Favorites: April 2016

peony photo by jane potrykus | simple pretty

can’t believe peony season is here!!

Is there anything better than peony season? My heart jumps a bit when I first spot a bucket of golf-ball sized buds at flower stands. That said, apologies in advance for the glut/surfeit/bounty of peony pictures you’ll have to endure at Instagram (just from me!) over the next couple of months — worth it, I hope.

It’s been a busy month around here. The boy decided to attend the University of Chicago*, and we spent a day on campus over spring break. I’m proud, and a bit envious of all the opportunities headed his way over the next few years, and I’m also a bit (over)emotional at the thought of a new chapter beginning for both of us. Because while he knows where he’ll be in September, the left-behind parents are still adrift in options. The upside is another summer in London, the downside is that for a planner, having no plan is stressful. I would like a base in the US for my baby bird to fly home to that’s “ours”. Ideas welcome. Alternatively, I’ll take recommendations for a good massage therapist :)

A few of my current favorites:


  1. Withering
  2. On the road again ….
  3. Spring has sprung
  4. ocean blue
  5. cherry blossom season ….
  6. untitled
  7. Garden store packaging.
  8. Phew. ….
  9. A new one showed up ….
  10. New pieces ….

To Watch

  1. Everything is Copy  Thankfully, caught this on HBO while in Chicago, as it doesn’t seem to be making its way to Sky Atlantic like many HBO shows do. I used to treat a new Nora Ephron article/book like gospel, hanging on every word, and this documentary, written and directed by her son Jacob Bernstein, helped to fill the huge hole left by her passing.
  2. Togetherness Another HBO show! The second — and sadly, final — season just concluded. What a wonderful little show it was: never afraid to be real. Only 16 half-hour episodes in all: an easy binge watch. Highly recommended.

To Read

  1. Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams  I’m only 250/362 296/362 of the way through, but I promise you: click over to Amazon (or SusanBranch.com) and order this book right now — do not pass Go. When it arrives, you’ll want to drop everything until you finish. Susan Branch writes (and draws) like a dream, and what a talented, wondrous, magical life she’s lead. Not to mention, she’s relentlessly positive, and I need more of that in my life.
  2. Domino Magazine I’d kind of given up on Domino 2.0, and then Jenni Kayne on the cover of the spring issue tempted me to take another look. So glad I did, because the current issue, with a focus on fashion, feels much in the spirit of the original quirky-insidery-yet-approachable magazine that I worshipped. Loved reading about Sleepy Jones, Capitol, The Line, and yes, Ms. Kayne.

photo at top: peony at absolute flowers and home by jane potrykus

speaking of which, while visiting campus, I spotted someone wearing one of these sweaters — now I want one, and they seem to be sold out, and possibly defunct? arrggh! such good design. 

Simple Pretty Chicago: 3 Arts Club Café

3 arts club café, chicago | simple pretty

One of my favorite outings during last week’s mad-dash through the US was a leisurely afternoon spent at Restoration Hardware’s new Chicago flagship. The building, known as the 3 Arts Club, was built in 1914 to house women studying music, drama, and the visual arts. Empty since 2003, the site was gloriously renovated under the guidance of California-based architects Backen, Gillam & Kroeger and perfectly showcases RH furniture and the company’s aesthetic. (You can read more about the process at Architectural Digest, and watch video highlights at YouTube.)

3 arts club café, chicago | simple pretty

more dining space under a restored barrel-vaulted ceiling

The crown jewel is the courtyard’s 3 Arts Club Café. Run by Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt hospitality group — whose ever-growing Chicago restaurant empire is the source of most of my food cravings while in town, including the city’s best doughnuts — the steel-and-glass-ceiling lends the atrium space the feel of a winter garden complete with fountain. It’s a relaxed-yet-decadent spot to enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich with truffle butter and a nice glass of red wine. (Yes, that’s what I ordered, and the food was relaxing-yet-decadent, too. And delicious.)

3 arts club café, chicago | simple pretty

a bird’s eye view of the dining area

Other smart amenities include free valet parking as well as the ability/encouragement to order a beverage and wander the store while you wait for a table. The building is so beautiful you’ll want to stroll all six floors, so be sure to allow ample time before or after your meal. Summertime on the roof deck is certain to be spectacular: I wonder if the RH team has any events planned to show off the space and the Chicago skyline. Here’s hoping yes, as a return visit is a certainty.

3 arts club pantry, chicago | simple pretty

the pantry, where you can pick up the city’s best doughnut OR a glass of champagne while you wait for a table.

restoration hardware, 3 arts club building chicago | simple pretty

restoration hardware’s furniture really suits the space

restoration hardware, 3 arts club building chicago | simple pretty

the roof deck, crying out for a summer day

restoration hardware at the 3 arts club building chicago | simple pretty

the entrance on dearborn

all photos by jane potrykus

Restoration Hardware and the 3 Arts Club Café

1300 North Dearborn, Chicago (at Goethe)

restorationhardware.com // 3artsclubcafe.com

Fall 2016: Objects Without Meaning

objects without meaning fall 2016, look 9 | simple pretty

look 9

Described by Vogue as a collection for those who are defined by their accessories* — which is totally me — I am glad to have found Alexandra Michelle’s fall collection for her Los Angeles-based label Objects Without Meaning. Understated silhouettes are exactly what I look for when shopping. (And the shoes featured are the perfect accessory.)

And then I clicked over to the OWM blog and the first entry I saw featured Emma the Yellow, the daughter of an Internet friend, sharing her love for the brand and I wondered, “What took me so long?” Don’t wait: click over to the complete lookbook at VogueRunway.com right now.

objects without meaning fall 2016, look 18 | simple pretty

look 18

objects without meaning fall 2016, look 1 | simple pretty

look 1

objects without meaning courtesy photos for voguerunway.com

* Vogue also mentions Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, which for me is fashion catnip. I’m still heavily influenced by how she dressed, all these years later.

Favorites: March 2016

leiden, the netherlands | simple pretty

along the oude rijn canal, leiden

Hello, spring! I’ve been waiting for you, though all is forgiven as you appeared just in time for the rugby end-of-season tournament in Leiden (the Netherlands). And with Daylight Savings Time underway in the US, things are improving at a rapid pace. The end of rugby signals the beginning of baseball in my world …. and spring sports means graduation is just around the corner. (How is this possible?)

Some of my favorites from around the internet this month:


  1. Walks into store. Faints.
  2. heavenly handful
  3. #paris #sunnyday #arches
  4. Traveled all the way to Scotland ….
  5. Egg cup warmers ….
  6. kumquats
  7. Secret garden blooms
  8. THANK YOU notes
  9. Whales
  10. painting of postage stamp
  11. Isn’t this gorgeous?

To Watch

  1. House of Cards Chronicling the machinations of terrible people who are dressed to kill (pun intended). I hate it and yet I can’t stop watching it.
  2. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Have missed Sam Bee’s field pieces at The Daily Show, and if I can’t have Jon at the anchor desk, this is surely the next best thing.

To Taste

  1. Shredded Un-Chicken Salad Looks and sounds very tasty. Perfect for a spring diet-detox.

To Read

  1. Maira Kalman interview at AIGA Always eager to learn a bit more about my favorite creative people. Kalman, a 2016 AIGA Medalist, muses about her inspirations and the necessity of daydreaming.
  2. Garçonne We Love: Sarah Medevedovsky A sophisticated Parisienne with covetably undone hair, Medevedovsky, a product designer for the French accessories brand Isaac Reina, oozes utilitarian luxe® style.

photo at top by jane potrykus

Paris Fall 2016: Noir Kei Ninomiya

noir kei ninomiya fall 2016, look 12 | simple pretty

look 12

I think my transition to city person is complete*: I am gaga for these looks from Noir Kei Ninomiya’s fall collection. All black and tailored, yet with a touch of elegance. (And with utilitarian luxe® lace-ups from Repetto, no less!) See all of the looks (including some more avant-garde options) at VogueRunway.com.

noir kei ninomiya fall 2016, look 15 | simple pretty

look 15

noir kei ninomiya fall 2016, look 20 | simple pretty

look 20 (love the jacket closure detail)

 noir kei ninomiya fall 2016, look 22 | simple pretty

look 22

noir kei ninomiya courtesy photos for voguerunway.com

the days of preppy-bright colors and Lilly Pulitzer seem eons ago.