Tag Archives: bookmarc

if it’s there, use it

These days, in the midst of our highly digital world, you might assume most well-to-do establishments place their resources on state-of-the-art technology. While this may be the case at times, many still stay true to the old-fashioned paper.

Our numero uno brown ink fan, Jenni David, continuously supplies me with paper goodies she brings home after her trips around the globe. This last round it was a cool postcard from BookMarc, the Mark Jacobs bookstore and a notebook from The Mill where she was editing a spot.

mill bookmarc

I’ve also received a handful of stationery from fab hotels, from New York City to Santiago.


JenniINTL Whenever on the road (which is rare these days) I search for boutiques which sell their own line of paper products. The one below came back from our weekend in Palm Springs last Fall, visiting the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Not only is the notepad a handsome “field note” style, and moleskin made, but it always reminds me of my carefree state-of-mind when I glance at the cover.


Locally, institutions such as the Minneapolis Institute of Art, are smart with giveaways. Last year we helped host an event and came home with a sturdy, spiral notebook. Aside from the quality, it’s a Thank You gift I will actually use. Double bonus.


Now that Nick is not currently traveling for work there is a bit of a lull when it comes to hotel stationery. Thankfully I have stored up! Ha. But it’s something I hope hotels, art institutes, cool boutiques and not-so-trendy boutiques keep up with – free stationery or inexpensive paper goods in their stores. Every time I travel I seem to have a reason to write a letter using the hotel stationery. And my need for notebooks only grows over time. I’m also pretty certain if the Chicago hotel where the boys camped out this past week had not supplied stationery, Emmett might not have written this note while on vacation, away from his sister.


(Not even prompted! I’m just saying.)

I’ll Take Manhattan – A Stationery Shopping Guide

Being the devoted brown ink fan that I am, Wendy and Nick asked me to write a piece for the blog’s one year anniversary. Enchanté.

While in NYC for work, I spent some downtime discovering some of Lower Manhattan’s finest offerings for stationery. Before we get started, here is a playlist to accompany your stationery craving.

Top Hat/Lower East Side

The LES exudes rockstarness. The cool factor at Nina Allen’s shop, Top Hat, is high and therefore a definite rockstar of stores. Top Hat’s pusher is Nina’s wholesale company Sweet Bella. Serving the Northern Hemisphere, Sweet Bella wholesales many distinct, keenly designed items ranging from sundry type items to whimsical bits and bobs.

Come on in!

The notecard offering is modest as it’s carefully selected. I especially like the stitching notecards. What a unique way to share a memory of a trip, give to someone embarking on their own journey or to represent one’s own wanderlust.

Learn to sew and create a memory of a trip.

Top Hat carries other stationery necessities such as pens, notebooks, push pins, etc. My personal favorite is washi tape. MT, the top dog of decorative masking/washi tape in the entire universe, is well represented at Top Hat. Including the latest addition from MT – MT Casa. Pure genius.

MT Casa gone bananas!

Easy on, easy off. You could change it up weekly.

Fascination with initials is shared by many.  These letters are handmade in Stroke-on-Kent, England  and cast from vintage originals. They come in a variety of fonts and sizes and make a delightful gift or addition to a spot in your home that needs a reminder of you. I wish I had picked up the ampersand – crazy cute.

Oh, hi, Cute.

Terrapin Stationers at Bookmarc & Little Marc/West Village & Greenwich Letterpress/West Village

brown ink and friends are huge fans of Terrapin Stationers (see my personal favorite here). I inquired about a visit to Terrapin’s workshop and received a quick reply from Terrapin’s head honcho, Ted Harrington. My dream of meeting the man who quite possibly uses the f word more than I do, was not realized as I was last minute and a weekend. Ted very kindly referred me to Greenwich Letterpress. Before visiting Greenwich Letterpress I checked out Terrapin’s exclusive line for Bookmarc and Little Marc Jacobs. These fine goodies are only available in-store- only a few are featured here. Lucky you, they take phone orders. Terrapin’s standard collection can be purchased on line as well as at a stockist near you.

You needn’t be British to send these festive invites for your next soiree.

Put it here, baby!

Sassy bookplate.

You’re gonna party like it’s your birthday with this card.

Next up, Greenwich Letterpress. I was pleasantly surprised with the massive selection of cards ranging from their own cards as well as other top notch stationers such as SuitorLifeOriginal Crown Mill, Hammer Press  and Oddball Press.

Adorable storefront.

Just as cute on the inside.

Original Crown Mill by Pelletier. In navy vellum. Yum. And regal, too.

The gift selection was party centric including party favor striped bags and a good luck horse shoe.  The stationery accoutrements were witty and fun- especially these pencils and notebooks from SuitorLife. The food snob placecards will surely rouse the discerning guests at your next Sunday Supper and even your CSA lovin’ friend.

Placecards accompany the Food Snob Dictionary.

brown ink and friends will likely enjoy this smart pocketsize journal for letter writers.

Encouragement. Inspiration.

Suggested list ideas. brown ink.may have an idea or two!

Mr. Boddington’s Studio/Chelsea

Mr. Boddington’s Studio is by private appointment only which requires planning in advance and punctuality. Thankfully, Brand Director Jessie Camden, was kind enough to accept my plea for a quick 15 minute visit. Upon an on time arrival, I was squealing with delight and maybe using a few too many f-bombs. The studio is bright, open and invigorating with layers of notecards and other goodies to be discovered.  From floor to ceiling, walls are strategically organized with Boddington’s creations – wrapping paper, note cards, recipe cards, notebooks, coasters, gift tags. And of course, wedding suites – weddings are a majority of their business.

Wanna hang out here all day?

Their custom hand drawn prints can serve as a focal point and/or an accent. Opening an envelope and discovering a custom liner is common with Boddington’s. It’s like discovering the malted milk ball at the bottom of your ice cream cone! The clever copy is written by the talented gang at Boddington’s.

Wrapping paper heaven. All custom designed.

The patterns are out of hand and the paper is like cashmere.

Studio and workspace for assembling stationery packages for lucky recipients.

Gourd season is upon which has me lusting for this bright orange leather notebook. The lizard notebooks, bound in London, are new for Boddington’s.  The gold edged paper is the perfect gilded touch. For those who keep track of passwords on paper, consider this twee notebook. Heaven! Look for stockists in your area otherwise order direct from their website.

Happiness is a cheery notebook.

Hello, awesome liner.

Guess you won’t be forgetting your passwords anymore.

Project No. 8/Midtown

Just a brief jaunt from Mr. Boddington’s, you will find Project No. 8 located in the ultra hip Ace Hotel. This store has the traveler in mind. If you’re in need of a souvenir for your best mate, a wool cap to thwart the autumn chill or a mag to read, you’ll find a thoughtfully considered mix of items. Naturally the shop’s countertop card spinner features a well curated lot of cards from such stationers such as Set Editions and LA based artist, Ashkahn. You will also find an assortment of stylish notebooks and writing instruments to accompany your card purchase.

Good reminder. A fun item to pass out at parties perhaps? By Set Editions.

For the wanna be rocker in your life. By Set Editions.

By Ashkahn. Reading is sexy- like the magnet says.

Once you’ve made your purchase you might want to grab a pick-me-up from Stumptown Roasters and enjoy some quality notecard writing time in the hip hotel lobby. Chances are you’ll Shazam a few new tunes to add to your next playlist. Oh, if you’re ready to nosh consider Sub No. 7 around the corner. I’m partial to the Mongolian Tofu with a Muchim pickle on the side. Dope.

Note: If you’re a dude, shopping for a dude or just into dudewear, head downtown for Project No. 8’s men’s furnishings outpost.

Marimekko/Flat Iron

My visit to Marimekko’s flagship store was enhanced by my insanely delicious Menta Bianca Stracciatella gelato from next door neighbor Eataly’s Gelateria. The iconic Unikko pattern lends itself quite well to the notecard offerings. The Isola print letter set in black and white comes with top flap closure envelopes- a nice detail. The notepads, notebooks are covered in Marimekko prints and inviting a place to keep to do lists, doodle or journal.

ABC Home/Flatiron

The beloved home mecca has a large stationery area located on the ground floor. The displays are well art directed and fit in with the store’s vibe. Lines include Sapling Press, hat+wig+glove, co and Motel Deluxe,  just to name a few. Stationery accoutrements abound if you care to indulge – pens, notebooks, paperweights, rubberstamps, labels and the like.

Simple. By Hat Wig Glove and Co.

Motel Deluxe’s Colorations line. Color Blocking is in this fall.

The kid’s section on the third floor offers a small but kid focused selection of note sets and individual cards. The stylings and packaging is geared toward kids just as the rest of the department is. Of course everything is top notch with a healthy dose of wonder.

Calypso Home/Soho

This home goods purveyor carries a line of luxe stationery by New Orleans based designer, Alexa Pulitzer. The collection has a gypset vibe with a dash of regalness. An exclusive, very French, suite will be available soon in stores and on line – get a sneak peek here. Feel free to throw a John Derian paperweight on top of your growing stationery supply and don’t forget to send me a card from your beachside retreat in St. Barth’s.

Pug Royalty by Alex Pulitzer.

Royal Giraffe makes for a fancy shopping list.


In classic Japanese style, Muji welcomes you with a neat display of writing instruments. The simple and functional stationery is also meticulously displayed. Craft paper notecards and envelopes are good for everyday use or you can embellish them on your own for a special occasion.

Pearl River Mart/Soho

This treasure trove offers a wide array of Asian items. The extensive stationery section includes paper products from China, Japan and various locales. The stationery sets would make a perfect gift for your niece or daughter. You can find loads of oddities from notebooks to kitchenware, slippers, etc. A perfect stop if you’re prepping for a party or looking to stock up on your stationery stash.

The two-story mecca.

Tribeca Treats/Tribeca

Tribeca Treats creates delectable delights and carries an inspiring potpourri of stationery to match the sweets. Tyler, long time employee and NYU student, was happy  to share his personal favorites from the extensive card selection in the shop. Bonus! Sweets and stationery! A majority of the quality selection is letterpress. The wide array of brands spans the US from local NYC stationers Greenwich Letterpress, Chicago’s Snow & Graham, Pittsburgh’s Sapling Press and San Francisco’s Chewing the Cud.

You can also find unique party provisions such as napkins, cake stands, candles sparkler cupcake toppers, cookbooks and kitchenware. Dip in for an afternoon sugar fix and indulge in some card purchasing while you nibble.

Sparklers from Tops Malibu.

A juicy pen is waiting for some fresh new paper to make friends with and needs you to make the introduction. Off you go.



Meaning in a Mug

I have to say this blogging thing has made an impact on my pencil and pen collection. It’s brought a new dimension to what’s been popping out of my grass colored pottery mug…And I like the change!

First off, admitting you enjoy writing to your friends and family, so much so that you are blogging about it, is a pretty direct hint to folks looking for gift ideas.  And in 2011 I scored. Ha. Seriously, though, people were too kind.

The rage kicked off on my birthday when my friend Dana sent me a sweet Retro 1951 Tornado Classic Lacquer in brown…but of course. When I want to feel like a true professional writer or the CEO of Brown Ink, this is what I grab (thanks again, Ding!).


Christmas morning I found these Keep Calm and Carry On pencils from Paper Source in my stocking. Perfectly sharpened and calmingly red, I feel like British royalty with these 12 red charmers gazing at me from my mug. Thanks Santa.



My friend Jane provided our family with even more goofiness with this Predict a Pen which my boys are obsessed with using. When asking “Can we eat chocolate donuts for dinner?” and the reply comes back “Dude, No Way” they stomp their feet and ask to spin the pen once more. Pure entertainment.


Carrie’s always one for pizazz so it was no surprise to receive this Xonex Tri-Tone Pen in a happy blue/aqua shade from her for a holiday gift. You can pick one up in all sorts of snazzy colors at Epitome Papers for those of you who live in the Twin Cities.




I did treat myself to a piece of art from Gallery 360 which actually serves as a pencil. Sculpted by Agelio Battle, the pencil is part of a graphite series where the artist’s reverence for organic forms was inspired by his countless hours in nature. He believes “we discover things about ourselves and our thoughts by engaging the hand in a mark-making process.” Right on.  Instead of the Olive Branch above I selected the Quill which is believed to write words imbued with a spiritual and ancient guidance.


For our anniversary not only did I surprise Nick with a Sterling Silver Tornado rollerball pen (I’m hoping this soon ends up in my mug and not his mail slot), but he and I received a pair of Anna Pens by Alessi from my in-laws. These two-headed pals look they are about to head down the aisle. Cheers Sal & Jim.



Aside from these sweet additions to the mug I have also found some gems along the way that remind me of certain events in 2011. The silver Mickey Mouse Ears pencil brings back memories from November when I found out the in vitro had worked as I waited in the Disney Express Bus line headed to Wilderness Lodge. The pink & green striped Beverly Hills Hotel ballpoint pen is a memento from my LA trip to visit Jenny Fritz who continuously shows me a marvelous time in her home town, as well as the Marc Jacob lipstick pen which we picked up at Bookmarc on Melrose (a great find for little gifts). There’s always a few hotel pens from Nick’s travels on the road which tug at my heart since they represent a past absence but, like passport stamps from prior trips, they’re fun to have around.

So the question you might be asking yourself is ‘do they all write well?’  Yes, they all do. My mood often determines which one I grab. But when it comes down to my all time favorite pen, the one I always need to have a few of in case of an emergency, is the ever faithful Ultra Fine Point Sharpie. Tada…

It is permanent with a capital P (lots of evidence of this on our office desk thanks to the nonstop writer, Emmett) and it can bleed through thin paper, but the quality, control and smoothness which comes out in every word is unmatchable. I am completely hooked. So tell me, what’s in your office mug today?

PS. It was a good thing I checked up on Missive Maven last night. I had not a clue the cost of stamps went up 1 penny this past Sunday, January 22nd. I’m all about supporting the financial crisis with the Postal Service but where was our warning??? I checked in with The Queen Bee of letter writing, my old neighbor and friend Sandy, and this is what she shared with me.

The new rates are as follows: 45 cents for 1st class, 32 cents for a post card, $1.05 for international and 85 cents for Canada & Mexico. The good news is if you have old 44 cent stamps they are considered Forever stamps and you do not have to add more postage. But this does not apply for the postcard and out of USA stamps. Thanks Sandy!