici – a type of hand-rolled spaghetti that is simple to make – to lumachelle della duchessa – tiny, ridged, cinnamon-scented tubes that take patience and dexterity, every nonna has her own special recipe. Pasta Grannies brings together the huge diversity of these authentic dishes and also celebrates the expertise, life and extraordinary stories of the amazing women behind them.”


La Redoute Scala Washed Linen Pillowcases (white and natural available)

Simple with a touch of delicate detail, these washed linen pillowcases offer luxurious comfort and timeless style. Available in standard and Euro sizes, as well as in two different colors.

Restoration Hardware Petite Candlestick Floor Lamp, on sale

A unique floor lamp for that particularly unique place in your home that needs light, but is not that large. Use the promo code REAL to save an additional 20% on a consigned Restoration Hardward candlestick floor lamp.

Robsjohn Gibbings Style Wood & Rope ottoman

Footstools, hassocks and ottomans. A variety of sizes, but all offering a bit of rest for your feet. This unique vintage find of a wood and rope ottoman caught my attention as it welcomes less tuft but still comfort for the feet with the rope foot hold. Perhaps your one sitting area in your house is looking for just this style to strike the right balance between soft and hard furnishings.


The Booksellers

I stumbled across this documentary last weekend, and immediately was excited to share with TSLL readers. Released this past spring and reviewed on NPR, The Booksellers profiles Antiquarian book sellers, whose job requirement officially or unofficially depending upon your perspective is to be “part scholar, part detective and part businessperson”. Each of the booksellers profiled in the film demonstrates how “their personalities and knowledge are as broad as the material they handle. They also play an underappreciated yet essential role in preserving history.” After reading both of Shaun Bythell’s memoirs about being a bookseller in Scotland, I couldn’t help but be even more curious to go inside booksellers’ unique worlds “populated by an assortment of obsessives, intellects, eccentrics and dreamers.” Have a look at the trailer below and watch it wherever you stream your online films for $4.99.


Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat & Hrishikesh Hirway

Cookbook author Samin Nosrat, along with the podcast host of Song Exploder Hrishikesh Hirway bring back their podcast and mini-series Home Cooking, and this time it is all about helping “you figure out what to cook—and keep you company—during the quarantine. If you need help or just want some creative inspiration for your kitchen, they’ve got you covered.” With Yo-Yo Ma as a guest in May, Sam Sanders and Nadiya Hussain in June and July and most recently Rachel Khong, look for a new episode every other week wherever you download your podcasts.


—Christine Alcalay Wrap Dress with Cap Sleeves

Made sustainably in New York City and designed by Vietnamese designer Christine Alcalay who grew up surrounded by clothing and her mother busily working on seams and garments tirelessly to support their family, the designer’s philosophy is one that beautifully encapsulates why thoughtful and beautiful clothing is needed and wanted by so many of us. “I set out to study and work in fashion so that I can give people the clothes they emotionally and physically need to be the best selves in whatever capacity they are in. My namesake collection is inspired by iconic women of the past and present and designed for the iconic women of present and future. I believe that fashion can be a tool and transformative for the person who wears it. I make clothing for the woman who has a story to tell.”

~Please note the belt does not come with the dress, but the dress, made of 55% linen and 45% rayon is a timeless item that can easily be wrapped with any belt that speaks to your signature style.

J.Crew Cyprus Sandals with Interlocking Straps (more colors)

Made of leather in Italy, these best-selling sandals are currently 25% off with promo code GOSALE.

Natalie Trench Coat, pink (on sale)

Soft pink layered over a neutral outfit is a lovely subtle statement and perfect for spring and summer. Currently on sale at GOOP, wrap up for that summer shower and feel stylish and be dry.


Ted Lasso, series premiere, AppleTV

On a slightly lighter note, Jason Sudekis, stars as Ted Lasso, a character that actually was introduced to audiences in a commercial in 2013 promoting NBC Sports’ coverage of the English Premier League. After 14 million views on YouTube, NBC Sports brought back Lasso for a follow-up a year later, and now a 10-episode series has been produced by AppleTV focused entirely on the character that is Ted Lasso. Created by other well-known writers and producers behind Scrubs, Spin City and Cougar Town, if you are wanting a laugh-out loud, slightly irreverent tongue-in-cheek show depicting the differences between the football worlds in the United States and Britain, you have found your new series. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it to premiere next Friday August 14th.

Good Friday morning/afternoon/evening (depending upon where and when you might be reading this post :)), and welcome to August. August is the month of anticipation before the fall season begins, and this year it feels even more ripe with anticipation as the unknowns are plentiful. The work-week found me back in my office and on my own schedule savoring and enjoying myself immensely.

From bustling down to a local antique and vintage shop that I have not visited since well before the pandemic and drinking in all of the unique finds and beauty, to working with my contractor to design a garage organization system that was simple, functional as well as inviting for both my gardening and storage needs, the week has moved swiftly along.

A thunderstorm passed through Wednesday afternoon providing a sweet show of fantastic sights and sounds. For a while I sat outside on my porch and drank in the cool air that arrived as well as the few raindrops that fell, and then I slipped back inside, opened my windows and cozied up to watch Mother Nature’s show with a hot cup of tea and nibble on a couple of newly baked Korova cookies.

I hope this week has treated you well. As I shared in the IG post below, there have been moments of more consciously practiced self-care as frustrating moments arose, but knowing what to do helped alleviate the unwanted situations more quickly, so that a good day could be savored. Perhaps that is one gem in this unwanted time in our history, the opportunity to live more consciously, to care for ourselves intentionally, our minds as well, and therefore make better choices regarding how we engage with others, so that our relationships in all arenas of our life can be stronger, more fulfilling and healthier.

I wanted to bring your attention as TSLL readers to a survey I will be circulating over the next couple of weeks to gather information about upcoming improvements and content for the blog as the fall season arrives.

As you know, fall on TSLL means a fresh new podcast season, a brand new cooking show season, the Fall Shopping Guide, the holidays just around the corner along with each week’s regular postings. So much to look forward to, but at the same time I am focused on improving the quality of the content, entertaining the idea of sharing my home with profile posts, etc., but that also means I have to feel comfortable doing so. With that said, here is the survey (it contains a long introduction letter that better explains all that will be taking place this fall, so pour yourself a cuppa and settle in). I so appreciate your time given if you choose to click.

And now to the weekend! Below you will find a full list of articles to explore on a variety of topics, as well as one gardening video I found immensely helpful. And in two short days the wait will be over! TSLL’s 5th Annual French Week will begin! Beginning on Sunday August 9th, stop by the blog as two new posts will be shared each day through next weekend. I do hope you will join us for a week of celebrating all things French. Thank you for stopping by today, and until Sunday, bonne journée!

~If you want to feel light, letting go is the answer and Be More With Less shares how to do so.

~If you are missing traveling abroad this summer as much as I am, be sure to read Rick Steves’ article for The Atlantic I’m Traveling, Even Though I’m Stuck At Home

~Don’t have a proofing oven but need one for various baking recipes (me neither and me too!)? Don’t worry. This simple tutorial will show you how you can create your own proofing oven with the oven you have. [Cook’s Illustrated]

~Every temperament has their strength, and deep work is one of introverts’ secret weapons. Find out why here [Introvert, Dear]

~The latest podcast episode from Splendid Table is taking you from Farm, to Garden to Cooking.

~Discover 7 Ways You Can Help Those Affected by the Beirut Explosion [Vogue]

~A podcast episode I found great comfort and encouragement from this week. [The Michelle Obama Podcast]

~Monty Don’s August newsletter delineates what to tend to in your garden this month.

~Oprah’s Book Club selection this month is non-fiction and worth checking out.

~For fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show Fixer Upper, good news!, it is returning in 2021. [Architectural Digest]

~August and late July have brought intense heat both here in the states and in Europe. Discover which plants love the heat and will keep their beauty throughout this time of year [House & Garden UK]

~Needing a bit of a nudge to prompt you to practice healthier habits? Check out this post from Becoming Minimalist.

~The traditional Fashion Month is nearly upon us, but how will it unfold? How has the Coronavirus Changed the Fashion Industry [Elle UK]

~9 Secrets for Retirement from Super Savors Anyone Can Use [Real Simple]

~Take a tour through Matthew Carter’s newly decorated cottage Harbor Island in the Bahamas [Veranda]

~If you live in Britain and are looking for an outdoor getaway, check out this list of the best British gardens you can visit this summer [Homes & Garden UK]

~A thought provoking piece on whether seeking and attaining success will actually make you happy [The Atlantic]

~Beautiful borders from May to October. It is possible, and this simple video guide of a small garden space will show you how (show notes are here for a listed tutorial). [The Middle-Sized Garden]

10 thoughts on “This & That: August 7, 2020

  1. It could be my device or user error, but when I tried to take the survey I couldn’t enter any text…

  2. So much “good stuff” in this post! Thank you! (And I just ordered the “Lions Fifth Avenue” book! Can’t wait until it arrives!

  3. What a collection of wonderful things to read and watch! Endeavor certainly caught my eye and I loved the article about Rick Steves. Thanks for all you do!!!!!

  4. I always love the variety of trailers you share! I remember watching that Ted Lasso NBC commercial years ago and laughing until I cried – so funny they’re turning it into a show! I’m especially interested in Trying, it looks lovely and something that will hit very close to home in a good way. Hope you have a great start to the week!

  5. I also recently finished Shaun Bythell’s first book and laughed my way through it! Currently, I am reading the most delicious mystery called Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, recommended to me by my local mystery bookseller. The protagonist is a used bookseller and the mystery is so good as it revolves around some of the most well known mystery books. Definitely a book lover’s mystery! Love the This & That and French Week, thank you so much, Shannon. We could all use some “travel” right now and this is a wonderful way to do so.

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