The RRL Ranch in Colorado

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love a great cabin in the wilderness. Maybe it's my Canadian lineage, but there is something so comforting to me about geographical isolation: being surrounded by nature and its unbridled beauty, by things that are made by hand and rustic textures that captivate the eye. I could do very well with only the barest essentials. I could live for a few weeks with just a Coleman stove, a tin pot, an enamel mug and plenty of simple ingredients, with a few blankets and a cot. But, if given the choice, I'd rather have the best of both words: the best of nature and the best of home comforts. Plumbing, a comfortable bed with luxurious linens and a gas range sound pretty good to me. Nothing epitomizes this pairing of rugged American geography and pared-down luxury more than Ralph Lauren's Colorado ranch, known as the Double RL Ranch. (The two R's stand for Ralph and Ricky, his wife.) With over 16,000 acres of unspoiled landscape in the San Juan mountains, it is as remote as one can get. And yet, the series of cabins and small farm houses on the property are all outfitted beautifully, with nods to Native-American heritage and Old-World Americana. Below are several photos of this iconic place...Settle in and stay awhile.



It's his courage that I find alluring. Michael Sam - the first openly-gay man to be drafted into the National Football League. Read his story in the August issue of Out magazine, on stands now. Photography by Richard Phibbs.



The House of Hackney

I first heard about The House of Hackney after a friend had visited London a few years ago. She had wandered into a fabulous shop that sold textiles and fabrics with bold, graphic, colourful prints and left feeling totally inspired. She was quick to tell me about it and I've been watching this emerging brand ever since. It was founded in 2010 by a husband-and-wife team (Javvy M Royle and Frieda Gormley) who wanted to resurrect the English interior-design traditions (think exuberant chintz upholstery and vibrant wall coverings) while simultaneously subverting those traditions by making them modern. Over the last few years the small company has grown to include a line of clothing, dinnerware, lighting, wallpapers, furniture and outdoor furniture to complement the existing upholstery/fabric business. I long to visit this shop in person. They also now offer two store locations situated in Central and East London. The House of Hackney Flagship store is located in vibrant Shoreditch , a short 10 minutes walk from London’s Liverpool Street Station. Housed in a spectacular 2000sq foot townhouse, the brand's products are available for the first time under one roof in the award-winning store. It has a second location featuring a limited line of 'best-ofs' with a much smaller store-in-store boutique housed in the Liberty London department store near Oxford Circus. Click here to explore their website.


April Showers

I've always loved the rain. It's raining right now, ruining the Friday evening of multitudes of young people across the Toronto area. But I am content in my cozy little place, surrounded by lamp light and books. The sound of the rain on the branches outside my window acts as a balm for the wounds of my hectic week. It's a sound that could never be replicated. So, embrace these April showers, as I have, whether they bring May flowers or not.

listen: here comes the rain again: eurythmics

listen: rain: madonna
listen: rain sounds.

Navy & Red

 There is just something so striking about the combination of navy and red. Throw in a hit of white and we're talking full-on nautical elegance. The look is preppy, to be sure, and brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and J. Crew seem to give the navy and red combo the aplomb it requires: stripes, plaids, patches and contrasting solids that are perfectly balanced. You'll be noticed in navy and red so wear this combination on days when you feel like you've got the world on a string. (Note: the title of this post should be sung to the tune of Chris De Burgh's 1986 hit Lady in Red.)


The Art of John Paul Thurlow

John Paul Thurlow's drawings move me. With subjects that include popular magazine covers, supermodels and rock stars, his illustrations are not exactly sentimental or especially melancholic, but they are filled with life. Each pencil line is a masterstroke. Considered and deliberate without being rigid, you can 'feel the love' behind a line's intention. I wanted to share and archive some of his work. You can see more of it by going here.