This & That: November 19, 2021
Friday November 19, 2021

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So much to enjoy! From fantastic new films, much anticipated music, the new series from Mindy Kaling, books on the history of England, Transcendalists, forging a more civil society, how to incorporate the renewing benefits of time in Tuscany into your everyday life, cookbooks about pizza, cookies, a clothing sale not to miss and so much more.


Joy: Life Lessons from a Tuscan Villa by Debbie Travis

For more than ten years Debbie Travis has been welcoming guests to her Tuscan villa. Seeing them “transform over the course of a single week of talking, walking, and eating together, until even the most driven and stressed-out feel so much better about themselves . . . they tell her it’s the simple priorities of Tuscan life—the way the village locals, from young to old, take time for each other every day—that hit them in their hearts, and they pepper her with questions about how to retain what they’ve experienced when they get home. In Joy, Debbie offers the answers she gives them to all of us, capturing the essentials of the Tuscan lifestyle in a series of ten engaging and practical lessons—on everything from how to get a good night’s sleep, to how to find community and rediscover purpose, to how to eat and drink like an Italian—designed to make our lives sweeter and healthier.”

—Renewal: From Crisis to Transformation in Our Lives, Work and Politics by Anne-Marie Slaughter

I appreciated Anne-Marie Slaughter’s previous book, so when her book Renewal was released I wanted to share. “Renewal is Anne-Marie Slaughter’s candid and deeply personal account of how her own odyssey opened the door to an important new understanding of how we as individuals, organizations, and nations can move backward and forward at the same time, facing the past and embracing a new future.”

The Transcendentalists and Their World by Robert A. Gross

Okay fellow Transcendalist lovers, the resource of all resources on the literary movement! Released earlier this month, “The Transcendentalists and Their World offers a fresh view of the thinkers whose outsize impact on philosophy and literature would spread from tiny Concord to all corners of the earth. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Alcotts called this New England town home, and Thoreau drew on its life extensively in his classic Walden. But Concord from the 1820s through the 1840s was no pastoral place fit for poets and philosophers.”

British Finds

The English Village: History and Traditions by Martin Wainwright

Certainly a book Anglophiles will appreciate. Here is the synopsis that while succinct, paired with the excerpt to the right, offers a taste of what the book contains – “A compendium of interesting or arcane details and statistics, as well as history, customs and lore, this is an unabashed celebration of the English village, as well as a record of an often vanished world.”

Noble Ambitions: The Fall and Rise of the English Country House After WWII by Adrian Tinniswood

Released in September, “As the sun set slowly on the British Empire, its mansions fell and rose. Ancient families were reduced to demolishing the parts of their stately homes they could no longer afford, dukes and duchesses desperately clung to their ancestral seats, and a new class of homeowners bought their way into country life. A delicious romp, Noble Ambitions pulls us into these crumbling halls of power, leading us through the juiciest bits of postwar aristocratic history—from Mick Jagger dancing at deb balls to the scandals of Princess Margaret. Capturing the spirit of the age, historian Adrian Tinniswood proves that the country house is not only an iconic symbol, but a lens through which to understand the shifting fortunes of the British elite in an era of monumental social change.”

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson and Jay Cooper

The title alone caught my attention, and then I just had to chuckle. Of course, I then knew I wanted to share with TSLL community.

“A weekend roaming narrow old lanes, touring the faded glories of a country manor, and quaffing pints in the pub. How charming. That is, unless you have the misfortune of finding yourself in an English Murder Village, where danger lurks around each picturesque cobblestone corner and every sip of tea may be your last. If you insist on your travels, do yourself a favor and bring a copy of this little book. It may just keep you alive. 

“Brought to life with dozens of Gorey-esque drawings by illustrator Jay Cooper and peppered with allusions to classic crime series and unmistakably British murder lore, Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village gives you the tools you need to avoid the same fate, should you find yourself in a suspiciously cozy English village (or simply dream of going). Good luck! And whatever you do, avoid the vicar.”


Cookies: The New Classics, A Baking Book by Jesse Stewzcyk

Love cookies, but want to mix it up? Be sure to check out Jesse Stewzcyk’s new cookbook. “A collection of 100 brand-new, boldly flavored, and intriguing yet familiar recipes. Sophisticated and approachable—many don’t even require an electric mixer—these new classics are divided into chapters by flavors and attributes such as Chocolaty, Boozy, Fruity, Smoky, and Savory.”

The Joy of Pizza: Everything You Need to Know by Dan Richer

Highly anticipated, The Joy of Pizza is for the pizza aficionado on your holiday gift list. “Dan Richer has devoted his career to discovering the secrets to a transcendent pie. The pizza at his restaurant, Razza, is among the best one can eat in the United States, if not the world. Now, Richer shares all he has learned about baking pizza with a crisp, caramelized rim; a delicate, floral-scented crumb; and a luscious combination of sauce, cheese, and toppings that gets as close to perfection as any mortal may dare.”



Critics are loving Belfast. Released last Friday, “written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the music and social tumult of the late 1960s. Starring Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, and Jude Hill.” Check out the trailer below.

King Richard

I look forward to watching the new film King Richard, a biopic of Serena and Venus’ father Richard who brought the two talented tennis champions to the world stage. Will Smith stars as Richard Williams in a film “based on the true story that follows the journey of an undeterred father instrumental in raising two of the most extraordinarily gifted athletes of all time: Venus and Serena Williams.” Have a look at the trailer below and find it on HBO Max now.

tick, tick . . . Boom

I absolutely cannot wait to watch the new film directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda (his directorial debut) starring Andrew Garfield. Garfield portrays the creator or the hit musical Rent, Jonathan Larson, at the age of 30 and the journey of bringing the play to Broadway. Check out the trailer below and watch it beginning today on Netflix.


Adele, 30

Today is the day. If you watched the One Night Only event on Sunday, you already heard four new songs from Adele’s album 30, and now you can enjoy them all as today is release day. Have a listen to “Easy On Me” (if you haven’t already heard it), and look for your preordered copy to arrive today. Enjoy!


—Dream Piece: Bottega Veneta cream twist-front ribbed-knit midi dress (45% off)

I could not help but share. While I will never be able to afford such a piece, I do love a good knit dress or skirt as they hang well on the body, offer just enough warmth and in the right hue, look stunning.

Theory Sale, 25% off Site-Wide

A great sale not to miss is taking place at Theory at the moment. Enjoy 25% off site-wide classic, capsule wardrobe pieces.

turtleneck sweater in wool (multiple colors), double-face wool-cashmere trench coat

Zimmermann navy lucky belted silk midi shirt dress (50% off)

Simple, classic, and comfortable.


The Sex Lives of College Girls

Mindy Kaling brings to HBO Max a new series loosely inspired by her own college experience, and it is a hoot. Read her interview here with the Hollywood Reporter. Available now to stream, check out the trailer below.

The weekend before Thanksgiving here in the states, and how did it sneak up so quickly? The past week found me working in the office most of the time while being present for the contractor as great progress was made, speaking with my illustrator who lives in Europe for an early morning (me) and evening (her) chat as we are nearly done with the artwork for the book, and being delighted with progress being made on the primary bathroom far sooner than expected (the tile in the shower is being installed two weeks ahead of schedule! Wahoo!).

The winner of La Maison du Chocolat’s advent calendar has been selected randomly, and the chocolates are en route as I type to their new home to be enjoyed as December begins. Thank you to all of the TOP Tier Members you joined the conversation in this month’s A Cuppa Moments. As well, this week on the blog the guest bathroom was revealed, and be assured I will pass along your kind words to my contractor who made so many of the thoughtful, unique details possible.

Also, a personal post, of the kind that is not often shared to the larger TSLL community, was shared this past Wednesday and for the comments and self-reflection readers shared from their own lives that reading it inspired, I want to thank you. While a long post, thank you to those who read it in entirety. While I mention and begin anecdotally with the progress of my primary bathroom, it is not the bathroom’s progress that has anything to do with suffering (as one FB reader angrily protested how dare I call a delay of a bathroom project suffering), but rather why I dove head-first into the bathroom remodel, then because I wasn’t embracing my suffering experiencing nearly losing a dear person all manifested by my managing the grief of losing an important soul in my life. Needless to say, I learned a lot about how to navigate moments in life that we wish we could bypass and to do so in a way that is loving and constructive. As well, if you have been curious about what the content of TSLL’s 3rd book will be, this post will share that as well.

I do hope you enjoyed this week’s This & That. Below I have gathered together a handful of posts and two videos you might enjoy. I will be taping this year’s Holiday Cooking Show Episode this weekend and look forward to sharing it with you next Saturday. As for this coming Saturday, look for the regular monthly posting of Saturday Ponderings . . . . Thank you for stopping by, and until Monday, bonne journée.

~4 ways nature recharges introverts [Introvert, Dear]

~The sartorialist journalists were all a chatter about Adele’s white pantsuit worn for her interview with Oprah [The New York Times]

~3 tips for generating a positive and productive mindset to begin the day [Pick the Brain]

~The awesome importance of imagination [The New York Times]

~Why refraining from ‘playing it cool’ while dating is the best idea [Shondaland]

~How the French really use the word voilà [The Local – subscription may be needed]

~Enjoyed reading – 3 Skills that are hard to learn but will pay off forever [Medium]

~Just in case you have a trip planned in the near future – Packing for Paris: how to dress like a Parisienne [HipParis]

~As we step into the holiday season more fully, Skye McAlpine’s winter fruit and mascarpone tart [House & Garden UK]

~December is shaping up to be a wonderfully fun month on television with And Just Like That (aka the informal SATC series continued) debuting on December 9th (HBO Max) and Emily in Paris, season 2 premiering on December 22nd. View both trailers below. I cannot wait.

~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

15 thoughts on “This & That: November 19, 2021

  1. A wonderful This and That Shannon. Kenneth Brannagh , well, there are no words to due justice to his talents. Belfast is most certainly on my radar. …from a Tuscan Village, absolutely a read as well. So much to explore, that you so much.

  2. Thanks so much for this post. I immediately bought the Joy, Life Lessons from a Tuscan Villa book, and can’t wait to read it. Just what I need!!

  3. I can’t wait to see Belfast! And my husband and I watched Adele the other night and it was so beautiful and moving!!! Also want to mention how true it is for introverts to get outside in nature, so away I go now on my morning walk.
    Happy Holidays!

  4. Friday’s “This and That” is always a treasure to ready with so many wonderful suggestions. I keep pen and paper close by so I can write them all down to review later!

    Happy Weekend!

  5. I always enjoy This-and-That! Great selection as usual. 🙂

    I want to watch “Belfast” and “thick, thick, Boom”. I will take care not to get murdered on quaint English village, should I find myself in one 😉 (not any time soon, sadly) – and I want a dress from Bottega Venetta (mission impossible…).

    Have a nice weekend, everyone!

  6. Great This & That, Shannon, as always. I too laughed at the title of the Johnson/Cooper book as I’ve often said that gentle, bucolic little English villages have got to be the most dangerous places on earth! It also reminded me that I’ve been intending to pass along a recommendation for a TV series I don’t know if you’re familiar with: “The Mallorca Files”. It’s a fun show, set on the Spanish island of Mallorca (or Majorca): for reasons I’m unclear on (I’m new to the series & missed the first ep), uptight English police woman Miranda Blake (Welsh actress Elen Rhys) is paired with laid-back German cop Max Winter (very-easy-on-the-eyes Dutch actor Julian Looman) as they work with the local authorities to help police the island. And the island is very much part of the International cast: it’s a gorgeous place & the show highlights that in every episode. The series is very much a “cozy”, with people being murdered all over the place but no gore, guns or real violence on-screen, with a great cast, good plots & plenty of humor. And did I mention how easy on the eyes actor Julian Looman is . . . ?

  7. Lovely Shannon! Your 3rd book is so exciting for me and I can’t wait. The link on packing for Paris has me curious…future travel plans? What’s next up for you? 🙂

  8. As I’m currently reading Under The Tuscan Sun, Joy sounds like a great follow up book. I’m also interested in reading the books about English Villages (both the history and how not to get murdered!). Living in England, one of the favourite ways to spend my time is to visit countryside English villages. So would love to learn more about their history.
    Belfast looks like a film I’ll be watching.
    Thanks for another great this and that Shannon,

    1. Isn’t Under The Tuscan Sun beautifully written. To my mind, this books of hers stands alone. I drank up her imagery and the beauty of her new home and journey to renovate it. And to have the English countryside at your fingertips, oh, what a gift! I will live vicariously through you. Thank you for stopping by Sarah. ?

      1. I absolutely love the way Mayes describes a picture perfect image, her use of language is fantastic. I am savouring, savouring Tuscany through her writing, having not been able to get away for a while through Covid.
        Likewise, hopefully you’ll be able to return to the UK soon enough and visit some English Countryside too : )

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