This & That: July 2, 2021

Jul 02, 2021

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Summer cool and simple style ideas, two, three, actually FOUR laugh-out-loud series to enjoy (two are in French), sales for clothing and décor not to miss, a new documentary critics are in agreement is quite awesome, books for living a more productive and peace-filled life as well as a unique memoir involving dogs and London, and the history of English gardening. Still there is more. 🙂


The 5AM Club: Own your morning. Elevate your life by Robin Sharma

I am currently reading and quite intrigued with Robin Sharma’s book The 5am Club.  Written as a story – often amusing – “about two struggling strangers who meet an eccentric tycoon who becomes their secret mentor, the book delineates a variety of key concepts for productivity, but also “a life lived beautifully”. The primary concepts explored in-depth: How great geniuses, business titans and the world’s wisest people start their mornings to produce astonishing achievements; a little-known formula you can use instantly to wake up early feeling inspired, focused and flooded with a fiery drive to get the most out of each day; a step-by-step method to protect the quietest hours of daybreak so you have time for exercise, self-renewal and personal growth; a neuroscience-based practice proven to help make it easy to rise while most people are sleeping, giving you precious time for yourself to think, express your creativity and begin the day peacefully instead of being rushed; and “insider-only” tactics to defend your gifts, talents and dreams against digital distraction and trivial diversions so you enjoy fortune, influence and a magnificent impact on the world.

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

Being released next Tuesday (July 6), The Comfort Book written by Matt Haig, the New York Times bestselling author of The Midnight Library, is “for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or in need of a little encouragement . . . a collection of notes, lists, and stories written over a span of several years that originally served as gentle reminders to Haig’s future self [to remind him] things are not always as dark as they may seem.”

London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency: A Memoir by Kate MacDougall

Also being released next Tuesday, London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency: “In 2006, Kate MacDougall was working a safe but dull job at the venerable auction house Sotheby’s in London. After a clumsy accident nearly destroyed a precious piece of art, she quit Sotheby’s and set up her own dog-walking company. Kate knew little about dogs and nothing about business, and no one thought being a professional dog walker was a good use of her university degree. Nevertheless, Kate embarked upon an entirely new and very much improvised career walking some of the city’s many pampered pooches, branding her company ‘London’s Number One Dog Walking Agency . . . As told through the dogs, and the London homes and neighborhoods they inhabit and with sharp wit, delightful observations, and plenty of canine affection, Kate reveals her unique and unconventional coming-of-age story”.

British Find

England’s Magnificent Gardens: How a billion-dollar industry transformed a nation, from Charles II to Today by Roderick Floud

Known as one of Britain’s preeminent economic historians, Roderick Floud’s book England’s Magnificent Gardens takes readers through more than three centuries of English history as he writes of “the kings, queens, and princes whose garden obsessions changed the landscape of England itself, from Stuart, Georgian, and Victorian England to today’s Windsors . . . Floud explores how gardening became an enormous industry as well as an art form in Britain, and by the nineteenth century was unrivaled anywhere in the world.”

We Are Lady Parts

Set in modern-day England, this new comedy series (six episodes in Season 1) debuted this past June on Peacock. Centered around a Muslim punk band, Lady Parts is on a mission to find a lead guitarist and get a proper gig. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy what looks to be a series destined for a second season.


Rita Morena: Just a girl who decided to go for it

In theaters now, actress Rita Morena’s documentary of her career and life is receiving incredibly high praise from critics. Have a look at the trailer below and enjoy.

Francophile Find

Candice Renoir, AcornTV

A TSLL reader brought French mystery series Candice Renoir to my attention and now a second season is also available for English viewers on AcornTV (the show has nine seasons). Follow along with French police officer Commandant Renoir as she balances being a single mother of four and work that is far from simple. Have a look at the trailer below.

Patricia Wells Cooking Classes are Back!

In 2018, I had the opportunity to attend one of Patricia Wells’ weeklong cooking classes in Provence. It was an experience I will never forget for many wonderful reasons (my appetite is still reminiscing). Wells just announced yesterday that classes are now available again having reopened since being postponed due the pandemic. Sign up now for September classes (2021) in Provence (usually there is a 2 year waiting list) and look for classes in 2022 for both Paris and Provence soon (sign up for her email newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement to sign-up as places (limited to 6-8) go incredibly quickly.

Read a detailed post about my experience at Patricia Wells’ class along with oodles of pictures from her home in Provence (yep, the sky really is that pristine blue – it amazed me and still does thinking about it).

A Very Secret Service, Netflix

I just learned of this aptly described French series – a hybrid of VEEP and The Americans many critics describe – what I would call a dramedy – heavy on the comedy. A Very Secret Service is available on Netflix (two seasons), and is set in 1960s France, the height of the Cold War. Have a look at the trailer below.


Alexandra Miro swimsuits

I recently learned of Alexandra Miro’s luxury swimsuit when Mimi Thorisson shared in WSJ she wears them. Upon visiting the site, I discovered the prices are quite reasonable for the beautifully designed swimsuits and resort wear considering luxury is in their logo. Have a look and be sure to keep this brand on your radar for next season as items sell out quickly.

J.Crew Foundry Chino Short Coveralls (more colors)

A summer version for those of use who enjoy our jumpsuits.

Mango Striped Shirt Dress (yellow also available), on sale

Simple, classic, perfect for casual or work during the warm summer months.

One Kings Lane Summer Sale

If you have had your eye on their outdoor furniture but were waiting for a sale, this is your sale. I have shopped a few items below, and having purchased my own outdoor chair and ottoman last year during this sale, it was worth the wait. See my finds in this month’s A Cuppa Moments.

Also, this Paris map – oh my – trying to figure out where I can hang it in my home (linked below in the scroll).

Polo Ralph Lauren Floral Crepe Halter Dress

Ideal for a formal, summer occasion. Comfortable on the skin in hot weather, yet sophisticated with its timeless color scheme.

Trina Turk Summer Sale, 30% off site-wide

If you love beautiful, stunning color, Trina Turk is the designer for you. And this weekend, her site is taking 30% off. I have shopped a handful of items for your below, but it was her Theodora Silk Maxi Dress that grabbed my attention initially (see just below).


Rutherford Falls

Get ready to laugh. From the creators of Parks And Rec, starring Ed Helms and Jana Schmieding who are lifelong best friends, Nathan Rutherford and Reagan Wells find themselves at a crossroads – quite literally – when their sleepy town gets an unexpected wake-up call. Learn more about Jana Schmieding, the writer and co-star who grew up in Oregon here and check out the trailer below. Premiering in April, view it now on Peacock.

~recipe for a Strawberry Mille-Feuille (easier to make than you might imagine)~

Welcome to July and if you are in the states, the long Fourth of July weekend. 🙂

Summer has certainly arrived with the high temperatures in the Pacific NW, and thankfully on Wednesday evening, parts of the city of Bend enjoyed a beautiful thunder and lightning and much rainfall as well. Many neighbors along sat out on their porch, and much like watching a movie, when a beautiful tremendous boom followed by crackles across the sky (yep, these were going sideways) appeared, you could hear a “oh! wow!” reverberate along the street. Norman and I sat out on the porch swing and took in the drop in temperatures, beautiful evening sky and scent of fresh rainfall (my garden was delighted as well).

Projects are beginning to hum along this week at Le Papillon, and today, the guest bathroom renovations are all abuzz which makes me incredibly happy. 🙂 I will be attending a yoga class to conclude the week with a favorite instructor I have longed to see return, continue working on edits for my book and perhaps go paddle boarding on a high lake just outside of Bend. Needless to say, it is a summer weekend, and those are sweet as the pace is leisurely, the days are long and the clothing is simple and light on the skin.

This week on the blog has been quite busy with four posts. On Monday, a motivational post on about the necessity for self-care when it comes to our well-being; on Wednesday, a recipe for a Lemon Soufflé Pudding (incredibly refreshing and quite simple to make), as well as the regular monthly post, 19 Things That Made Me Smile This Month, So Far . . . (which includes a mock-up of my guest bath remodel); and then just yesterday, on the first day of the month, A Cuppa Moments video chat was shared with TOP Tier subscribers (learn more about becoming a subscriber here and join the conversation!) meeting me on my garden porch for 30 minutes of this and that discussion paired with an abundance of birdsong. I look forward to engaging with everyone on Saturday so be sure to stop by if you haven’t done so yet. I must admit, I am starting to get into the swing of my schedule, being in my home office full time, I quite like it. 🙂

I do hope the final days of June went well, and you are stepping into a new month with a breath of freshness and more ease in the schedule to come. Thank you for choosing to stop by today and until Monday, bonne journée.

—Did you hear? Gardeners’ World has just begun to film with its normal in-person crew (they used remote robotic technology recording during the pandemic). While viewers will likely not notice much of a change, Monty seemed quite tickled as he wrote about in this month’s Monty Don’s July Garden newsletter (along with the July garden jobs to tend to and many beautiful pics from his garden).

The practice of truly enjoying time off [Zen Habits]

8 Notes for more peace and less stress [Be More With Less]

Boundaries: What nobody tells you (the good, bad and ugly) [Tiny Buddha]

The Princes reunited at Kensington Palace yesterday to unveil the statue of their mother [The Guardian]; read more of the details about the statue here [Vogue UK]

How to enjoy Paris like a local [HipParis]

—Since I mentioned I would be attending a yoga class today, something I have welcomed into my health regimen since 2010 and have found to be more than just physically beneficial, if you have been thinking about it, here are 5 Out of the Ordinary Ways Yoga Keeps You Fit [Pick the Brain]

Tour a classical house built from scratch in Devon, England – the arched hallways, the center-placed tub, the armchairs, wonderful classic English country inspiration [House & Garden UK]

—Good news! The pandemic made our relationships stronger [WSJ]

7 Europe travel tips from travelers who just returned [The Washington Post]

—One more recipe this week from a blogger I have followed since 2009 and she continues to rock it – Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches [Smitten Kitchen]

—Since we’re on the topic of food: Eat Your Words – recipes made from the descriptions the authors wrote in their beloved writings [The Paris Review] Be sure to click “Read More” for, yep, more recipes and ideas.

—If you will be in France and need to have take a Covid test before returning here is where to get one [The Local]

—Wahoo! Women will race in their own Tour de France next year. [NPR]

Having ‘no plans’ for the weekend is a perfectly wonderful thing to partake in [Introvert, Dear]

—This style trend catches my eye every time, and I more than kind of like it: Mismatching (intentionally) [WSJ]

—Let’s talk food and France: 9 Regional French Pastries to Give you a Tasting Tour of France [Frenchly]

View last Friday’s This & That: June 11, 2021, here.

A mini-French Week post of sorts as an annual event begins, a new documentary on a favorite drink of choice, and a classic documentary returns for a short period of time. As well, discover more than a few summer capsule wardrobe staples, books for decor, strengthening your well-being, gardening made simple 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

8 thoughts on “This & That: July 2, 2021

  1. It is my Friday morning ritual now to sit down and enjoy This & That, after my morning workout and before work with a cuppa! Thank you for providing something I so look forward to each and every week.
    The 5am Club has been swiftly added to my reading list, as mentioned I really want to improve my morning routines and wake earlier than my current 6:30 start, to really accomplish and relax in the early morning quiet.
    Just as swiftly added was the Mango shirt dress to my basket and purchased! For an amazing price! Thank you for bringing my attention to a new item for my core capsule wardrobe.
    Glad you had some relief from the extremely hot temps you’re experiencing right now!
    This weekend I’m heading to a favourite hotel/restaurant we love to visit for their amazing Sunday roasts (a British tradition you have to try next time in the uk!) and breakfasts – The Freemasons at Wiswell. And I can’t wait as it really is a favourite place. I urge anyone UK based to visit if they can! The food is amazing.

    Happy weekend Shannon!

    1. Happy Friday Sarah and so tickled to have this weekly post as part of your weekly routine! 🙂 I think you will find the 5am Club unexpectedly savvy. It is not your typical how-to book, so be prepared for a unique approach; however, the skills and tips are still there. I found myself skipping and scanning, then slowing down and rereading certain sections and not feeling bad to do so. I still find it to be quite insightful and inspiring.
      Thank you for all that you have shared and the recommendations to visit in the UK. On my list! Have a lovely weekend!

  2. Shannon a very eclectic this and that. July is well and truly here and I am glad to hear that the heatwave in Bend has abated. We had a few days in May when we had to retreat indoors for respite but temperatures here in France generally has been on the low side for this time of the year. I live in a very old stone farmhouse and the walls are very thick which keeps the house cool in the heat and warm in winter. I love the experience of the thunderstorm if I am snug indoors. Norman doesn’t seem to mind it (brave guy). My labrador who is no longer with me used to hide under the table during a thunderstorm and no amount of coaxing could get him out until it had stopped. You will soon be celebrating July 4th and we’ll be celebrating Fete Nationale on the 14th July. Restrictions are easing so some outdoor fetes will be enjoyed this year. In my departement we have a huge street party .Thank you for the recommendations . I love Rita Moreno ever since West Side Story and would love to see this documentary but not sure if will be available in Europe. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation on West Side story is due out in December this year. Would be interesting to see his take on it. What can he do with such a classic? I have seen ” A very Secret Service” and I have so love it. Classic French comedy at its best. You either like it or are indifferent. Love the 60’s music. La Tour de France continues to take up my time and my schedule is planned around it. I was up early to complete my chores so I could sit back and enjoy the spectacle. Great news about the ladies next year. Lastly who could resist a mille feuille? It seems to taste better in France. Are you still in work and weekend mode? now that you’re no longer teaching. I think it takes a little while to adjust) . Bon weekend a great 4th July .

    1. Kameela,

      So lovely to hear and read all that you have shared. I was tickled to learn you were able to view Le Tour in your nearby neighborhood. How wonderful! While by the time I wake up, the race is well under way, it is the first thing I turn on as I enjoy seeing France to begin the day. Such a treat for three straight weeks. Norman does well with the thunder now, but it took time. I let him do what he feels comfortable doing, and since we’ve been at our new home, it doesn’t seem to phase him (and he does still have his hearing :)). I appreciate your description of A Very Secret Service. From the trailers I have seen, I know what you mean. 🙂 Thank you for your final question – I look forward to not technically honoring the work week and weekend and rather creating my own which works for me. Friday has become somewhat of a weekend for me as the blogging work concludes on Thursday, but we’ll see how it unfolds. I am enjoying this ‘feeling out’ process which always happens each summer, but then I know I have to shift back to the school schedule, so it never becomes a hardened helpful habit for too long. But not this time, which I am elated about. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by.

  3. I spend all week looking forward to This and That, & this week’s offering is as superb as always. I’m not done working my way through it but had to pop in & say that we just finished binge-watching the first season of Lady Parts & loved it. Yes, it’s loud at times (as you’d expect) & the language can get pretty salty, but the sheer excellence of the writing & characterization far outweigh any hesitation you might have, especially if you enjoy stories of fiercely talented young women determined to follow their dreams. Lots of laugh out loud moments, but a solid story of pushing past our limiting beliefs, rules & expectations (personal, familial, societal) as well. Great recommendation! And now I’m watching out for Rutherford Falls, which also looks like something I’d enjoy. As always, thank you!

    1. Susanne, Thank you for sharing how much you enjoyed Lady Parts! It looked absolutely wonderful and I am now even more excited to watch the season. Thank you very much for stopping by and saying hello. Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

  4. Excellent recommendations as always. I got online with my public library and downloaded a “summary” of 20/20/20. There are also You Tube posts. Loved the 20/20/20 method but as I’m retired my 20/20/20 segments stretched to 40/40/40! Nevertheless I am committed to keeping my mornings at an earlier start.
    A question regarding Monty Don’s blog: I didn’t find a way to “follow “. Do you just look it up every time or am I missing something?

    1. Barbara,

      Great question about Monty’s blog. Funny you should ask because I was subscribed to his monthly newsletter (it would arrive in my inbox), but I haven’t received it the past few months, and not that I look at his website, I think he did away with it. How I also stay apprised of it on Bloglovin’ or Feedly – a blog reader. I am not sure if you use those, but that is where I keep my favorite blogs and they update whenever they post something new. I will keep searching though about Monty’s email signup. That is weird!

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