This & That: January 19, 2024
Friday January 19, 2024

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Upon reading the review shared in The New York Times, I learned of How to Be a Renaissance Woman, and immediately became all the more intrigued the details it would share. “How to Be a Renaissance Woman will take readers from bustling Italian market squares, the places where the poorest women and immigrant communities influenced cosmetic products and practices, to the highest echelons of Renaissance society, where beauty could be a powerful weapon in securing strategic marriages and family alliances. It will investigate how skin-whitening practices shifted in step with the emerging sub-Saharan African slave trade, how fads for fattening and thinning diets came and went, and how hairstyles and fashion could be a tool for dissent and rebellion—then as now.”

Released earlier this week, if you enjoy intrigue, espionage, travel and well, good writing, Lea Carpenter’s second novel Ilium is one to pick up. “Set in the dark world of international espionage, from London to Mallorca, Croatia, Paris, and Cap Ferret: the gripping and suspenseful story of a young woman who unwittingly becomes a perfect asset in the long overdue finale of a covert special op.”

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Read an interview with the author who is also a screenwriter and lecturer at Columbia Law School, answering 49 of life’s most pressing questions, as shared with AirMail.

Also released this past Tuesday, from psychotherapist Katherine Morgan Schafler, “an invitation to every ‘recovering perfectionist’ to challenge the way they look at perfectionism, and the way they look at themselves.”

Just released in the UK, and having been available since this past July in the states, Satya Doyle Byock’s QuarterLife: The Search for Self in Early Adulthood has received strong positive reviews. Quarterlife “utilizes personal storytelling, mythology, Jungian psychology, pop culture, literature, and client case studies to provide guideposts for this period of life. Readers will be able to find themselves on the spectrum between Stability and Meaning Types, and engage with Byock’s four pillars of Quarterlife development: • Separate: Gain independence from the relationships and expectations that no longer serve you ; • Listen: Pay close attention to your own wants and needs; • Build: Create, cultivate, and construct tools and practices for the life you want; • Integrate: Take what you’ve learned and manifest something new.” 

Belgravia: The Next Chapter, season 2, MGM+

From Julian Fellowes, adapted from his novel of the same name, the second season of Belgravia premiered this past weekend, January 14th. Set in 1871, “when Lord Frederick Trenchard meets Clara Dunn, their courtship is full of passion. But after they marry, the scandalous world of high society and a long-buried family secret threaten to unravel their happiness.” I am just getting started with season one as it is free on Amazon Prime now, but if you are caught up, begin to enjoy the second season. Have a look at the trailer below and look for new episodes each Sunday.

And the sleuthing Father Brown in Kembleford returns! The 11th season just kicked off on BBC One on January 12th and look it to premiere on Tuesday January 23rd on BritBox. I know I will be watching! 🙂

The first in a new series, starring the Jane Austen as the amateur sleuth is The Hapless Milliner in Miss Austen Investigates. “Jane Austen is suddenly thrust into a mystery when a milliner’s dead body is found locked inside a cupboard in the middle of a ball. When Jane’s brother Georgy is found with some jewelry belonging to the deceased, the local officials see it as an open-and-shut case: one which is likely to end with his death.” Available on January 25th in the UK (and from Blackwell’s for all readers in and outside of the UK as it will be released in February officially here in the states – but you don’t have to wait).


A movie that has been highly anticipated and now is being well received by critics. “Origin is inspired by the remarkable life & work of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson as she pens Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents. While grappling with tremendous tragedy, Isabel sets herself on a path of global investigation and discovery” for the origins of oppression . . . “Despite the colossal scope of her project, she finds beauty & bravery while crafting one of the defining American books of our time.” Read Roger & Ebert’s review which gave it four stars here and have a look at the trailer below.


Released this past autumn, if you too are fascinated by classical music and the artistry and dedication of the musicians who play the music with seemingly ease, then Pianoforte is a film to watch. “Young pianists take part in the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition. A unique chance of a lifetime, portrayed from backstage and set to Chopin’s music”. Have a look at the trailer below.

My French Country Home February Box (No. 29)

If you haven’t already reserved your box, there is still time! And this coming February’s box is definitely ideal for those of us who love being in the kitchen as well as cozying into our sanctuary as the theme is centered around Parisian Home Essentials, specifically essential for the kitchen. Read the detailed post about the theme of this box here and place your order here!

Having watched and thoroughly enjoyed the documentary on Frank Cabot’s gardens in Canada, The Gardener, the new printing of the book detailing his gardens, Les Quatre Vents in Charlevoix County, Quebec, was released just this past Tuesday after having won awards in 2003 when it was originally published. Definitely a book for the gardener and for your library as it is full of inspiration as well as a feast for the eyes.

Cos Denim pointed slingback kitten heels

I love the height, the neutrality of the more casual, yet timeless fabric used, and the price.

Cos Long Sleeve Polo Shirt, navy & white

One more from Cos as it is from their new collection and a cozy option to pick up if you too love classic stripes.


Eric Javitz hats are worth their price – summer and winter hats alike – so when they have a sale, it is worth shopping. And as it is winter, these classic, warm and well-made winter beanies are ones to have and wear for years.

Matilda Goad & Co’s Clam Shell, Small

I first learned of Matilda Goad’s large clam shell last year and loved them, but they are an investment. Now they have a small size that is much more affordable and can be used just about anywhere, but I am loving its use as a salt bowl in the kitchen (seen below).

Another winter sale of note! I have shopped a few items below, but be sure to shop the entire sale to find what you may have had your eye on throughout the year and now scoop up with wonderful savings.


Disney+ has begun to release one of the two fashion documentaries audiences have been anticipating. Being released this weekend, Cristóbal Balenciaga shares the life story of the Spanish fashion designer whose name is now well-known and highly regarded around the world. Have a look at the trailer below.


Since last week’s T & T what a weather journey we have been on here in Bend!

With nearly two feet of snow falling on Saturday, frigid temps below 0 (Fahrenheit, so -17 Celsius), and then the rain came and now, nearly all of the snow vanished, and we are back in the low 40s during the day. A whirlwind to say the least, but some wonderful memories were made and will be fondly remembered (I shared one in January’s 12 Ponderings . . . post here).

The photo above captured the pups on our morning walk with single digits temps and our first glimpse of blue sky, so the felt booties went on and we made our loop around the river. While we had to backtrack for the latter half of the walk because I realized one of Nelle’s ‘pup mittens’ had slipped off, she happily helped me find it and it was easy to do thankfully with the red color (part of the reason this color was selected ;)).

With a full week, but a productive week, Friday arrives with hopes of heading up to the mountain for our first ski since the snow fell. But first I will be tending to emails today, so if you have written in the past couple of weeks and haven’t heard a response yet, I want to apologize. Every free moment away from the regular writing schedule has gone toward taping and producing content for the upcoming Contentment Master Class (look for it to become available in June!), and I am excited to share we are making quite a bit of progress with three Lessons recorded (of which there will be eight).

I hope your week has gone well, and if you haven’t listened to the latest episode of the podcast, you can listen or read it here as 10 ideas for Nuturing Your Artistic Hearth & Home are shared along with a film I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend as selected for the Petit Plaisir. And speaking of all of the snow, in January’s garden post for TOP Tier Members, along with all of the regular inclusions, I also captured a short video of the garden here at Le Papillon covered in snow.

Below are a handful of posts and one video to enjoy, and until Monday, may your weekend be filled with delicious meals, boisterous laughter prompted by surprising delight and always oodles of everyday moments to savor. Bonne journée.

~Planning and looking ahead to your Cut Flower Growing calendar [Gardeners’ World]

~How to use neutrals [House & Gardens UK]

~A cozy and hearty meal to enjoy during a chilly winter day – French onion Baked Lentils and Farro [Smitten Kitchen]

~An article sharing findings about whether clothes in the 50s were better than they are now [WSJ, subscription may be required]

~A post to save! The best parks in every Parisian arrondissement. [The Earful Tower]

~More rest may be the best medicine that will make all the difference for a better brain – 9 tips to try [The Washington Post, subscription may be required]

~As someone who always has my French hair pins handy for all sorts of reasons – dressing up, but more often yoga, keeping my hair out of my face and more, here is a post to save for ideas for how to use them. (Here is a link to the pins I love.) [InStyle]

~25 Things to do in Paris in the winter, 2024 [Frenchly]

~How to become a better strategic thinker [Harvard Business Review]

~I always wait for British Airways sales, and now they are having one – through January 30th!

~If you are going to be in London this winter through March, be sure to purchase tickets to watch SJP and her husband Matthew Broderick star in Plaza Suite at The Savoy Theatre.

~And now to slip away to Paris and take a tour of a a Haussmann apartment as shared on Parisian Vibe, and practice a little French while watching ;).


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7 thoughts on “This & That: January 19, 2024

  1. I can’t believe how much snow you got! How fun. And I love the doggies shoes, so adorable!
    I have never used a French hair pin and I want to try one now. I have below shoulder length hair and it’s fairly thick with some curl and I have a difficult time keeping it up.
    Well Shannon have a cozy and safe weekend!

    1. Tamra,

      Thank you for stopping by and I think you will find French hair pins much more usable and highly functional (holding hair in place well) than traditional bobby pins. There are a variety of different sizes and designs, so it may take time to find the one you need for what you want as it did me, but once I found what worked, I purchased a couple. 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

  2. Hi, Shannon! As usual, SO many goodies in T&T today. I’ve been hearing a lot about Origin. Looks like a must see. Isabel Wilkerson is one of my favorite authors. Belgravia looks good and may help until the next episodes of the Guilded Age are ready. And the Balenciaga film is a surprise for me and that looks good too.
    Nelle’s red puppy mittens are simply adorable. It’s been fun watching her grow up. Enjoy your weekend! Thank you, thank you!

  3. What a great T&T, thank you, Shannon! 🙂

    My favourites:
    – The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control – I definitely need to read this book… 😉
    – Quarterlife – A timely suggestion! I will use it as a birthday present for a young lady of my acquaintance who has her b-day in February. So, thank you for this.
    – Belgravia – never watched, but I am always on the watch – haha 😉 a feeble pun – for light heart-ed material to watch. It is difficult sometimes – for me – to find something watchable that does not involve crimes/ violence, political and judicial conspiracies of all sorts, catastrophes and apocalyptic scenarios, oh dear, guess I am an HSP…
    – Origin – curious
    – Pianoforte – To watch the International Chopin Piano Competition on TV, with my grandmother is one of the best memories of my childhood (she was a music professor and a pianist herself). That said, although cello is my favourite instrument, piano has a close second in my heart (and ears…), so I am really interested in this film.

    And the articles:
    – Use of neutral in interiors – I can confidently say that I am not a “vanilla girl” 🙂
    – French Hairpins – thank you for the inspiration, it always comes handy.
    – The effects of rest on the brain – although I could not read the article, I intend to take care of my brain this afternoon by practicing the traditional Spanish art of “la siesta”… 😉

    Last but not least, the highlight are the lovely pups in the snow, both so cute on their winter attire! Did you say -17°C? Oh dear, that is cold indeed. Today we have a “moderate” 0°C…

    Have a great weekends! Pats to the kiddies! 🙂

  4. Hi Shannon,

    Great book recommendations. I am adding How To Be a Renaissance Woman as well as Energy Rising to my list.
    Bend looks like a lovely place to live!
    Have a great week,

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