Thursday, June 17, 2010

Five beautiful gifts for your father—(not so) Rich Man’s Edition

A beautiful watch—Timex SL Series Automatic

I don’t think you can get a nicer watch for $275—trust me, I have one!

Beautiful design: All ten Wallpaper City Guides for the iPhone

Think of how handy these apps will be for your world-traveling dad. New York, Milan, Berlin, Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Rome and Tokyo—$3.99 each!

A beautiful bike: Gary Fisher Simple City 8

This beautiful bike has all the charm of the Pashley Guv’nor for half the price. Bonus: it’s a Gary Fisher, so you know it’ll last a lifetime.

A beautiful guitar: Yamaha F310

I think this is the #1 best-selling guitar of all time. That’s not surprising considering it sounds great and is priced at around $200.

Beautiful cuff links: Tiffany & Co. Barbell cuff links

These sterling silver beauties are minimal, elegant and $180 CDN.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Five beautiful gifts for your father—Rich Man’s Edition

 A beautiful watch: Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier Classima Executives Magnum XXL Chronograph (#8852). $4,590 CDN

Baume & Mercier Classima Executives Magnum XL Chronograph/Dual Time (#8851). $3,790 CDN

Giving a man a beautiful heirloom-quality watch is the equivalent of giving a woman diamonds. DIAMONDS!
May I suggest a Baume & Mercier watch for your father this year. This fine Swiss watchmaker dates back to 1830 and has been making some of the most exquisite timepieces ever since. In 1921 Baume &Mercier was awarded the prestigious poinçon de Genève (Geneva hallmark) by the Geneva Watchmaking Senior Committee.
Today the company is still turning out some of the most desirable timepieces in the world. And here is why I suggest this brand for your father: it’s not the obvious choice.
In this price range there are a few other options from different companies; however, when your dad’s jacket falls ever so slightly to reveal a Baume & Mercier watch, those who recognize top-notch quality will be impressed. And every time your dad checks the time, he’ll be impressed too. (And he’ll think of you.)
Note: be sure to engrave your gift with a meaningful message or simply your father’s initials.
A beautiful guitar: Martin Signature Series D-28
Martin Signature Series D-28. From $3,000 USD

Chances are your dad either knows how to strum a few chords or appreciates those who can. In either scenario he’d appreciate owning a fine guitar.
I think the Martin D-28 would do quite nicely. Since its introduction in 1931, the D-28 is the standard to which all large-bodied steel-stringed guitars are based. Its large “Dreadnaught”-sized body is the most widely imitated guitar model in the world.
Family sing-alongs will never be the same!
Beautiful design: An iPad with Phaidon Design Classics Preinstalled

If your dad appreciates good design, chances are he wants an iPad. Sweeten the pot by installing Phaidon Design Classics on it so he has something cool to test out when he turns it on. 
Actually, at $20 the app is quite the deal. The three-volume hard copy sells for almost $700, about the same price of the 16 GB 3G iPad model. Basically a 2 for 1 deal—get one for yourself, too!
Beautiful cuff links: Paloma’s Marrakesh cuff links
Paloma's Marrakesh cuff links, Tiffany & Co. $5,300 CDN

The mere fact that your dad needs cuff links—in this increasingly uncuffed age—qualifies him as being elegant enough to deserve these exquisite specimens. And let’s face it, men love getting something in a Tiffany box, too.
I recently found myself in one of those last-minute panics while dressing for a wedding. Everything was perfect: suit freshly dry cleaned and ready to go, perfectly tied tie, sparkling black patent shoes... Only one element was amiss. I forgot to pack my cuff links!
Gruesome images of me arriving with garbage bag twist ties holding my shirt together crept into my head. Luckily my host provided me with a beautiful pair of sterling silver Tiffany cuff links for the evening just seconds before I was conjuring a full-blown adult tantrum.
And then it struck me—every man needs to own a pair of Tiffany cuff links.
I love these ones because they’re exotic and will go with anything your dad could possibly pair them with. Made with 18K gold and black enamel, they are sophisticated enough to wear with a tuxedo, but quirky enough to pair with jeans and a blazer. Now that’s jewelry your dad can put to good use.
A beautiful bike: The Guv’nor by Pashley.
"A good day to ya!"

A few years ago I did a story about high-end bikes and I fell in love with the Guv’nor by Pashley. For obvious reasons! Everything about it screams “Guv’nor,” from its gold-piped black rims to its Brooks saddle seat to its handmade leather grips. This is a beautiful bike.
Based on the 30s-era Path Racer by Pashley, the Guv’nor is suitable for both city paths and cobblestone street. In either context onlookers are sure to tip their hats in approval.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Colognes for Father's Day

What type of Dad do you have?
I think shopping for Father’s Day can be one of the most challenging of tasks. The old standby is cologne, but do you know what your dad likes? Or, perhaps it’s time for an update. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Manly Dad
Polo by Ralph Lauren

If your dad drinks JD for breakfast and wrestles wolverines for fun he probably doesn’t wear cologne, but if he would rather don a plaid shirt than a suit chances are he’d like Polo. It’s a 80s classic that has—in my opinion—gotten a bad rap since its heyday. I really do need a bottle of this stuff! So does your dad. Notes: Pine, Basil, Geranium, Oakmoss and Leather.
Refined Dad
Infusion d’Homme by Prada

A few days ago a very well-dressed, elegant man walked by me at Starbucks. And as we passed, a trail of Infusion d’Homme followed him. It was a great coincidence because I too was wearing that wonderful scent. It’s a light and somewhat powdery cologne that is perfect for summer days and nights. Your father will be oh so refined wearing it. Notes: Mandarin Orange, Neroli, Iris, Benzoin.
Worldly Dad
Terre d’Hermès by Hermès

How many times will I blog about this cologne? I could write a book about how much I love it. Obviously I’m lumping myself into the worldly category here, but I do feel a sense of adventure when I spray it on. If your dad is equally comfortable in a boardroom as he is on a yacht, this fragrance is for him. The best part about Terre d’Hermès is that over time his suit jackets—or yachting-wear—will start to become infused with the scent. It lasts forever on fabric! Notes: Orange, pepper, cedar, vetiver, bay rose and benzoin.
Jazzy Dad
Havana Vanille by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Havana Vanille is my latest fragrance addiction and definitely my next purchase. If your dad sports a straw hat and smokes the occasional Romeo y Juileta while listening to Latin Jazz, this could very well be his next go-to cologne (made easier if you buy it for him, of course). The concept is brilliant: a masculine Vanilla scent that manages to be sweet without being gourmand. Notes: Mexican Vanilla, Clove, Narcissus, Rum and Leather.
Hip Dad
Commes de Garçons (self-titled)

To be honest, I don’t know too much about this cologne other than the fact that the art director at the magazine I used to work at wore it. I always thought it was a great fashion-forward, edgy scent. He always smelled masculine-yet-cool. If your dad hasn’t lost touch with his fashionable side or wears ironically studious-looking glasses (that are indeed ironic—you know the difference) then consider this scent for him. Notes: Labdanum, Cedarwood, Black Pepper, Honey, Rose, Incense, Sandalwood, Nutmeg.
Available in Toronto at Nomad.

Here are some other matches:
Hippy Dad: Muscs Kublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

A real musk for the man who is unafraid of his animalistic side. Notes: Musk, Vanilla
Old-School Dad: Colonia by Acqua di Parma

This scent is a true original. As crisp as a freshly pressed Italian linen suit. Notes: Citrus, Lavender, Rosemary, Vervain, Bulgarian Rose.
Available at Holt Renfrew.
Drugstore Dad: Old Spice

This is one of the “cheap” colognes that I’d gladly wear any day. Originally created in 1937, this old staple is really quite a nicely constructed scent. Plus the bottle is actually quite cool. Notes: Orange, Spices, Carnation, Jasmine, Vanilla, Musk.
Barbershop Dad: Aveda Pure-Fume Tonic for Men

Spraying on this cologne is like spraying on that lingering scent you experience at an Aveda salon. I, for one, am a fan. And if your dad is a salon-loving kind of guy, he’ll be a fan too. Notes: Lavender, Citrus, Bergamot.

Are you getting your dad cologne for Father's Day? If so what kind.... Or, what kind of cologne does/or did your dad wear? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

La Mer and Oceana for World Oceans Day

I am pleased to write to you about a special topic that is close to my heart. Today is World Oceans Day—a day for us to take stock of—celebrate and perhaps mourn—the state of our saltwater. Originally started in 1992, and officially declared by the United Nations in 2009, World Oceans Day seeks to bring attention to the sea’s vital ecosystem to help preserve its delicate habitats and wildlife.
To commemorate this day, my favorite skincare company, La Mer, has released a special limited-edition, 100mL World Oceans Day “blue” Crème de la Mer jar and will make a $200,000 donation to Oceana, one of the world’s leading ocean advocacy organizations. This is the first time the company's iconic jar has been altered since it was originally created by founder Dr. Max Huber!

La Mer’s reputation as one of the world’s finest skincare brands is built on its proprietary “miracle broth” formula, which is derived from a rare sea kelp harvested off the coast of California. Who better to align with Oceana to raise awareness and spread the message to their many, many customers.
And now, more than ever, the message needs to be spread.
It seems as if no matter what media outlet we turn to right now we are faced with disheartening images of contaminated ocean, oil-drenched birds and once pristine beaches covered in a slick, tarry coating. This is truly our wake up call to take action and help protect the world’s seas. 
Yes, England is facing a one trillion-dollar debt, North America is only now showing signs of economic recovery, and even China is getting nervous about its economic outlook, but for obvious reasons the world’s spotlight has been thrust onto the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. When it really counts, we instinctively know that money woes dwarf in the shadow of an environmental disaster.
But there is still hope. Organizations like Oceana are dedicated to providing real, scientifically-based and measurable solutions, and their efforts are felt all around the world. In their five-year partnership with Oceana, La Mer has donated over $500,000 to the organization’s sea expeditions, studies and preservation efforts.
This year’s sizable donation will help support Oceana’s expansion into Belize. As Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless explains, “Because Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef in the world and is one of the jewels of the sea, anybody who thinks about the world’s oceans from a global perspective thinks about Belize.”
La Mer is also sponsoring a deep sea dive with Oceana’s spokesperson, January Jones. Please watch the video below to see the astonishingly beautiful waters of Belize and to learn more about the work that is being done there:

I am a firm believer that cosmetics companies such as La Mer can make a real difference. Beauty is not merely the effects of a creme (however amazing they might be), it is also core values and ethical practises. This special blue bottle will be your daily reminder that your purchases can help support good causes. There is no need to abandon luxury, but there is a need to support luxury that gives back.

Available in Canada exclusively at Holt Renfrew. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Salade Niçoise

Tonight we had the most glorious Salade Niçoise. It’s so amazing how simple and easy it is to eat elegant meals every night. I feel like I’m eating better than I ever have before, and I’m actually spending less doing it!

This salad is perfect because it brings together the best of the season while also providing lots of protein. I can’t wait until I can raid the farmers markets this summer to make it taste even better. Hint: Buy a bottle of Bonjour Brioche's salad dressing. It is AMAZING! (; however, if you want the best restaurant version, go to Patachou (1120 Yonge Street, Toronto, 416-927-1105).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Want, I Need

Paper-thin cotton cardigan
Harder to find than you might think. I want a cardigan that is light as a feather. Ironically the price tag rises the thinner you go. I love this cashmere (no it’s not cotton, I know) option at Ralph Lauren Black Label, a steal at $399 USD:

This much less expensive option from American Apparel is great, too (is this company bankrupt?):

Beat up camouflage cargo shorts
I love the idea of wearing a rugged pair of camouflaged cargo shorts with other more preppy items. I might have to pick up this pair from Old Navy ($20!):

Geeky knapsack
How ridiculously amazing is this leather backpack from UK-based leather retailer Grafea? I absolutely love it—not only for its vintage good looks, but also for its obvious versatility. Backpack and briefcase AND messenger bag? I will own it:

Flashback to good times. A must have!:

Perfect white t-shirt
Obviously the trend these days is everyday items made luxurious. How about these two options: