This & That: July 24, 2020

Jul 24, 2020

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A feel-good film, an inspiring new podcast, a French film festival to enjoy wherever you call home, summer sales on essential clothing and kitchen tools and table linens, a new cookbook to inspire you to gather, a book for gardeners, book-lovers and much more.


Fear is a Four-Letter Wodr: How to Develop the Unstoppable Confidence to Own Any Room by Tracy Tutor

I watch very few reality shows, but when it comes to cooking and real estate, these two topics grab my interest, so I do tune in to Million Dollar Listing LA and have thoroughly enjoyed Tracy Tutor on this series. She brings with her the confidence in business as well as the camaraderie before and after the deal is done, leaving the negotiating where it needs to be and separating the two with aplomb. The current season (season 12) is now airing on Bravo, and her new book was just released as well. I have to say, I wouldn’t mind picking up a few pointers. She works her tail off in work and life, respects herself and her dreams along the way while being a mom navigating divorce as well as the ups and down of the real estate market.

The Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jennifer Campbell

Shaun Bythell of The Confessions of a Bookseller (I HIGHLY recommend – loved it!) shared in his first book in which he shares a daily entry for one year as a bookshop owner in Scotland that when he read Jennifer Campbell’s book The Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores (2013), he realized he might have interest in sharing his own experience (I am so glad he did). With that said, she has so much content working part-time in a London antiquarian bookshop, she has also written a second book which is also on my list to read –The BookShop Book – and has her on YouTube channel. Below is a great video to be introduced to Jennifer and all that she does.

British Find

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings: A Year of Keeping Bees by Helen Jukes

I learned of Helen Jukes’ new book while reading The New York Times Book Review section this past weekend, and when the reviewer shared that the pace and drama of the book was slow and steady, I must admit, I was immediately interested. With all that is going on in the world, I am not looking for more angst and uncertainty, so such books are drawing my attention and joy.

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings begins as the author is entering her thirties and feeling disconnected in her life. Uneasy about her future and struggling to settle into her new house in Oxford with its own small garden, she is brought back to a time of accompanying a friend in London—a beekeeper—on his hive visits. And as a gesture of good fortune for her new life, she is given a colony of honeybees. According to folklore, a colony, freely given, brings good luck, and Helen Jules embarks on a rewarding, perilous journey of becoming a beekeeper.”


A Table for Friends: The Art of Cooking for Twenty by Skye McAlpine

Oh, how I long to host dinner parties again! And Skye McAlpine’s book is just the book to show us how to do it, do it well and deliciously, but also enjoy ourselves as the host. Being released next Tuesday (I wanted to give you a heads up!), discover “recipes for every occasion, from last-minute weeknight dinners to large celebratory gatherings. Skye’s recipes fall into four chapters, Stars, Sides, Sweets and Extras, which allow you to intuitively plan a simple and impressive menu, and, because juggling oven space is one of the biggest challenges when cooking for a crowd, each chapter is ingeniously organised into Throw Together, On The Hob and In The Oven so your menu works best for your mood, your kitchen and your time.” Below her pasta recipe for Spaghetti with Creamy Lemon Sauce is making me salivate – oh my goodness.


Military Wives

If you enjoyed The Full Monty and/or Calendar Girls, I have a feeling you will enjoy Military Wives. Released this past May on Amazon Prime, rent it for $4 and enjoy a story based on true events in which British military wives from diverse backgrounds come together to form the first military wives choir. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, listen/read NPR’s review of the film in May and have a look at the trailer below. I think this film will be worth the ticket price most definitely.


The Gardener’s Bed-Book: Short and Long Pieces to Read in Bed by Those Who Love Green Growing Things By Richardson Wright

A BIG thank you to TSLL reader Debby for introducing me to a couple of gardening essay books that would be lovely to have on hand for evening reading. I will be sharing a few more in the coming weeks, but this one says it all – A Gardener’s Bed Book. Sweet dreams and may your garden grow in abundance and beauty.


Williams-Sonoma Summer Sale

As I plan ahead for the recipes I want to bring to you this fall in Season 3 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen, I am taking advantage of cookware sales such as Williams-Sonoma. The prices are hard to beat, so if you too are missing a few must-have items for making your favorite dishes, be sure to scoop them up. I have shopped a few below.

Francophile Find

Virtual Boston French Film Festival

Another BIG thank you to a TSLL reader sharing with me that this year Boston French Film Festival is available to be enjoyed online. Running during the entire month of July, check out their entire list of films, past favorites and new releases, that will take you to France and share a variety of different storylines. Each film is $10 for a three day viewing – you purchase online and stream through your tech device of choice.

After looking at the list, the film below which is included in their offerings, is one I will be enjoying this weekend.

Deux Moi (Someone, Somewhere)

Released in 2018, François Civil (who starred in Back to Burgundy – a lovely French film I highly recommend) and Ana Girardot star in Deux Moi based on the story of two individuals who live adjacent lives (literally) and parallel lives (figuratively) in Paris. “Their days are punctuated by unfulfilling jobs, as they seek meaningful romantic and platonic connection. As they stumble through psychotherapy, dating apps, fainting spells, and family visits, the seemingly star-crossed duo orbit around each other but remain just out of reach. Klapisch (director) spins a delicate ‘what-if’ from their compartmentalization, exploring our increasingly hermetic modern urban life.” Have a look at the trailer below, and view it through the link on Boston French Film Festival’s website.


The Michelle Obama Podcast

Partnering with Spotify, former First Lady Michelle Obama is bringing a new podcast to the airwaves on July 29th. Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, also announced that they will be producing multiple podcasts exclusive to the platform, and this is the debut show – The Michelle Obama Podcast. What will the show be about? “The show will bring listeners the First Lady’s most candid, human, and personal conversations to show us what is possible when we dare to be vulnerable.” I know I will be subscribing. 🙂


Everlane Summer Style Sale

If you are looking for timeless pieces from shoes, to shirts, bottoms and a couple of handbags as well as a Mac coat that has captured my attention (available in four different colors), be sure to check out Everlane’s Summer Style Sale going on now. I have shopped a few items below:

G. Label, New Summer Collection

Recently, Gwyneth Paltrow’s summer collection for her website GOOP – G. Label, shared pics of her modeling a handful of the items at her own home in the Hamptons, styled and accompanied by her daughter Apple. While the items are not on sale, and available at a mid-price range, many of them are timeless and quite versatile. The Erica Lightweight cardigan made of cashmere and silk has my attention (see left). Yes, yes, yes.

The final weekend of July is in front of us, and it is hard to believe the month has nearly already slipped by. For the most part, like many of you, I have largely been staying home, which is a shift for summer months in many ways, and certainly with all that is going on in the world, a time that offers more opportunity for the mind to wander. However, thankfully, I have small and large projects to keep me busy and pre-occupied. Firstly, TSLL’s upcoming 5th Annual French Week! I am currently pulling together all of the content and giveaways, wrapping up interviews for the podcast and generally getting quite excited for the arrival of August 9th. Be sure to mark your calendars.

Also, TSLL’s kitchen renovation began this week, with the old stove and microwave removed on Monday along with the portion of the countertops that are going to be replaced (I am keeping most of what I have), the new hood went up just yesterday and already I can begin to see what I hoped and dreamed would become my new cooking space. I cannot wait to share the final reveal with you, and you can expect to see that when the third season of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen premieres this September.

With the noise, which in this case I love!, going on in the background as I typed away on this week’s blog posts, my mind is easily distracted in the best of ways. As well, each morning and evening the boys and I have spent time in the garden pruning plants whose time is done for this season, propping up new rambling roses beginning to stretch to the sky, mowing the lawn, tying up sweet peas and harvesting the strawberries. Between the garden and the kitchen, I am over the moon with gratitude, and I hope you too are finding everyday routines and projects to focus your attention for positive results. It is possible, but it certainly takes more of a conserted effort.

Below I have gathered together an assortment of articles and posts as well as videos I hope you enjoy and one that will make you laugh out loud if you enjoy Diane Keaton as much, or half as much, as I do. I hope you had a lovely week and are looking forward to a fantastic weekend of leisure and calm. Thank you for stopping by TSLL today, and until Monday, bonne journée.

~Discover Four Quirky ‘Must-Knows’ When It Comes to Navigating the French Culture [My French Life]

~A Home Tour in Charlotte, North Carolina that demonstrates how you too can “mix the colours, textures, patterns and most importantly periods of furniture and collectibles to achieve a balance.” I especially love the dining room and kitchen (the dog helps too :)). [Homes & Gardens]

~No, you’re not imagining it. There are distinct and long-perpetuated biases working against women. And the first step to change is awareness and recognition. Read this week-long series on the 7 Inequities [The New York Times]

~So many of us are baking and cooking at home more than we have in the past, so why not make something perfect for cooling off this summer? Ben & Jerry’s shared their recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream [People]

~Classical music is beginning to wake up to must-needed changes, and these Black Artists Share How to Do It [The New York Times]

~How to Connect Passion and Purpose For Fulfillment in Life [LifeHack]

~John Lewis’ death reminds us to celebrate all that he accomplished as the last of the six Civil Rights giants to continue to strive for equality and justice. Brain Pickings post spotlights John Lewis on Love, Forgiveness and the Seedbed of Personal Strength

~Can New York City Be More Like Paris: The 15-Minute City [NY Mag]

~Paris Bubbles Over with Optimism Post-Lockdown [Financial Times]

~Beginning on July 20th, throughout Paris, Face Masks in Enclosed Public Places are Obligatory [France Today]

~How to Be Friendly While Wearing a Mask [Cup of Jo]

~How to Design a Home That Heals After a Significant Life Change [The Washington Post]

~This writer shares the One Book That Will Change Your Life (and having read it, I have to agree. It’s worth reading – more than once.) [Medium]

~Diane Keaton has been cracking me up with her IG Videos on Instagram. Watch her in her kitchen, making tacos (she loves broccoli as much as I do it seems, so I was doubly smitten with this video). Her hat videos and style videos are just as fun.

~Slip away to Paris with Tiffanie Davis, an American living in Paris, a new YouTube channel I subscribe to and am enjoying to see what life is like in Paris during this time of the pandemic.

17 thoughts on “This & That: July 24, 2020

  1. So much fabulous content per usual! Thank you for providing such a rich list.
    Excited and much appreciated!

  2. Thank you for the book recommendations, they sound great! As a bibliophile I look forward to reading these.

  3. Thank you – I love T&T, it winds up the business week with a graceful ending, and brings on the weekend with verve!

  4. So much goodness this Friday! I anticipate an enjoyable weekend working my way through all your recommendations & links. I especially like the heads-up for Tracy Tudor’s book. I share your affinity for Million Dollar Listing LA, primarily because of Tracy — I love her sense of humor (esp when dealing with some of her male peers, who behave like bratty 12 year olds much of the time), intelligence & courage: I don’t think there’s anything or anyone she won’t take on, even when it terrifies her. OK, and her clothes — & shoes 🙂 I look forward to reading her book.

    1. Yes, to all that you said about Tracy! 🙂 I agree. 🙂 Thank you for perusing throughout the weekend this post. I am so happy to hear you enjoy it so much. Have a lovely weekend Susanne.

  5. I just ordered two pairs of shoes and a pair of pants from Everlane. Love, love, love the styles and such a great sale! Thanks for sharing this shopping idea!

  6. Hello!
    While looking for another book you had suggested on your blog, I came across this book: “Old Herbaceous: A Novel of the Garden” by Reginald Arkell. I thought it may be something you might enjoy. Have a great weekend.

  7. I’m so glad to find Tiffanie Davis! I had also added Confessions of a Bookseller to my list, and now must include The Bookshop Book as well…I’m not sure why books about books are so comforting, but they are lovely. And thank you for the cheese soufflé recipe, I’ve been searching for a nice easy recipe, I’m excited to try this one. After an hilarious angel food cake baking disaster this weekend, I need to redeem myself. 😉 Hope you have a fabulous week!

    1. Kristin, I think you will find this soufflé recipe quite simple. Do let me know how it goes. Yes, Tiffanie’s channel was a delight to find. I too find comfort in books about books. Such a testament to the power of books in all of the different ways. 😌 Thank you for stopping by and your comment. Have a wonderful Sunday. 💛

  8. Thank you for pointing me to Diane Keaton on IG. Oh to enjoy some Annie Hall during these trying times. She is just as real and awkward and human as ever. And seriously, her joy in eating her taco – our favorite foods do remind us that it is the simple comforts that make the sun shine. I love your newletters – one of the favorite parts of my week.

    1. Barbara, Isn’t she a hoot! Her latest on her belts was equally silly and fun. Exactly what I need right now. 🙂 Thank you for subscribing to the newsletter and have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  9. Thank you for these lovely recommendations. We are still cautious about venturing out in my community so the film and book recommendations are very much appreciated.

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