This & That: January 15, 2021

Jan 15, 2021

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Books for enjoyment, for inspiration, for good food and slipping away to France and Britain. Two favorite comedy series (one French, one British) return to Netflix with their latest season, two films, one new series, timeless clothing on sale, a pair of boyfriend jeans I am loving and much, much more.


Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain and Other Big Ideas by Alexi Pappas

Olympic runner Alexi Papas who set Greek’s record for the 10,000 meters in Rio, released a new book this week, sharing her journey leaving the external pursuit of success and instead traveling within. Interviewed in NPR earlier this week, the title sprung from a poem she shared on Twitter, and the rest is all about strengthening one’s mental health and the journey of why it made all the difference for her.

Change: How to Make Big Things Happen by Damon Centola

Being released next Tuesday, Damon Centola’s book turns the idea of what causes worthwhile change on its head and discovers the truth. “The real story of social change is more complex [than what we have been led to believe]. When we are exposed to a new idea, our social networks guide our responses in striking and surprising ways . . . Change presents groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting new science for understanding what drives change, and how we can change the world around us.”

The Listening Path: The Createive Art of Attention by Julia Cameron

Incorporating tools from her beloved book The Artist’s Way (published more than 30 years ago), Cameron’s new book (released this past Tuesday) “The Listening Path is a transformational journey to deeper, more profound listening and creativity. Over six weeks, readers will be given the tools to become better listeners―to their environment, the people around them, and themselves. The reward for learning to truly listen is immense. As we learn to listen, our attention is heightened and we gain healing, insight, clarity. But above all, listening creates connections and ignites a creativity that will resonate through every aspect of our lives.”

Thinking On My Feet: The Small Joy of Putting One Foot In Front of the Other by Kate Humble

As someone who revels in my daily walks – long or short – their necessity in my life is unquestionable. Kate Humble’s book (released in 2019) “Thinking on My Feet tells the story of Kate’s walking year – shining a light on the benefits of this simple activity. Kate’s inspiring narrative not only records her walks (and runs) throughout a single year, but also charts her feelings and impressions throughout – capturing the perspectives that only a journey on foot allows – and shares the outcomes: a problem solved, a mood lifted, an idea or opportunity borne. As she explores the reasons why we walk, whether for creative energy, challenge and pleasure, or therapeutic benefits, Kate’s reflections and insights will encourage, motivate and spur readers into action.”

British Find

Grey Mask (The Miss Silver Mysteries), book 1 by Patricia Wentworth series

Recommended by a TSLL reader, if you are looking for another British cosy mystery series to read, be sure to check out Patricia Wentworth.

Last Tango in Halifax, Season 4 (Netflix)

Netflix is full of delights over the next five or six days. Last Tango in Halifax‘s fourth season aired in the UK last year, but I missed it on PBS and have not been able to find it. Available today, season 4 is streaming in its entirity on Netflix. Check out the trailer below.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

I am currently reading and very much enjoying Marie Benedict’s new novel based on Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 which lasted for about 12 days. To this day, no one knows for sure what happened, so Benedict tells her own fictitious version of events inspired by what we do know about Christie’s biography. It’s quite well told and with short chapters going back and forth between the days she is missing and her early life to build context, it is hard for me to put down each night until I literally cannot keep my eyes open.


The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook by Alice B. Toklas

Originally published in 1954, and the true memoir of Gertrude Stein’s partner Alice B. Toklas (Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas memorialized Toklas – 1933),  a collection of traditional French recipes are shared in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. Sharing familiar recipes such as coq au vin, bouillabaisse, and boeuf bourguignon, along with what is perhaps the earliest instructions for haschich fudge (“which anyone could whip up on a rainy day”), and she entertains with fascinating memories of Paris—Toklas’ home for most of her life—and of rural France, Spain, and America . . . inspired by her sampling [French] local dishes, collecting recipes, and cooking for the writers, artists, and expats who lived in Paris between the wars – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wilder, Matisse, and Picasso shared meals at the home she kept with Gertrude Stein”.

TSLL reader Nancy shared with me (thank you!) a worthwhile idea for introducing yourself to the cookbook – listen to the five episodes of Electric Decade (shared on BBC in 2020, but now available here for free – simply create an account – again, all free). Each episode is one recipe read directly from the cookbook (about 15 minutes each) and dramatized with different voices for narration when dialogue is included. Upon listening to the first episode – Onion Soup, I was swept away to Paris and its delicious fare. Her imagery is delicious, inviting and worth a listen.

Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice L. Waters

I have in my kitchen a couple of Alice Waters’ cookbooks, but not her Vegetable cookbook . . . yet. It comes highly recommended by cookbook critics, and at a time when we may be working on welcoming more vegetables into our 2021 eating regimen, this might just be a great cookbook to bring into your cookbook library.


Louis van Beethoven

Premiering earlier this month, Ludwig Beethoven, called Louis, “in 1779, at the age of eight [was] already known as a musical prodigy. He learns to go his own way – much to the dismay of the people around him. Some years later, he meets Mozart during times of political upheaval. The unconventional genius and French Revolution are sparking a fire in Louis’ heart; he doesn’t want to serve a master – only the arts. Facing times of family tragedies and unrequited love, he almost gives up. However, Louis makes it to Vienna to study under Haydn in 1792, and the rest is history.” Look for it on your preferred streaming service. And check out the trailer below.

My Rembrandt

Released this past fall, My Rembrandt offers a mosaic of gripping stories in which unrestrained passion for Rembrandt’s paintings leads to dramatic developments and unexpected plot turns. Look for it on your preferred streaming service now and check out the trailer below.

Francophile Find

Call My Agent, Season 4

As I mentioned above with Last Tango in Halifax, another favorite foreign comedy series is finally making their most recent season available on Netflix. Premiering January 21st, enjoy the French comedy series Call My Agent set in a talent agency of the stars business. Set in Paris and full of hilarity and drama, although nothing too serious, I cannot wait to watch as I loved the first three seasons.


Mavi Jeans

My eyes are always peeled for quality denim that fits my tall frame well, and offer just enough structure (not too stretchy, but not too tight and firm as well). I happened upon Mavi recently, and purchased their Emma slim boyfriend jeans. They arrived this week and I love them. The length is perfect – I chose their 32″ inseam, and the colors are natural in their hues. I selected a few more styles that caught my eye to share with you below, and perhaps one or both will find their way into my closet soon, but with fair prices, they are worth checking out. Find Alexa Mid-Rise Skinny in Mid Tribeca (shown in the collage at the top of the post), and the two different boyfriend styles below (the one I purchased is the final image).

Net-a-Porter Sale

A sale worth checking out for designer steals and deals (I have shopped a few below for you), peruse and discover great prices on capsule wardrobe items.

Theory Sale

I have been in search of longer than typical blazer. I love to wear my skinny jeans, a pair of heels or pointed toe flats with a simple camisole with them for a versatile look for day or evening. And I already know I love Theory blazers, having two traditional lengths in my closet. Well-made, the blazers I own are eight years old and each are wearing very well. So when I came across their Etiennette Blazer in camel (more colors), reduced more than 50% and in my size, I welcomed it into my daily wardrobe. Great quality and a trusted fit (I have broad shoulders), if you are looking for a timeless feminine blazer, be sure to check out not only the Etiennette, but their other styles as well.

Valentino Garavani Roman Stud Leather Mules

An investment? Yes. Worn for years? Yes. Cost-per-wear comes into play with Valentino’s leather mules. Worn with slim pants or jeans, these pointed shoes will present a chic, finished look and be comfortable as well.


Miss Scarlett & The Duke

I am most looking forward to a new series on PBS Masterpiece which will premiere this Sunday. Check out the video below as they share in detail what Miss Scarlett & The Duke is all about.

~recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookie Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies~

A long weekend awaits to be savored, and it won’t be waiting for me to take part. Count me part of the savoring sort! 🙂 Sitting on the garden porch which is south facing yesterday afternoon, I soaked up the sun while attending an online meeting. The meeting was made all the better because of where I found myself in my garden. I couldn’t help but look around garden and became quickly excited about my plans for sowing lettuce seeds this weekend, and generally just being home. My fingers are crossed that I may be able to begin a project inside the house if all the necessary details are delivered as are promised by today.

Each evening finds me melting in my reading chair, sometimes watching a French series and then ending the day with a good read of a light-hearted book having explored denser content throughout the day whether for the blog or school. Experimenting in the kitchen lifted my spirits this week. Delicious food never disappoints to make the day even better than it already may have been. Look for a new recipe to be shared on the blog this weekend.

Thank you for stopping by today. I think you will enjoy what is gathered below this week – articles and posts as well as one video – some will take you to Paris and France generally, others will offer inspiration and ideas to ponder and still others will spark you to dream, dare I say? 🙂 Until this weekend, bonne journée.

~Lindsay Tramuta’s article about Women Bringing Paris’ Storied Baking Tradition into the Future [CN Traveler]

~Speaking of Paris, slip away to Paris for a Perfect Day with handbag designer and American expat Kasia Dietz [HiP Paris]

~Inspiring ideas for January flower arrangements [House & Garden UK]

~Gardeners, a few tips on how to plan and build a truly successful flower border [The Middle-Sized Garden]

~Fellow creatives, you might enjoy as I did this audio interview with Garry Trudeau, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning comic strip Doonesbury (celebrating 50 years) [NPR]

~A tremendous thank you to the Travels with Gay Papa blog for mentioning my post about dining with Julia Child in Rouen.

~A family and restaurant’s story of loss, resilience and kindness – He was going to close the family diner. Then he got a sign [The New York Times]

~What makes someone mature? Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom shares a list for thoughtful contemplation and reflection.

~English Cottage Hunters, check out these listings of cottages for sale (the first one is in my mind ideal) [House & Garden UK]

~My fellow introverts – 5 Reasons Why the World Needs More Introverts [Introvert, Dear]

~France just extended the curfew of 6pm country-wide and here is why it is believed by the President’s party, it will help alleviate the apéro-effect [The Local]

~Five beautiful ways to make fresh herbs last longer [Gardenista]

~I shared last October I enjoyed Emily in Paris. It was a lovely escape, but it was far from perfect when it came to depicting certain aspects of . . . well . . . I’ll let Geraldine, a friend of TSLL, share her thoughts which I appreciate deeply. Don’t get me wrong, I will be watching season 2, but keeping a open perspective is a good idea as well to understand what is for laughs and what will get you laughed out of France or simply dismissed for being rude. 🙂

16 thoughts on “This & That: January 15, 2021

  1. As always a fabulous This & That.
    Miss Scarlett & The Duke has really peaked my interest – I think I may quite like the Duke. Here in the UK it’s shown on an channel called Alibi which explains why I’ve missed it!
    Also – if you enjoy Last Tango in Halifax, I’d recommend another Nicola Walker show you may be able to get on PBS (seems to show our BBC programmes) called The Split. She plays a completely different type of character, but it’s about 3 sisters – 2 of whom are solicitors working for a family law firm, and the drama when Nicola Walker moves to a rival firm. It’s very enjoyable and Walker’s characters wardrobe is fabulous! Much workwear inspiration


    1. Sarah,

      Thank you for recommending The Split. You have captured my interest with your synopsis! Tickled to hear you enjoyed this week’s This & That. 😌 Thanks as always for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend. 💛

  2. I have just finished “Miss Scarlett & The Duke” and can highly recommend it! Wishing you a lovely weekend, Shannon!

  3. Thanks for adding the cottage listings in England. I have always dreamed of having a little cottage somewhere -especially England!

  4. Thank you for recommending The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook to your readersI have owned my copy since 1974. It has s a real favorite to read, but the recipes are wonderful. Mushroom spread for toast, a stuffed chicken, the best chocolate mousse ever, many enjoyable dinner parties and the most fun to read.

    1. Beth, Thank you so much for sharing what you enjoy and appreciate about her cookbook/memoir and why it is still one you enjoy. I cannot wait pick up my own copy. ☺️

  5. Thank you Shannon for a delightful ‘this and that’. So much inspiration.Where to start? Love the idea of listening to a recipe being read out especially Alice Toklas. Great way to peak one’s imagination and get the tadte b7ds flowing. Have just registered and look forward to listening. The new curfew rules here in France mean we forgo l’apérobut make time for other activities instead like listening to podcasts and reading. Walking is my passion and am interested to read Kate Humble’s book( big fan of hers) on what she records. Walking encourages you to flex your imagination in a myriad of ways. My best decisions are made, solutions found when I am out on the trails. I am inspired to start writing my thoughts down from now on. Looking forward to “Call my Agent ” or as we say here “Dix pour cent”. Good luck with sowing the lettuce seeds. Still a bit chilly but I sowed some yesterday under cover. Wishing you and the boys a lovely week 😊

    1. Thank you for your comment Kameela 🙂

      I love your positive perspective on the unwanted increased curfew time. While it is temporary, it can certainly be disheartening, but finding other joys to engage in as you have shared certainly helps. 🙂 And regarding walking, I absolutely agree with you! Such a wealth of discoveries are found in our creative mind while walking. 🙂

      I hope your week is going well and thank you for stopping by. xo

  6. Just finished watching the first episode of “Miss Scarlett & The Duke” on PBS and it is fabulous. Great acting, wonderful chemistry between the title characters, excellent filmography, sets & costumes–can you tell I can’t wait for episode two?😊
    And thank you, as ever, Shannon, for providing a lovely space of charm and intellect, good reading and good food, a very comfy corner amidst the outer chaos. 🌼

    1. Thank you for sharing why you enjoyed Miss Scarlet & The Duke. I just finished the first episode as well and completely concur. Terrifically acted and beautifully told. The writer and creator (a woman) has a wonderful show in store for viewers.

      Thank you as always for stopping by and have a lovely week. 😌

      1. You too! (Tonight I am serving your Seared Sea Scallops in Sherry Sauce for the first time. I’m adding a side of roasted parmesan asparagus. Can’t wait!)

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