This & That: January 17, 2020

Jan 17, 2020

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Monty Don’s new series, three novels to cozy up with, two highly acclaimed films, a new Broadway play starring SJP and her husband, the premiere of a favorite British mystery series and much, much more (as well as the announcement of the winner of My Stylish French Box).


Davines Dry Texturizer (I use it as my hairspray)

I was recently reminded of how awesome my go-to ‘hairspray’ is after recommending it to my mother and she in turned raved about it after using it. As someone with fine hair, but lots of it, my hair stylist and colorist recommended Davines dry texturizer spray. As you can see here in my most recent cooking segment on KATU-TV this past August, my hair stays put, but it doesn’t look stiff. In fact, it adds a bit of body and is still extremely touchable. As the name implies, it is more of a combination of dry shampoo and texturizer to add grip without the stick. A bit of an investment, but it will last a long time if you use it only from time to time or a little bit at a time.


The Library of Lost and Found: A Novel by Phaedra Patrick

Found while perusing the local independent bookshop during my recent trip to the coast, TSLL readers who had read the book spoke highly of The Library of Lost and Found about “librarian Martha Storm who has always found it easier to connect with books than people”. Upon finding a dedication written to her by her best friend—her grandmother Zelda— in a book that arrives at her doorstep who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier, the plot begins to quickly build intrigue and reveal unexpected revelations to Martha.

British Find

The Flatshare: A Novel by Beth O’Leary

An unexpected partnering of flatmates – one an introvert who works the night shift, the other a socialable sort repairing her heart after a break-up. A light-hearted romantic tale to delight in especially since they never actually meet for quite some time due to their schedules, only sharing a flat, but not necessarily at the same time. Sounds like fun.

Monty Don’s American Garden Series, BBC 2

Premiering last week on BBC 2, Monty Don’s latest garden series travels throughout America sharing glimpse of vastly different gardens that catch his eye and intrigue. If you live in the UK, you can view the episodes for free for the first month upon their original air date, but at least for a time, the first episode is available to everyone below on YouTube. Have a look and enjoy.

Vera, Season 10 premiere

Premiering this week in the UK and by the end of January everywhere (Acorn TV), the mystery series Vera debuts its tenth season. One of the top shows in Britain and based on the bestselling novels of Ann Cleeves, I have come to enjoy Vera, played by two-time Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn who stars as DCI Vera Stanhope, “a solitary, obsessed, caustic, brilliant investigator.


Plaza Suite

Neil Simon’s play, Plaza Suite which is set at, you guessed it, the Plaza Hotel in New York City, shares three different tales of three entirely different families and/or couples on a particular day about a particular occasion set in a suite at the Plaza.

Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick will star in all three scenarios as different individuals which, in and of itself, is a challenging task, but if any two talents can handle it, these two can certainly do it. The previews will take place in Boston during the month of February and the show will premiere on Broadway for a limited time in March and running through July. Be sure to check it out if you will be in either city. Looks like fun.


The Ultimate Cooking for One Cookbook: 175 Super Easy Recipes Made Just for You by Joanie Zisk

Think fresh and delicious and yes, home-cooked, but simple and without making excess food that will last for days. Released this past December and having had the opportunity to receive my own copy, author Joanie Zisk of One Dish Kitchen, shares a cookbook that is full of easy to follow instructions and full color images. Discover how cooking for one can be done in a clever manner to not only reduce food waste and source single servings of fresh ingredients, but taste wonderfully as well.


Svend Bayer Jug by David Mellor

Slipping away to Devon, England, David Mellor’s wood-fired stoneware pots reveal his unique talent brought with him from Denmark and reveals his admiration for traditional pottery of the Far East. With many more styles, sizes and colors, this particular 1.1 liter jug caught my eye as it would be a beautiful vase as well as pitcher, but also a stunning piece all on its own to put on display in the home.



Mary Kay Place is receiving high praise for her starring role in Diane. If you happened to read President Obama’s list of movies he most enjoyed during 2019, you would have seen Diane. Released last March, the storyline focuses on Place’s character, Diane, who places “everyone else first. Generous but with little patience for self-pity, she spends her days checking in on sick friends, volunteering at her local soup kitchen, and trying valiantly to save her troubled, drug-addicted adult son (Jake Lacy) from himself. But beneath her relentless routine of self-sacrifice, Diane is fighting a desperate internal battle, haunted by a past she can’t forget and which threatens to tear her increasingly chaotic world apart”. Be sure to read the review from The New York Times who described the film as ‘vibrant’, and check out the trailer below if the synopsis caught your attention.

Pain & Glory

Antonio Banderas is receiving nominations for his starring role in Pain and Glory, a Spanish film portraying a series of “reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director in physical decline”. With memories relived from his youth to his loves to his early discovery of cinema, Rotten Tomatoes has given it 97%. Have a look at the trailer below, and look for it in boutique theaters now.

Francophile Find

The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks

Another novel I came across in the coastal town’s bookshop, The Vexations was released this past summer to applause from the New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal.

“Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.

As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for.”


Bibliophile Mugs, Ideal Bookshelf by Janet Mount

My last discovery that I will share this week which was found at the bookshop at the coast was the bibliophile mug painted by Jane Mount (the author of Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany). It was the Cookbook Mug which captured my eye, but there are many more. Be sure to have a look (and canvas totes too!).

Vivi et Margot, 50% of Sale

If you have been waiting to purchase a classic French market tote, linen tea towels or any other treasures found at Vivi et Margot, now is the time to shop as they are having a lovely sale with prices slashed up to 50% off.

~recipe for Clementine Curd Pavlova~

A long weekend has nearly begun, and the first real project of decorating and customizing my home begins. While I do not know how long it will take (wallpaper the mudroom is the most lengthy part of the task), it will begin in earnest tomorrow, and I will be sure to share pics along the journey with an eventual post of how it all turns out.

I am especially excited to return to the mountain and do some skiing as we have received an abundance of snow this past week which should make for a lovely touring session on cross country skis. All the more to look forward to is going skiing wth Norman as it has been far too long since we have gone out on the trails together.

I hope that you are looking ahead to a lovely weekend, and before I forget I wanted to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway for a My Stylish French Box from Sharon Santoni. I truly wish I could give away many more boxes as I sincerely appreciate your time, interest and kind comments. Thank you for stopping by last week, and thank you for your thoughtful words and as well as sharing what you love about TSLL. I read each comment and take in what you share as I consider future posts and content, so thank you for your time to reach out.

The lucky winner is, as chosen by random selection with, comment #137 which was Amanda! And remember, you can still purchase your own February box, Dans ma Cuisine, as a few boxes are still avaialble.

More giveaways will be shared and given in the upcoming TSLL’s British Week during the third week in May and in the annual TSLL’s French Week, the second week in August, so be sure to visit, as well as stay tuned as surprise giveaways such as this one could be announced between now and then. A big thank you to Sharon Santoni for offering this giveaway, and now to the weekend! Below are many different articles on a variety of topics that you might be interested in as well as a TEDx talk on how to create happiness. Thank you as always for choosing to spend a little time on the weekend with TSLL, and until Monday, bonne journée.

Advice to my 26-year-old self from a former Vogue Paris editor [Refinery29]

—In case you were wanting to start a book club of your own – 4 Steps to Start a Book Club [NPR]

Check out the 2020 Oscar Nominations [The New York Times] and mark your calendars for February 9th.

Greta Gerwig’s many sources of inspiration for the film Little Women [The New York Times]

The Queen publicly expresses support for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s announcement to take a step back from official Royal Duties [LA Times]

Let’s Not Blame Meghan Markle of ‘Ruining’ Prince Harry [O Magazine]

10 Practical Ways Less is More [Lifehack]

Why you have to share what you really feel and want in relationships [Tiny Buddha]

James Beard makes the case for quality tea

7 Reasons Introverts should travel alone at least once [Introvert, Dear]

—Curious about Opera, but do not know where to begin? Watch this quick introduction for the non-opera lover [BBC]

The Musée d’Orsay hires an Instagram artist in residence [The Guardian]

36 Hours on the Right Bank in Paris [The New York Times]

The 10 Best Food Souveniors to Bring Back from Paris [Food & Wine]

How to Stop Caring About What Other People Think [Well + Good]

Nordic work-life balance secrets [CNBC]

—And since we’re talking about happiness and the insights Scandanavian countries have found to welcome it into their lives more regularly, a TEDx talk about How to Create it rather than searching for it (see below).

18 thoughts on “This & That: January 17, 2020

  1. Goodness gracious so many wonderful ideas! I just adore starting my Friday morning with your news. PS: I recommend The Flatshare as well. Absolutely charming and very refreshing!

    1. Brigid, Good morning and happy Friday! Thank you for stopping by.? As well, thank you for sharing that you enjoyed The Flatshare. Upon picking it up myself and reading a few pages while at the bookstore, the concept certainly looked intriguingly fun. Enjoy the weekend.

    1. Charlotte, thank you for this feedback. I was trying something to help the eye. I am always open to suggestions from readers to make the post as easy to enjoy as possible. Thank you again. 🙂

  2. I love all this novel inspiration. SJP is also a favorite. Your stylist French box has me thinking about a possible content topic: favorite subscriptions (of all kinds), which are worth it, how to curate….Just a reader request 🙂 Happy Friday Shannon!

  3. Thank you thank you thank you ! I so look forward to your posts . You have been such a source of inspiration and a guide on helping me on my journey to become the woman I want to be. Lots of love !

  4. Here it is Sunday and I’m still reading and making notes from all the items you have mentioned. Enjoy your snow adventures with Norman.

  5. Congratulations Amanda! Enjoy the treats!
    I am going to check out five of Shannon’s This & That’s: the texturizer spray (will keep from having to wash hair so often as well), the book by Ms. Patrick, the cook book by Ms. Zisk, LOVE the mugs (I am in a bookclub and it would be fun to get as a surprise giveaway), and the market tote. Thanks Shannon!

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