This & That: August 11, 2023
Friday August 11, 2023

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A sale NOT to miss if you love a favorite luxury skincare brand (25% off!), a handful of wonderful books – three novels – one an Editor’s Choice, another debut that is getting high praise, a décor book to linger over for inspiration for a renovation journey that is uniquely yours, two fun and engaging rom-coms just released, a British drama based on a true story, an art exhibit not to miss in Paris before it closes later this month, new collections and items on sale to shore up your wardrobe for both the start of fall and conclusion of summer, and still, there is more. Much more!


Augustinus Bader on Sale at Dermstore, 25% off site-wide

Now this is an awesome deal if you happen to be a fan of Augustinus Bader skincare products as well as many other fantastic skincare brands. In last month’s Ponderings . . . post, I shared my experience with their Retinol Serum, and needless to say, I will be taking advantage of this sale that runs through August 17th. Simply enter the promo code CHEERS for savings of 25%.

Also, my go-to sunscreen for face – lightweight and hands-down trusted to protect me from the sun – EltaMD is included as part of the sale.

All of Augustinus Bader’s products are 25% off through August 17th at Dermstore. Be sure to use the promo code CHEERS.

Explore my experience with their Retinol Serum here in TSLL’s monthly Ponderings . . . post shared with TOP Tier Members.



The Bee Sting: A Novel by Paul Murray

Being released this coming Tuesday and already long listed for a Booker Prize of 2023 is Paul Murray’s new novel The Bee Sting.

“The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie’s once-lucrative car business is going under―but rather than face the music, he’s spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife Imelda is selling off her jewelry on eBay, while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way through her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home.

“Where did it all go wrong? A patch of ice on the tarmac, a casual favor to a charming stranger, a bee caught beneath a bridal veil―can a single moment of bad luck change the direction of a life? And if the story has already been written―is there still time to find a happy ending?”

The Great Transition: A Novel by Nick Fuller Googins

Being released this coming Tuesday, the debut novel from author Nick Fuller Googins who has published essays and short stories in The Paris Review, The Sun and the LA Times, shares an intriguingly creative plot that begins with a journey from Greenland to New York to counteract the effects of climate change. A novel that gazes into the near future and critics are already cautiously praising The Great Transition.

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store: A Novel by James McBride

Released this past Tuesday and on The Washington Post’s book critic’s Ron Charles’ list of books to read, The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store is set in “1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows.” 

The Marriage Question: George Eliot’s Double Life by Clare Carlisle

A biography to read if you, like so many others literature-lovers, are intrigued by the life and work of George Eliot. “In her mid-thirties, Marian Evans transformed herself into George Eliot―an author celebrated for her genius as soon as she published her debut novel. During those years she also found her life partner, George Lewes―writer, philosopher, and married father of three . . . In The Marriage Question (being released this coming Tuesday), Clare Carlisle reveals Eliot to be not only a great artist but also a brilliant philosopher who probes the tensions and complexities of a shared life. Through the immense ambition and dark marriage plots of her novels, we see Eliot wrestling―in art and in life―with themes of desire and sacrifice, motherhood and creativity, trust and disillusion, destiny and chance.”

Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home by Natalie Walton

While released a couple of years ago (2021), I look forward to adding Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home to my library soon. After all, cultivating our sanctuary takes time, and thus is a form of art as we come to understand how to live well in our homes and thus cultivate a home that will support us in order to help us thrive in our unique life journey.

“Style is a timeless interiors book that shows you how to transform your living spaces using what you own and love. While designing can be a big investment, styling allows you to elevate your spaces with what you’ve already got. This book is at once beautiful and practical, demystifying the creative process of styling so that you can create a beautiful home with confidence. Based on more than a decade of industry experience and teaching, this book will show you how to connect with your own personal style and enjoy inspiring, welcoming and authentic interiors. Styling is both an art and a science – and you can learn both.”

British Finds

The Book Binder: A Novel by Pip Williams

Set at the beginning of WWI in England, Pip Williams “explores another rarely seen slice of history through women’s eyes”. Two refugees from Belgium, Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who live on a narrow boat in Oxford and work in the bindery at the university press, lead the plot . . .

“Ambitious, intelligent Peggy has been told for most of her life that her job is to bind the books, not read them—but as she folds and gathers pages, her mind wanders to the opposite side of Walton Street, where the female students of Oxford’s Somerville College have a whole library at their fingertips. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has: to spend her days folding the pages of books in the company of the other bindery girls. She is extraordinary but vulnerable, and Peggy feels compelled to watch over her.

“Then refugees arrive from the war-torn cities of Belgium, sending ripples through the Oxford community and the sisters’ lives. Peggy begins to see the possibility of another future where she can educate herself and use her intellect, not just her hands. But as war and illness reshape her world, her love for a Belgian soldier—and the responsibility that comes with it—threaten to hold her back.”

Released this past July – 25th.

The Great Train Robbery, AcornTV

Based on the true story, and just released this past Tuesday on AcornTV is The Great Train Robbery. Taking place on August 8, 1963, “Britain awakens to the news of the biggest robbery in the nation’s history”. Starring Luke Evans (The Girl on the Train) and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent (Iris), it looks to be a compelling ride to watch, even though we already know the ending.

Mae Handmade Scalloped Vase, Rowe & Wren

A petit plaisir of sorts, a petite vase in this case, handmade and available for fewer than 40 pounds. Add that beautiful single stem flower that captures your eye at the market or in your garden and bring it inside without breaking the bank or removing too much beauty from your exterior living room. 🙂


Norwegian Baking Through the Seasons by Nevada Berg

Released this past spring from Nevada Berg whose first cookbook – North Wild Kitchen was chosen as one of the best cookbooks of the year by The New York Times – is Norwegian Baking Through the Seasons. “Organized according to Norway’s five seasons, the book features ninety sweet and savory recipes and includes traditional baked goods for Norwegian holidays and other celebrations and special occasions.”

With beautiful “photography capturing the delicate details of Nevada’s mountain farm home, readers discover how the seasons shape what’s going into the oven and onto the plate each time of the year: Rustic Spelt Crackers, Candied Almond Cake, Wild Blueberry and Oregano Bread, Troll Cream Oatmeal Cookies, or Lefse with Cinnamon Buttercream. Each recipe is introduced by a brief mood-setting text, incorporates the best ingredients each season has to offer, and is also entirely adaptable to anyone’s pantry.”


Pottery Barn Handwoven Twisted Seagrass Tray (rectangular, 30% off and round)

With the posting of the detailed tour of my entry (interior and exterior) earlier this week, I shared where to find similar seagrass baskets as the one I have had for more than 15 years that sits atop my console table, and this one – the rectangular size – is on sale at the moment.


Match Me If You Can

A light-hearted fun rom-com for the nerds out there (I consider it a compliment to be called a nerd, although I too like the lead character in the film, feel labels are not necessary) who don’t feel like they fit in but are curious about finding love. Being released today, look for it where you stream your favorite films. Check out the trailer below for Match Me If You Can.


Released earlier this month, a film I hope comes to Bend as I will definitely go take a look. Shortcomings follows “Ben, a struggling filmmaker, lives in Berkeley, California, with his girlfriend, Miko, who works for a local Asian American film festival. When he’s not managing an arthouse movie theater as his day job, Ben spends his time obsessing over unavailable blonde women, watching Criterion Collection DVDs, and eating in diners with his best friend Alice, a queer grad student with a serial dating habit. When Miko moves to New York for an internship, Ben is left to his own devices, and begins to explore what he thinks he might want.”

Francophile Find

Sarah Bernhardt art exhibit at Petit Palais (Paris)

If you are going to be in Paris this August, here is an exhibit to check out at the Petit Palais museum. Running through August 27th, “Sarah Bernhardt, (1844-1923), was an emblematic figure who spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. The “Divine Sarah”, who was an artist as well as an actress, takes centre stage at the Petit Palais in an exceptional exhibition to mark the centenary of her death. The museum holds important collections of works linked to the actress, including the spectacular portrait of her that was painted in 1876 by her friend Georges Clairin and donated by her son Maurice.”


Banana Republic Transport Shoulder Crossbody Bag (four colors)

A large, yet slim crossbody tote ideal for so many outfits and versatile for work, errands and just going about life. 🙂

Mango Pocket Oversized Striped Shirt (three colors)

Casual, yet classic, this oversized striped shirt, paired with a more slim fitting pant could be your weekend wear for staying stylish and comfortable.

Mango Denim Bomber Jacket

One more from Mango because of the classic style, yet modern, more leisurely touch of denim for the fabric. A great jacket to take us from late summer into fall.

Mansur Gavriel M. Continental Wallet (brown and cherry available), on sale

From a high quality mid-luxury brand, a leather wallet, now on drastic reduction, near 50% off.

Veronica Beard Daniela Straight-Leg Jeans

A pair of jeans to wear with flats or heels, dress up or down and keep (and wear!) for years.

Hello Friday! And hello the final Friday before TSLL’s 8th Annual French Week begins!

Yep! If you are new to TSLL (and are a Francophile – or have any predilection for all things French), this is a week I am fairly confident you are going to enjoy. ☺️ Learn more about all that will take place here and explore past French Week’s here as well.

Be sure to explore becoming a TOP Tier Member to enjoy reading all of the posts shared, as well as be able to enter all of the giveaways.

But first, let’s talk about all of these dahlias. ☺️

Norman and I had a date yesterday morning as Nelle was at the vet being spayed, so we took this opportunity to tour, wandering and capturing on video and in photographs the gorgeous and abundant dahlia blooms in Canby, Oregon, at Swan Island Dahlia Farm. It was amazing! And soothing, and comforting as not having Nelle with us was not easy, to say the least. (She is doing well, and all went as it should.)

I want to thank a TSLL reader who suggested I visit Swan Island Dahlias, and I look forward to sharing a detailed video with TOP Tier Members in September’s A Cuppa Moments as well as a detailed post in the next Gardening post. | The Simply Luxurious Life

What a week, in the most wonderful of ways, and now it is Friday. How was your week? I do hope it went well for you, and as we near the middle of August (already!?), I am savoring these days of summer while feeling the good rhythm and pacing as we stroll into Autumn and September.

The dripping in my shower was fixed this week with the help of my lovely, kind and happy-to-help and teach-me neighbor (thank you Andy!). A simple replacement of the valve cartridge was all that needed to happen (we didn’t do this when the bathroom was remodeled and should have, but I had no idea this was a thing to do!). Immediately, my shower functioned properly ($60 later for parts, so not bad at all!) and even more effortlessly and with ease than ever before. So it truly is now a new, new shower (tour my primary bathroom remodel here)! As well, when I was able to install the front door knob and deadbolt on my door this past Sunday, I could have done cartwheels all evening long as I was elated! I was just so happy to have it complete and to have been able to figure it out myself, something I was beginning to doubt I could do. Which is why I hustled up and wrote and captured the tour of the space I have been promising a tour of since May. I know! Thank you for your patience, and be sure to take a look at the detailed post – objectives, before and after pics – here.

With all of that unexpected excitement and good news, I wasn’t able to sit down yet to respond to this month’s A Cuppa Moments, but I will be doing that today, and am greatly looking forward to it. Thank you for stopping by and until Sunday! when TSLL’s 8th Annual French Week begins, bonne journée!

~My favorite article of the week: What the US could learn from the Japanese about making healthy living easier [NPR]

~An article to read for anyone who also enjoys the rain – I feel bad about enjoying the rain – but England’s ‘sodden summer’ brings back such wonderful memories [The Guardian]

~Tour this English country garden situated in a sleepy steep-sided valley [House & Garden UK]

~If you (like me!) love listening to classical music, and you haven’t already begun listening to KDFC (or KUSC), they welcomed two new hosts over the past year. Both of whom are awesome, and it was recently announced that Brisa Siegel won the award of the Current Rising Star in Public Media. Much deserved and congratulations! I so appreciate her soothing voice early in the morning and uplifting imagery she paints in your mind about the day, the world, and possibilities.

~The best hotels in the Cotswolds [CN Traveler]

~A cake to love in the months of summer, just add fresh strawberries and yummm! – Tom Roach’s Angel Food Cake [Saveur]

~Just keeping you in the know, What to expect with Europe’s new entry requirements beginning in 2024 (quite simple and inexpensive, but necessary to tend to). [Afar]

~For everyone who is trying to learn the French language, perhaps you are curious just as I am – What is the difference between TCF, TEF, DELF and DALF? [Frenchly]

~A thought-provoking article to read and ponder – Yes, the girl boss is Dead — But Here’s Who’s Replaced Her [British Vogue]

~For all of you Anglophiles and anyone who appreciates British interior design, you know the passing of Robert Kime was a loss to the world of design, and this video shares his Personal Collection. Enjoy.

~Explore last week’s This & That: August 4, 2023

A new French and English jazz album from a favorite band is released, the return of a wonderfully fun, caper series, summer clothing finds, a new film starring Jon Hamm that looks to bring the comedy along with the dark side of such a genre, books to relax with while you continue to enjoy your summer plans, books to deepen your quality of life and books to give you helpful skills for knowing how to be part of an engaging conversation. As well, clothing to consider as we look ahead to fall and still 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

12 thoughts on “This & That: August 11, 2023

  1. My favourites this week:
    – The Book Binder: A Novel
    – Little Scalloped Vase – it is so cute!

    – Dahlias, dahlias, dahlias… – this summer I tried the dahlia “Night Butterfly” and it turned out really well. Beautiful flower and lots of buds still to flower. A delight.

    – Norman, of course! – And all the best and a quick recovery to Nelle. Many pats! 🙂

    Looking forward to the French Week. Have a great weekend, Shannon and everyone!

    1. Isabel,

      Thank you for stopping by! Thank you for sharing what spoke to you and wishing you a most wonderful weekend! So happy to hear your Night Butterfly Dahlia is doing well this year. I am now going to look up what that variety looks like. Most curious! 🙂

  2. Hi Shannon,
    I hope all is well with you. I have been lucky enough to have been travelling and staying in Cornwall for quite a bit of the summer and so have a lot to catch up with on the blog which I very much look forward to.

    On a quick look today I read Nelle has been in for surgery. I just wanted to say I send hugs and love to Nelle. I don’t know about you but I always find it so hard when my pet family have to undergo surgery or receive treatment even it is routine.
    Thinking of you, sending love and hugs. A special hug for Norman. 😘


    1. Thank you Angela and so happy for you to have been staying and traveling around Cornwall. What a lovely place to be! I feel the very same way as you have described and am very excited to have her back home with Norman and I. We both missed her. 🙂 All went well, so I am very grateful. Thank you for your kind words. xo

      1. Ah Shannon I really empathise. Hopefully, now, from experience the worst of the process is over and with TLC (which I know she will have in abundance) Nelle will be back on her paws in no time at all.

  3. Shannon-
    I also identify (proudly) as a nerd. My kids gave me Storyworth for Christmas and a recent question was about clubs I belonged to in school. The only one was the debate team, however that served me well in my future careers so – no complaints!
    Thanks for another great This & That. The Style book is already on its way.
    Happy weekend to you and the pups,

  4. Loved the Robert Kime piece. I knew of him, but I never before realized is genius.

    Looking at his interiors was like receiving a big hug. You just longed to walk into them and settle in for an incredible conversation.

    Thanks for posting this.

    1. Belinda,

      Well described – a big hug. Upon learning about Robert Kime I have been drawn to his aesthetic, sincere passion and keen eye, and this video shares so much of that. Thank you for sharing this video spoke to you. Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  5. Cou Cou Shannon!
    “The Transition” and “The Marriage Question” look intriguing, those definitely going on the TBR.
    Let’s hear it for the nerds! I snorted,(of course,) and chortled at the “Match Me If You Can” trailer, definitely a Must-See.
    “Shortcomings” looks good as well, looking forward to the Swan Island Dahlias tour, lovely articles to peruse this weekend, and thank you for the Robert Kime video, what a treasure of a man.
    Love to you and the pups🌺💛😊

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