This & That: February 5, 2021

Feb 05, 2021

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Food, chocolate, so much French to explore – books, copper and a pop-up shop. Stanley Tucci’s new series, decor items for that neutral special detail, books on how to find your rhythm even when it seems impossible in our current times, clothing to make you feel your best and a film about the story of love, but not a traditional love story storyline. And of course, there is much more. 🙂


The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi  and Fumitake Koga

Published in 2018 and to great reviews ever since, I began reading this book on Monday and am almost done. It is a philosophical conversation about how we really do get in our own way. Offering clear conceptual steps to lead the way to contentment, I think you may too enjoy it. Taking the guiding principles from the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of nineteenth-century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, “this book follows an illuminating dialogue between a philosopher and a young man.” 

The New Normal: A Roadmap to Resilience in the Pandemic Era by Jennifer Ashton M.D.

Being released next Tuesday, a regular contributor on Good Morning America, “Dr. Ashton offers the essential toolkit for life in this unfamiliar reality.  Rooted in her reporting on COVID-19 and the understanding that the virus isn’t going anywhere overnight, The New Normal is built on a simple foundation: thriving in this evolving world demands accepting the new normal for what it is, not what we want it to be. No longer is wellness a buzzword, but an imperative for surviving this unprecedented time. Using her trademark practical, easy-to-follow advice, Dr. Ashton gives you all the necessary information to reclaim control of your life and live safely—from exercise, to diet, to general health—showing how to prepare your body and mind for challenges.”

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

Released this past Tuesday, organizational psychologist Adam Grant “investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners.”


Stanley Tucci, Searching for Italy

Just in time to inspire us to fall in love with travel and food all over again. Actor and cookbook author Stanley Tucci’s new show is officially finally set to premiere next Sunday on Valentine’s Day. I know I am a week ahead, but I did not want us to miss it as it looks absolutely delicious. Click on the link above to view the trailer, and find a new episode of six on CNN beginning February 14th.


Dash & Albert Kali Jute Rug, Natural (many sizes)

Rugs. Finding just the perfect rug for that certain space in the house can take eons, but then you stumble upon that just-right one and it all works. I like to mix traditional wool rugs and vintage rugs with natural rugs such as the one seen below throughout the house. Depending upon the room color and aesthetic, a touch of color is a nice surprise in natural rugs, and this one is available in many sizes for perhaps that room you need some warmth, but also neutrality.

Sika Design Wengler Chair, polished neutral

The perfect, unique, yet neutral chair for a covered outdoor dining area, a kitchen nook inside or an occcasional chair for the end of the hall or by the door.


Malcolm & Marie

Critics are quite excited about the new film Malcolm & Marie which premieres today on Netflix. Starring Zendaya and John David Washington, shot entirely in black and white, the film centers around one evening. The couple – a director and his girlfriend return home from a movie premiere and are awaiting the critics’ response – as the Financial Times describes – how he ended up with the film he premieres begins to be revealed, and many of the arguments ensue from his girlfriend revealing the truth of his inspiration. Have a look at the trailer below.

Francophile Finds

Cultural Misunderstandings: The French-American Experience by Raymonde Carroll

Recommended by Géraldine of Comme une Française, I immediately put this book in my shopping cart and look forward to welcoming it home soon.

La Maison du Chocolat Valentine’s Day Gift Box (two different sizes)

Valentine’s Day is not that far away, and while I spend mine quite wonderfully quietly, having chocolate to give or share or enjoy is a fantastic idea. I cannot recommend more highly the chocolate from French chocolatier La Maison du Chocolat (in fact, one of their boxes was a giveaway in last year’s TSLL French Week). Sold at Food52, order a 16 or 48-piece box. Shop many more options at Williams-Sonoma.

My preferred truffles are their champagne or cognac ones. Soooo good, and just the right bite-size to savor in the evening – just one with a cup of hot tea.

Maison Balzac candles (mini sizes, and many of them)

As January came to a close, I realized I had one candle left in my candle cupboard and began to restock. One of the French brands I enjoy having on hand is Maison Balzac. Made in Australia and founded in France, choose from a long list of scents. What I enjoy doing most is stocking up on their mini sizes, as they are more affordable, and can be placed in many more spots around the house while still offering their wonderful scent.

Rabbit Hill Lifestyle Pop-Up Shop this Saturday 9am (Pacific)

Just a quick heads up, this Saturday – tomorrow – Cat of Rabbit Hill is hosting her monthly lifestyle pop-up shop full of copper and cooking items and much more. Be sure to shop as soon as it opens as items sell quickly.


Boden Melville Square Neck Sweater, navy

Something about this neckline just caught my fancy, and I wanted to share.

Khaite Beige Doris cotton-gabardine trench coat (on sale)

Classic and timeless.

Max Mara Peach Cirino silk and cashmere-blend wrap top (55% off)

A simple, cozy, and feminine top. Perfect as we ease of winter and into spring.

~recipe for Chelsea Buns~

A weekend at home. The ideal descriptor of how to spend two days in my book.

I’ll be transplanting and thinning out my rocket which is doing quite well, and giving my French mache some encouragement to keep growing strong. Norman and I might take in a day at the mountain skiing because you never know how long the lovely snow will hang around, and I am excitedly going to begin planning and designing a new project in the home – the primary en suite bathroom! Not much will change as it is small, but the planner in me wants time to get the details right as having a quiet, restful place to soak in hot bubbles is my idea of rejuvenation following many occasions in everyday and celebratory and trying times in life. That’s about it – oh! Add a couple or three books that have grabbed my attention and I am currently loving to read (this one, this one and this one), and that is my weekend. I cannot wait for it to begin. 🙂

The past week on the blog was a fun one: something for Francophiles and food-lovers and cooks when Susan Herrmann Loomis joined me on the podcast, something for style lovers and perking up our capsule wardrobes and something for TOP Tier Subscribers – our monthly A Cuppa Moments chat (learn more about becoming a subscriber).

I hope you too are eagerly awaiting the start of the weekend, and I am sincerely tickled you chose to stop by TSLL to kick it off. Wishing you a wonderful two days doing exactly as you hope and prefer. Below are many articles, two tours – one of a garden and one of a London flat full of ideas and inspiration, and a video to reveal a piece of intriguing fashion history that caught my interest last weekend. Bonne journée!

~Tour this Cotswolds garden and feel yourself become excited even more for spring and summer [House & Garden UK]

~11 easy ways to uncomplicate your life [Marc & Angel]

~What a legacy to leave behind – Austrian man leaves ‘large amount’ to village that saved is family during WWII [BBC]

~Tried and tested, the best clean deoderants [Julie von Boehm]

~Jamie Beck shared some exciting news this week and I cannot wait to read and view the finished product

~This gentleman’s flat in London – take me there and let me move in – love it all [House & Garden UK]

~A new month, a new garden post from Monty! What to do in your garden in February

~Speaking of the garden, Gardeners’ World shared their list for kicking off the new year well.

~Five top garden tips guaranteed for gardening success [The Middle Sized Garden UK]

~Interesting – The Two Kinds of Happy People [The Atlantic]

~How to create an ‘Introvert Zen Zone’ in your house [Introvert, Dear]

~As fashion month kicks off in the next few days (and some collections have already debuted), I found this video fascinating – the 500-year history of the pocket [CBS Sunday Morning]

18 thoughts on “This & That: February 5, 2021

  1. Hi Shannon,

    I don’t recall that you’ve mentioned this film but in case you don’t know of it, I highly recommend it to you! “The Dig” on Netflix. It’s based on a true story and is just the kind of movie that I think your readers would love. “Penguin Bloom” is also excellent.

    Enjoy your weekend!


    1. I just watched “The Dig” too! It was wonderful. I want to watch it again just to pay more attention to all the little details in the houses and the clothing styles.

  2. My husband and I watched The Dig last week and were so impressed by the subject matter, the location in England, and most of all the incredible acting of Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan. It’s engrossing! I’m looking forward to seeing this archeological treasure myself whenever I can get to London.
    After enjoying Lupin and Call My Agent, which both employ such a quick cutting editing technique, it was restful to absorb The Dig.

  3. Hello Shannon and fellow readers…Happy weekend! Here in Wisconsin, we finally received SNOW! So lovely…thought the temps are below zero for so will be enjoyed from the warmth of my leather chair in front of the fire.
    I am so looking forward to Stanley Tucci’s program, as well as Jamie Beck’s upcoming project. I purchased two of her Coronavirus photos (very difficult to limit myself to two!), and her content fills my heart.
    I am loving the Murder on the Vine television program you recommended. Thank you!
    A non-fiction book I am enjoying is Atomic Habits, by James Clear. Well written and practical advice. A cookbook I’m loving is Bisous and Brioche: Classic French Recipes and Family Favorites, by Laura Bradbury (she wrote the Grape Series memoirs…a fun, light-hearted series about her life falling in love and marrying a Frenchman she met whilst on an exchange school program) and Rebecca Wellman. I’ve cooked several recipes from it and have enjoyed them greatly.
    Happy weekend, ladies! 💐☃️

    1. Happy to hear the snow arrived Jeannine! ☺️
      Aren’t Jamie’s photos just wow. I purchased one also, and as you said, it was hard not to purchase more. Yes, both books, great ideas. Thank you for the reminders.
      Have a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by. 😌

  4. The pocket debate was such a fun segment, thank you! I feel like this has been a hot topic with girlfriends for decades, as a constant source of unnecessary frustration, and seeing the history behind the everyday shines a new light on it.

  5. My favourite weekly reading material ..
    thanks for more recommendations.. Malcolm & Marie looks interesting and I definitely intend to read the courage to be disliked – added it to my list following a cuppa moments..
    love the articles this week – you introduced me to the Atlantic column “how to build a life” and I so enjoy it and Arthur Brooks ideas.
    I found the pocket video really interesting too!

    Happy weekend

  6. Lots of good stuff, as usual!

    Interesting article from The Atlantic, especially since I’m visiting the Stoics via Ryan Holiday and a couple of Meditations translations. I had been thinking that poor old Epicurus was grossly maligned and that I, alas, was most likely never going to be a very good Stoic. I think I’m somewhere in the middle, like most people I would imagine.

    And speaking of the old classics, I came across this Opinion piece in the Washington Post that is quite timely. As someone who bristles at the idea of 1) any institution that is based on patriarchy, and 2) uninformed people who misappropriate ideas, values, cultures and then twist them to support ignorance and violence, I found her voice quite refreshing and hopeful.

    Fun story on the pocket! The history and development of our clothing/costume through time and cultures is one of my geeky pleasures😄

    A couple of great books going on the TBR list and … I know I’m not the only one who has a sizeable crush on Stanley Tucci– His Insta video of him making his wife the perfect Negroni…Mon Dieu!😍

    Hope the rest of your weekend is fab and love to the boys! Thanks Shannon!

    1. Rona, Thank you for EVERYTHING you have shared. Looking forward to reading the article this morning with my Sunday newspapers and I would agree, somewhere in the middle when it comes to being a Stoic. ☺️

      Always lovely to see you’ve stopped by. Have a wonderful day. 😌

    2. Rona I had to reply and agree about your comments regarding Stanley Tucci. Both my husband and myself have sizeable “crushes” on Mr Tucci, so much so that I have bought him one of his cookbooks for Valentines Day.. looking forward to savouring some Italian cooking.
      I also love his cocktail videos. He seems like such a fun guy!

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