This & That: May 29, 2020

May 29, 2020

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A new film starring Tracee Ellis Ross that will premiere in your home this weekend, a new series for Anglophiles who want to tour the Great Estates of Britain, classic, cozy pajamas – you’ll find that here, a sale not-to-miss on my favorite vacuum, a book to take you to Lyon and explore the French cooking culture, the classic and historical first of its kind Scottish coat, and much, much more.


How to Read Non-Fiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between by Thomas C. Foster

As a reader of TSLL and/or listener of the podcast, you already know TSLL focuses primarily on non-fiction books. When I first began having the opportunity to read non-fiction and discovered how much I was drawn to the vast topics of research and exploration, I cannot say, but knowing how to be a critical thinker and reader will enable every reader to further appreciate worth-reading non-fiction. Of the two primary categories of books (fiction and non-fiction), non-fiction is overwhelming more prolific which means there is far more to explore and endless options for your curiosity.

Thomas C. Foster’s first book How to Read Literature Like a Professor became quickly a bestseller, and now his new book which was released just this past Tuesday may be something to explore if you are curious about how to navigate well the endless news media blasts and information all the while remaining a clear thinker and better reader.

In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration by Shane O’Mara

Released earlier this month, neuroscientiist Shane O’Mara “makes the case that we must start walking again―whether it’s up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. In Praise of Walking illuminates the joys, health benefits, and mechanics of walking, and reminds us to get out of our chairs and discover a happier, healthier, more creative self.”

British Find

An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates, Smithsonian Channel

I want to extend a big thank you to a TSLL reader for bringing this new television series to my attention. With eight episodes in the first season, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke Julie Montagu (an American expat living with her husband and four children in England, and perhaps you recognize her from BravoTV reality tv or her lifestyle blog or yoga videos) takes viewers through estates and castles all across the Britain’s landscape, passed down from one aristocratic heir or heiress to the next. “From England’s Newby Hall and Holdenby House to Scotland’s Inveraray and Floors Castles, this is an all-access look at grand residences and the families who keep their histories alive.”

You can view it pretty much anywhere, but if you have the Smithsonian Channel, you will be set for sure. Amazon Prime has one episode available with the second airing this week, and you can also purchase the entire season to enjoy each episode as it is released.

Just based on watching the trailer, I think it will be a delightful series to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy as we escape to Britain once again.

The Mackintosh 3/4 Putty Bonded Cotton Coat (more colors and lengths)

To own a MacKintosh coat is to own a bit of history in many ways. The investment of these coats are akin to owning a Burberry, but once you own one you can have it for your stylish lifetime. Well-made, crafted in Scotland, MacKintosh, beginning in the early 19th century with the Industrial Revolution, chemist Charles MacKintosh came up with a way to waterproof cotton, thus why it is the perfect British coat. The “Mac” as it is better known, became the “first type of fabric to ever exist with this completely waterproofing technology which came to revolutionise both fabric technology and design.”

Certainly a coat worth saving up for, especially if you, like me, love walks in the rain.


The High Note

I know what I will be watching this weekend! Premiering at home as Focus Feature Films has described, The High Note will be available pretty much anywhere you enjoy streaming videos at 5pm Pacific Time and 8pm Eastern today. Starring the wonderfully jovial and talented and Tracee Ellis Ross along with Dakota Johnson who plays her over-worked assistant, the film tells the story of legendary singer Grace Davis and the choice both women have to make to keep their careers thriving or compromise what they hold in high regard. Critics aren’t wild about the film as Roger & Ebert notes it dances up to difficult topics such as women in the music industry, but never fully wrestles with them. However, while yes, I would have appreciated such a film as the reviewer desired, I am confident I will enjoy this approach as well – perhaps a more light-hearted and uplifting is what we need right now. Have a look at the trailer below and know if you tune in this weekend, I will be watching right along with you. 🙂

~Stream on Amazon here.

Francophile Find

Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Buford

Ah! France and food! Specifically Lyon, France and food. Lyon is known as the gastronomical capitol of France for food and talented chefs (yes, even moreso than Paris), and Bill Buford dives in absolutely in his exploration to better understand what makes French cooking what it is.

Buford “begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes–this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow–to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L’Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed–with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he’s learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian.”


Bend, Oregon’s Farmer’s Markets Open Up!

I had to share this bit of exciting news for my fellow Bendites as while a month delayed (understandably), the Wednesday’s Farmers’ Market will open this coming Wednesday June 3rd! While indeed with precautions (wear you mask and don’t expect to handle the food unless you buy it), I am tickled it will be open. Running through mid-October, our little touch-of-France is back for its wonderful summer season. (The NWX Market is expected to open in June, but I have not seen a specific date of opening yet – stay tuned!)

Chef’s Garden

I just recently learned about Chef’s Garden, a home delivery service which offers restaurant-quality ingredients for the home cook. While a bit higher in price than other well-known food-meal brands, Chef’s Garden is for the cook that may not have a farmer’s market or a garden in their back yard and still wants to cook with fresh vegetables without having to take the time to go to the market.

Be sure to check out their introductory box along with many other box options for your needs and cooking preferences.


Chinti & Parker White Bonne Nuit Cotton Eye Mask

Perhaps a bit on the nose, but what fun – a Bonne Nuit eye mask. And colorful too. 🙂

Chinti & Parker Blue-Striped Bonne Nuit Cotton Pyjama Set (white also available)

And since we’re talking about playful, yet comforting clothing – Chinti & Parker’s Blue-Striped PJ set is well priced.

Claridge & King’s V-Neck Sleeveless Navy Stripe Dress, on sale

I am a fan of Claridge & King’s clothing by way of Shirtini’s Boyfriend shirt from the brand. Well-made cotton attire in classic colors and styles, if you are looking for a comfortable, chic summer dress that will be in style for many years to come, check out this navy stripe dress, on sale now.

Dyson’s Upright Vacuum Sale

Whether you enjoy cleaning your home or not (admittedly, I don’t, but do take pride in it), vacuuuming, a reliable vacuum is a must – whether you have hardwoods or carpet. I shared last year that upon traveling and staying in one of the vacation rentals in Provence which had a Dyson Upright cordless vacuum, I quicky noted the high functionality and ease for simple and significant leaning. I have since purchased and love my Dyson V7 Motorhead, and through today Friday, it as well as three other styles are on sale at Dyson.

The customer service is phenomenal, the ease of ability to clean and empty the canister is simple and the charger is easy to mount and keeps the vacuum tucked away without taking up too much space. It is perfect for my home and my lifestyle.

Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell Long Sleeve Blue Stripe Pajamas Tops, Bottoms (more colors)

Made of bamboo cotton, the fabric feels as soft as silk and doesn’t cost an exorbitant amount ($110 for the entire two-piece set). Available in solids as well as two different stripe colors, sleep comfortably as the fabric keeps your skin cool enabling a restful night.

Vietri Incanto Stone Scalloped Mug, Linen (on sale)

A simple, unique, yet subtly stylish mug. And on sale too.

~recipe for Espresso Pear Upside-Down Cake~

Newly added at 5:35am: Happy Friday and here we are at the end of May. I initially errantly forgot to write this portion of the weekly This & That post which upon reflection is evidence to my unexpected and unrealized state of quiet exhaustion this week. However, it was a combination of much appreciative exhaustion for the enjoyment of last week’s British Week, as well, admittedly, a desire to wrap up this uniquely odd school year. I have been savoring my evenings instead of working or writing, sitting either on my front porch steps talking with my neighbors and watching their young children play with the neighborhood pups (which includes Norman, and Oscar too when he wants to partake) or sitting on my garden porch reading. It is a way of life I do not want to be temporary.

This weekend will be open to my whims of fancy, and I am absolutely, perfectly, okay with this. Maybe the first paddle of the season, maybe making some butter crust pizza (or just dreaming about it because I know when I take the first bite, I will have a hard time stopping ?). Whatever or however the weekend reveals itself to be, it is my hope it is delightful, relaxing and a resting of the mind.

I do hope you have a wonderful weekend, and below are a handful of articles you might enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~David Lebovitz shares the next phase in the French easing of regulations, the next one involves restaurants! And enjoy his Croque Monsieur recipe.

~Speaking of restaurants in Paris, a discussion about the impact due to Covid-19 [Inspirelle]

~La Cuisine Paris has partnered up with the famed cooking store E.Dehillerin in Paris to offer three baking kits for a limited time

~What is it About Cottages that Captures Our Adoration? [House & Gardens UK]

~How to Choose a Fulfilling Career [The Atlantic]

~An interesting discovery about how early Covid-19 actually arrived in France [RFI]

~Discover easy way to always look chic and put together [Audrey Coyne YouTube channel]

~25 Vintage Photos Showing the Cultural Landscape of Paris [Insider]

~Tour an estate in the countryside of Normandy and be reminded of why the France beckons so many of us [Vogue]

~How to Create Storage in Your Home by British interior designer Kerri Lipsitz [Elle Decor UK]

~And since we are touring, discover 13 Things You May Not Have Known About the Louvre [CN Traveler]

~Emma Bridgewater Shares Five Housewares She Cannot Live Without [Country Living]

~10 Ways to Get Your Garden Ready for Summer [Elle Decor UK]

~If you are like me, you can read French, you can speak it enough to travel, but understanding spoken French feels like an Olympic talent. Geraldine of Comme Une Française explains why it is so difficult to understand spoken French.

19 thoughts on “This & That: May 29, 2020

  1. I enjoyed this post so much! You outdid yourself. Great information, interesting articles – I could go on and on. Thank you for introducing me to Shirtini’s in Charleston. We visit Charleston often, but somehow I have never noticed this wonderful store. I’m also hooked on that new Smithsonian channel show about the British estates. Prefect for an Anglophile like me.

  2. You’ll be happy to know that France is opening up again, slowly but surely. All bars and restaurants in green zones open up from June 2nd. Paris and its suburbs are still in an orange zone, so only outside seating will be allowed until end of June probably, depending on the progression of the virus. Our borders are still very much closed, but hopefully they will be open again this summer. Within Europe, frontiers are opening up again. And our travel restrictions (not more than 100 km from home) are also lifted from June 2nd. I feel so privileged to live not far from the sea (in Brittany), I was able to go to the beach with my kids this week. The beach was nearly empty and we were able to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather and the turquoise waters. Take care in Oregon.

    1. Thank you VERY much for sharing this. This news warms my heart as well as reassures due to the gradual carefully considered easing. It sounds like you had a wonderful time at the sea. Thank you again. ???❤️

  3. Another lovely respite, Shannon. I cant wait to see The High Note tonight. I have more to explore in this newsletter but wanted to say these are like opening a gift each week. Thanks so much!.

  4. A wonderful post! Have been enjoying the American’s Guide to Great Estates and think I missed the first episode. Thanks for the tip to find it on Prime. Also…YES to Dyson! I purchased a V8 Animal model in March – even though I have no animals! It was a great price, it does a fabulous job on my hardwood floors and goes right to carpet with no switching attachments. I put the charging station in my laundry room right off of the kitchen and it so convenient for a quick, after dinner pick up. The one thing I did not like was that you had to hold the trigger in for longer vacuum sessions. I found a cord holder with velcro ends at The Container Store and have that looped around the handle. When I need a longer vacuum of the apartment I just fasten the holder around and it frees up your hand. Thanks again for great posts!

  5. As some one who also can read French fairly well, but struggle to understand even the basics when it’s spoken, there’s a relief in hearing that others have the same frustrations comprehending! It can be quite disheartening at times, so thank you for that comment and the video, I’m feeling validated! ?

  6. Thank you so much for all the fantastic information! I immediately tuned into the America Aristocrats show…I have a feeling today will be a puzzle making, binge watching kind of day!! It’s, so far, a great show! I am also planning on ordering those pjs, I have looking for those exactly! Have a wonderful day!

  7. I so love the show American’s Guide to Great Estates! 😀Thanks for letting us know about it Shannon! You’re awesome!

  8. Has the “This & That” section of you weekly newsletter been the same for the past three weeks? Do you usually leave the same post for more than 1 week? I am not trying to be unkind, it just seems that I am reading the same post over and over.

    1. Pamela, good morning. I figured out what was happening. It is not your browser, but rather I discovered you must be clicking on the image in the newsletter and not the “click here”. I had neglected to update the link in the picture in the newsletter for the this & that post. I do apologize as that is my error. Here is the direct link to June 12th’s This & That. Thank you very much for bringing it to my attention.

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