Fall Books for Gifting (and Keeping)

fall 2014 book picks | simple pretty

If print is dead, someone forgot to tell the gift book industry — there are so many great new releases this fall. Perfect for holiday giving, and keeping, too:

  • Minimalist Crafters will love Sally Shim’s book, Pretty Packages. I’ve followed Sally’s blog for years*, and have always marveled at her gift wrap and party favor skills. (Every year, like clockwork, I fall in love with her newest take on the advent calendar.) Pretty Packages is full of clever yet easy-to-accomplish projects that look super stylish. As the mother of a teenage boy, I’m especially happy that the Pretty Packages style isn’t too sweet — here’s to crafting projects I can use!
  • Artful Home Cooks will appreciate Sunday Suppers. I’ve also been following Karen Mordechai and her blog for years, and was so excited when I learned of this book. The Sunday Suppers cookbook, organized by time of day, combines winning recipes with beautiful photography — it’s filled with ways to make family meals and gatherings a little more special. As I’m a morning person, I’m eyeing the granola recipe as well as looking forward to a breakfast beach picnic outing (when picnicking weather returns).
  • Family Historians (and photo buffs) should enjoy Nicholas Nixon: The Brown Sisters / Forty Years, a collection of Nixon’s annual photo session with his wife and her sisters, that started on a whim. The series is compelling and you’ll find yourself lingering over the photos, observing the sisters dynamic change with time.
  • Aesthetic Travelers will love to spend time poring through Cereal magazine’s first printed city guide. If you like Cereal’s meticulously edited Instagram feed, you’ll love this compilation of editor Rosa Park* and creative director Rich Stapleton’s London favorites,  presented simply and cleanly — the Cereal way — in a beautifully designed book. (At the moment, supplies of the London guide are sold out at Cereal, but I’ve seen it on newsstands: good news for those who are motivated to take up the search. More city guides are in the works.)
  • Utilitarian Luxe® Living fans (like me) and interior design aficionados have been eagerly anticipating Ilse Crawford’s monography, A Frame For Life, a veritable look-book of photos from a wide range of Crawford-designed, including her home, on which she collaborated with architect Vincent Van Duysen, the Aesop store on London’s Mount Street, as well as an in-depth look at my favorite Crawford project to date, Stockholm hotel Ett Hem.
  • Resident Mixologists (every home needs one) should pick up The Mixer’s Manual.  Because the holidays are coming and who doesn’t need a graphically illustrated guide to creating the perfect cocktail? Leave a copy at a well-stocked bar and enjoy your party!

photo credits: book covers from amazon.com, with the exception of cereal’s london guide from readcereal.com // layout and type by jane potrykus.

At my request, I received review copies of Pretty Packages and Sunday Suppers.

full disclosure: I am friends with Sally Shim and Rosa Park — neither asked me to write about her book. Each was included solely at my discretion.

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What Instagram has taught me about letting go

instagram profile page | jane potrykus // simple pretty

screenshot of my instagram profile page

Instagram: it’s my of-the-moment social media salve. (Perfect for scrolling through at 3am London time, when I can’t sleep and it seems like my friends in California are having loads of fun.) Visual stimulation and inspiration plus connection? Yes, please.

But Instagram has also taught me a lesson. Its policy of only allowing you to access your 300 most recent likes has forced me to stay in the moment. At first, I railed against those lost photos (what if the perfect one was in there?), and hoped that the powers that be would realize their policy error, and cave to my desires. But they haven’t, and perhaps the better lesson was learning to let. them. go.

I’m learning to enjoy the beauty in real time — savoring it, even — but I’ve come to realize that much like any experience, holding on tightly rarely gives the payback you desire. I’m not perfect: I still tend to ration out my likes a bit too stingily, trying to make my favorites last, but I’m learning. and becoming more thoughtful in the process.

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London Shop: In House

in house post card for opening collection | simple pretty

New to London’s Redchurch Street (Shoreditch), In House is a clever combination of exhibition and shop. Curated by the design team at In House Studios, each month presents a new shoppable theme. The debut collection, “In Print”, is dedicated to all things paper and ink (filled with pencils, notebooks, rulers, and such — right up my alley). If it’s your alley too, get over there this weekend: “In Print” closes on Sunday, September 28. Of course, that means October’s collection is right around the corner.

in house "in print" exhibit | simple pretty

photos from in house’s first collection, “in print”, as well a shot of the shop a few days before launch.

in house "in print" collection | simple pretty

back of the postcard explaining the “in print” collection

In House Studios // 67 Redchurch Street // London E2 7DJ

+44 207 729 5117 // @studioinhouse

all photos by jane potrykus

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London Spring 2015: Michael van der Ham

michael van der ham spring 2015 | look 8 //simple pretty

look 8

Romantic appliqués at Michael van der Ham lend evening wear an appealing touch of wabi sabi. See the complete collection at Style.com.

michael van der ham spring 2015 | look 29 // simple pretty

look 29

michael van der ham spring 2015 | look 14 // simple pretty

look 14

image credits: photos by stefano masse/indigitalimages.com for style.com


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London Spring 2015: Barbara Casasola

barbara casasola spring 2015 | look 14 // simple pretty

look 14

Lightweight, metallic fabrics in leotard-inspired cuts paired well with wispy, ethereal skirts: Barbara Casasola’s spring show defined utilitarian luxe® evening wear. See the complete collection at Style.com.

barbara casasola spring 2015 | look 22 // simple pretty

look 22

barbara casasola spring 2015 | look 29 // simple pretty

look 29

image credits: photos by yanni vlamos/indigitalimages.com for style.com

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