This & That: June 19, 2020

Jun 19, 2020

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A new documentary to celebrate the fathers in our lives, a new-to-me French romantic comedy series that I am thoroughly enjoying, books for the fellow TSLL creatives, my Sunday morning basket, Nigella’s much-sought after evening gown, decor and clothing sales and much more.


At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life by Fenton Johnson

Exploring the lives of Zora Neale Hurston, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Bill Cunningham and Paul Cézanne, along with social criticism about the often errant assumptions about those who thrive in solitude contrary to what society would have them do or behave, self-described creative-in-solitude Fenton Johnson “explores what it means to choose to be solitary and celebrates the notion . . . that solitude is a legitimate and dignified calling.” Having read the book in a matter of days, it certainly provoked much thought, much I could relate to, but not all, and appreciatively I acknowledged his sharing that we all thrive in different environments, and keeping this mind can potentially help each one of us thrive.

~Support local and independent bookstores and purchase this title from

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy

Released in January, New York Times contributor Kate Murphy “explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice, You’re Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain’s Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.”

~Support local and independent bookstores and purchase this title from

British Find

One Hundred Stars Evening Gown

If you have ever watched episodes of Nigella Lawson’s cooking show, you may have seen her, during the end credits, slip downstairs at night into the kitchen to nibble on leftovers from the meal she had previously cooked. And often, she is wearing a lovely evening gown. And yes, we now know which brand she is wearing, and it is far less expensive than you might have imagined: One Hundred Stars Evening Gown.

Available in over twenty different prints, some displaying maps of beloved cities – yes, Paris is one, in fact they have two different colored Paris maps – others in gorgeous floral designs and others sharing the beauty of mother nature such as waves (seen in the image at the top of the post), for fewer than £80, you too can have a beautiful evening gown to wear as you wind down or ease into your day.


Serena & Lily Bedford Trays

Many readers have asked, after seeing my #tsllsundaymornings posts on Instagram, where to find the tray I serve my croissants and tea. Thankfully, it is a classic that is regularly in stock at Serena & Lily.

Available in three different sizes (and they are large – so be sure to measure where you want to put them to make sure they will fit), select from square (what I chose), rectangular (seen below) and round.

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It’s croissant time!! #tsllsundaymornings

A post shared by Shannon Ables (@thesimplyluxuriouslife) on


Dads, Apple TV

After watching an interview with the creator of the new documentary Dads, Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter) accompanied in conversation with her father for CBS Sunday Morning, discussed the impetus of her film – to showcase what modern fathering is all about. I think the trailer below explains far better than I can what the film is all about. Look for it on Apple TV now as we celebrate dads this Sunday here in the states.

Francophile Find

Plan de Coeur (The Hook-up Plan)

A BIG thank you to a TSLL IG reader for recommending Plan de Coeur as a French series worth watching. I will be absolutely up front with you: I watched the entire first season in one night – yes, I was that intrigued as to how it would all work out in the end, and I think you will enjoy slipping away to Paris and following an unexpected love story unfold.

The second season is also available now on Netflix, and I will be enjoying that this weekend. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy!

My Stylish French Box, Dinner with Friends theme

Sharon Santoni recently announced the theme for her next My Stylish French Box which will arrive at subscribers’ doorsteps in August, and it looks perfect for inspiring your next dinner party or soiree gathering with friends. Have a look at her new video below to discover a few more hints as to what you might receive should you order your very own box or send to a friend.


Flourish: Stunning Arrangements with Flowers and Foliage for Every Season by Willow Crossley

Author Willow Crossley trained at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, creates floral arrangements for events and weddings and has recently supplied flowers for Anthropologie, Jo Malone, Mulberry. AND she was the florist for the evening reception for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding. Released in 2019, readers will discover a variety of ideas from simple to inspired and grand. Presenting thirty-eight projects arranged by season along with beautiful vase arrangements, the writing is personable; instructions on how to care for the flowers are exacting, and easy to follow. Readers will also learn how to plant beautiful containers from the traditional (milk bottles, jam jars) to the unique (wooden crates, teapots) to the unexpected (science beakers, birdcages, shells) inspires originality. Look for more books by Crossley such as her 2014 book Inspire: The Art of Living with Nature.

A simple arrangement in an everyday vase.


CB2 Outdoor Furniture Sale, up to 40% off

I know many of my decor inspiration posts have focus on English country cottages, but I know that is not everyone’s aesthetic preference. If you are more inclined to welcome modern furniture and touches to your home or mix and match different styles, be sure to check out CB2’s outdoor furniture sale offering up to 40% off.

J.Crew Stripe Shop

J.Crew is bouncing back from bankruptcy and offering great deals in the process. Stop by to scoop up the simple staples you are looking for to complete your summer wardrobe.

The simple boatneck striped top

Paige Denim Sale

Jeans are a necessity, and if you are looking for jeans that will last, save 25% off select Paige’s women’s denim styles with promo code 25OFFNOW.

~recipe for Mushroom, Thyme & Leek Galette~

What a week it has been in the most wonderful of ways. While I shared more specifically about all that unfolded to cause celebration and appreciation in today’s weekly newsletter, part of the reason, a quite primary reason it went so well is that a long-overdue surgery for Oscar took place and went exceptionally well. As a doggie mama, I am breathing far more deeply and calmly than I have in a looooong time. There are certainly moments that rev up our adrenaline and uncertainty, but with support and trust in those we are placing our loved ones with, the outcome can remind us how unnecessary all of the worrying was.

I hope this past week has shared with you something to ease your mind, to offer reassurance and to calm any fears or worries you may have. Every week will have its own tone, but I hope you are able to find moments regularly to unwind, do nothing but just be and reflect on all that is well, what you have learned and how to move forward.

Below are more than a few articles and two videos I thought you might enjoy. Thank you for choosing to stop by the blog today, and until Monday bonne journée.

~What is this new online option? Learn more about it and whether it truly helps independent bookstores [The New York Times]

~Paris Gets Its Magic Back as Parisians Pack Cafés [AP News]

~Frenchify Your Lingerie [Everyday Parisian]

~A Celebration of London’s Oldest Restaurants [House & Garden UK]

~A Love Letter to Restaurants from top writers [The New York Times]

~How to Grow Peonies [The English Garden]

~What is Cottage Garden Style? And How to Achive It Thank you to TSLL reader Sue in the UK for sharing this article with me [Middle-Sized Garden]

~Tips for visiting your hair salon safely [Today]

~Why introverts Should Journal Their Way Through Difficult Times [Introvert, Dear]

~Is the Pandemic Taking Women Back to the 1950s? [Financial Times]

~How to set boundaries with relatives or friends who are racist [Tiny Buddha]; tangently, a second book I will be reading on this topic, along with my fellow teaching colleagues, is this book – So You Want to Talk About Race?

~France ‘Turning’ a Page Opening Schools, Borders and Workplaces [The Guardian]

~How to Take a Brain Break on Tough Days [Well + Good]

~The EU Reopens Its Borders; Key Dates for Traveling to France [Forbes]

~Vogue‘s 73 Questions with Esther Perel amidst the lockdown

~A 2020 commencement address by BK Fulton to inspire you to pay attention to the people on the margins and how amazing they/you/us have the potential to be if only they weren’t dismissed.

26 thoughts on “This & That: June 19, 2020

  1. You’re so very welcome for the recommendation for The Hookup Plan! I thought you would enjoy it as well as a fellow Francophile 🙂 I watched almost all of it in one day too and will be taking the weekend to watch the second season. Here’s hoping they make more!

    1. Katie, thank you again. I had not heard of it but absolutely love the main character and the journeys each friend is traveling as they figure out their lives. In much gratitude as traveling to Paris this year is much desired even if we cannot hop on a plane. 😌🇫🇷❤️

      1. Enjoy! The first season gets progressively better as it unfolds. I found myself ho-humming with the first two episodes and then really became interested as the characters each were further developed in the remainder of the season.

  2. Such good news about Oscar — glad the little guy is doing well 🙂 I find we never fully appreciate the weight & burden of a long-term stressor like this until it’s gone & we feel about 900 pounds lighter. Hope you both have a great weekend!

  3. I am lucky enough to have two of the short Kimono jackets from One hundred Stars. I absolutely love them, one is the Paris map and the other they did in collaboration with Kew gardens. They are super comfy and really dress up a plain outfit.

      1. One Hundred Stars is not shipping to the United States at this time
        Disappointed, not sure why and hopefully will resume soon.

  4. Love this list! However, the Serena & Lily link you posted is not correct. It took me to a site for shoes, which isn’t really a bad thing, lol!

  5. Shannon-I so look forward to your This and That each week-you keep me up to date and inspire me to live a more beautiful life in so many ways-thank you so much!

  6. Glad Oscar is ok! Also wanted you to know that Create Academy (who runs the Rita Konig classes from your last newsletter) is also going to be hosting a class with Willow Crossley soon. I just signed up and am very excited! Have a great weekend!

  7. So glad to hear Oscar is doing better, and now, so are you. 😊

    Thank you for posting the link to the One Hundred Stars virtual store, my WORD, their stuff is glorious!
    I will definitely be scooping up some delectables as soon as US shipping resumes. 😍

    Y’all enjoy your weekend!!

  8. Shannon, so glad Oscar is doing well. Now hopefully you can rest easy and enjoy your weekend. Thank you for all you do!

    1. Thank you Katina. 😌 My whole being is so much more at ease. A deep sleep was enjoyed last night and no doubt moving forward knowing his quality of life is much improved. Have a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by. 💛

  9. What great news about Oscar! Our animal friends are truly a part of our family. And how did you know that a wicker tray has been on my “to research” list for several weeks now? 🙂 I’ve admired yours for some time…as well as being a Serena and Lily catalog receiver…how did I miss this? Thank you, and happy weekend!

    1. Jeannine, So happy to be able to help in your decor research! ☺️ They are gorgeous trays, and very large. I think you will love them. Thank you so much for the Oscar support. 😌 I am sooooo grateful for my vet. 💛🐾

  10. What a treat to find the One Hundred Stars link here. I bought the Paris Map scarf several years ago at a resort spa. I wear it frequently and always get comments on it. After I left the resort, I regretted not buying one of the other map scarves as well, but never knew the maker. I’m delighted to find them again and add to the collection. Thank you!

  11. So very happy to hear Oscar is doing well! We had a trip to the vet yesterday for my 18yo kitty and it’s always a sigh of relief when all is well. I’m so intrigued with Nigellas dressing gowns, I’m absolutely ordering one, it looks like just the right touch to feel luxurious bumming around the house, thank you!!

    1. Kristin, Sooooo happy time hear you cat is on the mend. The ease of the kind is tremendous when we know they are cared for and as healthy as possible. I could not agree with your sentiment more regarding The gown, feeling well dressed and comfortable even while leisuring at home is a lovely idea to elevate the everyday. Thank you for stopping by. 😌

  12. Shannon such good news about Oscar. Wishing him him all the very best. You must be so relieved. Nigella broke all the rules wearing her gown and sneaking into the fridge. So refreshing 😀

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