This & That: December 20, 2019

Dec 20, 2019

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Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann

Released this past June, Super Thinking shares “a fun, illustrated guide to every mental model you could possibly need”. From discovering Eisenhower Decision Matrix to help you prioritize when the To-Do list seems far too overwhelming to using the “5 Whys model to better understand people’s motivations or get to the root cause of a problem”, Super Thinking will certaining inspire you to think differently, and that may make all the difference.

You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life by Neil Pasricha

Top TEDTalk speaker Neil Pasricha and the bestselling author behind The Book of Awesome series and The Happiness Equation, just released his latest book last month – You Are Awesome. Readers will learn “the single word that keeps your options open after failure, what every commencement speech gets wrong, three ways to dramatically accelerate your ability to learn and adapt, the two-minute morning practice that helps eliminate worry, and why you need an Untouchable Day (and how to get one)”.


All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice by Molly Stevens

75 Full Colored Photographs and Simple Meals to “Entice the Busy Cooks Back into Their Kitchens


Little Women

As I shared earlier this week on IG, as someone who has not yet read Louisa May Alcott’s classic, I am feverishly reading it now before I go to enjoy director and writer Greta Gerwig’s adaptation next week (the film opens on Christmas Day). Critics across the spectrum are hailing Gerwig’s rendition a great success and including it in many Top 10 films of 2019. With the talents of Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Timothée Chalamet along with many others, the film looks to be quite a holiday treat. Have a look at the trailer below, and if you too need to read or reread the book before viewing the film, click here.

Francophile Find

Bastide Corp-a-Corps Body Cream

Jamie Beck (@annstreetstudio) has repeatedly recommended Bastide’s body lotion, and as someone who highly recommends their candles (in fact, their lavender scent is my go-to for lavender candles in my home), I have put Corp-a-Corps on my list of beauty products to buy sooner rather than later.

Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of the Ambassadors by Alain Stella

Released this past March, if you love peeking inside residences that would be hard to visit otherwise, but also have stories to tell, and are located in Paris, this is the decor book for you. Tour the homes of “the most prestigious chancelleries and ambassador residences in Paris—from China and Peru to Egypt and Poland . . . The palace of Eugène de Beauharnais—home to the German ambassadors since 1818—retains its elaborate Empire style, intact since the time of Josephine”. Most certainly, from the decor aesthetic to the artwork and more, these homes would be a sight to see.

Older, But Better, But Older: From the Authors of How to Live Like a Parisian Wherever You Are

My copy is ordered, and when it is released on December 31st, I will be reading it with great pleasure. The authors first book together inspired this podcast episode (#4) which is one of listeners’ favorites. Why I am eager to read their new book is that it focuses on living well, but not too seriously as the authors discuss hitting the age of 40 and beyond with a dose of humor as they reveal moments of everyday life that will make you “nod, cringe, and laugh out loud”.

Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir by Deirdre Bair

Released this past November, National Book Award-winning biographer Deirdre Bair shares the journey she took during the fifteen years spent learning, interviewing and exploring the lives of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir. Critics are applauding, and if you are curious about any of these three individuals, you may quite enjoy this memoir.

Portrait of a Woman on Fire

A modern plot set in 18th century Brittany, France. A daring tale which debuted at Cannes this year to much acclaim. The plot: Marianne, a painter, is commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young lady who has just left the convent. Héloïse is a reluctant bride to be and Marianne must paint her without her knowing. She observes her by day and secretly paints her at night. Intimacy and attraction grow between the two women as they share Héloïse’s first and last moments of freedom, all whilst Marianne paints the portrait that will end it all. Released earlier this December, look for it in a boutique theater near you now.

~Rick Steves’ Paris 2020

Travelers who have Paris on their itineraries this coming year, Rick Steves’ has just updated his Paris Travel Guide. Perhaps a stocking stuffer for the Francophile on your list?

Garden & Yard

The Gardener’s Year: Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Garden Green Through the Seasons by Pippa Greenwood

There are more than a few books with the same title as the BBC’s Gardeners’ World’s frequent and trust British plant pathologist Pippa Greenwood, but her book, which was just released earlier this year, looks to share a helpful seasonal guide worth checking out. Hard to find in the states, but readily available on UK book sites (such as the link above and on Amazon.UK), I am putting it on my list to order as soon as I can.


&Daughter Doris Cable Knit Wool Sweater

The fishermen’s cable knit sweater is receiving quite a bit of attention as of late with the new film Knives Out star Chris Evans demonstrating how you can never go wrong with a classic. Whether you purchase a woman’s size which is tailored and slender, or LL Bean’s shared below which would be a wonderful oversized option, you will be guaranteed to be in style and quite warm.

Food52 Hand-blown Tulip Wine Glasses

New Year’s is just around the corner, and having the champagne and wine glasses ready is a good idea. Why not purchase a beautiful set of hand-blown glasses that will be as beautiful as they are functional?

L.L. Bean Men’s Heritage Sweater, Irish Fishermen’s Crewneck

A well-priced oversized style to luxuriate in during cool winter days and nights.

~recipe for Coffee and Cream Pavlova~

Happy Friday before Christmas and Hanukkah! Whether you are excited for the holiday occasions or eagerly ready for the new year to begin, I hope you have a wonderful upcoming weekend. I certainly am tickled beyond tickled to see today arrive as I am ready for a holiday break.

From spending time at home and then with family and then driving over the Cascades to say hello to the Pacific Ocean, I am looking forward to two weeks of respite from the everyday routines. Speaking of routines, TSLL’s regular posting schedule will be taking its annual week off beginning Monday December 23rd and running through December 31st. However, there will be Top Lists of 2019 being shared throughout next week, so do be sure to stop by and see what were readers and listeners favorites. The next new post will arrive promptly on Wednesday January 1st with the new year’s arrival and the new decade! But in the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful final few weeks of 2019 and thank you for choosing to visit TSLL. Bonne journée.

~Baking with the Bread Whisperers of Paris [Saveur] Thank you to TSLL readers for sharing wonderful articles like this one!

~30 Daily Challenges to Improve Your Mental Strength (and Happiness) [Marc and Angel]

~Adult Child and Parents, the Holidays can test the relationship, understand how and why in this article [The New York Times]

~8 Places Book Lovers Should Go in Paris [Veranda]

~How to Have a 5-Star Hotel Experience without Booking a Room [The New York Times]

~In case you were curious – Why Do The French Eat So Much Seafood at Christmas? [The Local FR]

~Smitten Kitchen‘s Unfussy Sugar Cookies recipe

~Yep, I am oh so excited to view Little Women, especially after learning Henry David Thoreau used to take the girls on walks through the woods as he was a family friend. Watch this segment from CBS Sunday Morning . . .

24 thoughts on “This & That: December 20, 2019

  1. Dear Shannon,
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the research and reporting that you have done for your blog. A long time Anglophile and Francophile I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts that highlight the best of these two cultures. You have given your readers much pleasure and I so appreciate you sharing your passion.

    A reader from the West Coast of British Columbia,


  2. Dear Shannon,

    Thanks for a wonderful year of sharing thoughts and suggestions. Wishing you an awesome holiday and looking forward to the next 10!!

  3. Enjoy your well deserved vacation. And thank you so much for your consistently inspiring and comforting content. May 2020 bring you peace, prosperity and happiness!

  4. As usual, great tips and inspiration Shannon! I just put Older but better, but Older on my library holds list. I wonder if we could coordinate a Simply Luxurious Book club in the new year? Logistics…time….might be a challenge, but throwing it out there 😉

    1. Merry Christmas, Shannon and enjoy your Winter Break. Rest and have fun reading, cooking, and walking with your fur babies. ❤️❤️

  5. I know that you will be creating for TSLL unofficially, even though you are officially off. So…
    Merci beaucoups, et le remercie beaucoups, pour son diligence…and for sharing your lovely insights and ponderings. XOXO

  6. Wonderful suggestions as always. I don’t have an Instagram account so can’t comment there but I smiled when I saw your post with the Marjorie Hillis book. It arrived in my letterbox yesterday morning and I started reading it straight away. It is brilliant so far! Her orchids on a budget is a favourite of mine – so cheerful! Happy holidays.

  7. Be careful driving over the pass! I am also hoping to go visit the Coast either this weekend or the next. The fury of the Pacific this time of year is a thing to behold.

    Thank you as well for the CBS clip of Little Women. I had no idea the real Alcott family was friendly with Thoreau and Emerson! I have to get a biography post haste!

    And thank you for this blog. It is such a joy to read and it is apparent you put a lot of heart and work into it. It is much appreciated.

  8. I always look forward to your thoughtful and interesting Friday newsletter. Your kindness shows through each word. Love it!

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