This & That: April 21, 2023
Friday April 21, 2023

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If you thought last week’s This & That was full, get ready for an even more abundant T & T this week! So many varying finds beginning with a new art exhibit in Paris not to miss and only open for a couple more months (it has to do with Monet, but not the one you think!), staying in Paris, a must-see film for Francophiles and classical music lovers, books on all sorts of topics – a delicious looking novel set in France, two new murder mysteries, a book sharing how science is changing when it comes to personalizing how to best take care of ourselves, décor books for budgets across the spectrum, a book for all you childfree women out there (count me amongst you!), and three cookbooks. And that is just the books! Rachel Leigh Cook stars in a new movie that takes her to Vietnam and introduces us to her co-star that I think will have you turning on your televisions to watch, a sale of note for timeless footwear and handbags, a couple of spring capsule wardrobe items that offer an effortless, yet chic style and a new series starring Kathryn Hahn based on the best-selling collections of work by Cheryl Strayed. Yep, you know what I am going to say next, there is still so much more. Enjoy!

Books

The Age of Scientific Wellness: Why the Future of Medicine is Personalized, Predictive, Data-rich and in Your Hands by Leroy Hood, MD, PhD and Nathan Price, PhD

Released earlier this month, The Age of Scientific Wellness is about prevention rather than responding to systems when they arise. “Leroy Hood and Nathan Price argue that we must move beyond this reactive, hit-or-miss approach to usher in real precision health―a form of highly personalized care they call ‘scientific wellness.’ Using information gleaned from our blood and genes and tapping into the data revolution made possible by AI, doctors can catch the onset of disease years before symptoms arise, revolutionizing prevention. Current applications have shown startling results: diabetes reversed, cancers eliminated, Alzheimer’s avoided, autoimmune conditions kept at bay.” And while this may all see a bit overwhelming, it is exciting to at least know that progress in our knowledge base is happening.

Cursed Bread: A Novel by Sophie Mackintosh

When I read the synopsis of Booker Prize-longlisted author Sophie Mackintosh’s new book Cursed Bread, I was immediately intrigued. Set in a French village in 1951, a woman named Elodie is the baker’s wife in the village: “a plain, unremarkable person who yearned to transcend her dull existence. So when a charismatic new couple arrived in town, the forceful ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet, Elodie was quickly drawn into their orbit. Thus began a dangerous game of cat and mouse–but who was the predator and on whom did they prey?”

Own Your Space: Attainable Room-by-Room Decorating Tips for Renters and Homeowners by Alexandra Gater

Being released on Tuesday, April 25th, YouTube star and décor expert Alexandra Gater helps you solve the dilemmas that commonly arise when we are a renter —”how do you hang things without putting holes in the wall?—or living in a new home—how can you make that outdated backsplash work for you?—Alexandra has the answer. In Own Your Space, she offers tips and tricks covering everything from making your home smell better to essential kitchen utensils. And best of all, you get to know her better along the way.”

Romancing the Home: Stylish Interiors for a Modern Lifestyle by Stewart Manger

If your décor aesthetic preference marries the modern with the Old World, Stewart Manger’s book (published in October 2022) is for you. “Having apprenticed with celebrated New York interior designers such as David Easton, Bunny Williams, and David Kleinberg, Manger seamlessly melds the contemporary and the Old World in his fresh and inviting approach coupled with his affinity for seeking the best artisans and workrooms for custom work.

“Whether a restored late nineteenth-century house that embraces the warmth and comfort of an English country house, or a white-washed hillside house overlooking the sea—Manger singles out a theme that is carried throughout the design. He illustrates the mixing of exotic and playful patterns and discusses how quality antique pieces can add character to a room.”

Tasting History: Explore the Past through 4000 Years of Recipes: A Cookbook by Max Miller

I am all for a book that brings together history and food, and in Max Miller’s new book, primarily a cookbook, Tasting History, does just that. Just released this past Tuesday, “what began as a passion project when Miller was furloughed during Covid-19 has become a viral YouTube sensation. The Tasting History with Max Miller channel and now book take readers/viewers to ancient Rome to Ming China to medieval Europe and beyond, Miller has collected the best-loved recipes from around the world and has shared them with his fans. Now, with beautiful photographs portraying the dishes and historical artwork throughout, Tasting History compiles over sixty dishes such as: Tuh’u: a red beet stew with leeks dating back to 1740 BC; Globi: deep-fried cheese balls with honey and poppy seeds; Soul Cakes: yeasted buns with currants from circa 1600; Pumpkin Tourte: a crustless pumpkin cheesecake with cinnamon and sugar on top from 1570.”

The Wellness Trap: Break Free from Diet Culture, Disinformation, and Dubious Diagnoses and Find Your True Well-Being by Christy Harrison, MPH, RD

Being released this coming Tuesday is a book by registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and journalist Christy Harrison that “delves into the persistent, systemic problems with the wellness industry that often cause even more damage than the conventional approaches they’re meant to replace. From the lack of pre-market safety testing on herbal and dietary supplements, to the unfounded claims made by many wellness influencers and functional-medicine providers, to the social-media algorithms driving users down rabbit holes of wellness mis- and disinformation, it can often feel like no one is looking out for us in the face of the $4.4 trillion global wellness industry.” Well, I am intrigued and hearing and learning about all sides of the coin when it comes to promotion of well-being is the smartest thing to do for our well-being so that we are not following blindly.

Women Without Kids: The Revolutionary Rise of an Unsung Sisterhood by Ruby Warrington

Released on March 28th, the synopsis begins with a simple and honest answer to the shaming question “What is ‘woman’ if not ‘mother’? Answer as author Ruby Warrington aptly reminds, “Anything she wants to be.

“Taking in themes from intergenerational healing to feminism to environmentalism, this personal look and anthropological dig into a stubbornly taboo topic is a timely and brave reframing of what it means not to be a mom. Our experiences and discourse around non-motherhood are central to women’s ongoing fight for gender equality. And whether we are child[free] by design or circumstance, we can live without regret, shame, or compromise.” Yep, I will be picking up and reading this book tout de suite.

British Find

Hamnet, a Royal Shakespeare Company presentation

Oh, oh, oh! English literature buffs! A brand new play inspired by the best-selling novel by Maggie O’Farrell and winner of the National Critics’ Book Circle award, Hamnet just recently debuted in England in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Swan Theatre for its sold-out world premiere, and due to its success is coming to London for a limited 14-week run beginning in September. IF you are in proximity to Stratford-upon-Avon now through July, I recommend scooping up a ticket, otherwise, purchase a ticket now to watch it at the Garrick Theatre in London beginning in late September (’23) through January 2024. What is Hamnet about? Shakespeare’s wife, Anne. The plot “pulls back a curtain on the story of the greatest writer in the English language and the woman who was the constant presence and purpose of his life.”

Cookbook

Love & Lemons Simple Feel Good Food: 125 Plant-Focused Meals to Enjoy Now and Make Ahead by Jeanine Donofrio

Back with a new cookbook, Love & Lemons’ Jeanine Donofrio‘s Simple Feel Good Food shares “make-now and make-ahead vegetarian recipes for every kind of cook.”

Milk Street Noodles: Secrets to the World’s Best Noodles, from Fettuccini Alfredo to Pad Thai to Miso Ramen by Christopher Kimball

And Milk Street also has another cookbook, and this time, it is all about noodles! From the traditional, to the warm, “to cool salads, steaming soups, plump dumplings and bowls of well-sauced shapes of all kind, noodles are a perfect canvas for spring and summer vegetables, as well as hearty wintertime baked casseroles. And if speed is your need, try hoisin-ginger noodles or our cheesy one-pan cacio e pepe, both ready in 20 minutes.” I can definitely get behind that last one mentioned, and you will easily make this 4-ingredient pasta dish in 20 minutes (maybe 15) – so good!

Look for Milk Street Noodles to be released on Tuesday April 25th.

Film

A Tourist’s Guide to Love

If you are looking for a feel-good rom-com coupled (pardon the pun) with an appreciation for the power of travel, be sure to watch Rachel Leigh Cook who stars in A Tourist’s Guide to Love which premieres today on Netflix. The trailer shares all that you need to know. Enjoy!

Francophile Find

A Body by the Sea: A Brittany Mystery (book 8) by Jean-Luc Bannalec

First, let me share with fellow fans of M.L. Longworth’s Provençal Mystery series (adapted for BritBox in the series Murder in Provence) that she revealed to me recently as I was most eager to know when book #11 would be released, that that particular series has concluded (consisting of ten books) as she feels (and I agree) that she left the characters in a pretty good spot. Now she is beginning to explore her next writing venture, and while we wait, I have been thoroughly enjoying Jean-Luc Bannalec’s Brittany Mystery series (currently I am on book #2), but why I am writing today about book #8 is that it is being released on April 25th, soooooo if you are well ahead of me, the good news is that this French-based mystery series continues!

Chevalier

Weekend viewing plans are set! After months of anticipation, the new film Chevalier, telling the amazing true story of Violin virtuoso and composer Joseph Bologne, given the title by the King of France Chevalier de Saint-Georges, is released nation-wide today. Joseph Bologne was the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, Bologne (played by Kelvin Harrison Jr.) rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and champion fencer, complete with an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court.” I have included the trailer below, but first, take a listen to his compositions. No doubt if you listen to classical music, you have heard his work.

Here are two of my favorites, Symphony in D Major and here is another favorite – Violin Concerto Op. 7, No. 1 in A Major

Léon Monet exhibit at Musée du Luxembourg

If you are in or near Paris now or will be through July 16th, be sure to slip into the Musée du Luxembourg (after a delightful stroll about the gardens – or visa versus) and check out a new exhibit that features the work of Claude Monet’s older brother Léon. Léon, a talented artist in his own right, is often the unknown support figure in Claude’s life that helped him begin his now world-famous painting career. Take a look at the video below to learn more about this amazing exhibit. I so wish I would be in Paris in the next couple of months as this sounds quite special.

Mastering the Art of French Murder: A Charming New Parisian Historical Mystery by Colleen Cambridge

Colleen Cambridge would be right at home in TSLL community because her first series is set in the English countryside – and both books in that series have been mentioned here on TSLL (and recommended). Now she is beginning a new series and taking us to France! No doubt the cover of the book draws intentional parallels to a famous book by the one and only Julia Child, and while I don’t really want murder being associated with the legend that is Julia Child, the premise is unique, and I am curious to read it.

Set just after WWII in France, the protagonist is Tabitha Knight who has “recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, . . . Thanks to her neighbor and friend Julia Child, another ex-pat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.” Yep, Cambridge is bringing in Julia Child, and then a body is found in the cellar of Le Cordon Bleu cooking school! Quelle horreur! And then it gets even more interesting as “Tabitha recognizes the victim as a woman she’d met only the night before, at a party given by Julia’s sister, Dort. The murder weapon found nearby is recognizable too—a knife from Julia’s kitchen.”

Needless to say, this might be a fun read. We’ll see, but if her previous two murder mysteries are any indication, she knows how to write likable characters and hold the readers’ attention by dropping red herrings creatively along the way.

From the inside book flap, “From the shadows of the Tour Eiffel at midnight, to the tiny third-floor Child kitchen, to the grungy streets of Montmartre, Tabitha navigates through the city hoping to find the real killer before she or one of her friends ends up in prison . . . or worse.”

Gardening

The Color of Roses: A Curated Spectrum of 300 Blooms by Danielle Dall’Armi Hahn

What better way to learn about roses than a color wheel (of sorts) of all of the many different types and varietals? “Organized by color, these 300 full-page photos take you on a journey through all the marvelous shades of white, yellow, pink, peach, purple, orange, red, caramel, and even green blossoms—not to mention striped and bicolor. This modern compilation of the world’s 300 most beautiful roses includes the essential statistics for each one, including name, plant type and size, breeder, and more to help gardeners, rose lovers, and floral designers discover their new favorite.”

A Greener Life: Discover the Joy of Mindful and Sustainable Gardening by Jack Wallington

Released last March (2022), I wanted to bring Jack Wallington’s book to your attention as we step anew into the gardening season. “Packed with inspirational images and practical tips, the book covers garden planning, organic composting and vegetable growing, as well as sustainable planting, rewilding and wildlife-attracting environments. Learn traditional gardening techniques like propagating and growing from cuttings to make your garden self-sustaining, and discover plants that attract hover flies, bees and butterflies.”

Shopping

M.Gemi’s Birthday Sale, 20% off

If you are on the hunt for loafers, for classic handbags, for slides, even for heels, Italian company M.Gemi is celebrating its eighth birthday and marking everything 20% off. Simply use promo code BDAY20 at checkout, but do hustle as this sale ends Thursday night at midnight (and if you have stopped by after April 20th, use this code to save $25 off your entire orde – 25CIAO). I scooped up these pair of suede mules at a lovely price and shopped a few other items for you below, but be sure to peruse the entire site to see what catches you eye.

J.Crew Relaxed-fit short-sleeve Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirtdress (multiple colors)

Summer market shopping and this dress would be perfect. Wrapped in a belt, toss a tote over your shoulder and sandals on your feet, and you are looking comfortable and chic.

Sarah Raven, Rippled Water glasses, 40% off

Gardener at Perch Hill in England, Sarah Raven, along with selling seeds and plants also sells home goods on her website and currently, she is having a sale. These Rippled Water glasses caught my eye as while yes, perfect for a drink, could also make for a unique vase.

Sézane Élodie Dress, Ecru Yellow, organic cotton

Imagine a summer evening, wearing this simple, yet subtle statement-making dress that is comfortable on the skin and easy to move in.

Television

Tiny Beautiful Things, Hulu

Based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling collection, Kathryn Hahn stars in Tiny Beautiful Things, which premiered this April 7th on Hulu. Centered around “a woman reluctantly takes on an anonymous, unpaid position with an advice column called Sugar. Unsure of herself at first, she finds a way to weave her life experiences together to help those seeking guidance.” Have a look at the trailer below and watch it now.


thesimplyluxuriouslife.com | The Simply Luxurious Life

This inviting (and delicious) Almond Cake was served for dessert by my friend and founder of The Confidence Project Tracy Hooper a couple of Fridays ago when she invited me for lunch to her home in Portland, and long-time readers of TSLL may remember, I shared this recipe almost ten years ago in 2014 with permission from Tracy. Needless to say, it is a keeper and very simple to make. Here is a link to the recipe where I have updated the images to include her spring-inspired table-setting and presentation. (Adding blueberries was a lovely pairing.)

Spring continues to inch forward, and with today being the opening day of one of my favorite local nurseries, that is most likely where you will find me (followed by taking in the film Chevalier, as I shared above – I cannot wait!). I hope your week has gone well, and you are looking ahead to a weekend filled with what you enjoy doing and with whom you enjoy sharing your time (that includes pets too!).

Last weekend, Norman, Nelle and I walked on a trail that has been closed for reconstruction for some time (now newly re-opened) and delighted in all of the improvements and additions that were made. With each outing we take Nelle, every trails feels as though it is new as she is oh so curious and delighted by what she sees and experiences. Norman as well seems to be fueled by her awe and they both have a wonderful time.

This week on the blog was a full one! We talked about the current ubiquitous term Quiet Luxury as it has now become a trend but has always been a core component of living simply luxuriously and an astute and long-time reader/listener of TSLL blog and podcast left this review for the show (and the blog). Thank you ClmSummers! You made me smile 😊!

This week also included the Outfits of the Monththree spring outfits, and on the podcast I talked with Sandra Sigman (who is in Provence as I type!) about Paris, flowers and elevating the everyday in episode #355 of the podcast. If you have already read your five free posts for the month, be sure to explore becoming a Member of TSLL – BASIC or TOP – and continue to enjoy the many articles/posts to get you ready to savor spring, welcome a touch of France into your life and ground your everyday in true contentment.

Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful weekend. Below are a handful of articles you might enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée!

~Will you be visiting Paris in May? Be sure to check this post out to discover ideas for what to do and enjoy. [Hip Paris]

~A big thank you to TSLL reader Rona for sharing this article, Why I want to look like a French Woman [The Times, UK, subscription needed]

~From the oodles of upholstered cozy armchairs and sofas (oh! and ottomans too!), and that cottage garden gate – yep, a dream of a cottage-inspired country home in Cotswold! [House & Garden UK]

~Introverts and entrepreneurs – the two just go together! [Introvert, Dear]

~How to create a secret garden in your own backyard [The New York Times]

~Did you watch Felicity starring Keri Russell back in the day? I sat down to watch the first episode of her new series on Netflix The Diplomat last night (thoroughly enjoyed her character’s down-to-earth, no-nonsense character, by the way) and just before doing so, listened to this interview where she reflects on her time on the set and with the cast of Felicity, as well as The Americans on Fresh Air [NPR]

~Well, if only we had been taking a road trip near Eugene, Oregon, this past week – The generosity of an Oregon driver, throwing $100 bills out the window (he had $200,00 to toss) on I-5, and as it was his money, it wasn’t illegal (but not advised-for all sorts of reasons), but you better believe all of the money was scooped up by fellow drivers even after police asked him to stop sharing the wealth. [NPR]

~Owen Wilson, star of the new movie Paint, in Paris at a museum. [The New Yorker]

~Small towns in France straight out of a storybook [CNTraveler]

~11 Ways to overcome negative thoughts [Sensitive Refuge]

~Beyond getting stuff done – the art of being fully present as shared by Zen Habits

~And to hold you in the present moment, tour this gorgeous garden of Arabella Lennox-Boyd —  Gresgarth Hall in Lancashire [House & Garden UK]

~And lastly, just for fun, because I have a feeling fellow tennis fans will miss not seeing Roger Federer on the courts this summer at the Grand Slams, he stars in a new ad-campaign for Switzerland tourism. Have a look and be swept away to the beauty that Mother Nature richly offers those who are so fortunate to visit and call it home.


~Explore last week’s This & That: April 14, 2023

A FULL T & T this week with books about the rise of a woman of influence in Tudor England, an Editor’s Choice new memoir that takes us to Broadway, a new novel from a bestselling author involving the symphony, two cookbooks – one to bring calm into your days with its prose as well as its recipes and one to deepen your knowledge about the food that is super in many ways. On the big and small screen, there are oodles of new titles worth watching with the anticipated return of a favorite darling, a new limited series that tells an often unknown part of the war effort in WWII, Ray Romano’s directorial film debut, a children’s film for animal lovers that I think adults will enjoy as well, a French favorite series returns to AcornTV and an unexpectedly comedic take on a genre that takes us to Italy with a fabulous international cast. Oh! And if you are looking for a touch of French style, I’ve been shopping for the must-have style of a scarf that is easy to wear and adds a subtle, yet powerful finishing touch to any wardrobe. Still, yep, there is so much more. 

~Please note: TSLL is supported by you, readers who take the time to stop by (merci!), peruse and sometimes welcome into your life mentioned and recommended finds. Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL when you purchase. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here.

15 thoughts on “This & That: April 21, 2023

  1. Dear Shannon, this is a treat, what a T&T full of interesting things! 🙂
    It will take me a while to peruse all that caught my eye, so today I will just wish you a very nice weekend, and say that I could not agree more with Clmsummers comment regarding the Quiet Luxury trend. I did not read any particular article, but no matter; when you mentioned what the expression refers to, I thought: …hmm, nothing then, these folks have finally caught up with us here at TSLL… We are so avantgard – they definitely should join TSLL! 😉

    1. Isabel, I adore your comment. 🙂 You gave me a good smile, chuckle and feel so grateful for readers like yourself. xoxo Thank you so much for stopping by today wishing you a wonderful weekend as well. Bonne journée!

  2. Shannon~

    What a fabulous week we have had here at TSSL!

    Quiet Luxury versus Simply Luxurious was a wonderful read that reminded me how important it is to find the joy in quality over quantity and seek out ways to make everyday tasks more special. Honestly, I thought for a minute that I might not find the interview with Sandra Sigman useful, but was I ever wrong! Such an interesting chat with so much information. Who would have thought that flower arranging would also have “recipes”?
    I believe I spotted Chevalier de Saint-Georges in a recent episode of Marie Antoinette and was thrilled that I was already familiar thanks to your recent recommendation.

    Have a wonderful weekend in the garden.

    ~xx Michelle

  3. Dear Shannon,
    As a new subscriber, I am delighting in all your suggestions- especially the books!
    Autumn is settling in over New Zealand, it’s a cozy, beautiful time of year, and the previous blogs are giving me lots of ideas for the season,
    Warm regards
    Nicolle

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed the tourism ad for Switzerland. We leave for Switzerland in 2 weeks, and looks like it will exceed our expectations!

  5. Ooohh yummy…. I made this almond cake many years ago when you first posted, It’s fantastic!! It took discipline to not eat the entire cake. I served it with fresh berries and chantilly cream. I think I need to make it again this week, so delightful!

    I always save T&T for my lazy Sunday reading and pondering, thank you for delighting my interests.

    Karen

  6. Gresgarth Hall is lovely in all seasons Shannon , and somewhere I visit regularly , as although it is a private garden Arabella opens it to the public once a month .

    Special highlights start with the Snowdrop and Hellebore days at the beginning of the year , followed by all the beauty of unfolding planting throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn .

    You would love the walled vegetable garden , and the beautiful pebble mosaics created by Maggie Howarth , which can be seen in the pathways in various places through the more formal parts of the garden .

    It is a plantswoman’s (and man’s ! ) delight , with beautiful trees and many rare plants , trees and shrubs , and wonderful planting combinations , both in the ground and also in the large pots ……the tulip displays in the spring are fabulous.

    Dragonflies can be seen darting over the lake , which is in front of the Hall .

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