This & That: May 8, 2020

May 08, 2020

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Oodles of sales, books for baking, for antiquing, for birding, for wine drinking, a new documentary on Netflix, an upcoming art exhibit in the states of a famous French painter and so much more.

Art Exhibit

Monet & Chicago

While originally planned to open this month at the Art Institute of Chicago, the largest collection of Claude Monet’s Impressionist paintings in the United States will be on display beginning this late summer (September) and run through the winter. Having been welcomed by Chicago since the 1880s, Monet’s paintings have found a home in the Windy City.

“Monet’s paintings first appeared alongside his contemporaries’ in a Chicago gallery in 1888, he was singled out for praise by the press. And when his works were shown in the city again as part of the Inter-State Industrial Exposition in Chicago (also known as the “American Salon”) in 1890, they not only captured the eye of local collectors—they ignited a collective passion. From that point until the artist’s death in 1926, collectors in Chicago, more than in any other American city, aggressively acquired works of art by Claude Monet.”

So if your plans to France have been thwarted this year, perhaps plan a trip to Chicago and explore the paintings of Monet and escape momentarily to Giverny and the either side of the English Channel through his artistic talents.

Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home by Julia Watkins

Released last month and already a bestseller, the influencer behind the IG account‘s new book shares “rituals, checklists, recipes, and projects for living simply and sustainably at home. For every area of your household—kitchen, cleaning, wellness, bath, and garden—Julia shows you how to eliminate wasteful packaging, harmful ingredients, and disposable items.” 

~Support Local Bookstores by shopping for this title at


All Adults Here: A Novel by Emma Staub

Released earlier this week in great anticipation, bestselling author Emma Staub’s new novel offers “wisdom, humor, and insight . . . in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.”

~Support Local Bookstores by shopping for this title at

What It’s Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing – What Birds are Doing and Why by David Allen Sibley

While written for adults, the artwork and large presentation makes this a bird or nonbird-lover’s delight of a resource as David Sibley “answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume covers more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds–blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees–it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin.” 

~Support Local Bookstores by shopping for this title at

~Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier by Aldo Sohm and and Christine Muhlke

Visually engaging and offering expertise from a world-respected sommelier discover “confidence-building infographics and illustrations, readers will discover the basics first – “the fundamentals of wine in easy-to-absorb hits of information and pragmatic, everyday tips—key varietals and winemaking regions, how to taste, when to save and when to splurge, and how to set up a wine tasting at home”; and then learn “how to take your wine knowledge to the next level and evolve your palate, including techniques on building a ‘flavor library,‘ a cheat sheet to good (and great) vintages (and why you shouldn’t put everything on the line for them), tips on troubleshooting tricky wines (corked? mousy?), and, for the daring, even how to saber a bottle of champagne.”


Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish

While published in 2012, and currently very hard to find, more and more people are baking their own bread in our current times, and if you are among those people and you are looking for trusted recipes, look no further than Ken Forkish’s bestselling bread bible. A renowned baker from Portland, Oregon, his bread and pastries are served throughout the Portland community at favorite and award-winning restaurants.

Having stopped into Ken’s Artisan a time or two in the NW Nob Hill district and even purchased one of his baguettes for a cooking segment on Afternoon Live, I can attest, his bread is wonderful.

~Support Local Bookstores by shopping for this title at


One King’s Lane Mia Floor Lamp, Gilded Iron, on sale

Currently I am looking for a sturdy, yet not overly-intrusive floor lamp, and this gilded iron design caught my eye. It caught my eye even more as it is on sale.

Pottery Barn’s 40% off Outdoor Event

As we look to spending more time outdoors, what is it you need to make your outdoor living areas inviting and cozy? Perhaps something small, yet functional, such as a tray, or maybe furniture and outdoor lanterns so you can dine beyond dusk. Whatever you are looking for you, Pottery Barn may just have it and reduced 40% as well.



Released this past Wednesday, the documentary inspired by the beyond best-selling memoir written by First Lady Michelle Obama, Becoming is now available to view on Netflix. Produced by the Obamas as well, this film is receiving critics’ praise. Have a look at the trailer below.

Blithe Spirit

While I was eager to watch this new remake of the 1945 comedy of the same name (it is also a play), it was scheduled to be released May 1st, but has been pushed by to September. Either way, this is one I think you might enjoy. Starring Judi Dench and Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens, have a look at the trailer and save the date.

Francophile Find

New Vintage French Interiors by Sebastien Siraudeau 

While released in 2015, I couldn’t help but share a decor inspiration book that married France and vintage aesthetic ideas. Showcasing twelve interiors, discover how bucolic charm and modern elegance come together and find an abundance of ideas for your own touch of France in your sanctuary.

From glassware to furniture – mixing and matching and having stylish fun the entire time.

~Support Local Bookstores by shopping for this title at


Alice + Olivia, up to 75% off site-wide

More sales, and if you are a fan of modern, youthful, yet timeless styles, be sure to take a look at Alice + Olivia. I have shopped a few items below.

Frame Denim, 25% off site-wide

Just this week, a long-time reader shared with me her trust in the Frame brand for denim per a long-time ago recommendation from me here on the blog. I continue to love Frame, and now you can find out why as they are offering 25% off site-wide. For all of my fellow tall ladies out there, Frame’s Karlie Forever are some of my favorite long inseam skinny jeans, and they are available in classic blue, black or white.

~Mango, 30% off everything

Yet another sale, for a well-priced clothing store. Have a look at a few items I have shopped for you below, but be sure to check out the entire selection on their site.

~recipe for White Chocolate and Limoncello Cheesecake~

Mother Nature has become my faithful and uplifting companion in what is now our seventh (or eighth) week at home. I have been playing in the dirt, transplanting tender annuals, sowing sweet peas, adding new shrubs and perennials to my boulevards and overall, just loving how my mind stops and is totally engrossed in what I am doing when I step into the yard and garden.

I hope you too are finding outlets for your shift in schedule. Maybe it is the kitchen, maybe a new project or a project started long ago and now you have the time to bring it to completion, whatever it is, I hope you are enjoying yourself and letting go of time.

Below I have gathered together articles you might enjoy from France inspired topics, graduation inspired talks and motivational speeches, garden tips and ideas, and two videos to dive into with pleasure. Thank you so much for stopping by this week. I do hope you have a wonderful weekend, and if you are in the states, a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~Having strolled up and down this street multiple times two summers ago, I have to agree with Elaine Sciolino, this is a pretty special rue de Paris – The Street that Still Offers Paris Hope [The New York TImes]

~For fun – Here’s Why Stanley Tucci is the Perfect Quarantine Celeb [Man Repeller]

~Discover how the flower industry is evolving and in many ways, thriving in response to the pandemic [House Beautiful]

~If you are trying to improve your unwanted habit of overthinking, look to Mother Nature to help you [Introvert, Dear]

~Four Things Emotional Intelligent People Don’t Do

~I have to say, I think The Atlantic is on to something here – To Safely Reopen, Make the Work Week Shorter. Then Keep It Shorter.

~Small Garden Ideas [House & Garden UK]

~For some more fun – How to Be Friendly While Wearing a Mask [Cup of Jo]

~Bibliophiles, this one’s for you (or just curious individuals, which I have a feeling is most, if not all, of us) – What Do Famous People’s Bookshelves Reveal [The New York Times]

~Self-Care Tips for Difficult Times (A Therapist’s Advice) [Life Hack]

~Dame Judi Dench answers Questions from 18 of Her Most Famous Fans [British Vogue]

~The video to watch this week as Graduation Commencement addresses are going virtual . . . SNG (Some Good News) with Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Malala

12 thoughts on “This & That: May 8, 2020

  1. Interesting article on the quarantine-time flower industry. I became acquainted with some of my local flower farmers (I’m in Ashland, Oregon) last summer when I was writing a college technical report on flower gardening. And that’s when my eyes were opened to the many reasons to support local (or domestic) flower farmers. This growing season, I’ve returned to buying my bouquets locally. It appears that my farmer-florist does quite a brisk business at her flower stand. This is great considering how the venues and events a local flower farmer may typically serve with her product have temporarily closed or dwindled (restaurants, weddings, etc.). Flowers are a priority to me so, as long as I can afford it, a local bouquet is definitely on my table these days.

  2. Good Morning. Love today’s post. I had already downloaded the Watkins book. so I was tickled to see it in this week’s recommendations.

    I too, loved the NYT article on the bookshelves, as I too for my zoom get togethers sit in front of my books. Our books, or lack of them, in our homes are mirrors or who we are and who we aspire to be. I’ve so enjoyed seeing the peel into the homes of the folks who bring us the news as well as celebrities. It helps us see them as more “regular people.”

  3. I can’t wait to watch Blithe Spirit. And that limoncello cheesecake looks amazing! I love limoncello, so yummy!
    By the way, I saw the pict of your entryway and think it is so cozy and homey looking. You have really settled in nicely to your new home Shannon!!:)

    1. Thank you Tamra. It is fun figuring out how to decorate it for both the needs of my life but also my preferences. Wishing you a lovely weekend! And yes, I too cannot wait to enjoy viewing Blithe Spirit. I have a feeling it will be worth the way. 🙂

  4. Thank you for yet another uplifting end to the week. I always love your video trailers and clips. I had never heard of SGN but am so glad to have watched the entire episode. I am a trustee at a small college and we struggled with what to do with graduation. You reminded me of the hopes, dreams, energy, talent, and persistence of our graduates. While the world can sometimes appear bleak, it is far from it. We have much to look forward to and have the world citizens committed to making it happen!

    1. This is a tough and, as for everyone, unwanted time, but for graduates, I can only imagine their frustration after so much work and time. However, it certainly allows us to exercise our creativity and now rest “on what we have always done” so potentially some amazing discoveries can be made. Thank you for stopping by Jenifer. ? and I do hope graduation goes better than expected.

    1. I am soooo excited to be able to partner with It is a new business (fewer than 3 months old), but I think it could really be a wonderful option for those who can pay a bit more and be a bit patient with the shipping (although it looks like it should be quite comparable to Amazon). I will be sharing more about this partnership in the future. Thank you for noticing this new addition.

  5. Lovely post Shannon. Such a positive action partnering with the Bookshop .org. If anything I think that during this crisis we have realised that supporting our local businesses is so vital for a thriving community. In France we still tend to buy locally as much as possible as we do not have the massive shopping malls which exist over there. So enjoyed the Vogue interview with Dame Judy. She is a real treasure. What a Dame!

    1. Her Q&A was wonderfully fun, wasn’t it!! 🙂 I am excited to be able to offer the option to TSLL readers. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you as always Kameela for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments. 🙂

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