This & That: July 29, 2016



Bright, Precious Days: A Novel by Jay McInerney

Being released on Tuesday August 2, author Jay McInerney offers a story of a successful couple living and thriving in New York City for the past 10 years: one, an independent book publisher, the other, an altruistic mother involved in her neighborhood. Raising two children and seeing how the city grows and changes around them, as their first decade comes to end, unexpected appearances (the man with whom Corinne had a post 9/11 affair), unplanned economic changes and a few other challenges pop up. How they are able to navigate is the journey readers are taken on, and oh what an intriguing tale it looks to be.

The Hopefuls: A Novel by Jennifer Close

With Washington D.C. and the race for the White House all but everything the news is covering this month, this personal story about a young couple moving to the political center of America looks to be fascinating. Matt, a young, but determined politico is supported in their move to D.C. by his wife Beth, but she is none too impressed with the city that she discovers, let alone the weather. As the couple finds another couple to explore and enjoy the city with, drama ensues as suspicions of wandering eyes and competition begin to boil over.

The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton

Included in my list of 10 Books to Read This Summer, Jessie Burton’s new novel was released just this past Tuesday. Taking readers back to England in the 1960s and Spain in 1933, it intertwines two different narratives and reveals how one can indeed influence the other. Art, desire and mystery are skillfully contained in this book’s tale.

Navigating Life: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me by Margaux Bergen

Written for her daughter Charlotte and given to her when she graduated from high school, author Margaux Bergen began the manuscript when Charlotte was nine years old. Offering humorous, but wise and thoughtful insights into how to survive in the real world or a mother by your side, Bergen has been receiving praise for a book that provides inspiration and guidance for readers of all ages. Released on Tuesday August 2, perhaps a wonderful opportunity to press pause and see how we are doing.

Current Events

Skimm Ahead

As a reader of the daily free email Skimm that keeps me up-to-date on all of the news from the nation and around the world with a touch of humor and sarcasm, Skimm is now making available a subscription service available that will keep you in the know before events happen. For $2.99/month promising to “Never again will you wonder when Beyoncé tickets go on sale, what time the State of the Union is on, or when your favorite show is back on Netflix”, this service is perfect for the reader who wants to stay ahead of the game and not miss a beat.



Emmy award-winning actress for her role in Breaking Bad, Anna Gunn is receiving high praise for her role in a powerful movie about the typically male-dominated Wall Street that brings women into the fold. Being released in theaters today, it debuted at Sundance earlier this year and opens up a world that is known for corruption and catastrophe and instead reveals hard-working women who are resolute in their determination to be successful. I certainly am eager to sit down and enjoy this film. Have a look at the trailer below.


Margaux Ballet Flats

As worn by Linda Rodin who was mentioned in this week’s Style Inspiration, upon following her on Instagram, I discovered she had a predilection for these beautiful, high-quality, reasonably priced ballet flats. And after perusing the website, I can see why. There is nothing extravagant, extreme or excessive, rather simple, beautifully hand-crafted ballet flats in classic styles that will last for years. From their classic style in a variety colors in suede as well as the Demi with the simple tie on the top made of leather, find a pair for less than $200 and discover a shoe that will last for years and look stunning even longer. And while a little bit steeper in price, the Limited ballet flat in camel Italian hair calf certainly did catch my eye as well. Enjoy checking out the site here.


—Giada in Italy, season 2 premiere

With a successful first season of Giada in Italy last year, the second season is ready to launch this Sunday on Food Network. With seven episodes taking you through Florence, the Tuscan countryside and other de Laurentiis family haunts, what a wonderful series to enjoy this summer. Tune in at noon (eastern) this Sunday for food, family and a virtual travel adventure.



~recipe for Apple and Honey Tart with Walnut Crumb Crust~

Welcome to the weekend! The last few days of July are here, and how quickly they did arrive. With plans for enjoying some grilling outdoors, exploring more around my new hometown and finishing up a few projects, I am excited to wrap up this month and am prepared for a wonderful month of August.

How about you? How has the week been going? Hopefully well, and hopefully you are beginning the few days off with a spring in your step and excitement for what is planned. Simple or extravagant, both can be reveled in. Below are more than a handful of articles on a wide range of topics that I think you will enjoy. Until Monday, bonne journée

~A few fun ideas for how to spend quality time alone

~Become unstoppable in the pursuit of your dreams – 30 Behaviors The Will make it a reality

~An intriguing and thought-provoking post about the power of gentle yoga and weight loss

~What stories do you let dance around in  your mind? Zen Habits’ post on Mental Badassery: Becoming Aware of the Stories We Tell Ourselves is worth a read.

~I am reading this and rereading this so as to never forget these wise words: 10 Hard Truths About the Heartbreaking Fantasties We Tell Ourselves

~Listeners continue to email me about episode #111 of The Simple Sophisticate, and here my guest Tiffani Rogers shared a very kind shout-out of her experience.

~Speaking of style, quick quiz! How do you say some of those tricky fashion names?? Find out how here: 20 Fashion Labels You’ve Probably Been Saying Wrong

~Reading fiction and character development. Are they related? This article discusses that exact topic.


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A Touch of Blush


  ~Veronica Beard Palm Peak Lapel belted blazer (available in white as well) On Sale!~ ~Raoul cotton-blend pants (other colors available)~ ~Alexander Wang Marion leather-paneled suede sandals~ ~Equipment Kaylen leopard-print washed-silk tank~ ~Rebecca Minkoff Micro Avery Tote (crossbody)~ ~Aerin gold link bracelet~ ~Nashelle medium … [Continue reading...]

Decor Inspiration: A Petite Charmer


A small space can be an amazing space when the details are carefully tended to. New York interior designer Peyton Cochran recently won Connecticut Cottages & Gardens magazine's top design for small spaces with the conversion of her bachelor godfather's garage into an inviting entertainment space. Notice the use of the high ceilings, the … [Continue reading...]

Compact TSLL Planner Pages


In January 2016, TSLL debuted its first Planner Pages in the Classic size (5.5 x 8.5"). Immediately, readers emailed me to request that a Compact size become available as well (4.25 x 6.75"). Today, I am happy to share with you that the Compact pages are now available. What you will find as you peruse TSLL Planner Shop: All-Inclusive … [Continue reading...]

How to Plan A Meal with Multiple Courses

How to Plan a MealwithMultiple Courses

Part of the fun for guests when they learn they are sitting down for a three, four, five or especially an eight course meal is the curiosity of what each course will be. After all, as was mentioned last week regarding the idea of eating in courses, when we do, our attention is given solely and completely to the dish in front of us. And while as a … [Continue reading...]

Style Inspiration: Monochromatic Mastery


Over the weekend I had an hours drive home, so I tuned in to Garance Doré's podcast, Pardon my French. I was especially looking forward to her most recent episode because she was interviewing the successful beauty business woman Linda Rodin, who has lived it seems many amazing lives: model, stylist, a top photographer's assistant, but most … [Continue reading...]

16 Benefits of Self-Reliance


"Fortune helps them that help themselves." -English proverb ~The Simple Sophisticate podcast, episode #113 As the owner of a curious mind, there is nothing I enjoy more than conversations with other individuals about ideas, concepts and the civilized banter that from time to time manifests about how or why certain things occur or come to be. … [Continue reading...]

This & That: July 22, 2016


Book —Champagne Baby: How One Parisian Learned to Love Wine--and Life--The American Way by Laure Dugas Often is the case of the book written by the American who settles into her life in France, but now Laure Dugas shares the reverse of the tale: a French woman making her life and finding the life of her dreams in America. Born into a family of … [Continue reading...]

Decor Inspiration: French Cottage Charm


Stone floors, a roaring fire next to the dining room table and exposed beams. Yes, the French cottage charm comes alive with these grand, yet humble details. Light, neutral hues complete the abode in the furnishings and accessories, and the imagination can easily dream of lively, cozy conversation enjoyed with loved ones and friends. Enjoy the tour … [Continue reading...]

Outfit of the Week: Chic Mariniére Comfort


~Baukjen Franklin off-the-shoulder top in blue~ ~Theory Robiva crepe blazer~ ~Citizens for Humanity Cora high-rise relaxed crop in miracle mile or Elsa mid-rise slim fit crop in dossier~ ~Joie Nice T-strap thong flat sandal or Donald J Pliner Finn d'Orsay 55mm pump or Stuart Weitzman Nouveau cork pointed-toe pump~ SHOP THE … [Continue reading...]