This & That: December 17, 2021
Friday December 17, 2021

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Two films, both with ties to France, and the return of a much-talked about series since it debuted last year. Winter wardrobe finds, many on great discount. Books on a wide-range of topics – finding peace with the unknown and stepping bravely forward, how to solve just about any problem you might encounter and in an effective and productive manner, recipes and stories from Paris, the history of libraries and new ideas for structuring the work week. All of this and still, there is more.


Fixed: The Fine Art of Problem Solving by Amy E. Herman

Released earlier this week, Fixed by Amy E. Herman, now having access to FBI, NATO, the State Department, Interpol, Scotland Yard, and many more organizations and their leaders and what they have been using to solve their most intractable problems, “teaches us to see things differently, using art to challenge our default thinking and open up possibilities otherwise overlooked”.

Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur Der Weduwen

Released last month, bibliophiles and history-buffs and as well as anyone interested in culture, community and the institutions we hold dear and how to ensure they will be with us for many more generations to come will enjoy picking up Library: A Fragile History. “In The Library, historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of literary tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors committed in pursuit of rare manuscripts. In doing so, they reveal that while collections themselves are fragile, often falling into ruin within a few decades, the idea of the library has been remarkably resilient as each generation makes—and remakes—the institution anew.” Sounds fascinating and might just be a perfect winter read for cozying-in when the storms hit and we have nowhere to go but our armchair. 🙂

Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working from Home by Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel

Released earlier this month and already selling well, Out of Office was inspired by the last two years and the identification that there just may be a better path forward when it comes to work schedules. “Based on groundbreaking reporting and interviews with workers and managers around the world, Out of Office illuminates the key values and questions that should be driving this conversation: trust, fairness, flexibility, inclusive workplaces, equity, and work-life balance. Above all, they argue that companies need to listen to their employees – and that this will promote, rather than impede, productivity and profitability.” Read an interview with the author in a recent NPR article and perhaps, yes, a new and better approach to work is possible.

Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver

Tosha Silver’s book came recommended to from a trusted source following my inquiry into how to let go and embrace the unknown more comfortably. Listening to the entire book on Audible last month, at first I was skeptical, but I told myself to keep listening and indeed there are many gems in this book worth pondering.

British Find

Agatha Raisin Christmas special (and the start to Season 4)

On Monday December 20th, on AcornTV, Agatha Raisin returns with a brand-new Christmas episode, ‘Kissing Christmas Goodbye’. In this one, Agatha’s been hired to protect a wealthy older woman – so when the woman is murdered anyway, she wants to know who did it. The fourth season will follow the next week from what my sources have shared so far, so look to enjoy ending 2021 and beginning 2022 with sleuthing hilarity in the English countryside.

Francophile Find

Emily in Paris, Season 2 premiere

Yep, the second season of this light-hearted, set in Paris chic rom-com is about to premiere. Look for Emily in Paris to return to Netflix on Wednesday December 22nd. Have a look at the trailer below and be swept away to Paris.

Included in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, Anne Katrin-Weber’s new cookbook was released just this past week. Full of “mouth-watering sweet and savory recipes and heart-melting love stories. Take a culinary walk through the city of love, enjoy classic French cuisine, from croque madame to coq au vin and madeleines, and immerse yourself in famous love stories”.

Nothing To Hide

I stumbled across this film last week as it popped up on my recommendation’s list on Netflix. Set at a dinner party in France (subtitles are available), to spice up the evening, the guests agree (all old friends) to share every private message that pops up on their phone during the course of the evening. As you might imagine, chaos ensures. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy a unique approach to dinner party entertainment. 🙂



Yet another rendition of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, and this time a musical that has already racked up many Golden Globe nominations. Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage as the lovelorn wordsmith, hasn’t even hit theaters yet and the release date isn’t cemented either (look for it at the end of December most likely). I can still remember enjoying Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah in Roxanne, yet another rendition of this story. But in case you don’t know the plot, it is one to love and will leave you cheering for Cyrano who is too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, so instead he helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters. Have a look at the trailer below. I look forward to watching this one.


14-karat gold-plated rose quartz and turquoise earrings

A statement, yet subtle at the same time. Very little other jewelry will be needed when these earrings are worn.

~Loewe white fringed printed wool, silk and cashmere-blend scarf

Wrapping up in a scarf is an everyday wardrobe must now that winter has fully arrived in Bend, so why not add a touch of whimsy and color? The texture of this scarf alone caught my attention.

M.Gemi Alpi Due boot

Part of my wardrobe that needs to be stepped up are my winter footwear options other than my outdoor choices. These low-ankle boots are sturdy, stylish and look quite warm as well. (more colors available)

Madewell, sale 40% off

A sale is going on at Madewell. Use promo code HOLLYJOLLY and save up to 40%. I have shopped a few items below, but be sure to check out the entire site.

Mark & Graham Italian Windowpane Blanket Scarf (site-wide sale)

Another sale to check out, and it was this simple checked scarf that caught my attention as I could wear it with just about every coat I own, and it won’t hurt the checkbook to purchase.

~Ralph Lauren Cable-knit Cashmere Hoodie

Cozy, cozy, cozy warmth. For lounging, for traveling, for staying warm when stepping outside, Ralph Lauren’s cashmere cable-knit hoodie sweater is a staple to enjoy in your winter capsule for years to come.

Snow and winter arrived decisively this week in Bend, and the mountain is hopping with skiers and boarders and snow aficionados who have been waiting patiently for Mother Nature to share what we knew would eventually come.

Norman and I have taken quite a few walks in the snow already and hope to be on the mountain this morning for our first ski outing of the season. On Tuesday and Wednesday, it snowed and snowed and created a lovely vignette to gaze out upon while I typed away in my office (I also saw a few slip and slides outside my window as well, but everyone was okay).

Progress on the primary bathroom is zooming along and now a large window is situated in place where a mini one once was located. The amount of light that is now streaming into this small space already makes it appear twice as large as it once was. Sheetrock is up and soon I will be wallpapering. I am grateful to the contractors who put in many hours this week, and the window being put in just before all of the snow came steadily and unceasingly.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is just seven days away, but indeed it is. How has this month gone for you? Are you ready with your preparations, plans and exchanges of gifts and/or giving? I still need to pop into a few shops this weekend, but largely, I think I am ready.

Next week, as per the usual annual schedule here on TSLL, will be the final week of brand new content of 2021 before the final week shares the year in review posts, highlighting the top content in many different categories throughout the year. The only time of year the blog takes a vacation, but is it also quite a busy week as reflecting on what readers and listeners loved most is always a treat to explore and share.

Thank you for stopping by today and below are a few articles as well as big news about a new series many Francophiles have been curious about as to when it will premiere. I do hope you enjoy, and until Monday, bonne journée.

~I loved this list for inspiration when it comes to slowing down the holidays. [Zen Habits]

~Travel by train in Europe in 2022 and check out these seven spectacular train journeys to book [House & Garden UK]

~20 things you gradually learn as you let go of the uncontrollable [Marc & Angel]

~Cynthia Nixon and Karen Pittman sit down with NPR to discuss the next chapter of Sex and the CityAnd Just Like That.

~The best Bûches de Noël in Paris [HipParis]

~Diane of Oui in France shares a video of a visit to French Christmas Markets.

~7 French Markets to visit this holiday season [Frenchly]

~Someday I will step foot in Lyon and I am saving each article and post that spotlights this gastronomical capitol of the world – The ultimate guide to gastronomy in the city of Lyon – written by My French Life.

~Take this home tour of a Victorian rectory decorated for Christmas and be swept away into the cozy English country holiday spirit [House & Garden UK]

~And one more British countryside home tour that is full of color to delight your eyes and mind [House & Garden UK]

~Love. Real love and how to find a healthy romance. Mark Manson does not mince words in this article, and I appreciate it – The No-bullsh*t Way to Find ‘The One’.

~Ideas for wrapping holiday presents without the typical approach [House & Garden UK]

~Slip away to York, England with these beautiful holiday images captured by The September Chronicles.

~And, saving the best and most exciting news for last. M.L. Longworth just announced that the new BritBox series inspired by her Provençal novels is premiering on March 1, 2022! Mark your calendars for Murder in Provence! Here are the first few pics from the set.

Check out last week’s This & That: December 10, 2021

~Please note: Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here. | The Simply Luxurious Life

20 thoughts on “This & That: December 17, 2021

  1. My TBR list continues to grow thanks to this blog – luckily I have the holiday season off so I can catch up on reading all of these fascinating book suggestions!! I am thrilled to hear that there will be a new season of Agatha Raisin. I originally watched all 3 seasons and then ended up listening to all of the audiobooks in the series. I have to check out M.L. Longworth’s work before I watch the new series too. Thank you for all these lovely suggestions!

    1. Melissa, thank you for stopping by and tickled to hear you are enjoying the weekly This & Thats. 😌💛 I think you will enjoy ML Longworth’s series. Well written, simple to follow and full of French food and culture references. Have a wonderful weekend and happy holidays. ☺️

  2. Just dropping by very hurriedly (I feel like Alice’s White Rabbit, dashing around muttering “I’m late, I’m later” — all I need is a pocket watch 🙂 ) to wish you & Norman the very Merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years. Included are many heartfelt thanks for all the fun, insightful & thought-provoking articles, podcasts, videos, book & movie & TV recommendations you’ve given us this year — my To Read & To Watch lists runneth over! I wish only wonderful things for you & everyone on this list for 2022 — may we all be blessed with love, happiness & an abundance of good friends, good food, good health & good times.

    1. Thank you Susanne! 😌💛💛💛💛 Your kind wish for everyone is greatly appreciated and gladly accepted. To you as well. Your readership and engagement is a joy to read each time you share. Thank you for your time. Have a very merry Christmas as well.

  3. I agree with Melissa above – my TBR list is huuuuge. Working my way through most of your recommendations, and thankful for my local library.
    I cannot wait for the return of Agatha Raisin, truly enjoyed the previous series, and also Cyrano caught my eye some time ago. A visit to the cinema will definitely be required for it, I have found the UK release will be the 14th January here.
    Thank you for all the fab content this year Shannon. I look forward to Christmas and a few days off work. Most of my shopping is already done, but like you need to pop into a few shops this weekend.
    Happy weekend

    1. Sarah, thank you for sharing when Cyrano will premiere in the UK. And I too am tickled and looking forward to Agatha Raisin’s return. ☺️ Enjoy the upcoming time off and wishing you too a very happy weekend as well. Thank as always for stopping by. 💛

      1. You’re welcome! I think for any other readers elsewhere in the world you can find release dates on imdb for any films.
        I’ve also just found that the Christmas Agatha Raisin is shown here in the U.K. on Tuesday evening! For any other U.K. fans x

  4. Ok, Shannon! Quick perusal. I will come back and savor later. The Paris book and Library book look great! Have a wonderful weekend! ☺️

  5. I have to say, again ( and again) that I so look forward to Friday for your this and that. So much inspiration! Thanks again!

  6. Thank you so much Shannon – I just purchased the monogrammed scarf from Mark & Graham for my MIL’s early January birthday! There is an extra promo code: HOLIDAY to get an even better discount.

    Wishing you, Norman and your loved ones a joyous and restful holiday season! Looking forward to following all your inspirational posts in the New Year!

  7. Thank you Shannon for a lovely list of recommendations. Cyrano lives on! The musical sounds entertaining. Have seen the play during Shakespeare season in 2009 and also the film (1990) with Gerard Depardieu . He was excellent .Awaiting you review on ;The Transcendentalists and their World’. The star reviews tempted me to order it. I did enjoy’ The Minutemen and their World’. Love the tiles in your bathroom and your tiler is a wizard. You need to keep him. Hope you do get to Lyon. Not only a gastronomic centre but also many sites are on the Unesco Heritage list and also a developing tech city.
    Travelling by train is such an adventure and especially through Europe. I once travelled from London to Denmark.
    Enjoy your break from the blog and wishing you and Norman a lovely Christmas.
    Kameela xx

  8. Pleased to see Agatha Raisin on your list much of which is filmed in and around where I live (at the least the first series was). I haven’t caught up on the other series. Always love your book and TV recommendations!

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