Spring 2016: Protagonist

protagonist spring 2016, look 15 | simple pretty

look 15

Simple, polished dressing from Protagonist: what an elegant way to kick off the spring shows. (I wouldn’t mind a closet full of Protagonist.) See the complete collection at VogueRunway.com.

protagonist spring 2016, look 2 | simple pretty

look 2

protagonist spring 2016, look 8 | simple pretty

look 8

protagonist spring 2016, look 12 | simple pretty

look 12

protagonist courtesy photos for voguerunway.com

My London: Present And Correct

present and correct | simple pretty

present and correct | 23 arlington way ec1

One of my favorite things to do is to make lists of places to see/eat/shop in a city. And now that we’re on our third year in the UK, I have a solid list for London at the ready, whether you’re visiting for the weekend or (hopefully) longer. With months to go until high school graduation, I’d like to start sharing my favorite spots in London: the places that top every list, the must-sees, “my” London. And I can’t think of a better place to start than with Islington stationery shop Present & Correct.

As a stationery addict, Present & Correct holds a special place in my heart. Founder Neal Whittington first appeared on my design radar via Design*Sponge (back in the early days of blogging, I think I learned about everything from Design*Sponge, and I was obsessed with Neal’s work at Winkreative for Porter Airlines). In 2008, Neal launched P&C online, with a range of products that melded his graphic design and branding experience with his love of stationery. I was instantly drawn to the shop’s eclectic selection, a mix of new and vintage items from around the globe, including a good number of my favorite brands from Japan and Korea. Neal is gifted at selecting modern stationery + supplies that bring a smile to your face. (And who wouldn’t like that?) I started to regularly troll the site, perusing the “what’s new” section with fervor and eagerly awaiting each fall’s onslaught of planners. (They’re always top-notch.) Luckily, the online world was smaller then and we became Twitter friends, bonding over our shared adoration of Tilda Swinton, appreciation for the finely-detailed world(s) of Wes Anderson, and undying affection for paperclips.

present and correct shop interior | simple pretty

shop interior, August 2015

A recent visit to the bricks-and-mortar shop, which first opened in late 2012 on Arlington Way. Office supplies and sundries are meticulously — and creatively — displayed.

present and correct | simple pretty

table filled with japanese stationery goodies

My personal stationery kryptonite is envelopes, with bonus points if they’re from Japan. And here’s the thing: such excitement can easily devolve into embarrassing crazy-cat-lady territory, but thanks to Neal’s wry sense of humor, the undercurrent is one of joy rather than zealousness. (For proof of Neal’s wit, you need look no further than the P&C Twitter feed. Keep your finger on the retweet button.)

present and correct | simple pretty

pencils, erasers, and message booklets from sideshow press

Over the years, P&C has added some of my favorite US stationery brands to the shop, including these message booklets from Charleston’s Sideshow Press which fit rather nicely into the P&C aesthetic.

present and correct | simple pretty

how my “not buying anything” plan worked out

On my most recent visit, I was meeting a friend who was in town and had sworn to myself that I wasn’t going to buy anything as I’m starting to panic/freak out about packing things up for the next move. You can see how well that plan worked: I got some envelopes (of course), a wishbone card, and a packet of paperclips. And so it goes, until the next visit. Thanks, Neal, for enabling my habit and making me feel not alone for having it.

Present and Correct

23 Arlington Way, London EC1R 1UY

Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6:30


all photos by jane potrykus

Happy Menocal

happy menocal illustration for brentwood, montecito + marin country marts | simple pretty

autumn 2013 ad for j.s. rosenfield’s country marts (brentwood, montecito + marin, ca)

I’ve been a fan of Brooklyn artist Happy Menocal for a while, and though her wedding invitations and save-the-dates are de rigueur in Vogue these days, I had the good sense to listen to my friend E back in 2006 when she was raving about Happy. At the time, I was enchanted with Happy’s watercolor takes on dogs, pigeons, and matadors, if I remember correctly. Later that fall, Elisabeth and Happy collaborated on a set of letterpress ’12 Days of Christmas’ cards for that year’s Design Sponge holiday shop. (Yes, I bought a set. Actually, I bought two sets: one-to-keep and one-to-save, which, per usual in my world ends up being two-to-keep. I do plan to frame a set at some point.)

Within the last couple of years, Happy’s work has been popping up with increasing frequency. Interestingly, during that time I’d been saving tear sheets of ads for J.S. Rosenfield’s Country Marts, which run seasonally in C magazine. At one point, I’d even considered emailing to ask who the illustrator was, only to have Happy serendipitously provide the answer recently on social media. It was her! Hoping that the Fall 2015 installment is revealed in C’s September issue.

happy menocal illustration for zero george, charleston | simple pretty

zero george, charleston

Earlier this year, Happy spent a few days at Charleston’s Zero George hotel, enjoying the local foodie scene + perfectly capturing the colorful, elegant Charleston spirit. (Coming soon: Zero George watercolor stationery by Happy!)

happy menocal geraniums for the paris review | simple pretty

geraniums for the paris review

In a 2013 “Week in Culture” feature for the Paris Review (it’s quite interesting and a great read — click through!) Happy captured my favorite flower of the moment, the geranium. I’m officially obsessed.

happy menocal illustration for saveur, august/september 2015 | simple pretty

saveur, august/september 2015

More serendipity: I picked up the current issue of Saveur magazine while in the States and was elated to find Happy’s illustrations atop a party dip story.

happy menocal holiday card for paperless post | simple pretty

‘snowy pastoral’ holiday card (online or paper) for paperless post

Happy also has a collection of online and print designs for Paperless Post. This ‘Snowy Pastoral’ scene is one of my favorites as it reminds me of the series for the Country Marts.

happy menocal x black pearl press "12 days of christmas" cards, 2006 | simple pretty

letterpress “12 days of christmas” cards produced in collaboration with black pearl press, 2006.

And a quick peek at the illustrations that started it all: Happy’s ’12 Days of Christmas’ cards letterpressed by (now defunct) Black Pearl Press.

image credits, from top: screen shot from c magazine digital issue, zerogeorge.com, theparisreview.org, paperlesspost.com, jane potrykus, designsponge.com

Photo Favorites: August 2015

photo favorites, august 2015 | simple pretty

from last week’s trip to the Chicago suburbs

I recently tweeted “all of life is making peace with letting go”, and the past month has been spent living out that maxim. Senior Year looms large (a 9-month exercise in making peace with letting go if ever there was one), and my moral compass has retired (hyperbole, as I still know right from wrong, but Jon had a way of making me feel better about all the wrongs out in the world). Not to mention, fall is on the way: it’s my favorite season, despite the pervasiveness of intense beauty tinged with decay transitioning to intense decay tinged with beauty — or maybe it’s because of that?

At any rate, the Dog Days of summer 2015 were devoted to introspection, re-finding my place in the world, grabbing beauty where I could, and trying to settle into a contentment with “what is”.

A few images that capture that sentiment*:

  1. a few of many old stone outbuildings …
  2. French figs
  3. A late great …
  4. a moody, sombre haze.
  5. #manlyflowergram
  6. Came home to find these …
  7. weekend getaway …
  8. Cup board love
  9. Beauty & the bench
  10. untitled
  11. Bath(ed) in soft sunlight.
  12. Vitamin Sea …
  13. Post-hike
  14. No filter needed …
  15. #foggymorning
  16. I feel a peach cake …
  17. Jens Risom’s Block Island family retreat
  18. #ADK
  19. Friday.

* while putting together this list, I happily discovered that Instagram no longer limits you to the 300 most recent favorites! Hooray!

Also, while I remain uncomfortable tooting my own horn, I would like to thank the exquisite (and très Utilitarian Luxe® shop) Summerill & Bishop for including me in its recent list of  “Our Loves on Instagram”. What company to be keeping, and what an honor.

#exploring Somerset: At The Chapel

at the chapel, bruton | simple pretty

street entrance (photo taken on sunny Saturday)

July has been the month of quick weekend getaways. (I excel at two-day vacations. I know: so American.) This past weekend, we took a Friday night train to Bruton so I could finally check At The Chapel off of my London Bucket List. The restaurant/bakery/hotel opened in 2008, and I think I’ve been plotting my visit since shortly after that.

It was a very rainy Friday, but thankfully it had slowed to a mist by the time we arrived at the station in Bruton and made the short walk to the property. We quickly checked in and then hurried downstairs for our 7:15 dinner reservation.

dining room, at the chapel | simple pretty

dining room

Our table was along one side of the chapel-turned-restaurant and I started to take in the surroundings. The restaurant quickly filled for Friday dinner: high ceilings and white walls helped disguise the dreary weather.

pizza at the chapel | simple pretty

pizza prep

The restaurant is known for its pizza, and I love pizza, so ordering was a no-brainer. (Don’t the carry-out boxes look great?)

dinner at the chapel | simple pretty


To add a bit of adventure to our pizza-and-salad meal, we added a side of Stills Farm carrots. They were amazing — buttery, colorful, and full of flavor. (In case you were wondering, the chorizo pizza was delicious, too.)

croissants and coffee at the chapel | simple pretty

room service breakfast

In the morning, guests at the hotel receive croissants at 7am, which arrive in a bag hung from your door knob (just in case your day starts later than 7). There is fresh butter and jam in the mini-fridge, and a French press for your coffee. Such an easy, elegant way to have room service!

bakery goods at the chapel | simple pretty

pastry + baked goods display

Of course, one pastry was never going to cut it for breakfast, so we headed downstairs a bit later to peruse the bakery‘s pastry table.

bread at the chapel | simple pretty

fresh-baked bread

Loaves of bread lined another wall, and most of it was gone by the afternoon, when we returned for lunch: this time, on the outdoor terrace (Saturday was sublime: gorgeous + sunny) with burgers and beer and yes, more carrots.

bakery/coffee at the chapel | simple pretty

view into bakery/pizza area

One of the highlights of my visit was meeting At The Chapel’s owners, Catherine Butler and Ahmed Sidki, at checkout. (They were manning the “front desk” when we came to collect our bags.) I was grateful to be able to tell them in person them how much I enjoyed our experience at their hotel. I also seized the opportunity to ask Catherine a few questions about the bottled wine they sell, as I was particularly curious about how an Oregon wine, Evolution, ended up on their short list. (At The Chapel’s retail selection is identical to the restaurant’s wine list, so if you find a favorite while dining, you can buy a bottle to enjoy at your leisure.)

all photos by jane potrykus

I didn’t take any photos of our room, but we stayed in room 5, which is on the top floor + offers magnificent views of Bruton.  The room was spacious, comfortable + perfectly appointed (Ren products are featured in the bath). I’d stay there again in a heartbeat, though I’m tempted to try room 8 next time, as it opens onto a private courtyard.