This & That: September 18, 2020

Sep 18, 2020

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Gardening books, books to help you lead well, cosy comforts for the home, classic pieces for your wardrobe, a new film about being behind the camera in the highest office in the United States, a feel-good film and much more.


How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOS, Founders and Game Changers by David M. Rubenstein

Released earlier this month and already a bestseller on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal book lists, David Rubenstein has spent the past five years learning the principles and guiding philosophies of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and many others through illuminating conversations about their remarkable lives and careers. Certainly a book to learn from – what worked, what didn’t and how did they continue to strive forward. I look forward to reading it.

Leopard is a Neutral: A Really Useful Style Guide by Erica Davies

Currently available now in the UK, Leopard is a Netural will be released in April 2021 in the US, but you can preorder now to make sure you don’t miss it. Erica Davies, a former fashion editor and journalist, has worked across some of the UK’s biggest-selling newspapers, magazines and high street brands – and was named by The Sunday Times in 2019 one of their top 100 online influencers. “Packed with practical advice on how to make bold, assured style decisions everyday, ditch archaic fashion rules and harness the power of clothes to feel amazing and curate a wardrobe of happiness”, this book will bring a boost to your style confidence.

The Modern Cottage Garden: A Fresh Approach to a Classic Style by Greg Loades

Released this week, in this practical and inspirational guide, Greg Loades “presents a new style of planting: a fusion between classic cottage style and the new perennial movement. Using real gardens as examples, The Modern Cottage Garden teaches gardeners how to combine the best of both styles—big, colorful blooms and striking grasses and native plants—into one beautiful space that requires little maintenance and has a long season of interest. Fresh planting ideas for containers, small gardens, and diverse climates present an exciting style that can shine anywhere.”

British Find

Finding Your Feet

I happened up Finding Your Feet, a 2018 film, while scrolling through Hulu based on my preferences. Needless to say, the algorithm figured me out quite well, as I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful, and indeed, feel-good movie. Imelda Staunton stars as Sandra who as the film opens discovers her husband has been unfaithful for some time. “Forced into exile with her bohemian sister” (played by Celia Imrie), Sandra discovers a new community and her true love for life. Take a look at the trailer below and look for the film on Amazon or Hulu.

Loaf Scented Natural Wax Candles

Cosy is the feeling many of us are seeking, and hygge comes to mind when such an adjective is uttered. What is cosy without candles? If there is such a thing, I probably wouldn’t be interested and Loaf, known for its cosy British furniture is now offering a line of natural wax candles. With scents created to remind customers of life moments – Christmas Eve, Summer Holiday, Granny’s Gardens and even Pencil Sharpenings. I think I would gravitate toward the Summer Holiday candle as it smells of sandalwood, coconut and fresh salt air. Shop them all here.

My Garden World by Monty Don

British gardener Monty Don has two books being released this fall, and his first is focused entirely on his garden and the natural world that surrounds him everyday as he putters around the grounds of Longmeadow. My Garden World was finished just this summer, and yesterday Monty shared the book is dedicated to his beloved dog Nigel who passed away recently. The book is Monty Don’s personal journey through the natural year, month by month, season by season, observed from the immediate world around him – the wildlife, the insects, the natural world that often is overlooked. I do look forward to reading this book. 


Old World Italian: Recipes and Secrets from Our Travels in Italy – A Cookbook by Mimi Thorisson

Many people have been eager for Mimi Thorisson‘s new book to be released, and if you enjoy the deliciousness of Italian food, you are in for a treat. Released this week, “from Tuscany to Umbria to Naples and more, Mimi dives into Italy’s diverse regional cuisines and shares 100 recipes for authentic, classic dishes, enriched by conversations with devoted local food experts who share their timeworn techniques and stories. You’ll indulge in dishes culled from across the country, such as plump agnolotti bathed in sage and butter from the north, the tomato-rich ragùs and pastas of the southwest, and the multifaceted, seafood-laden cuisine of Sicily.”


The Way I See It

Being released today, “inspired by the New York Times #1 bestseller comes Dawn Porter’s The Way I See It, an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in American History, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As Official White House Photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful person on Earth. The movie reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people.”

Francophile Find

French Open at Roland Garros (Tennis), 2020

The past three weeks and into this weekend, I have been slipping away to France via Le Tour de France, and thankfully, as the Tour wraps up, the French Open will begin on Monday. Being delayed since its originally scheduled dates in May, this year the French Open will take place September 21st through October 11th.

With a newly renovated stadium to include a removable roof on Roland Garros, this season will certainly offer gorgeous fall vignettes of Paris, and I am sure the tennis will be wonderful as well as many of the top European players who did not attend the recently played US Open will be competing (Nadal).


Aurate jewelry

If you are looking for quality gold jewelry that is ethically sourced, and do not want to pay for the middleman, then Aurate is a brand to shop. Having the opportunity to receive a couple of their items last year as they were a sponsor of The Simple Sophisticate, I can highly recommend them for the classic earrings, simple, yet timeless necklaces, rings and bracelets you want for your capsule style. I have shopped a few items below, but be sure to check out their full collection.

Victoria Beckham Navy Pleated Printed Silk Skirt, 65% off

A classic given a modern touch from Victoria Beckham, and marked 65% off. With three different sizes still available, be sure to check out this navy knee-length skirt to mix up your neutrals.

Ralph Lauren Lauren Stretch Denim Jacket

A new take on a denim jacket – hitting below waist-length and cinched at the waist. Ralph Lauren’s stretch denim offers a layer for fall that would be a wonderful neutral no matter what your color palette.

West Elm Sale, 30% off Almost Everything

If you gravitate toward modern decor, be sure to check out West Elm’s current site-wide sale. Save 30% almost everything in the store when you U=use promo code FALL30. I have shopped a few items below, but be sure to check out the entire site.

~Recipe for Salmon with a colorful relish.

The first week of school has all but concluded, and I am proud of the students for showing up virtually and mentally in this new remote format. It certainly has been something new to adapt to for everyone – students, parents, staff, teachers and the community – but we are giving our best, each one of us. A funny anecdote from teaching this week, a handful of the English department has chosen to teach from their classrooms (while the students stay at home), and for some reason, a fire alarm went off in the building while we were in the middle of a class on Thursday. Yep, we had to evacuate, and our students patiently waited for us to return to our classrooms. It was comical (a false alarm accidentially triggered by construction work), but again, memories are being made, and if we all can make it through this year, we are all the more capable because of it for future obstacles.

Tomorrow, exclusively here on the blog, The Simply Luxurious Kitchen‘s season 3 premieres, and I am excited to share that I will be posting TWO new episodes tomorrow instead of the traditional one. Carve out an hour, pour a hot cup of something or a lovely glass of wine, and enjoy one episode for a delicious French entrée and the second episode which will share a simple, yet absolutely scrumptious apéro treat first enjoyed in Burgundy. If you haven’t yet seen the trailer for this season, view it here.

Along with the episodes, the recipes for each of the two previous seasons have been compiled into a neat and easy to read and find digital cookbook (complete with pictures and links to the corresponding video cooking episode). They are available now here on the blog’s cooking show page, and will be priced $8 each or free to download if you are a TOP Tier Subscriber. (If you become a TOP Tier subscriber, for each subsequent cooking season, you will continue to have free access to each season’s digital cookbook.)

A buttercup yellow shrub rose from David Austin.

The Albrighton Rambler from David Austin

The weekend calls to be full-time in the garden. We are supposed to receive some cooling rain that will hopefully bring some much needed easing to the wildfires, so if the weather report holds true, I will be outside on Saturday and Sunday planting, composting and pruning, and I cannot wait.

This past week, my mom came to visit, and I enjoyed our time together immensely and am so grateful for the long drive she made to spend time with me and the boys. Speaking of relationships, this week’s episode of the podcast was all about how to have adult relationships, and I highly recommend the book that inspired this 40 minute conversation.

And now to the weekend! Below are many links, articles, videos and even a calendar I think many of you will want to welcome into your home. I enjoyed rounding up each of these items for you, and I do so appreciate your stopping by. Wishing you a lovely weekend, our last weekend of summer/winter! Wow! Until tomorrow, bonne journée.

~Discover how art can make you happier and healthier [Pick the Brain]

~Read the transcript of the Duchess of Sussex’s conversation with Gloria Steinem for Makers.

~My strawberries continue to produce berries, so this recipe caught my eye – Strawberry Ricotta Cakes [House & Garden UK]

~Helpful tips to bring some Zen to your Inbox – The 5-Step Guide [Be More With Less]

~Thank you to long-time reader and subscriber Rona for recommending this article: Oliver Burkeman’s final column in The GuardianThe Eight Secrets to a Fairly Fulfilled Life

~What to expect from Fashion Weeks this Fall [Vogue FR]

~This article didn’t surprise me as my parents are handling well the pandemic and the changes it has brought to everyday life, better than me I must confess during moments when it all seems to pile up – Who Is Handling the Pandemic Best Emotionally? [The Washington Post]

~Step inside a new and greatly anticipated garden courtyard in Paris [Architectural Digest]

~Speaking of Paris – I am sooooo excited for talented Francophile photographer Rebecca Plotnick to be releasing her first Paris Calender. Titled A Year in Paris (2021), they are available to preorder now and feature her exquisite eye for the beauty of Paris. Be sure to order before September 22nd as the price will go up and there is limited stock! My order is placed. 🙂 [Everyday Parisian]

~Vogue just released a new short video to celebrate the city of New York. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and offering deliciously lovely views of the city and the people, I think you will enjoy. Click here.

~Social distancing requirements did not stop Dresden, Germany’s symphony from performing for the public. Last Saturday, playing from multiple rooftops and remaining to time with the help of a metronome (as the conductor could not be seen by everyone due to the height of each of the musicians), they played (watch the video below). If any TSLL readers were there to enjoy, please do share your experience. We would love to hear!

~A blog I follow regularly for peeks of Devon, England is Margaret Powling. This week she shared some gorgeous photography taken over the years as a gift to her readers to soothe and comfort.

~How travel will change post-pandemic: 10 Expert Predictions [The Wall Street Journal]

~If you have the space and the land, The Grit & Polish share a wonderfully helpful and detailed post about how to Grow a Cut Flower Garden

~Something I will be trying for the first time this winter, planting Paper Whites to welcome some natural color indoors. The RHS shares how to plant them with success – so simple! Buy the bulbs here.

~Beginning on October 1, 2020, a significant change and much anticipated improvements in engagement will be coming to TSLL blog. Only subscribers will be able to view more than five posts a month along with other exclusive content (Shannon’s Home & Garden Tours, Giveaways, Saturday Ponderings, etc.). Learn all about TSLL’s Soft Paywall here.

19 thoughts on “This & That: September 18, 2020

  1. You’ll love growing paperwhites over the winter. Adding vodka to the water helps stunt their growth so they don’t get too tall and fall over.

  2. Shannon, when I click on the link for the digital cookbooks , the page keeps telling me I am unauthorised to see them, even though I have logged in. Am I doing something wrong ?
    I am a subscriber .
    Looking forwards To the cooking shows tomorrow !
    Thank you

    1. Anne, We are working on this as and it will be fixed soon!! My apologies for the delay as long-time (prior to September) ad-free subscribers do have access to the cookbooks for free. Rest-assured, we are fixing it now and soon you will be able to download for free. My apologies for this error.

  3. Just ordered two of the calendars, one for me and one for a friend as a Christmas gift.

    Amazing to see the roof top concert clip. The Tulsa Symphony recently played at the Tulsa Drillers Baseball Stadium. They were able to set up on the ball field with attendees being safely seated in the stadium. We didn’t attend but heard it worked great. People are really getting creative.

  4. OMG, this edition of “This & That” made me laugh! This morning’s mail brought me a pair of leopard-print leather ankle boots I’d ordered & I was trying them on with great delight when my husband walked in. He did a double-take. “Isn’t it hard to find something to go with leopard?” I laughed, still admiring the boots in the mirror. “Quite the opposite! Leopard’s the new black. It goes with everything!” And then I started reading “This & That” & saw the title of Erica Davies new book & had to show him that I wasn’t making it all up. This time HE laughed & shook his head & said, “I give up. I’ll never figure you women out.” So thanks not just for the chuckle on a dark fog & smoke-filled day (we don’t have any local wildfires but are getting terrible smoke coming up into lower BC from WA & OR), but confirmation that my love of leopard as a “neutral” isn’t that crazy after all. I will definitely be getting the book!

  5. As always Shannon a lovely this and that but so enjoyed the snippet by the Dresden Symphony. Had the pleasure of seeing them live in the Dresden Opera house last year and what a treat that was. Amazing orchestra. Also am always on the look out for ethically sourced jewellery so will peruse Aurate. Thank you😊

    1. Lois, there is no longer a paypal option. We have phased that out as of the end of August. You are welcome to pay with any credit card and therefore subscribers are not required to have a Paypal account which was why we shifted. If you have any other questions, just let me know. Thank you for your interest. 😌

  6. Ah to have a cut flower garden the same as Grit and Polish! I absolutely love Cosmos! I see them all of the time at the moment in my neighbours gardens and I’m so envious! I definitely intend to grow dahlias and cosmos next year !

    1. Also! I’ve just watched the paper white video and it “looks” so simple! I have Laetitia Maklouf’s book – The Five Minute Garden – and it’s such a handy monthly guide for gardening – beginners or people who appreciate a reminder of “what to do”. I find it accompanies Monty Dons monthly guide well, and is a lovely little book for a minimal cost!

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