This & That: February 25, 2022
Friday February 25, 2022

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A long-awaited new Provençal mystery series comes to BritBox, films to take us back centuries in France, decades ago in Europe and a Broadway play to take us to 1968. Knit and chic silhouette midi dresses for your capsule wardrobe, home décor to add a simple touch of elegance, the announcement of a new book from a favorite Instagram photographer and still, much more.

Books

Love and Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food and Love by Kim Fay

Released on February 8th, the plot begins with a fan-letter sent from 27-year-old Joan Bergstrom to 54-year-old Imogen Fortier. Accompanying the fan letter is a gift of saffron. “Joan lives in Los Angeles and is just starting out as a writer for the newspaper food pages. Imogen lives on Camano Island outside Seattle, writing a monthly column for a Pacific Northwest magazine, and while she can hunt elk and dig for clams, she’s never tasted fresh garlic–exotic fare in the Northwest of the sixties. As the two women commune through their letters, they build a closeness that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the unexpected in their own lives.” Chosen as a #1 Indie Pick and already a bestseller, if you enjoy books about food, and the power it has to connect and comfort, you may just devour this new title.

The Paris Apartment: A Novel by Lucy Foley

Some critics have compared best-selling author Lucy Foley’s new novel to Only Murders In the Building (the new series on Hulu), and it is set in Paris. Have a look at the synopsis here.

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Released on February 1st and receiving strong positive reviews, The Violin Conspiracy revolves around Ray McMillian who “has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.” And then he discovers his great-great-grandfather’s “beat-up old fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius . . . Together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Ray will have to piece together the clues to recover his treasured Strad … before it’s too late.”

Broadway

Plaza Suite

After originally planned to hit the Broadway stage March 2020, the revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker finally will have its moment, and it looks to be quite a fun play to watch. Preview performances begin today at the Hudson Theatre. The entire play takes place in one suite at The Plaza, and there are three different storylines, with Parker and Broderick starring in each. “Karen and Sam are a long-married pair whose relationship may be headed for an early checkout. Muriel and Jesse are former high school sweethearts who seem destined for an extended stay. And Norma and Roy are the mother and father of the bride, ready to celebrate their daughter’s nuptials — if only they can get her out of the bathroom.”

Be sure to have a peek at some of the scenes below in the video.

Film

Cyrano

Finally coming to theaters, and theaters only, for the time being is the much nominated Cyrano. I don’t think I need to share much more about this classic (one of the more modern renditions for screen was Roxanne starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters today.

I’ll Find You

This film looks to be quite lovely – dramatic, heart-wrenching and at the same time, full of hope. Being released today, yet filmed before the pandemic, I’ll Find You takes viewers to WWII, involves music, love and unwavering determination. Have a look at the trailer below and look for it in theaters now.

Francophile Find

An American in Provence: Art, Life and Photography by Jamie Beck

Earlier this week American photographer living in Provence Jamie Beck released the cover of her upcoming new book – An American in Provence. The cover alone is swoon-worthy, and waiting six more months (November 1st release date) I have no doubt will be well worth the wait. Preorder now.

Murder in Provence, BritBox

I know what I will be doing the evening of March 1st – watching Murder in Provence on BritBox. Whether I knew the author of the Provençal mystery series M.L. Longworth or not, I would be most interested, but I am even more interested and even more especially excited because the woman, the talent and the author who’s work is the basis for the entire series is a dear friend of TSLL.

M. L. Longworth has been a guest on the podcast for three different episodes (here, here and here), sincerely loves her food (tune in to each episode as we talk about food as much as we talk about her books), and as an expat (she’s from Canada) living in Provence for more than 20 years, she has a love for her new home country that runs deep. I have enjoyed each of the mysteries (there are 10 – the 10th will be released on October 4 – preorder it here now). Have a look at the trailer for the first season of Murder in Provence (Longworth talks about which mysteries will be portrayed in the first season in this episode of The Simple Sophisticate podcast).

I especially enjoyed this post where M.L. (Mary Lou) took me on a walking tour of Aix-en-Provence in 2018, the locale of the series. Oh! And read this Q & A with M.L. as she talks about the most recent mystery in the series The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral.

Shopping

Equipment Pascal Silk Dress

Looking ahead to the nearing spring – a dress for comfort and style.

~Zara Home, Rattan Wooden Folding Chairs

Simple to store, stylish enough to permanently include in your décor.

Rick Owens Black Ribbed knit-paneled wool and cotton blend midi-dress

Midi winter dresses – this style will be timeless for years to come (and it’s on drastic reduction).

Sara Raven Amphora Vase

A colorful vase that complements the beauty of the flowers on display.

Vince long sleeve v-neck dress (black and ivory available)

Another dress with a slightly different silhouette for winter. I love it and am wondering how to bring it into my winter capsule wardrobe.

Television

American Auto

SNL alum Ana Gasteyer stars as the new CEO at a top automobile company that does know anything about cars or the company she is tasked to spearhead. “From the creator of Superstore comes a new workplace comedy that takes the wheels off the automobile industry. Set in Detroit, the corporate executives of Payne Motors are at a crossroads: adapt to the changing times or be sent to the junkyard. Shaking things up is the new CEO, whose leadership, experience and savvy is only slightly offset by her complete lack of knowledge about cars. Luckily, her team has some of the best minds in the business – when they aren’t fighting or trying to outwit each other.” After listening to her interview on NPR this past Sunday, I wanted to take a look. Find five episodes on NBC now and check out the trailer below.

Murdoch Mysteries, season 15 on AcornTV

Finally, for those of us not in Canada, we too can enjoy the latest season of Murdoch Mysteries, all 24 episodes begin streaming on AcornTV Monday February 28th.


thesimplyluxuriouslife.com | The Simply Luxurious Life

The snow blows outside my office window, and the temperatures remain well below freezing. Norman is snuggled up under my desk, and the house is warm and quiet. A Thursday February afternoon at Le Papillon.

Last weekend’s dinner party at Le Papillon felt much like a house warming, yet unofficially so, as the house was the tenth person so to speak along with the nine other friends (including myself) that gathered, and Le Papillon provided the warmth, space and coziness I had long dreamed about. I finally went to bed well after midnight and slept deeply, grateful for the time shared together. Norman too seemed to enjoy himself. I will be sharing more about the dinner in March’s A Cuppa Moments video chat (look for it on March 1st), but needless to say, the house became even more of a home, a true sanctuary with the opportunity to share the space.

Arriving this week here in Bend were the silk embroidered bookmarks from England as well as the new Croissant notepads and with March 1st’s arrival, preordering of TSLL’s new book – The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment will begin! I will be mailing out the signed bookplates (you can order yours here if you haven’t done so yet) along with the free gifts to TOP Tier Members and notepads and signed copies of TSLL’s 1st and 2nd books to those who placed their order earlier in February. Be sure to look first on Amazon to place your order of TSLL’s 3rd book – The Road to Le Papillon, and in a day or two’s time, you will be able to find it wherever books are sold online – Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble, etc.. Independent bookshops as well will be able to order the book for you, simply just share with them the title, they will search for it and be able to place your order.

Looking ahead to the weekend, I will be staying home, sitting down on the sofa to record March’s A Cuppa Moments’ chat, finishing up the audio recording of the book (look for audio book to be available on Audible by March 22nd), and taking a breath savoring a slower pace. The above image captures one of the special gifts Sharon Santoni included in this most recent My Stylish French Box, a teacup and saucer from Apilco, and most definitely, recipients will feel spoiled when their box arrives.

I hope you had a wonderful final week of February, and while I will address the news of the world at the forefront of many of our minds below, my wish is that this weekend includes time to rejuvenate, dance as you prefer dancing and losing all track of time. Below are articles and posts you might enjoy and a video that I have a feeling will make you chuckle and delight in. Thank you for stopping by, and until Monday, bonne journée.

~TSLL dedicates its focus to providing a space to rest the mind, inspire your everydays and join in a community determined to live well through civility, celebration and contentment. Many readers of our community live in or near the events taking place in Ukraine, and I am trying to learn as much as I can as it unfolds. I have reached out to TSLL’s illustrator Sarah Löcker who lives in Austria to gain more perspective from Europe, and she kindly shared what she knows which is far more than I. There are many sources sharing the news, and as I have been asked to share international sources to check out for the news reports and updates (please note, this is only a recommendation for news reports and not for the opinion or editorial sections as that will depend on your personal choice), I recommend reading news from these sources to better understand as I too am learning (The Financial Times, Le Monde (English edition), The Guardian (UK), The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Telegraph (UK)).

~I thoroughly enjoyed this post from The Marginalia (formerly Brain Pickings) – The Paradox of Vulnerability

~Why self-care can assist you in self-management [Pick the Brain]

~8 powerful reminders to help you live simply [Become More With Less]

~A thought about what we wish for and how it changes us [Seth Godin]

~One more from Seth Godin – do you really need that second opinion? – on a few things, yes, but most others, likely not.

~What Nancy Meyers understands about love after 50 [The Atlantic]

~Cynthia Nixon on the politics of The Gilded Age and the emancipation of Miranda Hobbes [Vogue]

~Thoughts on Mrs. Maisel and how she might just be the ‘ultimate single woman’s icon’. Either way, the fourth season is off to a great start. [The Guardian]

~Famous writers’ houses to visit – Beatrix Potter and Jane Austen are on the list! [House & Garden UK]

~From Arthur Brooks, a taste of what I look forward to reading more about in-depth in his new book shared in last week’s This & That The Seven Habits that lead to Happiness in old age [The Atlantic]

~This video below, just enjoy. Celebrities came together for the annual Stand Up to Cancer episode of The Great British Bake-Off, and Alison Hammond will have you rocking in laughter.


Check out last week’s This & That: February 18, 2022

New and nominated films to watch, new seasons of favorite series debuting, books on intriguing figures in British history, savoring the latter half of life even more than first half, the problem to preaching confidence without noting what it indirectly suggests, can someone be too positive?, a deeper dive into Abraham Lincoln in a new series, harnessing your mind, the power of the present moment and much, much more.

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

25 thoughts on “This & That: February 25, 2022

  1. Just finished reading Love and Saffron. What a wonderful book. Personally, I have been writing letters to another lady for three years now and what an incredible friendship we have. We so look forward to our letters each week.

    1. Lisa, Thank you for sharing your experience with the book. The storyline sounds intriguing. Happy for you that you have someone who you exchange letters with. What a treat to have the anticipatory savoring as you wait for a letter and then contemplate how to engage with each other. I love it. 😌

  2. Thank you, Shannon.

    What caught my eye:
    – Love and Saffron;
    – Cyrano;
    – two lovely black dresses.

    The Marginalia is the only other blog that I subscribe to (together wit TSLL). This particular post was very interesting. This week, I also enjoyed: https://www.themarginalian.org/2016/08/16/friendship/?mc_cid=c12691289e&mc_eid=96a150a120

    As for the News of the World, the invasion of Ukraine is a sad occasion and a shock for all those, like me, who were optimist enough – or naive enough? – to believe that scenes like these in Europe belonged to the past, that hard lessons had been learned and that Humans were ethically and morally progressing, albeit tentatively and slowly. Nevertheless we hope for the best outcome and that ultimately, common sense and humanity will prevail. We are also following the situation through the news, and my thoughts are with the Ukrainian and Russian peoples.

    Have a good weekend, Shannon, Norman and everyone! 🙂

      1. Weisserose, thank you for the link.
        To translate the page: those who have a computer that uses Windows OS and Google Chrome as their web browser, click the link to the news site, then right-click once in an open area of the page. You should be given a drop down menu of options, one of which will be ‘Translate this page’ or in my case, it says ‘Translate to English’. I’m assuming this option is also available for whatever your native language is as well.
        Another good source for news and analysis is The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/

        Have a lovely weekend! XO

    1. Thank you for your thoughts and words Isabel. Thinking of you and your fellow European citizens and all people caught in the middle of this moment. Thank you as well for sharing the link to another article from the blog. She does great research on The Marginalia which is greatly appreciated.

  3. Murdoch! I have been waiting, not so patiently, for it to be released on Acorn. I read the 8 Powerful Reminders to Help you live simply; WOW. It’s as if my thoughts from the last few days were exposed and that post showed up- ha-ha! I needed that so much!! As always, Shannon, I enjoy every post and podcast. I’m excited to get your new book, too. Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Yes, I too have been doing my best to be as patient as possible for the return of Murdoch. 24 episodes – wow! That will keep us busy for a while. And I just updated the post – look for the 15th season to begin on Monday – February 28th. 🙂 I guess I became a bit too excited! 🙂 Wishing you a lovely weekend and thank you for your interest in TSLL’s new book! I cannot WAIT for it to become available for readers to enjoy. ☺️

  4. Thank you for all the great tips, Shannon! I will be enjoying many of these over next week’s winter break. By the way, really needed the reminders to help live simply. Have the best of weekends!

  5. Once again I have some books to read added to my list as well as some shows to view. I have read several of M.L. Longworth’s books and have enjoyed them. I may have to look into adding BritBox to my streaming channels. I am going to see Plaza Suit on the seventh of March and I am so excited. My son, the actor, and I going for his 23rd birthday. This is a holdover from his 21st birthday present when we had tickets for the preview. I love these two actors. Thank you for this weekly pleasure, I look forward to reading the articles and the book recommendations. If I may be so bold as to give you a recommendation for a great read the book Good-Bye Orchid by Carol Van Den Hende is an enjoyable book with characters you grow to love and a plot that takes off immediately. My book club read it and we even had the author come and speak at our meeting. Enjoy your weekend.

  6. I just read the first few pages of Kim Fays’, “Love and Saffron’, (excerpt available on Amazon), and my interest was immediately piqued by the format and the voices of her characters. But then, ye gods, Mrs. Imogene’s assessment of John Updike–I guffawed. Loudly. That sealed it for me, this is definitely my sort of fiction.
    Shannon, you do realize that BECAUSE OF YOU, missy, I have absolute STACKS and STACKS of books everywhere, crowding my desk, stuffing my bookcases, and perching on all sorts of flat surfaces in every room. Wait, a thought just occurred as I was peering into the dining room,(which all ready has two very full book cases flanking the piano)– I COULD just squeeze another to the side of Sir Edna, the suit of armor…
    So much delicious stuff to peruse and enjoy in this week’s T&T, many thanks, Shannon!! And yes! March 1st–can’t wait to hear more about Le Papillon’s inaugural dinner party; watch Murder in Provence–and pre-order your third book!!
    By the way, your Spotify playlist ‘Jazzy & Frenchie Everyday Tunes’ is always such a lovely addition to my morning routine. Mille Merci! Much love to you and Norman–XO

    1. Rona, SOOOO glad you are enjoying the playlist! I too listen to that often. 🙂 Thank you for sharing how you incorporate listening into your routine. I LOVE how much you love books! We are definitely kindred spirits. 🙂 I have so many books waiting for my attention, and that while, initially feels neglectful, is the most cozy feeling. Books to read for days, weeks and months! Grateful for such company.

      Thank you for sharing what caught and kept your attention while reading through the first through pages of Love and Saffron. I am now intrigued even more. Have a beautiful weekend and thank you as always for stopping by. xo

      1. Just one more thing–Alison Hammond in the Celebrity Bake-Off clip–that woman is a treasure, I was howling with laughter!! Thanks for the much-needed giggle, Shannon. And yes, books are the best companions and create such a safe and cozy feeling. And with that, I’m about to put on a pot of tea and cozy up with one or three for this mid-winter afternoon. Maybe even toss in a look at the latest English Home. Y’all have a gorgeous weekend. as well. XO

  7. Is that episode of the Great British Bakeoff available in the US? I see that Sandy is still there, so it must be several years old. I couldn’t find it on Netflix, but maybe it is under a different title since it is a fundraiser? Thanks so much!

  8. Will add “Love and Saffron” to my reading list. Loved the video of Alison Hammond at the end of your post. I was laughing out loud. Thank you for a fun bit of levity! Wishing you and Norman a wonderful and cozy weekend!

  9. Such a lovely list Shannon. I enjoyed very much the first few Murdoch mysteries but would love to see the entire series. I don’t normally care for some of Rick Owen’s designs, but I could see myself in this dress. Just goes to show that one must always have an open mind. I think that if you do get the chance to visit the Lake district you’ll be able to visit Beatrix Potter’s house and Wordsworth ‘s. It’s a beautiful region. But then a whole hol7day could be spent visiting writers and poets and artists homes in the UK. I lived near Virginia Woolf and het sister Vanessa Bell’s homes in East Sussex. Used to go to have aftetnoon tea in the tea shop at Charleston House. We’re all sad that the Ukraine is being targeted but in order to get a handle on it you have to research centuries of Baltic history. Let’s hope it will cease as soon as possible. I like Reuters and the Guardian for my news. I would like to.recommend two food books. One is by American Wini Mornville titled ‘Everyday French Cooking. I think you’ll enjoy this. She fell in love with France ad a student also. The second is by Felicity Cloake(Guardian)’One more Croissant for the road’. Mix of travelogue, cookery and chit chat. She cycled sround France on Eddy, the bike searching for the ultimate in regional dishes. Bon weekend xx

    1. Kameela,

      Good morning and thank you for all that you have shared, the recommended research for further understanding (your grounded guidance is greatly appreciated to gain knowledge rather than twist with worry – the former a better use of energy), the two books (love that the bike had a name!), and to be reminded of all the literary history and locales in Britain. I cannot wait to someday visit the Lake District. As well, thank you for the open mind you regularly bring to this space. Your readership and engagement is so very much appreciated. Have a nice weekend. 😌💛

  10. Thanks to everyone who shared, much to take in and reflect on. On a ‘lighter’ note, not intended as frivolous, the candle in your photo is just the thing to enhance one’s experience of reflection, intention, being, etc. Where did you source the candle?

    1. The candle was picked up at my local grocer, just a simple off white candle, and the glass candlestick picked up at my favorite antique shop for $2. Thank you for stopping by Abigail and for your thoughtfulness and kind words to fellow readers. 😌

  11. I genuinely was in tears laughing with Alison in the GBBO clip! That was a much needed dose of joy after this past week, thank you for sharing!

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