Who isn’t tempted by souvenirs when travelling? The charm of a petite treasure to remind you of favorite places and experiences is irresistible. As a minimalist, I find that edible gifts are the perfect way to bring the essence of a city home with you with a minimum of clutter, and the hunt for the perfect combination of product and packaging can be as much fun as the purchase! Here are a few discoveries from my recent trip to Paris to inspire you:
- Sebastien Gaudard a jewel box of a shop on Rue des Martyrs, Gaudard’s pâtisserie is filled with prettily packaged cakes, candies and cookies to tempt your sweet tooth. I selected a cello-bag of salted butter cookies for the train ride to London. A fleeting sort of souvenir, but they were delicious. (For extra credit, I’d suggest indulging in a tart or croissant to enjoy on the spot.)
- La Chambre Aux Confitures also on Rue des Martyrs, the shop’s shelves are lined with a wide assortment of jams and spreads. I plan to work my way through LCAC’s flavor library (more adventurous options include pear & hazelnut as well as apricot-lavender) but as I have a 16yo’s taste buds to accommodate, I’m perfectly happy to start with their exquisitely simple strawberry jam.
- Found water admittedly, Found isn’t a Parisian brand (it’s Aussie-American), but I discovered their flavored waters — prettily bottled and available in elderflower! — on the shelves at Le Bon Marché’s La Grande Épicerie during a Saturday morning wander, which qualifies it as a French souvenir in my book. (La Grande Épicerie is a highly recommended wandering spot, by the way)
- Les Marquis de Ladurée Ladureé’s new chocolate shop (on Rue de Castiglione) was right around the corner from my hotel — so of course I had to indulge in a petite box of chocolate medallions. All of Ladurée’s gift boxes are perfection, so I’ve saved it for storing tiny bits of ephemera.
- The Fine Cocktail Company also discovered during my La Grande Épicerie wander, I was so enchanted with the bottle that I scooped up the Lemon/Ginger/Vodka elixir without a second thought — one of the benefits of train travel is no worries about packing liquids in a carry on!
layout and type by jane potrykus. image credits: 1. jane potrykus 2. lachambreauxconfitures.com 3. foodbev.com 4. marquis.laduree.com 5. publicisdrugstore.com
january 30 | part of the series ‘what i wore to the studio’
Completely charmed by the artistic stylings of Brooklyn-based illustrator Monica Ramos. Her Tumblr is full of sweet-but-not-cloying watercolors: my favorites are her contributions to the series ‘what i wore to the studio’ as I love a good fashion illustration.
october 7 | illustration for lucky peach magazine’s gender issue
november 18 | jacket illustrations for needs & wants
august 19 | custom wedding invitation illustration
images courtesy of monica ramos | a selection of her illustrations are available as prints at Etsy
As improbable as it seems for May to be here, I’m equally excited for summer (whatever summer in England means) as well as freaked out by the fact that we’re moving house in just over two months. After living in one place for almost 14 years, to be packing up after one year is a bit unsettling, and yes, stressful. I just figured out where things were stored in this house! That said, we’re hoping that this next move will carry us through our London experience so ….. fingers crossed.
I’ve been enjoying my garden walks in April, drinking in the seemingly daily changing landscape, and marveling at how many plants I’ve never seen before. I’m sure the other residents on the garden (should they be spying on me) are wondering why I’m taking so many photos of flowers. I can’t help it: the lushness is completely enchanting. I’ve been sharing most of my pics these days at Instgram — my activity on Flickr is waning (though I’m keeping to my one-photo-a-day policy, as it’s highly motivating) — and this change is reflected in my April favorites. I hope you’ll enjoy them all the same: there are lots of flowers, illustrations, and pretty scenery to linger over:
- Late-night distraction mechanism
- Wish I was in Milan for the Merci pop-up ….
- “Kindy” disregard the misspelling
- Coffee stop at wheelers yard
- good to be home
- Thursday afternoon
- The fog is rolling in…
- nice boat – ahoy! roosevelt island, #nyc.
- in the middle of a thought.
- Dramatic ending. //
- Happy weekend TO you!
photo at top posted to Instagram April 23 by janepotrykus
I like cookbooks that inspire me visually — sort of an elegant melding of a coffee-table book and cookbook. These two new-releases fit that mold and are quite simply, perfection.
Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food (Grand Central Publishing, $30)
Buvette is the restaurant I visit without fail whenever I’m in New York. The space exudes charm and is known for its delicious range of small-plate treats. I first fell in love with Buvette over a Stationery Show weekend dinner of mussels — the sauce was amazing! — but have been known to pop in simply to enjoy an afternoon glass of rosé at the bar. And now, I’m a fan of Buvette’s Paris location* + have fallen for a good French 75 cocktail. Those of you who’ve asked me for NYC travel recs will no doubt remember my pleas to “go to Buvette and make sure you order the chocolate mousse!” As such, I’ve been anticipating Jody Williams’ cookbook for ages, and I’m so happy it’s finally available. Filled with gorgeous photography by Gentl & Hyers, flipping through ‘Buvette’ is like taking a virtual visit to Williams’ gastrothèques. The book’s recipes span breakfast to late-night, and happily includes my favorites, the croque monsieur with cornichons, and yes, the famous chocolate mousse.
Paris Pastry Club (Hardie Grant, $29.95)
crème brûlée for one
Fanny Zanotti is having a moment: not only is she head pastry chef at one of the hottest reservations in London (that’s the Chiltern Firehouse, for those of you keeping score) but she’s also put together a knock-out début cookbook. Out this month in the UK — and coming soon to the US — Paris Pastry Club is a pâtisserie-lover’s dream. Whether you revel in spending an afternoon baking the perfect brioche, are assembling a repertoire of favorites as you dream of opening your own pastry shop someday, or simply take pleasure in ogling beautifully photographed madeleines (guilty), this is the book for you. The recipe I’m hoping to master is Fanny’s ‘crème brûlée for one’. Portion perfection in dessert form.
image credits: buvette photos by gentl & hyers, courtesy of grand central publishing // paris pastry club photos courtesy of hardie grant publishers
* the may 2014 issue of bon appétit features buvette paris waiter gabriel galand on the cover. over the weekend, we were in paris again (and at buvette, again) and gabriel sweetly let me know about his Q&A feature at the bon appétit website. enjoy!
While there are many, many reasons to buy paper goods, sometimes you need to get back to the basics, and amass an arsenal of supplies that will take you from list-making to desk-organizing to birthday-card-sending without having to run to the store every five minutes. It’s Everyday Stationery with a twist, and here’s what you need:
- Muji B5 Spiral bound notebook first off, I think B5 is the perfect size paper. It’s large enough to hold a decent amount of notes and information, but small enough that said lists don’t become overwhelming. The cover is in a plain dark charcoal/black, which means you can leave it simple, or personalize it with stickers and labels.
- Dandelion Paperweight I think desk accessories are a nice way to make a bit of a statement on a utilitarian desk. Hafod Grange’s line of botanical globe weights are not only substantial (they’ll get the job done) but très elegant. And yes, gorgeous.
- Uniball Signo Gel Ink Pen I cycle through favorite pens with regularity. My current fave, from Uniball, is comfortable to hold, and its slim .38 nib makes my printing a bit more presentable — even, dare I say, artistic. Which of course, I appreciate.
- Muji B5 White Lined Notepad with PP Cover at £1.25, Muji does it again. I use these notepads for everything: grocery lists, blog ideas, to-do lists, doodles. They were out of stock for months this winter and I anxiously anticipated their return to the shelves so I could run in and stock up.
- Spring Once More Screen-Printed Occasions Card in order for a greeting card to be considered “everyday”, it has to be cool enough to speak to the design-lover in me, yet appeal to a wide range of recipients. I found these Spring Once More typographic cards (available in a range of greetings) last fall at Choosing Keeping, and months later, they are still a favorite.
- MT Washi Tape late to the game, I am now a huge proponent of washi tape. Functional but pretty, I used the tape extensively at Christmas: attaching gift tags to presents, adhering school photos to cards, and for everyday, I use it to turn any paper note into an insta-post-it. I stick to solid colors: pink and grey, to be exact. (suprise!)
- Owl Paper Clip every desk needs a paper clip, and while the ubiquitous gem will do the job, why not choose the slightly quirky — yet still functional — option? These attractive Japanese owl-shaped clips will sate your need for design and keep your tear sheets perfectly organized.
layout and type by jane potrykus. image credits: 1. muji.com 2. matomeno.in 3. jetpens.com 4. muji.com 5. springoncemore.com 6. cutetape.com 7. lion-jimiuki.co.jp