This & That: July 16, 2021
Friday July 16, 2021

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The premiere of a new documentary many are talking about, a historical fiction novel that will keep you on your toes, returning to the art of Paris to solve two more murders in a favorite series, a new-to-Britbox beloved classic series starring John Nettles, a new Anglophile podcast to tune in to, sales on timeless summer clothing and accessories and books to pique jumpstart your thoughts on many different topics. And yep! There’s still more. 🙂


Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity by Justin Baldoni

I happened upon Justin Baldoni’s book at my local independent bookstore, and explored further to find out critics are quite positively reviewing Man Enough. The actor, director and social activist Baldoni “explores a range of difficult, sometimes uncomfortable topics including strength and vulnerability, relationships and marriage, body image, sex and sexuality, racial justice, gender equality, and fatherhood.

“Writing from experience, Justin invites us to move beyond the scripts we’ve learned since childhood and the roles we are expected to play. He challenges men to be brave enough to be vulnerable, to be strong enough to be sensitive, to be confident enough to listen.” I applaud his courage to bring this long-overdue message to the public, especially having used as curriculum the documentary The Mask You Live In and TEDx talk The Mask of Masculinity to explore labels, stereotyping, gender bias and many other social constructs into discussions and writings.

A Woman of Intelligence: A Novel by Karin Tanabe

Raved about by critics, Karin Tanabe’s new novel, set to be released this coming Tuesday, centers around “a born and bred New Yorker, Katharina, the daughter of immigrants, Ivy-League-educated, and speaks four languages” who in the 1940s WWII was a translator at the newly formed United Nations. As her life moves forward, she marries, has children and while well-taken care of, feels as though she is stuck in a gilded cage. An opportunity presents itself for her to work with the FBI, and she takes it. I must admit, I am most intrigued by the plot.

British Finds


Finally, finally, finally, a drama series from the eighties is available to be enjoyed on BritBox. Starring the leading detective in Midsomer Murders John Nettles, go back in time to his younger days when he starred as Bergerac, a detective working on the island of Jersey – so much French influence as well as the beloved British seaside details and accents. Thank you TSLL reader Kameela for recommending this show!

The English Home podcast

Just released this month, Anglophiles who love the magazine of beautiful English country homes will enjoy tuning in to their new podcast. Having listened to the first episode, enjoy talk about colors and decor as well as a lovely chat with their food columnist about summer berries and recipes that will tempt you to make them even if you don’t quite know how (or maybe that’s just me :)).


The Chef’s Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables – with recipes by Farmer Lee Jones

Released this past spring, Farmer Lee Jones, having “lost his farm in the early 1980s, had a chance encounter with a French-trained chef at their farmers’ market stand. Inspired by the encounter, it led the Jones family to remake their business and learn to grow unique ingredients that were considered exotic at the time, like microgreens and squash blossoms. They soon discovered chefs across the country were hungry for these prized ingredients, from Thomas Keller in Napa Valley to Daniel Boulud in New York City. Today, they provide exquisite vegetables for restaurants and home cooks across the country.

“Featuring more than 500 entries, from herbs, to edible flowers, to varieties of commonly known and not-so-common produce, this book will be a new bible for farmers’ market shoppers and home cooks. With 100 recipes created by the head chef at The Chef’s Garden Culinary Vegetable Institute, readers will learn innovative techniques to transform vegetables in their kitchens with dishes such as Ramp Top Pasta, Seared Rack of Brussels Sprouts, and Cornbread-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, and even sweet concoctions like Onion Caramel and Beet Marshmallows.”

Simply Raymond:Recipes from Home by Raymond Blanc

Last week, I first mentioned French chef, who makes his home in Britain, Raymond Blanc as his latest cookbook – Simply Raymond – inspired a recipe shared on the blog. I have continued to cook recipes from it, and each one pleases my palette even more than the last one tried. If you are looking for fresh, yet full of flavor – brought forth in new ways you may not have tried, but are oh so simple – then this is a cookbook for you.


Bolga Storage Baskets, The Citizenry

Baskets for anything and everything and these are as lovely as they are functional. Delicate, yet sturdy, refined, yet timeless.


Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

After reading and seeing much advance press for the new documentary about food traveler, adventurer and chef Anthony Bourdain, I think I may step into the local boutique theater next week and watch it. Three years have passed since Bourdain took his life in a hotel room in France, and many questions as to why still remain. While the film doesn’t directly answer them, as the WSJ’s review, which largely praises the documentary and shares more than a glimpse of what viewers can expect from the film’s desired objective, it’s clear they have some ideas. The film appears, understandably so, to be emotionally packed, but in the hands of producers who were also behind Won’t You Be My Neighbor (a documentary about Mr. Rogers), I am cautiously confident it will be handled well. Have a look at the trailer below.

Francophile Find

Do Not Go Gentle. Go to Paris: Travels of an Uncertain Woman of a Certain Age by Gail Thorell Schilling

Released in 2019, Do Not Go Gentle. Go to Paris. is a memoir sharing the life journey of a 62-year-old finally pursuing a dream held for 40 years. Gail Thorell Schilling, “drawing wisdom from people and places that have gracefully endured the passing years, reaches the Mediterranean village that once existed only on her calendar and feels revitalized. Her refreshed self-concept takes a hit, however, when her beloved proves fickle and a train strike maroons her on the edge of the sea. By the end of her journey, Gail recognizes the joie de vivre beneath the wrinkles of bygone beauty in French women.”

The Art of Crime, Season 4

And in the blink of an eye, a new season of a favorite French mystery series returns! Becoming available earlier this week on MHz (I enjoy it through Amazon Prime), watch the chemistry continue to become tangled between art professor Florence Chassagne and police detective Antoine Verlay as they take viewers into yet more beautiful and historic places in Paris. There are two episodes in Season 4 (a reminder to pace myself :)).


Seed to Dust: Life, Nature and a Country Garden by Marc Hamer

Released this past May, “Marc Hamer has nurtured the same 12-acre garden in the Welsh countryside for over two decades . . . It’s rarely visited, and only Hamer knows of its secrets. But it’s not his garden. It belongs to his wealthy and elegant employer, Miss Cashmere . . . Hamer describes a year in his life as a country gardener, with each chapter named for the month he’s in. As he works, he muses on the unusual folklores of his beloved plants. He observes the creatures who scurry and hide from his blade or rake. And he reflects on his own life: living homeless as a young man, his loving relationship with his wife and children, and—now—feeling the effects of old age on body and mind.”


Cream Rainbow-Trim Wool-Cashmere Sweater, Chinti & Parker, on sale

Comfortably paired for late evening attire with linen pants or shorts, this light-weight sweater is subtle in its beauty and a classic to be enjoyed for many years to come.

DVF ivory belted printed silk-crepon kaftan, 60% off

Included in the kaftan shopping post last week, this belted silk kaftan is now on drastric reduction – elegant, chic and soft on the eyes.

J.Crew Slim-fit Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirt (many colors), on sale

If you are looking for a classic linen shirt, J.Crew’s is on sale and available in many different classic colors.

Sézane Gabin Bag (many colors and textures)

Prepping for fall, but perfect for all-year, Sézane’s carry-all Gabin totes are just the right size, and spacious enough for your entire day’s worth of necessary items.

Welcome to Friday. I woke up exhausted with a smile on my face yesterday after partaking in a dream of a dinner invite by a dear friend and her husband to celebrate Bastille Day on Wednesday. A four-course French meal, complete with lamb and scallops in saffron sauce (the scallops, not the lamb) and wine from around the country of France. Needless to say, I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared the meal with them, and as it was also my sixth anniversary upon which I arrived in Bend, it made it all the more special.

All of this is to say, find reasons to celebrate the simplest things sincerely so (here is a post to explore this idea further). Not only does such a practice give you something to look forward to, it helps to deepen your gratitude, ground you into the present and be reminded to always look for those occasions that elevate the everyday.

This past week, progress was made on the fireplace and guest bathroom. I have no doubt I will be able to give TOP Tier subscribers a tour of the completed fireplace on August 1st with a detailed post later in the month, and the guest bathroom won’t be that far behind (I cannot wait!). As well, getting back into the regular routine of in-studio yoga classes strengthened my gratitude muscle even more as I was sweating more than I have since March 2020 and I was smiling the entire time! I cannot wait to keep this schedule up.

Norman, Oscar and I enjoyed a memorable family paddle-boarding outing earlier this week to start the day, and as I sat on the board moving us along the river so I could hold Oscar securely between my legs, seeing his ease as he took in the beauty of Mother Nature while Norman stood at the nose of the board as though the navigator leading the way, I will hold that image in my mind for I hope the rest of my life. All the more reason to build a life around savoring the everyday moments.

This week on the blog was an unofficial mini French Week with the celebratory list of 24 ideas for Bastille Day as well as the French-Inspired podcast bundle #2. Monday’s Motivational post inspired quite a few readers to share how the post about Shedding Your Old Life spoke to them at just the right time, and look for the monthly Saturday Ponderings post to be shared tomorrow on the blog (I’ve linked to June’s to help catch you up :)).

But this week’s This & That is not done just yet! I have rounded up quite a few articles and posts you might enjoy and a sneak peek at a new series that sees the return of a favorite Grey’s Anatomy actor. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, and thank you for stopping by. Until tomorrow, bonne journée.

~An ode to eating dinner as early as possible – count me in! [The New Yorker]

~How to embrace and get comfortable with uncertainty in life [Medium]

~Exciting news in the world of fashion is you too are drawn to chic, simple, quality designs: the return of Phoebe Philo [The New York Times]

~Take a tour of this completely refurbished and redecorated home in Luberon, Provence – tranquility will follow simply viewing the images [House & Garden UK]

~40 hard things you need to hear [Marc & Angel]

~The magic of the English garden according to Sophie Dahl [House & Garden UK]

~It’s never too late: a list of inspiring thoughts from Susan Sontag [This Time Tomorrow]

~David Lebovitz’s Blacker Berry Galette and a thoughtfully written post on a worth-checking-out series

~The different definitions of what happiness means depending upon varying cultures [The Atlantic]

~Speaking of happiness, along with productivity at the work place – Iceland’s four-day week was an ‘overwhelming success’! [BBC]

~Did a doomed love inspire the Eiffel Tower? [AirMail – subscription required]

~Andie MacDowell looked magnificent on the red carpet at Cannes and Vicki Archer thought so too, especially regarding her choice of hair color (or lack thereof)

~Ah, let’s talk fashion for a moment shall we? The swirl of conversation and (for me anyway) excitement about the upcoming series And Just Like That (aka as HBO Max’s new SATC series) brought up many topics of discussion, and one was – where are the Manolos! 🙂 [Vogue UK]

~Individualism is about having the freedom to be who you are—not going it alone [The Atlantic]

~11 everyday moments in France when you really need to say ‘bonjour’ [The Local]

~Another lovely home mixing modern and cozy with a touch of traditional, the first home for the couple (located in Bedford, New York) and they did a fantastic job on the finishing details. [Doré]

And just to pique your interest and perhaps provoke a good, quick laugh – Sandra Oh will be starring in a new six-episode satirical comedy series on Netflix beginning in late August. Titled The Chair in which Oh is tapped for the position of the English department head chair at fictional university Pembrook, this should be a lovely show to catch this fall. I will be sure to include it an upcoming This & That on the date it premieres.

View last Friday’s This & That: July 9, 2021, here.

Sales for summer clothing, and a dress I just bought and LOVE, but also THE annual sale many have been patiently waiting for, a playful series all about wine, a bestselling novel in France and Italy in 2020, now translated for English-readers to enjoy as well, a new summer romance film premiering this month, a sale on one of my favorite French candle companies and 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 | The Simply Luxurious Life

11 thoughts on “This & That: July 16, 2021

  1. Hi Shannon. I’m loving the book you recommended, a Farmhouse In Provence- thank you! I’m also headed to Paris on July 30- to open the windows and door to my Paris apartment and let a breeze travel through the rooms for the first time in 18 months! If you want any photos or interviews, let me know. I’m the editor of a digital magazine, Be The Real You, and I have a section in every issue titled Life Reimagined in Paris. That pretty much describes how I put myself back together after my 23 year marriage ended. I can’t wait to read Gail Thorell Schilling’s book, Do Not Go Gentle, Go to Paris. Thank you so very much for your suggestions!!

    1. Sharri, I will be thinking of you and smiling on the 30th! How exciting and just those seemingly simple sensory experiences can be so incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing all that you have, and so happy to hear you are enjoying A Farmhouse in Provence. I have to thank TSLL reader Sally for bringing the title to my attention. I too is slowing savoring reading it. 🙂 Congratulations on your entire site, magazine and podcast – what a destination! Have a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by. 🙂

      1. Hi Shannon- I forgot to tell you I order two of the beautiful baskets you advertised!! I can’t wait for them to arrive. Thank you!!

  2. Good morning Shannon,

    I’m enjoying all you have posted today, but the river trip with your boys made me smile. What a special moment. When we’re present, we can fill our memory with our life’s special photos.
    Happy weekend, Nancy

    1. Nancy, Presence is powerful isn’t it? 🙂 Very grateful for those moments with my gentleman four-legged companions. Have a lovely weekend as well. Thank you for stopping by. xo

  3. Thank you for the book recommendation of Do not Go Gentle. I just ordered it .
    The preview chapter reminds me of one of my favorite travel memoirs, Without Reservations, by the late Alice Steinbach.
    If by chance you have not read Without Reservations, I highly recommend it!

  4. Hello Shannon!
    You have provided such fabulous resources that inspire so much inspiration: Seed To Dust looks absolutely enchanting and inspires me to return to and really get on with my own writing, even if just for me; listening to the English Home podcast now, and signed up for a subscription; LOVE the aesthetic presented in Emily Yeston’s new home, exactly the sort of mix I’m looking for in our coastal home–and so much more, merci beaucoup!!
    And I have to say your description of Sir Oscar nestled against you, with Navigator Norman leading the way was so lovely and poignant, thank you for sharing that sweet moment with us.
    Wishing you and your four-legged gentlemen a wonderful weekend! XO

    1. Rona, Soooo lovely to read your comment and “hear” your words. May the words run like poetry when you sit down to write as you have a gift to delight and paint lovely images in the reader’s mind. A home on the coast! How ideal. ? Wishing you a most wonderful, summer leisurely weekend.

  5. This was such a full This & That. My goodness, it’s going to take me a couple of additional days just to go through all the resources you posted! That’s okay because
    I enjoy reading them. Also, the comments listed above from all the lovely ladies were interesting to read and informative also. As always, it’s good to hear that Oscar and Norman are out and about with their mom. A good time for all!
    Wishing you and the boys a pleasurable weekend and some fun adventures.

  6. Anthony Bourdain. I love his travel shows and cannot wait to see this documentary film. I can recall exactly where I was when I learned of his death, odd for a celebrity I didn’t know, but marked for me the loss of a man with true passion for food and travel.
    I enjoyed so much of this weeks This & That.
    Thank you, Sarah

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