This & That: July 7, 2023
Friday July 7, 2023

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Quite a few shopping finds, one find as seen at Wimbledon in the stands, a lovely summer capsule detail to have for years to come. Totes, dresses, cover-ups, shorts and more. Books about decorating with books, aging exuberantly, the history of the invention of the restaurant and when it actually began in France as well as two novels receiving attention for their genre. Also, a new season arrives for a favorite and long-running French series that takes viewers around the hexagon with each episode, a brocante pop-up not to miss and still there is more!


Books Make a Home: Elegant Ideas for Storing and Displaying Books by Damian Thompson

Indeed, books and creating a home are, shall we say, like peanut butter & jelly? 🙃😉 They just go together. The more books the better, but knowing how to store them so that they can be fully appreciated whether aesthetically or functionality is key. Damian Thompson’s book Books Make a Home came out a couple of years ago, but it is a resource for every bibliophile as it provides inspirational home tours for every room in the house.

The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture by Rebecca L. Spang

I happened upon an interview with author Rebecca L. Spang on an episode of the Milk Street Radio podcast, and I asked myself first, how did this book slip past me because it is exactly what I enjoy reading about: food, history and France. 🙂 And then, quickly put it on my reading list.

The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You by Margareta Magnusson 

Released this past December from international bestselling author Margareta Magnusson (Alexandra Stoddard introduced her to The Simple Sophisticate podcast audience when she mentioned said book in episode #359) is a book about “what makes each day worth living. In her new book she reveals her discoveries about aging—some difficult to accept, many rather wondrous. She reflects on her idyllic childhood on the west coast of Sweden, the fullness of her life with her husband and five children, and learning how to live alone. Throughout, she offers advice on how to age gracefully, such as: wear stripes, don’t resist new technology, let go of what doesn’t matter, and more.”

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman

Released in 2015 is a book by author of another book I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend (see that book here). Wired to Create is “reveals the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology, along with engaging examples of artists and innovators throughout history, the book shines a light on the practices and habits of mind that promote creative thinking. Kaufman and Gregoire untangle a series of paradoxes— like mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, and solitude and collaboration – to show that it is by embracing our own contradictions that we are able to tap into our deepest creativity. Each chapter explores one of the ten attributes and habits of highly creative people: Imaginative Play * Passion * Daydreaming * Solitude * Intuition * Openness to Experience * Mindfulness * Sensitivity * Turning Adversity into Advantage * Thinking Differently.”

British Find

The Air Raid Book Club: A Novel by Annie Lyons

Being released on July 11th is a new novel by Annie Lyons, The Air Raid Book Club, that takes us back to London during WWII. But this book is about a bookstore and a creative idea to organize a book club around the air raids that relegated many Britons to safe quarters while they waited out the Blitz.

Francophile Finds

Murder In . . . , new season (#9), MHzChoice

Admittedly, watching storylines about murder may sound morbid, but one detail of many that is quite lovely about this series, now in its ninth season, is that each episode takes you to a different town, village or city in France, and none of them is typically well-known to outsiders. With a new duo of detectives solving each crime, it is almost as though you are watching a new show each time. And just this past Tuesday the latest season was released. Have a look at the trailer below to discover where this season will take viewers.

The Paris Agent: A Novel by Kelly Rimmer

If you enjoy historical thrillers, then Kelly Rimmer is an author to know. Her latest novel, The Paris Agent, will be released on Tuesday July 11th, is set 25 years after WWII and is related to her father’s experience during the war. Sustaining a head injury during his final operation, he is “frustrated by the gaps in his memory—in particular about the agent who saved his life during that mission gone wrong, whose real name he never knew, nor whether she even survived the war. Moved by her father’s frustration, Noah’s daughter Charlotte begins a search for answers that resurrects the stories of Chloe and Fleur, the code names for two otherwise ordinary women whose lives intersect in 1943 when they’re called up by the SOE for deployment in France. Taking enormous risks to support the allied troops with very little information or resources, the women have no idea they’re at the mercy of a double agent among them who’s causing chaos within the French circuits, whose efforts will affect the outcome of their lives…and the war.”

Rabbit Hill French Lifestyle monthly Pop-Up Online Shop – this Saturday, July 8th!

Each month Cat of Rabbit Hill Lifestyle online destination hosts an online pop-up shop where she sells many brocante finds, polished up antique copper and other items (including finds from artisans around France and clothing as well). Items go fast, so if you are at least curious, but sure to be ready to visit her site at 9am (Pacific) this Saturday. I have purchased a handful of items from her and love each one – copper pans, utensils, wine jugs and baskets. All of them high quality and well worth every penny.


The Green Gardening Handbook: Grow, Eat and Enjoy by Nancy Birtwhistle

Also being released on July 11th is a book for gardeners, The Green Gardening Handbook. Sharing “sustainable, eco-friendly tips that will help you make the most of your space, and what it can grow, whether you have a sprawling garden, a modest patch of grass or just a spare windowsill, Nancy Birtwhistle’s latest book has over 100 tips that will help you embrace the joy of growing and eating from your own garden.”


Claridge & King’s The Boyfriend Dress in Blue Weave

I envision this shirt dress cinched with a simple, yet statement belt, worn with flat sandals with little or no jewelry. As well, wearing it without a belt and with a statement piece as seen here is a great idea also.

COS Eyelet Shirt Dress, white

The eyelet detail, yet having full coverage as well. A simple, yet statement dress ideal for summer. And at a great price as well (less than $200).

Me + Em Guipure Lace Dinner Shirt (as seen on Kim Murray at Wimbledon this week)

A classic, yet cool aesthetic, Kim Murray donned this lace dinner shirt earlier this week while watching Andy win his opening match at Wimbledon (see the article here). Layer underneath with a simple white or colored camisole, or even nude and you don’t need much else by the way of accessories as the shirt does the talking. Beautiful.

Me + Em Twisted Seam Jean, blue wash

A classic, yet comfortable fit with a slightly unique style with the additional seams, but nothing that is too much, and rather, just right.

Sézane Large Jute Tote (three different colors)

For less than $100, this jute tote caught my eye for all sorts of summer market shopping. Almost looking like a carpet bag, with its subtle print and comfortable handle, this is an item to keep for years for that casual, yet at the same time, elevated touch.

Veronica Beard Keita High-Rise Short

These shorts with the lace dinner shirt shared above, paired with sandals, flat or heeled, is the perfect outfit for style, yet comfort; cool, yet covered. Love it.

Veronica Beard Makai Knit Tank

A timeless color, ivory, with a touch of personality, pair with linen pants or shorts and remain cool and comfortable, yet absolutely stylish.

The White Company, Summer Sale, up to 60% off

The British brand, The White Company, is holding its annual summer sale and so much is on great discount. I have shopped quite a few items in the scroll below, but the first two items below caught my eye immediately for staying cool and being able to go about pottering or lounging, all that summer wants us to do.

These linen overalls caught my eye.


Well, sometimes good things are just meant to take a bit more time, and just this lesson was underscored this week. After picking up my door handle for my front door in Portland (the screen door was picked up as well!), a customized piece to fit my door and taste and realizing I needed a locksmith to help me fit the deadbolt properly into my door, we discovered that one of the parts wasn’t working as it should. The good news is, I am cautiously confident that the new parts will arrive later this month after I immediately called the company while the locksmith was still at my house to make sure I was explaining the issue correctly. Once the replacement pieces arrive, then all I have to do is put the knob on because the locksmith customized everything as it needed to be (the old handle is currently back in place in the meantime) and taught me how to finish this project myself which is what I had hoped I could do initially. So, in a way, this was the best possible of outcomes because I now have the opportunity to finish this door on my own having gained the expertise I needed to confirm how to do it properly (as well as save some money). And there you go, lessons arrive, and sometimes exactly what you wished for arrives, via a route to the onlooker wouldn’t be wanted, but in fact, is exactly and the only way it could be.

In other news. 😌 As I had hoped, Norman and Nelle and I began the holiday on the Fourth of July out on the water, paddling on Mirror Pond and through Drake Park, then up river a bit, enjoying the entire river to ourselves except for one solo kayaker. A memorable outing with the pups doing wonderfully and the weather being just ideal.

I have been enjoying watching Le Tour de France, and wasn’t yesterday’s leg impressive! Wow! Wimbledon has also begun, and even with all of the rain earlier this week, some great matches to enjoy (I will be sitting down to watch Andy Murray’s match after writing T & T). This weekend takes me out of town to spend time with my mother and my niece in my old college town, Eugene, Oregon, so I look forward to exploring it again as well as the many delicious food destinations.

Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful weekend. Below I have gathered up articles you might enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée!

~Friend of TSLL, author and expat living in Provence, M.L. Longworth has written an article for Anglophiles that appeared last week in WSJ – Visiting London? Don’t Skip Chiswick, a Lush Paradise that Inspired Van Gogh, W.B. Yeats and More [WSJ, subscription required]

~Have your breath taken by the beauty of the oodles of roses in this garden in Spitalfields, England [House & Garden UK]

~Save this article for whenever you just need to take a breath and be reassured that all, whatever it is that is grabbing your mind and causing worry, will be okay – 32 Reasons Everything Will Be Okay. I especially appreciated #21 & #26 [Good Good Good]

~5 Members of the Net-a-Porter team share their Forever Items, a pretty concise and on-point list.

—Have you heard about the new Instagram family app Threads? Created by IG to fill the void largely left by Twitter for conversation with more moderation and the ability to chat with up to 500 characters, their goal is a more positive connection with the world and more control for you, the user. Learn more here and follow TSLL with the same handle as on IG – @thesimplyluxuriouslife. [NPR]

~What a stunner of a Super Moon. See how it appeared around the globe this past Monday night [The New York Times]

~A fun interview with author and lifestyle curator Ajiri Aki living in Paris on David Lebovitz’s podcast.

~Speaking of Joie (the focus of the above interview), 10 Daily Habits that Often Drain 90% of your Joy [Marc & Angel]

~Mary Berry gives an interview sharing what makes her home an English Home [The English Home]

~Monty Don’s July newsletter, full of pics from Longmeadow and jobs to do this month in your garden.

~Take a look inside the most secret event in Paris: Dîner in Blanc [My French Country Home]

~As travel is in full swing, perhaps you want to commemorate some of your favorite destinations by decorating with maps. Discover how to do just that. [House & Garden UK]

~Speaking of travel, keep your plants healthy while you are away [The English Garden]

~The fashion world is near beside itself in anticipation for September, and for good reason – Phoebe Philo will unveil her new collection in September .

~Explore last week’s This & That: June 30, 2023

Let the summer reading begin! With books about, well, books! Bibliophiles, delight in two new books about books, one from a bestselling author from Oregon and another that is an international bestseller. Another book about gardening, but not just about the fundamentals, but rather the philosophy and joy of gardening as well as a fun fiction book that has been receiving some buzz. Also, two major sporting events kick off this weekend and with it being the Fourth of July holiday weekend, there are all sorts of shopping sales not to miss. I have done some shopping for you as well as found some luxurious finds that will be with you for years. All that and more.

~Please note: TSLL is supported by you, readers who take the time to stop by (merci!), peruse and sometimes welcome into your life mentioned and recommended finds. Affiliate links are present in today’s post and may earn commissions for TSLL when you purchase. View TSLL’s full Privacy Policy here.

15 thoughts on “This & That: July 7, 2023

  1. Thank you for the link to Good Good Good. As a librarian, I’m partial to #6; as the grandmother to 4 amazing grandchildren, Jane Goodall’s #16 resonates with me. Yes, empower the young; they are already “committed” and are ready to “take action”.

    1. Laura,

      Ah yes! #6 is a definitely yes! ☺️📚❤️ Thank you for sharing what spoke to you and why. Makes sense to me. Wishing you a lovely weekend and thank you for stopping by.

    1. Thank you Teresa! Lovely to see you in the Comments’ section. ☺️ Thank you for stopping by. I had been thinking about you lately. I hope summer is off to a wonderful start. 💛

  2. You have truly outdone yourself this week Shannon! So much to peruse and enjoy. I see several books of interest and I will surely need to consider Books Make a Home. Over the last month or so I have been curating my library. I have them in almost every room in one type of display or another. While I do pass some on I have to admit that many are keepers and references as well as just because they were gifts. Just this morning I had hired a gentleman to remove some furniture from a spare bedroom. He brought his 9-year-old grandson with him. What a charming and articulate young man! As he visited almost every room in the house he remarked about how much fun he would have going through my bookshelves. I loved it and welcomed him to visit anytime. Thanks to you, my horizons have expanded and my collections as well. Enjoy that visit to your alma mater!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Lucy and sharing this moment with us all. A love for books, both reading them and being surrounded by them, so powerful and full of comfort. Tickled to hear you enjoyed this week’s T & T. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. The book recommendations this week are fantastic. I just preordered the new Kelly Rimmer and The Air Raid Book Club. Thanks! I wonder how many TSLL readers have read The Kingdom Of Prep about J. Crew. I listened to the audiobook, which was fascinating, especially for this Gen Xer who pored over each new J. Crew catalog in the early days.

    1. Cathy,

      I REMEMBER those catalogs and shopped from them while in college! Oh thank you for that nostalgic moment and the book recommendation.☺️ I do hope you enjoy those books. Each plot sounds intriguing and quite engaging. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by!

  4. Shannon~

    Goodness Me! So many things of interest. The books by Margareta Magnusson, Annie Lyons, and Kelly Rimmer have made their way onto my wishlist, which keeps growing every Friday 🙂

    Loved the boyfriend shirt dress, Sezane tote, and linen nightgown. I can envision us toiling away in our gardens wearing those precious linen overalls, as well. I have been searching for a new tote to carry to work, and think this jute bag may be just the thing to haul my books, laptop, agenda, etc., while still remaining stylish.

    So sorry to hear about your luck with the door handle. I know you were keen to get that project completed, but I love your “glass is half empty” attitude and with your newfound knowledge you will be apt to complete even more projects around Le Papillon.

    Have a wonderful weekend!


    1. Thank you for stopping by Michelle. 🙂

      Don’t the overalls look ideal for pottering! That might be making its way to my closet soon. 😉

      The good news regarding the project is that it is nearing completion and as you mentioned, I have new knowledge for changing out future door knobs down the road without having to hire someone. That is great news in my book. 🙂

      Wishing you a wonderful weekend as well!

  5. Great post, Shannon! Seems you had a nice 4th with the pups, hope you are enjoying time in Eugene with your family. I am wondering if I might ask your readers for fun movie suggestions? For a while, you were really dishing out some good ones.. French, most especially. I am interested in recommendations for these wonderfully long summer evenings. Nothing too heavy, but a good story with a few laughs along the way. Enjoy!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Alicia. 😌 Here is a post you might enjoy for exploring French movies I recommend – – 12 French Feel-Good Films I Love
      You can also visit Francophile Finds under Francophiles in the menu for a few more. 🇫🇷❤️ Whenever a film premieres that I think readers will enjoy, I do my best to share it. Stay tuned for more as it ebbs and flows. ☺️ Also check out Petit Plairs in the archives as many French films have been chosen over the years –

      Have a great weekend and thank you for the well wishes. 💛

  6. Veronica Beard is certainly catching my attention these days. Those shorts! That top 🤩. Just need a pair of espadrilles & a hat for the perfect elevated summer day.

  7. Thank you Shannon.What a gorgeous This and that . Overflowing with recommendations. By sheer coincidence I have just ordered Margareta Magnusson’s book.
    I have briefly looked at the Threads app but will take a further look based on your recommendation.
    I think Rabbit Hill shop is open until14th July . Have a lively reunion with your mother and niece.

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