This & That: July 9, 2021

Jul 09, 2021

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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.


The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters by Mark Nepo

I was introduced to author Mark Nepo this week during a yoga class when an excerpt was read as we settled in to our mats. I inquired with my instructor after class concluded about the author, and it turns out, he has many books. The Book fo Soul is his most recent and comes recommended by Melinda Gates, Ariana Huffington and many others in the wellness community. The Book of Soul offers “a powerful guide to inhabiting an authentic and wholehearted life . . . divided into four sections that mark the passages we all face after we are physically born,” Nepo believes “we must be spiritually born a second time, a process that takes place through the labor of a lifetime as we develop into more fully realized beings.” While I have not read his books yet, I thought he would be an author to explore. I look forward to reading my first title later this month.

The Startup Wife: A Novel by Tahmima Anam

Being released next Tuesday and on many “Books to Read this July” lists, The Startup Wife tells the story of Asha Ray and Cyrus Jones who reunite after high school, marry and the story begins – a tale involving a radical vision of human connection paired with wickedly funny feminist plot lines examining the startup culture and modern partnership.” Needless to say, it is a contemporary piece of fiction to engage your full attention. Enjoy.

Well, This is Exhausting: Essays by Sophia Benoit

Also being released on Tuesday July 13th is the new book by GQ columnist Sophia Benoit. Having spent “her formative years struggling to do the ‘right’ thing—to make others comfortable, to take minimal and calculated risks, to live up to society’s expectations—only to realize that there was so little payoff to this tiresome balancing act, in Well, This Is Exhausting, Benoit shares her journey from aspiring good girl to proud feminist, and addresses the constantly shifting goalposts of what exactly it means to be ‘good’ in today’s world. Including topics as varied and laugh-out-loud funny as how to be the life of the party (even when you have crippling anxiety), navigating the disappointments of the dating world, and why no one should judge you for having an encyclopedic knowledge of reality TV stars, sit down and devour one or many essays at a time.”

British Finds

Girlfriends, AcornTV series

Stars from Downton Abbey (Phyllis Logan) and Poirot (Zoë Wanamaker), matched up with Miranda Richardson (Harry Pottery films) come together in a hysterical and engaging new series (well, new to Amazon Prime as it debuted in 2018 in the UK). Girlfriends “centers on a trio of friends who are facing the responsibilities that come with being a modern woman of a certain age.” Check out the trailer below and enjoy season 1 on AcornTV now.

Willow & Stone

As I gradually make my way through accessorizing my home during this time of customization, I continue to explore UK businesses to add that Arts & Crafts feel to the details such as pulls, doorknobs, etc.. I learned of Willow & Stone from a UK interior designer through her use of their items when her home was featured in The English Home magazine. Since then I have purchased pulls for my bathroom cabinetry and a doorstop, and the service could not be better for international shoppers. I encourage you to explore their entire site to add a signature touch to your home. And right now, you can save 10% when you use promo code SUPER10. Below is a look at their new finish for brass – I am quite fond of it. But again, there is so much more to explore. Click here to begin!


Last Summer

New on Netflix this week is a Turkish film titled Last Summer in the states, Summer 96 in its original language. A romantic drama about young love. Have a look at the trailer to see if it might be something you’d like to explore.

Francophile Finds

Fresh Water for Flowers: A Novel by Valérie Perrin (translated by Hildegarde Serle)

An international bestseller in France and Italy and now available in the states in an English translation, Fresh Water for Flowers centers around Violette Toussaint. “Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her life is lived to the predictable rhythms of the often funny, always moving confidences that casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues share with her. Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole—local police chief—who has come to scatter the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien’s inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette’s own complicated past.”

Maison Balzac Sale

Always looking to add one or two more candles to my candle cupboard, when a sale pops up on my favorite French brands (these are made in Australia, but inspired by France), I take a close look. Enjoy 10% off site-wide through July 11th at Maison Balzac, and be sure to shop more than just their candles (their minis are great as well). I love their Bonne Nuit candle with essential lavender essence from France. With unique and modern vases, pitchers and glasses (these gobelets (below) are making their way to my kitchen cupboards for my next dinner party’s water glasses), enjoy shopping, and see the discount automatically applied once you place the items in your basket. no promo code necessary.


Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

Back to running on its regular time of the year in July, Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is now available for previewing (put items on your wishlist like I did the Ralph Lauren’s quilted navy coat below). Beginning on July 12th, Nordstrom card members can begin shopping and on July 28th the sale is open to everyone. I will admit, while I don’t shop often at Nordstrom, simply having their card (which works like a second debit card run through your original banking debit card – so no fees or anything like a credit card) brings me extra cash sometimes since I purchase some of my regular beauty and skincare products from them, and having early access to items that catch my eye and will be gone if I don’t shop them early, is a nice perk.

I have shopped more than a few items – clothing, skincare, beauty, bags, etc. in the scroll below that caught my eye and perhaps yours as well.

—Just purchased and love! Ralph Lauren Polo Striped Linen Shirtdress

This season I have been looking for one summer dress that will carry over into many summers to come, so when I was shopping the Fourth of July sales, and found this linen shirtdress, I pounced. It just arrived this week. I tried it on and loved it immediately. The linen is wonderful, the blue is classic and the fit, ideal.

Vince pima cotton sleeveless dress (navy and black available)

If I am not in my garden go-to attire (I wear shorts and a long-sleeve linen shirt in the mornings), I am wearing a dress in the summer months. Comfortable, yet stylish dresses I can move in but also feel confident. Vince’s pima cotton dress would be on my list if I was looking for a new dress. Under $200 and also available in black (all sizes were still available when I posted this), check it out as it would be a wonderful layering piece for travel as well.


The Wine Show, Season 1 (AcornTV)

Already with three seasons, the first season is going to finally premiere on AcornTV this coming Thursday July 15th. Season Two will premiere one week later and the third season will be available the subsequent week. Perfect time for summer relaxing if you are staying home this summer. Enjoy 13 episodes each season with actors/co-hosts Matthew Goode & Matthew Rhys. One hour each and learn even more about wine and traveling around Italy with two entertaining curious hosts. Check out the trailer below.

~recipe for Gruyere and Tomato Quiche from this cookbook (shared in last week’s T & T)~

Um, yum. I am going to be enjoying the above quiche for dinner tonight (the crust was made yesterday and sits in the fridge ready to be filled with roasted tomatoes and cheese!) and have been enjoying much time in my kitchen this week as the temperatures dropped to the high 80s. Playing with ideas for Season 4 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen (look for the new season to begin on Saturday September 11th), my appetite wondered why I haven’t been cooking more playfully more often. 🙂 Okay, maybe that was just me (I guess my appetite and I are the same thing), but the point is, oh, my goodness so many good things to share are coming! I shared one recipe already this week, and just in time to keep you cool during the hot summer months – Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and oh my goodness, another yum.

Norman received his summer groom, and he now sleeps deeply and oh so well. Speaking of my pups, we went to a beloved ‘no motor’ high lake this week and paddled with the dragonflies, ducks, fish and a few mosquitos (only one caught me :). A beautiful way to start the day, and I am grateful for the proximity to Le Papillon.

I have been thoroughly enjoying Candice Renoir in the evenings after the sun has just said good night (the French mystery series recommended last week) as the leading actor is magnificent. As well, with all of us sleeping wonderfully now, mornings begin in the garden pottering about, sipping hot lemon water as we go and check in on vegetables and tomatoes to see how they are coming along.

July confirms Summer’s arrival, and that also means Bastille Day will be celebrated in a most wonderful way next week. If you too are a Francophile, I hope you have plans to raise a glass or eat some magnificent French food. I will share next Friday how I savored the annual date of festivities. And if you are an Anglophile or a soccer fan, you no doubt will be watching the finals of the Euro Cup this Sunday as England made their way to the final match. What a week of sport and celebrations!

Thank you for stopping by today, and be sure to explore this week’s posts as it was busier than most: a new recipe as shared above, the first of a handful of Podcast Bundles, a Monday Motivational post all about how living well simply IS luxurious living and the style post shopping caftans for your summer capsule wardrobe. Below you will find more than a few posts and articles to enjoy and one video to take you to Paris. Until Monday, bonne journée.

The Statue of Liberty’s ‘little sister’ arrived from France in the states [Frenchly]

The most bookish cities in the world [Book Riot]

10,000 steps or fewer – what is the right amount each day? [The New York Times]

—Looking for vintage and antique finds? These British interior design editors will share where to look [House & Garden UK]

Reconsidering the necessity of Fashion Weeks and a look back at the history of the tradition as the Couture collections debuted in Paris this past week.

5 minutes that might just make you love symphonies [The New York Times]

French vs. American Beauty [Doré]

How the pandemic has made many rethink how they decorate their homes [Real Simple]

A bachelor’s apartment full of taste, comfort and a balance of soft and hard textures – well done in my book [House & Garden UK]

9 Ways to set boundaries if you are an introvert [Introvert, Dear]

Delight in the uncertainty of it all [Zen Habits]

—The Cannes Film festival is underway in the south of France. Watch Marion Cotillard talk about the film she stars in which kicked off the event earlier this week [France 24]

More motivation to prioritize a quality night of sleep [LifeHack]

—If you have the opportunity to be in Paris in July – here is what to do! [HiPParis]

—So you’re going to Paris? Explore these specialized excursions for a fresh look at the City of Light [The New York Times]

And if you’re like me, not traveling to France this year, perhaps you are still quite curious about the new reopening of the department store Samaritaine (closed for 16 years), watch this video tour . . . and notice the details of grapes and leaves in the detailed ironwork as well as the splendid murals. Enjoy!

14 thoughts on “This & That: July 9, 2021

  1. Another great list of recommendations – as always the books all caught my eye and made their way to my TBR list. I’m currently reading The Course of Love by Alain de Botton which I think was a TSLL recommendation some years ago.

    I watched Girlfriends when it was shown here in the UK and really enjoyed it! I was actually only thinking about it the other day wondering if there would be another series. Not sure if live recommended The Split which is a BBC show to you before – it’s had a couple of series and I really enjoyed it. I think you’d enjoy – if only for Nicola Walker’s wardrobe !
    The Wine Show looks fab and I can’t believe I missed that with it being on ITV. Will definitely check it out.
    Happy Friday ! Sarah

    1. Thank you for stopping by Sarah and thank you for the recommendation. I will be sure to explore The Split. Yes, The Course of Love is a book I highly recommend. The moment I began reading it, I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down until I finished. Enjoy! And have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

    1. Will do!! 😉 I honestly didn’t know about it as had never visited it pre-construction. What a lovely memory to see brought back into its full glory. 🙂 Thank yo ufor stopping by Laurie.

  2. As always fabulous recommendations all. My only regret is that I’m not tall enough to recommend the gorgeous clothes that you recommend!

    1. Hildred, Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for this feedback. I do apologize and will try to incorporate more variance with clothing ideas in the future. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you again. 🙂

  3. Oh, that quiche looks interesting! Was it good? Would you recommend it? I’ve got all the ingredients, and am pondering it for my next at-home date night with my husband (pandemic has compromised childcare availability and restaurant access, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get time alone together with excellent food!)

    In exchange, may I highly recommend this pasta dish? So simple, quick, easy, full of vegetables and flavor, and an excellent way to use the glut of zucchini that inevitably occurs when relying on one’s potager (or CSA basket).

    1. Ros,

      It was soooo good! The cheese in the pastry and the flavor of the roasted tomatoes – yum! Highly recommend. Pair with a lovely white or rosé and a simple green salad with a vinaigrette and you will have a meal to savor. 🙂 Thank you for the exchange! I love Smitten Kitchen! Cannot go wrong with her recipes.

  4. Well, gosh Shannon. I just cancelled my Acorn subscription and you have given me three more series that seem appealing. Guess it is time to renew…again :).

  5. A lovely list again Shannon. The blue stripe is so perfect for summer . You suit it very well. Linen is perfect for summer and stripes always look crisp. I do love linen.Not much sunshine here at the moment in my corner of France. I think the fireworks planned for our Fetes Nationales ( we tend not to use Bastille Day now) might be a write off. I highly recommend Valerie Perrin’s book having just read the French version. So thrilled La Samaritaine is re-opening. Can’t wait to visit again after all these years. A visit to add it to you list for the next time. Hope you enjoyed the Euro final (England just missed out) although Italy was a favourite .And La Tour is so exciting ( US rider winning the last stage comfortably) .Wishing you a great week xx

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