This & That: February 16, 2024
Friday February 16, 2024

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Released on February 6th from the bestselling author and award-winning journalist of Cork Dork, Bianca Booker has now stepped into the art world for a bit of deep-diving exploration. In “Get the Picture, Bosker throws herself into the nerve center of art and the people who live for it: gallerists, collectors, curators, and, of course, artists themselves—the kind who work multiple jobs to afford their studios while scrabbling to get eyes on their art. As she stretches canvases until her fingers blister, talks her way into A-list parties full of billionaire collectors, has her face sat on by a nearly-naked performance artist, and forces herself to stare at a single sculpture for hours on end while working as a museum security guard, she discovers not only the inner workings of the art-canonization machine but also a more expansive way of living.”

If the art world fascinates you, or you want to learn a bit more about it, this is your book. 🙂

Being released this coming Tuesday February 20th, Dr. Sue Varma, the first medical director and attending psychiatrist at the World Trade Center Mental Health Program, gives us Practical Optimism. “Through her work with patients and combining philosophy, her own personal experience, and a review of the latest research in psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and neuroscience, Dr. Varma discovered that the answer lies in cultivating an optimistic mindset that stays tethered to the real world and helps us make sound and reasonable decisions. This epiphany inspired Practical Optimism, Dr. Varma’s powerful program with eight pillars to help all of us experience a sense of meaning, mastery, and self-acceptance and create lives filled with joy and purpose. Optimists, research has shown, are not just happier and more successful, but physically healthier. And if you’re a natural-born pessimist? No problem: the most vital piece of the Practical Optimism program is that it is a practice, a skillset that we can choose to adopt and get better at every day.”

Already a #1 release in Feminist Theory, being released this coming Tuesday February 20th is Liz Lenz’s memoir This American Ex-Wife who “makes an argument for the advantages of getting divorced, framing it as a practical and effective solution for women to take back the power they are owed. Weaving reportage with sociological research and literature with popular culture along with personal stories of coming together and breaking up, Lenz creates a kaleidoscopic and poignant portrait of American marriage today. She argues that the mechanisms of American power, justice, love, and gender equality remain deeply flawed, and that marriage, like any other cultural institution, is due for a reckoning . . . Refusing to take part in that tired narrative [that being divorced is a sad and lonely place to be], she decided to flip the script on divorce.”

You may remember back in 2020 I shared a book titled Friendship by Lydia Denworth, which also inspired podcast episode #274, which detailed the many benefits of investing in and prioritizing friendships, and I now have another book that brings to our attention the importance of doing just this prioritization when it comes to the significant relationships in our lives.

Based on years of original reporting and striking social science research, NPR reporter Rhaina Cohen argues that “we undermine romantic relationships by expecting too much of them, while we diminish friendships by expecting too little of them. She traces how, throughout history, our society hasn’t always fixated on marriage as the greatest source of meaning, or even love. At a time when many Americans are spending large stretches of their lives single, widowed or divorced, or feeling the effects of the ‘loneliness epidemic,’ Cohen insists that we recognize the many forms of profound connection that can anchor our lives.”

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Death in Paradise, season 13, BritBox

Premiering yesterday on BritBox, the team returns to Saint Marie to solve more crimes in this long-running and favorite cozy mystery series with DI Parker at the helm. Have a look at the trailer for the series below. (Psst, and did you hear, this series will have yet another spin-off and this time the new series will be set in Australia – stay tuned for when it will air!)

A couple of years ago I purchased my first lamp from Pooky Lighting, a British company making available a wide-range of quality lamp bases and shades (fabric, along with a variety of different textures) for mid-range budgets. Of course, I had to purchase an adapter to be able to plug it in here in the states and use a UK bulb, but it was worth it as the lamp is now in my Boot & Basket room and provides just the right ambiance.

Fast forward to this past January, and I was looking for a lamp base for my office desk as I already had a rattan lamp shade I had picked up at a secondhand shop. Exploring Pooky’s UK site, I found a very sturdy, yet slender green, traditional looking base and knew it work perfectly; however that was when Pooky shared I should wait until they open their US based shop.

Well, since they didn’t know if the lamp base I wanted would be available in the states, I purchase the UK version which is what I needed anyway because my shade was designed for a UK lamp anyway; however, I found a base in the US shop that is similar is this one catches your eye-the Bayou table lamp.

My new Pooky lamp base in the office. This is the Boster table lamp available in the UK shop.


All of this is to say, Pooky has quality lamps, a wide-variety of selection and even cordless lamps, as two of the lamps below are just that. I highly recommend this brand for adding the touches of light in your home that will create even more of a sanctuary and welcome you into each space. Happy shopping!

Sarah Raven Zinc Harvesting Trug

In one more month, Gardeners’ World will kick off and spring will have nearly arrived! Can you believe it?! I cannot wait, and with that said, making sure we have the tools we need is a must. This zinc trug from Sarah Raven caught my eye as it is sturdy, durable and most helpful in the garden for carrying all sorts of things.

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This cookbook, Misunderstood Vegetables, reminded me of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys but for vegetables. These beauties are just not well-known or misunderstood, but once we know how to cook them, they are treasures to savor in our seasonal cooking repertoire.

With 75 full-color photographs, Becky Selengut “highlights 25 vegetables, with recipes alongside history, step-by-step preparation, and storage tips. Organized by season, recipes include Feta and Citrus Salad, Charred Chard with Spicy Chile Oil, and Celery Root Gratin. A must-have for the plant-curious, this cookbook will have readers seeking out unusual and underused produce like never before.” Look for it to be released this coming Tuesday.

From vegetables we go to sweeties and treats! Released this past November and named a Best Cookbook of the Year by The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, Epicurious, and Library Journal Snacking Bakes by Yossy Arefi shares recipes to “instantly satisfy your cravings with a collection of sweet and savory bakes that are delicious and easy to make” Sharing simple recipes that require minimal effort but offer big (i.e. uber delicious) rewards. “Almost every treat can be made in under one hour, in one bowl, and with no fancy ingredients or equipment—leaving you with less time in the kitchen and more time for snacking!” Accompanying by photographs of each recipe by Arefi herself, it is her PB & J Cake with Raspberries photograph that immediately had my tastebuds dancing.

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In February’s A Cuppa Moments, a Member asked about the necklace I was wearing and as I haven’t shared it here on the blog before, I wanted to share it today as I wear it quite often and absolutely love it.

Originally included in one of Sharon Santoni’s My French Country Home Box back in November 2022, it is a pendant necklace that I often wear casually with silk blouses or the solitary piece of jewelry with a shirt dress. With a slightly adjustable length, you can tailor it to your style, and with silver or gold finish available as well as other geometric shapes, this is a non-trendy piece that really just provides interest to finish the look without being anything too fancy. I love it.

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Premiering on Monday February 19th on AcornTV, season 3 of The Madame Blanc Mysteries returns. Set in the south of France, look for a new episode each week for six weeks. And did you know that the show actually films in Gozo, which is a small island off of Malta? With many similarities to the landscape in the south of France, the cast heads down to the Mediterranean to film each season, and I have a video at the end of today’s post that will take you behind the scenes to learn more about what that is like – sounds like a beautiful place to work. In the meantime, have a look at the trailer for season 3 below.

I absolutely love this simple handbag – the two-tone stripe enables the bag to work with multiple outfits and be the statement when you are choosing monochromatic or neutral hues, as I often do. Available in black and white stripe as well.

Speaking of adding finishing touches to the wardrobe, look for TSLL’s Spring Shopping Guide to be released on Saturday March 2nd!

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Birdie’s Starling Flax Raffia flats

Did you know these classic slippers were worn by Diane Keaton in the film Something’s Gotta Give? Yep! They totally look like something Nancy Meyer’s would see in her mind’s eye for the sartorial style of someone living in that gorgeous beach house. I am taking note and saving this one.

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La Ligne Devon Blazer

The new collections are beginning to be released, and while I will be perusing through oodles of brands and shopping them for you in TSLL’s Spring Shopping Guide (March 2nd!), here are a few pics that caught my eye as of late.

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Madewell Kick Out Full-Length Jeans

A new release on Madewell (meaning all sizes still available – tall too!). These full-length mid-wash jeans are timeless, casual, a must-have for spring and summer.

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Nordstrom’s Winter Sale

Nordstrom’s winter sale is going on, and if you have some time to peruse all that they have included, it is worth taking a look as the savings are sweet. However, I wanted to help out and get you started, so I picked a few items below and a scroll of items as well which not only includes wardrobe finds, but home and cookware finds as well.

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Le Creuset Signature 6 3/4 quart Dutch Oven (multiple colors), 34% off

Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, my everyday face wash (a subtle scent of strawberries)

Explore my entire skincare routine and products here.

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I mentioned in February’s Ponderings . . . post that I had my eye on a particular item from this favorite brand, and if you do too, save 20% now when you use promo code LOVE20.

A simple layering piece that is quite light-weight. Wear under a blazer or a jacket and add a simple classic touch of spring to your wardrobe.

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Wednesday here in Bend brought a magical day of snow. While we had bare pavement and lawns at 8am, the snow began as promised at 9am and didn’t stop until late into the night gifting us with six inches. I captured this photo after taking the pups to a dog park to romp and play about in the snow, and the scene caught my breath so wanted to share.

While all of the snow in town now has vanished, it was a day to savor. Upon arriving home that evening, I made dinner and sat down to watch the first episodes of The New Look, the new series from AppleTV+ and am absolutely loving it. A fascinating close-up look at the details and motivations and fears of two renowned fashion designers during the time of WWII – Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. I am enthralled and cannot wait for next Wednesday when a fourth episode will drop.

In the meantime, back in the office and more filming took place for the Contentment Master Class and over the past weekend and into this weekend production of video is being tended to. But before I sit down to produce today, I will be polishing up the promised post of the Fireplace Sitting Area here at Le Papillon as a full tour will be shared tomorrow here on TSLL. Nearly finished about two years ago, I had been waiting for a finishing detail which finally arrived this past January, so now the post cometh! I look forward to sharing it with you (explore becoming a TOP Tier Member to take these exclusive tours of TSLL’s Home, Le Papillon).

And now we step into the weekend, a long weekend for some as President’s Day is observed on Monday, but whether you have a long one or just a day or perhaps an afternoon or morning to relax and rejuvenate, I do hope you have a wonderful time. Whether savoring time with a good book or time with a friend or family, time to work on that project you have been thinking about all week or the opportunity to see a long-anticipated show or exhibit, whatever is tugging at your curiosity, I wish you a most wonderful time absorbed in it. Until tomorrow, bonne journée. 😌

~My favorite article of the week, an interview with Juliette Binoche who talks about her enjoyment of cooking and how to whip up an amazing omelette, plus more [WSJ, may require a subscription]

~And just to confirm, yep, all of the food cooked and enjoyed in the recently released French film starring Juliette Binoche, The Taste of Things, is real food. [NPR]

~I took the opportunity to watch the new series set in Bouzols, France (southern France), Monsieur Spade on Amazon Prime, and while there are many aspects that are superbly done, it is a bit too dark for me; however, the acting is strong, the settings, both indoor and out beautiful, and with the French language sprinkled about, it is a good refresher for those who love the language. It definitely has an intriguing plot, but for fellow HSPs it may not be your thing; however, I didn’t want to dismiss it all together as if you are not HSP, I think you will thoroughly enjoy it.

~Having observed benefits when using esthetician Shani Darden’s retinol serum, I enjoyed her interview with Harper’s Bazaar about aging and caring for your skin well.

~For fellow HSPs, I appreciated reading this post that just seems to ‘get it’ – A Love Letter to You [rainforest minds] on Valentine’s Day. [Your Rainforest Mind]

~You know you’re in Paris when [Hip Paris]

~Molly Ringwald, who stars as Joanne Carson in Feud: Capote & The Swans, gave an interview to listen to if you too watched many of the films she starred in during the eighties. Thoughtful contemplation on then and now cultural norms and much more. [NPR Fresh Air]

~Transitions are hard, but so long as we keep the reason we are choosing the transition at the forefront, Seth Godin reminds, we can navigate through them.

~Secrets to healthy aging from multiple generations [NPR]

~For fellow introverts, the power of embracing our introversion and refraining from doing these things that leave us stressed [Introvert, Dear]

~A thought to ponder, let someone wonderful love you.

~Did you know that The Madame Blanc Mysteries is filmed on the Mediterranean island of Gozo in Malta? Take a look behind the scenes of this season’s filming which includes a tour to encourage tourism to the island and look forward to the season 3 to kick off, as mentioned above, this coming Monday on AcornTV.


~~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.

16 thoughts on “This & That: February 16, 2024

  1. Good Morning and as always thank you for all the great ideas to read and watch. We have had glimpses of Spring here and your fashion sense has me thinking. That may be dangerous. I do keep a little journal of ideas to ponder based on your Friday offerings. May this week of kindness, thoughtfulness, and love extend to your weekend and provide the knowledge that your work is appreciated.

    1. Lucy,

      Lovely to see you pop by. 🙂 Thank you for your comment and kind wishes. Tickled to hear spring is beginning to say hello where you are. And wishing you a wonderful weekend as well. xo

      1. Oh, Michelle, I am a journal, list, and index keeper. As soon as I think I will surely remember something, I don’t. Thus the This and That journal!

  2. Good morning Shannon,

    I look forward to This & That every week and this week does not disappoint. Love the Madame Blanc series so thank you for the heads up that it’s starting again next week. Looking forward to reviewing all recommended reading, too!

    Have a great weekend.

    1. Nancy,

      Happy to hear you enjoyed the posting this week. I really enjoy Madame Blanc’s series, the inclusion of antiques is a unique addition to this cozy mystery series that delights me. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Absolutely adore the Boster lamp! We stayed at the Swan Inn in Bibury last February, and it remines me of the beautiful decor at the inn.

  4. What a beautiful, catch-in-the-throat photograph of the bridge in snow, with just the peeks of green draping from the top of frame, the whisper of cozy and warmth and green.
    The Starling Flax Birdies are in the cart, awaiting judicious contemplation, versatile, gorgeous–you know, of course, they will eventually be wending their way to me, yes?
    Pooky US!! I have been a fan ever since you intro’d the brand through H&GUK. The account has been created. I need lovely small lamps for a few nooks and crannies. This is a joyous day.
    Articles: Juliette Binoche’s interview; HiP Paris, so yes; ah. Our Rainforest Mind article–it’s very surreal to see in print someone describe you *precisely*. This was powerful for me. I thank you from the evermost entirety of my heart for sharing this article. Random magic moments, eh?
    Fabulous T&T, as always, thank you Shannon! Much love to you and pups.💖 xx

    1. Rona,

      You are most welcome for that article! And heartwarming to hear it nourished you as well. 🙂 Thank you for sharing. Happy to hear you enjoyed this week’s T&T post and tickled you will be wearing those Birdie’s soon! 🙂 Sending much love to your pups and thank you so much for stopping by. Always enjoy your comments. xo

  5. Good morning, Shannon.

    Happy to see the return of Death in Paradise & Madame Blanc series. I watch the first episode of Monsieur Spade, and was deciding whether or not to return. Maybe HSP is why. Just finished Fool Me Once with Dame Joanna Lumley, and did enjoy that. A little dark, but a lot of twist and turns that keeps one guessing.

    I love the Birdie raffia flats and, like Lucy, will find one of my many little notebooks to begin to writing these items down. I just received a pair of Crown boots from Thursday Boot Company and love them. Next up, a pair of black pointed-toe flats. I have looked at Birdie previously, but they appeared to be cloth. If you come across any, let me know :).

    A great weekend to All.


  6. Great T&T, thank you, Shannon!

    My favourites:

    – Get the Picture – as an Art person myself, I am always interested on how other people relate to Art, though the art market is an entirely different “planet” of its own…
    – The Other Significant Others – this interests me because I also feel that “romance” is much very overrated in our western culture – not just in America society -, and it is not see how other forms of affection can enrich one’s life;
    – Misunderstood Vegetables – always up to improve my vegetable game…
    – Bembien Sabine Bag – beautiful! You always find the most exquisite things, Shannon.
    – Birdie’s Starling Flax Raffia flats – So cool! I hope one day they will sell in Europe.

    Truly magnificent photo of the snow/ water/ bridge. I could imagine to have this as an art piece on my walls, yes, indeed! 🙂

    Enjoy your long weekend, and many pats anf hugs to Nelle and Mr. Norman! xo

  7. Just a quick note to add I love Pooky lights. All of the pendant ceiling lights in my home are from Pooky. Numerous pumpkin glass pendants as well as others, and I have recently been perusing their rechargeable table lamps to replace the reading lamp I currently have on my bedside table. The lack of a wire speaks to me as I often find the wire at my bedside cumbersome!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with Pooky. They have such a wide range of options! I finally found the shade I have been looking for for the foyer and with fabric from Morris & Co. – and at a very reasonable price. That additional of the chargeable (cord-free) lamp sounds like a great idea and I love what they have available.

      Thank you again for sharing your recommendation. 😌

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