This & That: July 31, 2020

Jul 31, 2020

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Books to encourage you to slow down and become more content and productive (seems impossible, but it’s not!), a new olive oil subscription service, simple decor items that offer great signature style and comfort as well as sales, articles and much more.


The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

The essential necessity for life is breath, so when I heard James Nestor talking about his book with Terry Gross this spring on Fresh Air amid all that the world is dealing with, his interviewed piqued my attention. Nestor shares “modern research is showing that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines.” Nestor explores many different unexpected sources to better understand how breathing has changed, how it can be improved and the result of doing so.

Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work by Rahaf Harfoush 

Digital anthropoligist as well as one of the 40 Parisienne women featured in Lindsey Tramuta‘s new book The New Parisienne, Rahaf Harfoush wrote a book about a topic we perhaps all should seriously consider. Harfoush shares that all of the lifehacks we are implementing to get more done are largely “making things worse. Creativity isn’t produced on an assembly line, and endless hustle is ruining our mental and physical health while subtracting from our creative performance. Productivity and Creativity are not compatible; we are stuck between them, and like the opposite poles of a magnet, they are tearing us apart.”

A book I am greatly interested in reading due to my own need and desire to reconstruct my schedule and enjoy living all the more, “Hustle and Float explores how our work culture creates contradictions between what we think we want and what we actually need, and points the way to a more humane, more sustainable, and, yes, more creative, way of working and living.”

Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz

A book I have just begun reading, and which was just released this past May is Lost in Thought. “In an overloaded, superficial, technological world, in which almost everything and everybody is judged by its usefulness, where can we turn for escape, lasting pleasure, contemplation, or connection to others? While many forms of leisure meet these needs, Zena Hitz writes, “few experiences are so fulfilling as the inner life, whether that of a bookworm, an amateur astronomer, a birdwatcher, or someone who takes a deep interest in one of countless other subjects.” Hitz’s proposes to “remind us of who we once were and who we might become . . . and why renewing our inner lives is fundamental to preserving our humanity.”

The Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman

Published in the late 1970s, if you are curious to know about the science behind cooking and the history and origins of classic French recipes, this is a vintage book to pick up. Kamman revised this book in 1997 with new techniques and more low-fat recipes as was the trend, but I was drawn to the original. You can find used copies on a variety of sites online.

No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are by Jack Kornfield

Internationally applauded meditation and mindfulness teacher Jack Kornfield’s latest book (2017) shares with readers “that you can be happy now, this minute, with the keys to inner freedom . . . Each chapter presents a path to a different kind of freedom—freedom from fear, freedom to start over, to love, to be yourself, and to be happy—and guides you into an active process that engages your mind, heart, and spirit, awakens your spirit, and brings real joy, over and over again.”

British Find

A Portrait of Jane Austen by David Cecil

I discovered this title while reading Shaun Bythell’s memoirs about being a bookseller (another reason I enjoyed his books so much), and while originally published in 1979, if you are curious about Austen’s world this biography will share with you through the letters exchanged with family and friends what it would have been like. To understand the society in England at the time is to better understand Jane Austen.



Available on Amazon Prime, Rosamund Pike stars as the two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie who was the first to win the award in two separate categories – physics and chemistry. A Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist, the telling of her story in this film will inspire viewers to stretch themselves, stray from the norm and think for one’s self even if society may not be ready for the truth you have discovered. Have a look at the trailer below and watch the film now on Amazon Prime.


Brightland Olive Oils

A TSLL reader brought to my attention Brightland Olive Oils (thank you!!!) and their subscription service for welcoming delicious, high-quality olive oils into your home at a fair price (you can purchase without subscribing as well). Environmentally-consciously grown olives from California, the founder and her husband were inspired by their discovery that many of the olive oils purchased by Americans are not from or what they purport to be.

Enter Brightland. Brightland was born out of a desire for better, more honest food production – and a deep belief in the land and what it provides. Subscription orders can be tailored to how often you use olive oil in your cooking – a delivery every once a month, every two or every three months – and are sold at a discount compared to non-subsciption purchase. Choose from a variety of types of olive oils and vinegars as well, to suit your taste and your cooking style.

Knowing how frequently I go through olive oil (it seems I am picking up a 32 oz bottle every two weeks, having it delivered would be wonderful, and knowing it was of high quality and what I need even better.


Rita Konig’s Ambra Table Lamp

Currently, I am looking for a tall, narrow lamp for a console table near my kitchen. With the goal of creating a “living space” not a laboratory in my kitchen, adding some soft lighting for when the cooking is complete and perhaps converstaions or appetizers are being enjoyed or the evening is winding down, something as simple as a brass lamp that is both modern and classic might just fit the bill.

Sophie Conran Glass Pillar Candlesticks

Candles, match-strikers and a candle cupboard. The only additional item to add to this collection are candlesticks in preferred styles and sizes, and Sophie Conran’s glass pillar candlesticks are an affordable and beautiful choice.

Francophile Find

Saint James Women’s French Striped Long Sleeve Shirt, Sale

Classic French marinière stripe shirts are now on sale at French based company Saint James. Choose the color of stripe you prefer, the style and sleeve length and welcome into your closet a classic design.


Bembien Lola Bag

Simple and well made, along with a delicate design. A summer tote to elevate the everyday cool, crisp attire.

Nordstrom’s Semi-Annual Sale Preview

Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale was pushed back a month, but it is still set to take place. Beginning Thursday August 13th, begin shopping finds at reduced prices. The good news is we can already preview what will be on sale and decide what our budgets will allow. I shopped a few items below, and among them are Madewell’s Transport Stripe Embroidered Tote, Tumi 31″ and 22″ suitcases (for when we can travel abroad again), and one of my favorite hand lotions – L’Occitane Hand Cream Duo Set,

—The White Company, Summer Sale

If you have had your eye on anything at The White Company, some wonderfully steep discounts (up to 60%) are happening now. I have shopped a few items below.


Backyard Envy season 2 premiere

If you are looking for inspiration and ideas for your yard, garden or patio whether you live in the city or suburbs, this is a fun series to watch. Season 2 premieres on August 4th, next Tuesday on Bravo, and is centered around a New York landscaping company of three friends each offering their own unique talents. Have a look at the trailer for this season, and if it is anything like last year’s, you will certainly have more than a few takeaways and ideas of inspiration to incorporate into your own outdoor space.

~recipe for Blueberry, Lemon Pull-Apart Bread~

*Deep breath* Temperatures soared touching just barely the three digits this week here in Bend, and while Norman and I could not go paddle boarding during the week due to an online school course I had to take, we are eager (I am assuming he is eager as well ;)) to do so this weekend in the early hours of the morning.

The plants in the garden are a little more thirsty, the body needs a little more moisturizer and hydration and staying inside is happening a bit more than I have been enjoying, but this heat-wave will pass. As I shared in this week’s letter from the editor to newsletter subscribers, being pushed out of our comfort zone is helpful at times to make us appreciate what we truly do need to live well.

But back to the heat for a moment. Oscar is begging for his summer haircut, which thankfully will happen this weekend, and I am planning on making pain au chocolat – a couple to be enjoyed fresh for this weekend and the rest to freeze for upcoming weekend Sunday morning enjoyment. Such a simple recipe and the key lies in the quality butter and chocolate. I highly recommend. 🙂

Below are articles and one video you might enjoy. I hope your final week in July offered moments to celebrate and treasure. Thank you for choosing to stop by TSLL, and until Monday, bonne journée. 🙂

~The power of decluttering – How quarantine decluttering can increase productivity, decrease stress and save money [The Washington Post]

~How to Stop the Bullies that may seem as though they are everywhere [The Wall Street Journal]

~In lighter and more delicious news – In Germany, there is only one chocolate company that can sell their chocolatey goodness in the shape of squares [DeZeen]

~Another round of Bookshelf Detective when celebrities join a Zoom conversation [The New York Times]

~Many French welcome the frozen foods from Picard into their kitchens on a regular basis, and now the company is coming to a UK grocer near you! [Complete France]

~7 Work-Life Balance Ideas for Working Remotely [Smart Blogger]

~If you are scared of failing, look to Julia Child’s words of inspiration to step forward into the unknown [The Kitchn]

~17 Basic Garden Elements to Explore and Welcome Into Your Outdoor Space [House & Garden UK]

~Georgia US Representative for 33 years and Civil Rights Leader and Activist John Lewis was laid to rest yesterday after being the first Black lawmaker in the nation’s history to lie in state beneath the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. If you haven’t already viewed the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, it’s well worth it. [The New York Times]

~Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s full response to the sexist and bullying remarks by fellow Representative Ted Yoho is worth listening to regardless of your political ideology as a reminder that behaving civilly whilst having ideologically differences is the sign of a strong, united society (or if absent, the lack thereof), and her notes are worth reading as well.

~Take a home-tour of this 16th century Dorset farmhouse [House & Garden UK]

~Video: If you are still contemplating whether or not take Rita Konig’s design course from Create Academy, here is a small lesson that is included in the nearly 40 lesson class about laying out your furniture.

23 thoughts on “This & That: July 31, 2020

  1. I am so pleased you included Radioactive in this week’s This and That. The story of Madame Curie is nothing short of a lesson in Tenacity and dedication to a higher goal. When I was in the 7th grade, my mother planned a summer reading list for my sister and me. One of the books was The Story of Marie Curie written by her daughter. As a former teacher I know that this is not part of the curriculum, but we cannot allow her to become a Hidden Figure and Rosemund Pike’s performance was wonderful.

    1. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your childhood. What a lovely idea that your mother practiced during the summer months. 🙂 Yes, Madame Curie’s life story is nothing short of inspiring. And I agree, we cannot let her go forgotten. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  2. As usual, a fabulous list. Going to look for “Lost in Thought”. On your recommendation i sent my mother a copy of “Confessions of a Bookseller” and she loved it.

    1. So good to hear you mother enjoyed the book! Thank you for sharing Lindsey. 🙂 Yes, I am diving more fully into Lost in Thought this weekend, so we will see how it goes, but I love the premise. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Andrea. 🙂 So happy the titles are speaking to you! The comfort and joy of reading! I do not know what I would do without books. 🙂

  3. Incredible post Shannon!!! Always a highlight of my life, especially now!!
    Love the stove!!!

    1. Thank you Emily and it sounds like you subscribe to the monthly newsletter? 🙂 more peeks to come of the renovation in the kitchen to subscribers prior to the big reveal in September. ☺️💛 Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Really enjoy “this and that”. I’m a big fan of Jack Kornfield and love his books. Also happy to see the portrait of jane austen. And purchased another st. james top. Thanks for the alerts.

    1. Thank you for sharing Sue. 🙂 I have just been introduced to Jack Kornfield, and I look forward to exploring his writing further. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. I’ve enjoyed your blog for inspiration, but am disappointed you’re posting the AOC comments. I read your blog to escape and relax, not for politics.

    1. Lisa, I understand and I do stay away from politics, but why I shared it was the common decency that was not given to a fellow colleague regardless of their differing politics, and AOC’s civil response. We will all have our own political values, but we can civilly communicate and treat each other as human beings, not as objects. That is why I included it. I don’t necessary agree with AOC’s political ideology or disagree (I will keep that for my personal conversations with family, friends and community), but if you truly listened to her speech, it is not a political speech, it is a speech about common decency extended to a fellow human being – of which we all are.

      1. I gave the AOC speech a chance on your recommendation, but I must disagree about her speech not being political, as she says that she has been treated poorly “particularly by members of the Republican Party” and proceeds to then list them by name. I agree with the other commenter that I come here to escape from politics. Otherwise, I very much enjoy your content. Thank you!

        1. Melinda, Thank you for taking a look at the speech. Quickly to add context: She mentioned the Republican congressmen because they were either present and did not call out the representative for using the profane language as being wrong in this instance or generally, or complicit in calling AOC the derogatory sexist comments. None of which, (the comments) were political in their content, but rather ad hominem attacks against AOC. Regardless of one’s political party, sexist comments have no place and are unproductive at the very least of civil and constructive progress as a governmental body. This blog will always be a destination for the representation of equality for all. So in that sense, some would say they will find political content here. This has always been the case since the Blog’s founding. As we come to realize the truths of inequality and passive acceptance of sexism and misogyny, we are stronger for being aware of such treatment and standing together and not letting it continue.

  6. Incredible! I am ordering three of your book recommendations and will watch, “Radioactive “ this weekend. Oh, did I mention I also ordered the linen chevron dress?
    Your style, grace, depth, and genuine decency/humanity are so greatly appreciated.
    Have a fabulous weekend and post Norman’s haircut if he’s not too shy!

    1. Jennifer, So happy to hear the book recommendations spoke to you! I will be watching virtually with you Radioactive this weekend. Enjoy. 🙂 (and thank you for your kind compliment 🙂 xoxo)

  7. Was that a L’atelier stove that I spotted in this mornings newsletter? I hope you’ll share your thoughts on the stove after you’ve cooked on it for awhile. I personally don’t know anyone with that stove and would greatly value your honest opinion. It’s an expensive purchase, but one that will last a lifetime. Can’t wait to see the kitchen reveal!

    1. I will definitely be share all of the reasons I chose my stove and the actual brand I chose as well(not going to give that away yet 😉). As I was making my own mind up, exploring resources shared by people who have and now cook with a variety of brands was extremely helpful. Look for that post and episode to be shared this fall. 🙂

  8. Shannon, thank you once again for such a delightful addition to what’s becoming a pleasurable ritual — reading your post on Friday, then spending the rest of the weekend slowly savouring all your recommendations & links & tidbits. Thanks too for the head’s up re Season 2 of “Backyard Envy”, a show that’s become one of my favourites (I swear I’ve watched each ep 5 times). Not only do I enjoy the garden & landscaping information (I have pages & pages of notes) but I adore the “three amigos”. Their deep friendship & the respect they have for each other — & each other’s expertise — is a delight to watch & makes me treasure MY friends even more! It’s also got to be one of the funniest shows on TV. When James confides that they never tell Garrett (who’s never met a plant he didn’t love) that they’re tearing out existing plants to make room for the new, but are “sending them to live on the farm”, I laughed so hard I gave myself the hiccoughs. And my favorite line (from James again, whose dry wit cracks me up, on him, Garrett & 4 other dudes trying to get some trees in pots to stand upright): “six gay guys arguing about what’s straight”. The news there’s another season has me doing cartwheels (figuratively).

    1. Susanne, You have a wonderful memory and I so enjoyed being reminded of these scenes. It is a fun series along with a resourceful series for gardeners. This new season looks to be just as fruitful in both. Thank you very much as well for sharing how you enjoy taking i the weekly This & That. I am delighted to know it is a looked-forward-to ritual!! All my best and thank you for your continued time and interest. ☺️

  9. I signed up for the Rita Konig series and am so enjoying it! I love her idea about putting a desk in a room that results in you going in and out of the room more often and making it part of your daily life. Also, if you’re having trouble sleeping her voice is very soothing! 🙂

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