This & That: April 7, 2023
Friday April 7, 2023

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Two new novels that are receiving high praise across the board from critics and readers alike, a new book on entertaining inspired by the French and European approaches, three new films – one set in Portland and all about art and creating what calls you, another that is a critic’s pick receiving much applause and still another starring someone who may not sound like the person he portrays but seems to embody him quite well. As well, clothing for spring – dressing well and simply along with two new televisions series to bring a chuckle, both starring two well-known names in the television business. Still, there is more.


Künstlers in Paradise: A Novel by Cathleen Schine

From Vienna, Italy, in the 1930s to Venice, California, in 2020. A glamourous grandmother and a directionless teenage grandson. Then the pandemic of 2020 begins and the two are living together indefinitely.

Mastering the Art of Entertaining by Joseph Marini

Joseph Marini may live on the east coast of the states, but he is a true Francophile at heart, and his new book being released this coming Tuesday, the 11th, is one I think TSLL readers will enjoy. In Mastering the Art of Entertaining, he begins with the acknowledgement that “there is a vulnerability inherent in opening our home and inviting people in to see how we live—and that vulnerability is something to embrace wholeheartedly. In his new book book (check out his blog here and IG account here). Marini “shares his secrets for being a thoughtful and authentic host when entertaining at home, along with distinctive recipes, tasteful advice on etiquette appropriate for today’s lifestyles, and a multitude of ways to make your next gathering unforgettable.

“Entertaining, he says, is a learned skill that with a little bit of regular practice becomes second nature. Becoming a proficient host means that you are taking the time to nurture people—bringing them together in a space that is comfortable and welcoming while creating memories over food and drinks. Even someone who hates to cook can become a talented host by taking the time to give their presentation a special touch (by serving those store-bought foods on earthenware platters with beautiful garnishes, for example) and learning how to care well for their guests.

“Including close to 100 recipes that Joseph has used both throughout his career as a caterer and for his own personal use at home—each one accompanied by a gorgeous, full-page lifestyle photo and a recommendation on how to serve the dish with style.”

Romantic Comedy: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfield

Reese Witherspoon selected Curtis Sittenfield’s novel Romantic Comedy as her Book Club Pick, a story that involves a sketch writer for a late-night comedy show (similar to SNL) and a pop music sensation notorious for being a modelizer. Sounds generic, cheesy, but what Sittenfield does is offers readers complex female characters and with her trademark expertise she “slyly dissects the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.”

British Finds

Sophie Conran Spring Sale, 30% off!

While Sophie Conran’s entire shop is worth checking out, they have selected a handful of items for their spring sale, vases, lamps and silver entertaining items, this lamp (I would change the shade), has a bit whimsy and timelessness.

Green Halo Lamp (different colors and designs available)


Showing Up

Set and filmed in Portland, Oregon, which is fun to see, is Showing Up starring Michelle Williams. I think the neighborhood is in the Nob Hill area in fact (Portlandites, take a look at the trailer, and let me know what you think). Directed by Kelly Reichardt, the film follows a sculptor (Williams) preparing to open a new show and trying to work amidst the daily dramas of family and friends. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it select theaters this weekend and nation-wide in May.


Owen Wilson stars as Carl Nargle, Vermont’s #1 public television painter who is convinced he has it all: a signature perm, custom van, and fans hanging on his every stroke… until a younger, better artist steals everything (and everyone) Carl loves. And if the PBS painter who rose to even wider fame during the pandemic with younger generations, Bob Ross comes to mind, you aren’t wrong, but this film is not entirely about Ross. There are definitely inspirations drawn from his success and how he presented himself on screen, but the film is actually set in the twenty-first century, so not entirely a bio-pic. Learn more about the film here in an interview with Wilson.

Rye Lane, Hulu

Set in London, two youngsters reeling from bad breakups who connect over an eventful day in South-London. Critics are loving Rye Lane, across the board and I look forward to watching it soon. Have a look at the trailer below and find it on Hulu now.

Francophile Finds

Sézane Cassiopée T-Shirt, Ecru (more colors)

A delicate, yet simple spring blouse. Pair with shorts, a skirt, jeans, signature jewelry and your favorite shoes. Simple, yet stunning.


Chateau Traditional Urn Planters

Spring is here and which means planning what to plant in our favorite pots. So why not invest in quality, timeless urn planters to create an inviting porch, stoop or patio?


Banana Republic Slim Refined Stretch Cargo Pant (more colors)

Pants to dress up a bit more than we may first expect is possible, and dress down for casual everyday. Slim-fitting, in a variety of colors.

Me + Em Canvas & Leather Belt (Tan/Ecru)

What I like about this belt is that there are no precise holes so you can wear this cinched tight around your waist over a dress or blazer, or around your hips with pants or jeans.

—INVESTMENT: Joesph Linen Cotton Trina Trousers in Blue

But worth every penny. A pair of linen pants you will have for years. Well-made, timeless in its cut and style and ideal for spring and summer style.

L.K. Bennett Marcellin Blue and Cream Stripe Silk Dress

Whether you tie the pussy-bow or leave it undone (the latter would be my choice), the dress striped with ivory, rather than white, is a spring top-pick in my book.

Marine Swing Crew Tee in Rainbow Stripe

Casual, fun and affordable.

Zara’s Steel Cruet with Lid (two sizes)

For olive oil dispensing in the kitchen, or your favorite commonly used oil, these cruets are easy to use.


Reluctant Traveler, AppleTV+

Premiering this past February and a new series viewers are quite enjoying, Eugene Levy stars and visits some of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing destinations in Costa Rica, Finland, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States, exploring hotels and places, as only Eugene Levy can with his dry wit and subtle disdain but indirect delight in all that he comes across. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy on AppleTV+ now.

Unstable, Netflix

Father and son in real life star alongside each other as father and son in a new comedy on Netflix, Unstable. John Owen Lowe stars as Jackson Dragon, an introverted man who must save his eccentric biotech entrepreneur father, Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe) — and his company — from disaster. Have a look at the trailer below and watch now the series now.

Spring hasn’t come to Bend yet, so I went and found spring. And I found it! Rain and blooms and all!

I headed to Portland for a handful of reasons, and yep, one was to oogle at the spring blooms like these pink camellias found in Washington Park yesterday as the rain fell, fell, and fell some more. I was in my element, and this short visit to explore, relax and discover provided the burst of energy I was looking for.

From spending an evening with long-time family friends and Nelle meeting a young pug that had just as much if not more energy than her, to working with a family-owned business to design a small, but key element for Le Papillon, to walking in the rain with Norman and Nelle to gaze about upon all of the spring blooms, I fell asleep quite happily last night and am eagerly awaiting what comes tomorrow, literally and figuratively as such a change of seasons is magically rejuvenating.

But before I forget! As promised, the announcement of the winner of Cassandra’s Kitchen’s blue & white Italian cup & saucer for a TOP Tier Member! And as chosen by (see screenshot to the right), the winner is Comment #14 on April’s A Cuppa Moments post, Susan, who coincidentally lives in Portland! Susan, please to reach out via email and I’ll have your giveaway shipped to you ASAP to be enjoyed for sipping your favorite hot drink whilst welcoming the spring season. Congratulations and thank you to all of the TOP Tier Members who joined in the conversation this month. I will be joining you this weekend as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each comment and all that you have shared.

I hope this past week has gone well for you and as we step into a holiday weekend for many, if you are celebrating Passover or Easter, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and for everyone, may this weekend offer you the time you need to reenergize and savor what you most need and yearn for. Thank you for choosing to stop by today and until Monday, bonne journée.

PS —Did you know TSLL’s Once-A-Year Membership sale is going on now through Sunday April 9th? Yep! For permanent savings on a monthly, quarterly or yearly membership, save up to 20%. Learn more here and find the special promo codes to utilize to gain the savings that won’t come around again until next year.

~The train trip for Anglophiles and Francophiles – The Royal Scotsman is launching a Dior Spa [CN Traveller]

~The Art and Custom of the French Sunday [Frenchly]

~What to Plant in April [House & Garden UK]

~14 Rules for being YOU today [Marc & Angel]

~5 Introvert-friend ways to get out of your comfort-zone [Introvert, Dear]

~Rick Steves’ advice for travelers heading to Europe this summer [The Atlantic]

~The most useful tools in the garden [Middle-Sized Garden UK]

~The US and its myriad attempts at different sizes of croissants [NYTimes]

~Monty Don’s Tips & Advice for April

~I am on board with this idea for updating my style – say hello to the breezy trouser suit [The Guardian]

~This home tour of a 800-sq foot Brooklyn home full of treasures and thoughtful ideas for living well in a small space. [Architecture Digest]

~Are your ready for a few iconic French desserts? Are you ready to listen to the beautiful French language? Allons-y à Paris!

~Explore last week’s This & That: March 31, 2023

The last day of March, and still the month brings quite the punch of awesome finds. From sleuthing in Paris with Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, to the story of Air Jordans and Nike, a favorite savvy nun returns for a second season for Anglophiles, a sale at a homewares brand full of classic and timeless finds, books on life in the French country, good health and moving our body well, savoring time in the kitchen and still more titles. Also, a classic French handbag with a longer drop for those of you (like me!) who appreciate a longer drop when it comes to the shoulder strap, and then there is a new exhibit in Paris not to miss. Still there is 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.

4 thoughts on “This & That: April 7, 2023

  1. Shannon, absolutely fantastic T&T.
    Thank you sooo much for introducing me to Joseph Marini, I love his ethos and think it fits in quite well with all things TSLL. (I would also love to hear you interview him😉.)
    Absolutely gorgeous striped lamp😍
    The cruets are so elegantly designed.
    The Reluctant Traveller, yes! And Unstable looks such a hoot!
    Beautiful camellia, I can smell it from here🌸
    Et merci beaucoups pour l’introduction à M. Baptiste Fache! Et oh la la les desserts😋
    Wonderful articles to peruse over the weekend–bien merci!
    And congratulations to Susan!

    Happy weekend and holidays, if celebrating, to all. Love to the pups, Shannon.🌞xx

  2. It is good to be back to read the weekly T&T! 🙂

    What caught my eye:
    – Green Halo Lamp;
    – Belt – such an elegant belt!
    – Stripped dress – ditto.
    – The Art and Custom of the French Sunday – oui, and the same can be said about the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Sundays. It is indeed forbidden by law to work on Sundays, exceptions made for essential services. Restaurants, etc. can be open, if they grant their workers a day-off during the week, on Monday or so. As for German Sundays, different tradition… Chez moi, we do a very very very Spanish Sunday… late lunch, long siesta… 😉
    – Breezy Trouser Suit – yes, please, I love me a suit, summer or winter.

    Many pats to Nelle and Norman, all the best for your week, Shannon! 🙂

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