This & That: September 4, 2020

Sep 04, 2020

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Books of all types – novels, gardening, health, France, cooking, decorating and thinking well. Also, Labor Day sales are happening, and I have a couple to share. A series to make you chuckle about the differences between Brits and Americans, a film to take you to the Riviera and an event to take you all around France for the next two weeks. Of course, there are many articles, posts and videos to enjoy, and a longer letter from me in lieu of the newsletter now only being monthly. I do hope you enjoy. 🙂


How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices by Annie Duke

Decisions make the difference in our lives, and being released on September 1th, Annie Duke’s new book How to Decide will share how to make the best ones for the life you wish to live. “Making good decisions doesn’t have to be a series of endless guesswork. Rather, it’s a teachable skill that anyone can sharpen. In How to Decide, bestselling author Annie Duke and former professional poker player lays out a series of tools anyone can use to make better decisions. You’ll learn: To identify and dismantle hidden biases, to extract the highest quality feedback from those whose advice you seek, to more accurately identify the influence of luck in the outcome of your decisions, when to decide fast, when to decide slow, and when to decide in advance, and how to make decisions that more effectively help you to realize your goals and live your values.”

Fifty Words for Rain: A Novel by Asha Lemmie

Debut author Asha Lemmie’s new novel was just released this past Tuesday and is already catching interest for its timeless topics told through the eyes of a coming-of-age character with a plot that spans decades. Beginning in Kyoto, Japan, in 1948, “the child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. Obedient to a fault, Nori accepts her solitary life, despite her natural intellect and curiosity. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond—a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead. Because now that Nori has glimpsed a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it—a battle that just might cost her everything.”

The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature by Sue Stuart-Smith

The power of gardening brought to the page with illustrations and the insight of “a distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener [who] offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives.”

British Find

Wild Bill, season 1

Premiering in 2019 in Britain, Rob Lowe’s character in Wild Bill was once a high-flying US police chief, but upon relocating to East Lincolnshire, England, not only is his life shaken up, his attempt to shake up the police force does not go as planned. Have a look at the trailer to see what I am talking about. The entire series is available on Prime Video in Amazon.


How to Decorate by Farrow & Ball, Joa Studholme & Charlotte Cosby

While published a handful of years ago, when I saw the tour of the Scottish country home of the owner of Farrow & Ball Renton in House & Garden UK, I sought out this book because the home (better described as a country estate) is a demonstration of decor expertise.

One Kings Lane Sale, 20% off Site-wide

Fall is nearly here, and that means it is time to get cozy! For Labor Day weekend, One Kings Lane is having a site-wide sale, taking 20% off AND offering an additional 10% off with promo code OKLTAKE10 (the first 20% is automatically applied, but you will have to apply the code for the additional 10%). I have done some shopping for you below, but be sure to check the entire site out on your own.

Francophile Find

Le Tour de France 2020

I errantly forgot to share in last Friday’s This & That the start of this year’s Tour de France as it began this past Saturday in Nice a month later than usual. Oh, what a wet day that was on the Côte d’Azur, and oodles of crashes, but once the riders made it through Saturday, the weather largely cooperated. Currently on day seven, each morning, having recorded the stage (it begins at about 4:30 am Pacific Time), I will turn it on to escape to France as I begin my day. With 21 days of riding, the month of September will largely be a sweet virtual tour through the country of France (see the route below).

While I don’t know much about cycling, I am learning, but I primarily tune in to see the countryside and to learn about the various buildings, towns and tidbit history of France I had never known. The commentators for NBC Sports do a wonderful job, Phil Liggett (with his delightful British accent) and Bob Roll (the American who does his French history research and teaches me something every time) as well as Jens Voigt and Christian Van Velde who provide me with more insights into the sport of cycling, make the viewing all the more enjoyable. I highly recommend tuning in whether you enjoy sports or not – the tour of France is a treat.


While released many years ago, I wanted to share a Francophile film for the long weekend, and take you away to France. Set in the French Riviera during the summer of 1915, Jean Renoir – the son of the revered Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir – returns home after being wounded in World War I. Taking care of him is a young woman Andrée who opens his heart and inspires both the father and his son. Have a look at the trailer below and watch it now on Amazon Prime.

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Vérant

Being released next Tuesday, a novel to take you into the kitchen and to France.

“French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of. Until her career goes up in flames. Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.”


Nkuku Indigo Drop Mug, The Shopkeeper Store

I recently saw this mug while looking at House & Garden UK and thought them playful, yet classic and wonderful in their unexpected size. And the price is nice as well. 🙂


DKNY Charcoal Belted brushed wool-blend trench coat

Fall is coming and having one or two winter coats that can be worn to work over dresses and skirts as well as pants and jeans is a must. A classic hue that is less harsh than black, but still timeless – DKNY’s charcoal brushed wool-blend trench.

J.Crew Sale

J. Crew has another sale. This time in celebration of Labor Day. Save 40% off site-wide with promo code BYESUMMER. I have shopped a few items below.

Iris & Ink Light Brown Fatima belted leather jacket

Leather is present in collections this season, and often in everyday clothing items. Creating a differentiation of texture, pair with wool skirt and tall boots as seen here, and the style is timeless and chic.

Welcome to Friday and the first This & That of September 2020.

Yesterday morning, Norman and I went out for an early morning walk, just barely behind the rising of the sun and captured the pic above (you can almost make out Norman on the left-middle of the photo on the trail), and we were treated to this gorgeous scene. Yes, covered in inches of dust, the trails have seen plenty of traffic, but before the heat of the day arrives, these moments are some of my favorites here in Bend.

I hope the start of this new month revealed glimmers of auspiciousness for you as a new season unofficially begins. On Monday, a post sharing 15 Ideas for a Strong Approach to the new season was shared, so if you are looking for a boost or would like to share what is working for you in the comments as other readers did, check it out here.

Speaking of the new season, fall styles for your wardrobe fill the stores online, and TSLL’s Annual Fall Shopping Guide went live on Tuesday to help you navigate the new trends and do some shopping as well. Be sure to check out TSLL’s Fall Capsule Boutique also where an additional 45 new items are available to stock up on quality essentials.

If you haven’t taken a moment to learn more about the upcoming changes that will bring more engagement and more intimate posts to the blog, be sure to check this post out which went live on September 1st (the changes will begin on October 1st). There is a limited-time savings opportunity as well.

While TSLL’s Free Weekly Newsletter is now a Monthly, look to the This & That post (this post) each Friday to share a bit more of a recap of the week’s posts, share a small dose of inspiration and give a boost to the great weekend ahead. (Are you a subscriber of the free monthly newsletter? Learn more about it here and subscribe!)

~If you would like to receive an email whenever a new post goes lives on the blog, sign up for the Daily Newsletter (you will receive about three emails (sometimes four) each week).

I am looking forward to this weekend as the taping of Season 3 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen will officially begin. (look for the season to premiere on Saturday September 19) Heading to the farmer’s market is also on my list, something I have not done for quite some time; however, now that my kitchen is done (and I cleaned my fridge and overall, just gave everything in the kitchen a much needed scrub-down), I am excited to welcome fresh seasonal produce and simply peruse what is available from the local farms.

The beginning of something wished-for and the culmination of what we dream about are such moments of celebration; as well, the middle, the journey, offers delights of discovering and tailoring as we make choices along the way that reflect our tastes, our temperament and preferences for living. Isn’t that quite lovely to know that from beginning to end, the entire dynamic process provides reason to be grateful? No, it isn’t always smooth, and there are often unexpected turns and detours, but seeing the progress of growth whether in ourselves or a physical project is motivation to continue.

If you had asked me if I thought I would have a kitchen I once had only dreamed about ready to cook in this year, I would have chuckled and thought it wasn’t likely, but I would have quietly hoped it could be true. On the flip-side, if you would have asked me if I could have predicted what we are doing in school at the moment with all online teaching, I could have never predicted that at any point. Life is lovely and exquisite for all of its surprises and possibilities, challenges and opportunities. Hang in there if you are navigating through unwanted life pains and struggles, find support from those who can offer it well – emotionally, especially – and are there to support your moving forward, but know you will make it through. We will make it through, and we will be wiser and more understanding, should we choose, on the other side not only to others, but to ourselves.

Today I have gathered up more articles and posts and three videos I thought you might enjoy. A variety of topics are covered for your weekend perusal and enjoyment. Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend if you are in the states and a weekend prior to stepping into La Rentrée for all of my fellow Francophiles (posts for inspiration here and here). Until Monday when a new season of the podcast will go live (it’s back and with a brand new episode!), bonne journée!

~Pain is not purposeless [Tiny Buddha]

~Monty Don released his September newsletter, and per his reminder, I will be out tending to my rose shrubs in the next couple of weeks.

~More tips from House & Garden UK for what to do in your garden in September.

~TSLL reader Margaret kindly sent me the link to this article, and I LOVED it. Such wonderful ideas for decorating your home well, adding your signature touch and elevating the space – 12 Home Habits of Impossibly Stylish People (you should copy immediately) [Apartment Therapy]

~Perhaps you have seen the videos of Tim and Fred Williams, two 21-year-old twins from Gary, Indiana, who watch and listen to music for the first time and record their reactions. If you have not yet, start with their viewing and listening to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. It is absolutely wonderful fun, and The New Yorker explains why in their article – The Addictive Joy of Watching Someone Listen to Phil Collins

~Thank you to TSLL reader Sue for sharing this article with me – The ‘Dream Home’ is Changing [Melissa Penford]

~The Loveliest Remote Hideaways for UK Holidays [House & Garden UK]

~The Therapeutic Power of Gardening [The New Yorker]

~The below video of behind-the-scenes on the film Little Women offers a gorgeous peek at Massachussetts in the fall and winter, and a reminder I want to watch the film again :).

~Tour Principle Dancer, ballerina Misty Copeland’s and her husband’s New York City home with Architectural Digest. As you begin the tour, you will see a book on Copeland’s coffee table in her living room. If you were curious as I was about it, I will save you some time and share it and link it here (and to your right).

As well, she takes viewers into their bedroom, and calls it the Primary Bedroom. This is not by accident and something I am seeing more and more brought to our awareness about the words we choose to use in everyday language. I think you will enjoy her home tour immensely.

~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.

17 thoughts on “This & That: September 4, 2020

  1. Oooh, a shiny new kitchen to play in !
    How lovely, Shannon, enjoy your trip to the farmers market , and creating lovely recipes , can’t wait to see the new episode of your cookery videos.
    Have a lovely weekend with the boys, thank you for another lovely post.
    Best wishes from the UK
    Anne 🦋

  2. Far too many ‘lovely’s’ in my previous post !
    Must try harder 🤣 to vary my adjectives !
    Have a wonderful weekend , thank you for another inspirational post, have fun creating more mouthwatering recipes , and enjoy your shiny new kitchen 😊

  3. Wonderful This & That, Shannon. Gave me a “cosy” feeling. Definitely what I needed right now. You’re very intuitive. Enjoy your long weekend.

  4. Ohh, what a fun read! I am making the blueberry crumble today as well as checking out the Wild Bill on Amazon, sounds like a great evening! Enjoy your weekend (as I will be pruning roses apparently, I planted my first ones ever)

  5. This post is so full if rabbit trails! I particularly enjoyed the New Yorker article, and am off to find “The Well-Gardened Mind.” I cant explain how much the ideas resonated with me. My dad, the month before he died, I sister that we take him outside so he could supervise us planting his garden (green beans, tomatoes, squash). He said it brought him peace knowing we would be enjoying produce from the garden after he was gone. In that moment, he passed the garden legacy on to me. It was 10 years this past May since he died and I have continued gardening ever since. It has been more therapy than productive, which is what matters most. Thanks so much for sharing this article and the book.

    Also, definitely going to watch the Renoir film this weekend. It has been on my list for a while.

    Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend. Jennifer

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration and reason for gardening. Your dad lives on in so many ways and what a gift to leave with his children. 😌 Thank you for visiting the blog today. Have a lovely weekend.

  6. In my comment, I mean. Gracious….signing off now before I post another comment. Clearly I need some time OUTSIDE! Geez.

  7. I wanted to tell you about Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, a performing arts center located on 117 acres of national park land in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near the town of Vienna. It is a wonderful venue for performances but, due to current circumstances, cannot offer live performances. However, they are streaming operas from past years’ performances. Here is the link

  8. A new kitchen is not necessary to make great food but it must be so exciting to have it exactly as you want. Strange but I was.listening to Phil Collins’In the air tonight’ just before I read this. So off to watch the video now. Thank you Shannon

  9. I look forward to reviewing your carefully curated selections every weekend. Thank you for yet another lovely post. Incidentally, I’ve been following your blog for years now. Your most memorable advice was to curate our minds by reading quality journalism. I have been an avid reader of both The New Yorker and The Atlantic since then. Both publications have enriched my world. So thank you very much. You are educating and inspiring more “students” than you realize!

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