This & That: July 5, 2024
Friday July 5, 2024

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Released on Tuesday and a Reese Book Club selection, The Cliffs takes us to a secluded bluff in Maine where a Victorian house full of century old secrets sits. “By the time Jane Flanagan discovers the house as a teenager, it has long been abandoned . . . The house becomes a hideaway for Jane, a place to escape her volatile mother. Twenty years later, now a Harvard archivist, she returns home to Maine following a terrible mistake that threatens both her career and her marriage. Jane is horrified to find the Victorian is now barely recognizable. The new owner, Genevieve, a summer person from Beacon Hill, has gutted it, transforming the house into a glossy white monstrosity straight out of a shelter magazine . . .  The story Jane uncovers—of lovers lost at sea, romantic longing, shattering loss, artistic awakening, historical artifacts stolen and sold, and the long shadow of colonialism—is even older than Maine itself.”

Psychotherapist Todd Baratz (get to know him on IG and many glimpses into what you will find in the book) shares in his new book How to Love Someone Without Losing Your Mind released this past June that “it’s time to move beyond the relentless pursuit of the perfect partner, to challenge the stigma against neediness, and to rethink our obsession with diagnosing common challenges as disorders. Instead, he offers an empowering new perspective: Embrace challenges, feel deeply, make mistakes, learn, and grow. Drawing from his extensive experience as both a therapist and a patient, Baratz shares stories of navigating his personal traumas and guiding others through theirs. This book is an invitation to understand your life as part of a larger cultural narrative. It encourages you to delve into your history, cultivate self-awareness, and take responsibility in your relationships. By doing so, you can move beyond the fairy tale and transform your approach to love.”

I came to first know actor Alan Davies in the British caper series Jonathan Creek and absolutely enjoyed him. With all of the buzz around The Bear, and understandably so, kitchen dramedies from the past are having a moment, and perhaps ones that were not appreciated as much as they should have been when they aired. Case in point, Chef White’s which aired on the BBC back in 2010 and only ran for one season (six episodes) is an absolute delight to watch. Originally titled Whites, Alan Davies stars as an executive chef at the White House hotel and well past his prime. The rest of the cast provides wonderful hilarity and likability, each growing on you more and more as the series progresses, especially sous chef Bib (Darren Boyd) and someone who Doc Martin fans will recognize Caroline who is the restaurant manager (Katherine Parkinson).

Having watched all six episodes, I flew through them and quite enjoyed the series wishing there were more to watch. Have a look at the trailer below and find it on BritBox.

A new novel released this week that has prompted editors on the left and right of the Atlantic to recommend is Evenings & Weekends. Set in London during the summer of June 2019, three characters carry the plot, each in their own life drama, and when the heat becomes oppressive, by the time the evenings and weekends arrive, the drama ramps up. Learn more about the plot here, and if you are ready for a good and drama-packed summer read, this might just be it.

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I came across this novel during my trip last weekend to the Oregon coast where I always make time to pop into a favorite independent book shop – Beach Books. Sitting prominently on the shelf was Helen Simonson’s novel The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club. Already a national bestseller in Britain and chosen by Amazon Editors as one of the best books so far in 2024, step back into the summer of 1919 following the Great War and the return of the soldiers to Britain. As the women are displaced from the jobs they stepped into during the war, many loving and not wanting to leave, Constance, the protagonist of the story lives in Hazelbourne-on-Sea and upon “rescuing the local baronet’s daughter, Poppy Wirrall, from a social faux pas”, it is this encounter that introduces Constance to the ladies’ motorcycle club.

“Poppy wears trousers, operates a taxi and delivery service to employ local women, and runs a ladies’ motorcycle club (to which she plans to add flying lessons). And then there is Harris, Poppy’s recalcitrant but handsome brother—a fighter pilot recently wounded in battle—who warms in Constance’s presence. But things are more complicated than they seem in this sunny pocket of English high society. As the country prepares to celebrate its hard-won peace, Constance and the women of the club are forced to confront the fact that the freedoms they gained during the war are being revoked.” The storyline sounds intriguing with a reminder of a history that shaped our present, a reminder of so much to not take for granted.

If you too have been eager to invite more plants into your regular diet, this time of year offers a gift of an opportunity to try out new recipes that you will want to keep in your repertoire for years to come. Plantifully Simple will be released next Tuesday and “whether you want to prevent diabetes and stroke, sleep better, heal PCOS, resolve any number of health concerns associated with weight, are trying to shed those last ten pounds, or you are simply in a maintenance stage, Plantifully Simple is for you”.

Here is an example of some of the 100 recipes you will find:

Breakfast and Brunch: Raspberry Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Garden Vegetable Chickpea Omelet, Breakfast Tacos
Lunch and Dinner: Sesame Ginger Cold Noodle Bowl, Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pecans, Sweet Potato Black Bean Curry, Apple Pimento Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Arugula, Hawaiian Street Cart Tacos, Spring Alfredo Pasta
Sauces, Dressings, and Dips That Make Mealtime a Snap: Creamy Sriracha Dressing, Corn and Cucumber Salsa, Pimento Cheese Sauce

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I Am: Celine Dion

Released just this past June, I Am: Celine Dion has been described by Dion herself as a love letter to her fans. A documentary sharing “a journey inside Celine Dion’s life as she reveals her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome . . . It highlights the music that has guided her life while also showcasing the resilience of the human spirit”. Have a look at the trailer below for the film directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, and watch it now on Amazon Prime.


Based on the novel of the same name by Icelandic writer Olaf Olafsson, Touch is “a romantic and thrilling story that spans several decades and continents; the film follows one man’s emotional journey to find his first love who disappeared 50 years ago, before his time runs out”. Have a look at the trailer below and find it in theaters beginning today.

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I wanted to share this book with you just in case it was missed five years ago when it was released, but also because the author recently wrote an article that I will share in the links at the end of this post that takes you outside of Paris and her list of where to go is worth saving.

Absolutely cannot wait to watch this film. In American theaters you will find it under the name The Nature of Love, and as the trailer explains clearly, this is a love story between a 40-year old married woman who is a philosophy professor, and who begins to take on the refurbishing of a country home. During the process she falls in love with one of the builders, and having grown up in a house of intellectuals, the clash of classes provides an intriguing conversation with everyone involved for all sorts of reasons as you might imagine. Set in France and spoken in French, subtitled in whichever language you prefer, have a look at the trailer and look for it in theaters now.

Perhaps not your typical American-expat-moves-to-France memoir, but one that looks a treat of a read none the less. Steven Hoffman moves his family from Minnesota to “the other southern France” the small, rural, scratchy-hot village of Autignac. And admitting that his perception of French living was a bit pretentious, shares his honest experience that doesn’t start out as he had imagined.

Being released on July 9th, another wonderful summer read.

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Most clothing sites appear to be having sales on what is already on sale during this holiday weekend, so if you have your eye on an item that is on sale, be sure to visit that shop and look for further discounts. However, most of the items that will be ideal for summer are not yet on sale, such as this brown motif dress, but still it is available at a great price (fewer than $200).

Add a wide belt, sunnies and/or a hat, and this dress does the rest of the chic talking beautifully (other colors available).

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Having done some shopping for you, looking through all of COS’ sale items, whatever the discounted price that is listed, you can save an additional 20% when you use promo code JULYEXTRA20. Below are my picks.


Having the right and most comfortable workout clothing is a must, but I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, so this sale is one to peruse. I have done some shopping for you below.

Frank & Eileen, The Italian Wide-leg trouser

An item not on sale, but definitely one that will work with multiple tops in your wardrobe, Frank & Eileen’s cropped trousers (27″ inseam) is light-weight neutral with the denim/chambray fabric, and perfect for comfort and style.

I took some time to look through the entire sale at goop, and while there weren’t too many items that caught my eye (however, be sure to take a look for yourself), the Toteme Bouclé Knit Tank immediately caught my eye. A piece that would layer well in spring and fall, and look lovely on its own in the summer in late evening, save nearly 50% off, and have a layering piece that offers a different and luxe texture complementing anything you wear it with.

Case in point. You can pair the above tank with these washed cotton shorts and look absolutely fabulous and for a great price. Use promo code JULY25 at checkout.

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Available in three colors.

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Between gardening – giving the entire garden a good meal of compost and adding a few new perennials to Le Papillon (see peeks into the garden throughout the season here on IG @lepapillongarden ), writing this week’s posts, watching Le Tour de France and catching up with Wimbledon, this week felt like a treat of a summer inteoduction: leisurely with work I so enjoy, paired with time outside with the pups and chatting with my neighbors for intermittent breaks. A trip to the farmer’s market earlier this week, and even though I am not traveling this summer, I feel fortunate to call Bend home.


I hope your week has gone well, and whether you are enjoying a long weekend as many no doubt are doing here in the states or looking forward to savoring a summer weekend, may it provide the exhilaration as well as restoration you are seeking.

Norman, Nelle and I went for our first paddle of the season on Monday morning, early enough in the day that we had the river to ourselves and lovely cool temperatures. Look for video of that excursion in next month’s A Cuppa Moments shared with TOP Tier Members.

Readers have continued to move through the lessons in the Contentment Masterclass, sharing what they anre enjoying and appreciating, as well as what is speaking to them as they navigate at their own pace. Remember, the 20% discount for TOP Tier Members is available through Monday July 22nd, so be sure to enroll by then to save and be sure to enter the promo code shared in June and July’s A Cuppa Moments video (show notes as well). If you are not a member, you can become one and then enroll to take advantage of the savings. Learn more about the course here.

The first episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show is being filmed today (if you are reading on Friday) as the production for season 7 begins! See glimpses of the progress all this month on a special IG account for @tsllcookingshow, and look for the season to premiere on the second Saturday of September. With fresh produce in abundance at the local markets and long days of natural light, stepping into the kitchen to film becomes quite a treat.


Speaking of treats, perhaps travel plans have you flying or driving about our grand world this month, or maybe you, like me, are planning your next trip. Below are quite a few articles worth saving if France is on your itinerary as well as a variety of other posts and one video you might enjoy. Thank you for taking time to stop by today, and may this first weekend in July provide opportunities to savor time dining al fresco, memorable moments losing track of time and of course everyday moments that bring a smile. Until Monday, bonne journée.

~A list to keep, CN Traveller shares 17 of the best patisseries in Paris.

~Lindsey Tramuta shares a review of Hotel des Grands Voyageurs which she describes as A New Parisian Hotel that Feels Just Like a Pied-a-Terre. [T + L]. A hôtel that has jumped to the top of my list as one to stay at during a future visit.

~10 of the best affordable restaurants in Paris [Frenchly]

~10 wake-up calls people often receive a little too late [Marc and Angel]

~Let’s step outside of Paris and explore these 9 best places to visit in France in 2024 according to Afar and writer of the aforementioned book Paris: A Curious Traveler’s Guide.

~One more for Francophiles – this one is just fun and delicious – The 18 smells that let you know you’re in France [The Local]

~French language learners! The difference between using jour versus journée. [The Connexion]

~How to help gardens and plants through a heat wave [Oregonian]

~Wimbledon is in full swing 😉, and people watching is almost as much fun as the what takes place on the grass courts. British Vogue has compiled the best celebrity fashion at the Grand Slam so far.

~Making new friends can be hard, but actually with these simple steps to remember, it can easiest than you may have thought. [Washington Post, may require a subscription]

~And just in case we needed to be further encouraged to visit the breathtaking natural beauty of Switzerland, Roger Federer teams up with Anne Hathaway for a bit of comedic advertisement. Definitely good for a chuckle and seeing gorgeous views of the country.

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4 thoughts on “This & That: July 5, 2024

  1. Hi, Shannon! Thanks for another interesting This &That! I’m so glad you enjoyed Chef Whites. A fun series. So disappointing that there was only one season. My husband preordered A Season for That and we are looking forward to reading it! Watching the Tour always reinforces our Francophile interests. I just signed up for the Contentment Masterclass and am ready to dive in! Wishing you and all the members of TSLL community a great weekend!


    1. Carrie,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing that you too enjoyed the series of Chef White’s! So enjoyed it and would of course enjoyed more seasons as well. Savor what we get, right! 🙂 May your husband enjoy the French memoir. It looks to be enjoyable, honest and a peek at a part of France we often to read about in the states. I do hope you enjoy the Contentment Masterclass and if you have any questions along the way, do let me know. I am here to help. 🙂 Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  2. Good morning on this lovely Saturday morning. A long needed rain shower has brought cooler temperatures, a respite after Wednesdays 103!

    The books sound interesting and Plantifully Simple like something to try as I’d like to bring more plant-based meals to my diet. I checked out Nelson’s website and her dishes look beautiful.

    Absolutely love the Italian trousers and The Nature of Love seems like a movie worth watching. Switzerland does look stunning and what a cute advertisement.

    Now, off to the Farmers Market before it heats up.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


    1. Ahhhh, rain! How lovely! Enjoy the market and thank you for sharing what caught your eye. 🙂 We’re off to go walking early as well for just the same reason. 🙂 Bonne journée !

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