Wednesday, December 29, 2010

India Shopping...a cultural experience

Just spent two days in the city of Ludhiana and did some crazy shopping. I bought 8 outfits so far, one of which I will be wearing to my besties wedding! We all know how much I love shopping, and I have gone shopping many places around the globe, and so far the service is unbeatable in India. From the time they take to show you every colour or style or fabric you wish, to drinks, food and sweets they bring to you while you shop its an experience on its own. You sit back and relax as they show you all the possibilities, while you give them the yaa and naa on what you want to purchase or not. I think each store ends up taking 3+ hours because you get lost in everything they show you, and with food and drinks at your fingertips shopping lasts a long time.I didn't spend any time with Bobby yday lol, he came by while I was shopping and I felt like a zombie in Vegas playing cards for 8 hours, but instead of numbers and symbols, I was only seeing brocade, silk, chiffon, and georgette. Bobby came by and all of a sudden I saw cotton (he was wearing sweatshirt and jeans) which confused me very much, I told him I was in a zone and not to disturb. So he went and did his own thing, he ordered two custom made shirts in solid fabrics (that were 100% cotton and according to him felt very Harry Rosen) from a chain store called Raymonds at west mall in Ludhiana. This could be the start of something as my hubby has long arms and football player shoulders - so if he likes the fit of these shirts no more $100 shirts and instead he'll pay $25 a piece and have his own custom tailor on the other side of the world. Okay so you are probably thinking is 9to5girl only in India to shop, I can say I am done my major shopping and I truly believe if anyone comes to India they must experience the shopping as it is a remarkable cultural experience!

P.S. I am writing this post in the back of a very shakey Jeep (Travelling to any city takes hours so I use this time to write as it makes the driving experience less scary and keeps me busy) as we head to Amritsar (home to the beautiful Golden Temple).  I was born in this city in September 1984 and 8 months later as a baby my mom flew us to what would be my "real"home Toronto. I wonder what life would have been like if I grew up in this city. I definitely wouldn't be spending hundreds of dollars on mini dresses!

Stay tuned my dears..

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fell in love again..in AGRA

Just left the city of Agra and can I express what a mission it was to see this world wonder. After a 13 hour direct flight to india through Air India, and 3 hours of customs and luggage collection, and a 6 hour drive (we rented a driver) with a stop over in a shady trucker stop (called a dhaba) we finally arrived in Agra in the wee hours. The hotel I thought my husband booked through Expedia magically did not get booked because he was too last minute the night before our trip to handle this BIG task (sarcasm alert). So instead we drove around Agra on Christmas day and were rejected by 2 because they were full. Threes a charm I guess because the 3rd hotel "hotel chanayaka" had rooms available. This 3 star hotel was the equivalent to a minus 5 star in Canada, sketchy bathroom we had to request toilet paper and bedding that looked like it hadn't been washed in weeks, and dont get me started on the towels. Luckily I packed my own towels. After approx. 22 hours of travelling I would have rested my head just about anywhere. We went to sleep at 10pm and woke up at 12am thinking we had 8 hours of sleep, than went back to sleep to wake up to a dog fight at 3:30am. We eventually woke up at 6am for good and showered in cold water (I really missed home at this point, I love my showers). We headed for breakfast at 9am prior to our 5 minute drive to the Taj Mahal. After all this travelling to see the Taj Mahal I almost questioned why we would mission this far to spend 2 hours to see. I was beginning to think of the little family I have left in India we havent seen in a while and how much fun it would have been to go straight and visit them and do nothing but shop and travel in familiar SHORTER DISTANCE areas. Anyways we headed into the gates of the Taj Mahal and as we walked through the red brick archway there infront of us was a beautiful and breathtaking world monument whose intention of building it was exactly this, to make someones story infamous(all my tension and annoyance from travelling disappeared). As we walked with the tour guide who shared each important piece of history, I truly felt this place was magical. For someone to spend fortunes and 22 years building this monumental piece of architecture to keep the memory alive of his most loved wife - was a beautiful love story. Shah Jahan an emperor met Mumtaz Mahal and fell in love. He married her after five years and they were leading a very happy life. While giving birth to their last child, Mumtaz Mahal died due to some complications. A few years later Shah Jahan began building the world's most beautiful monument "Taj Mahal" in the memory of his wife.It took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument, which is also said to be the last wish of Mumtaz Mahal.This building has truly made their love immortal.

I took the cheesy pictures (which I will post when I have more time in TO) infront of the Taj Mahal like I was holding it with my fingertips. What i felt quite timeless was knowing 27 years ago my parents were married and likely in Agra the same time I was as they were married Dec 11, 1983 and went on their honeymoon shortly after with my uncle and aunt who also got married a few days later. Although I was at the Taj Mahal with the love of my life I couldn't help but think of how young and excited my parents must have been about their future together and what was in store. My mom was heading to Canada once she got her Visa to a foreign country and would start a life with a man she met on her wedding day, and here they were 27 years ago starting it all. I also could see the pictures I looked at many times in their albums with my dads cool leather jacket and boots and my moms flawless beauty and hair pinned back. My pictures look like a traveller that was completely exhausted, nowhere near the flawless beauty that my mom looked like in her pics. Just thinking about it now my mom had quite the glow on her face and I realize I was born literally 9 months after my parents wedding - could Agra be my actual birthplace? lol Am I feeling a sudden attachement to this place because of this? Who knows...

We're heading to my husbands family home in Raikot just outside of a big city in Punjab called Ludhiana, than we are heading to my birth city AMRITSAR where I will get to see my favourite person in the whole world my BHUAJI (aka my dads sister) she is the cooliest, trendiest and modern aunt ever - and I love her dearly. I will post when I get to Amritsar and I will put up pictures from there of this experience or when I get back as I think that might be asking too much of me right now.

Stay tuned...and enjoy!
9to5travel girl

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays 9to5travelgirl readers!

I am heading to the Airport for my flight to India - YAAAAAY to 14 hours of boredom with lots of leg and back pain woot woot (I hope by now you understand my sarcasm).

 I thought before I left it being Christmas eve and all I would wish all my readers a safe and wonderful holiday season and a wonderful and successful 2011! I will try to post from India but given I only have 2 weeks there I will likely be spending my time diving into the culture, enjoying the food, sight seeing, and bargain shopping across multiple bazaars.


Kindly,
9to5girl

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My 2010 Top 10 Lists for Travel and Fashion


Hello my lovely readers:
I know it has been over a week since I have posted and to be honest it has been one of the most hectic weeks of my life. These last few months I have been vigorously working on house renovations from furniture shopping to picking lighting and so on. Luckily I have quite the handy husband who is super efficient when it comes to that stuff. Anyways, so with renos, my new blog, and NOW packing for India it has been a crazy week!

I am however very excited about my trip to India. When we arrive we are heading straight to Agra to see a world wonder the Taj Mahal - I am looking forward to taking pictures as I have decided that I will be making a collage of travel photos in black and white to put up in our dining room. Stay tuned for that review.

Anyways, I thought my final post for 2010 I should share some of my favourite sites in relation to Travel and Fashion. Everyone seems to spend the last month of December sharing their Favourite videos, websites, influential people and so on for 2010 - so I thought I would do the same! Check out below:

My Favourite Travel sites of 2010
10. Travelocity.ca - only because they had a super cool contest on social forums the "roaming gnome" contest which gave you the chance to win all kinds of travel vacations - From mexico to las vegas and many more.
9. LonelyPlanet.com - This is a great site that provides travel advice for almost any location around the world. Great links for offers as well.
8. SPG.com - Starwood Hotel properties are the best out there. You can always find some of the best rates on their site directly. I booked my stay at the W Chicago City Centre and when booking 2 nights I got the 3rd night free. Loved it!
7. Hotwire.com - Another form of priceline I have used it when I stayed in Miami for a night before our cruise. It was super easy and the surprise of what you are going to get is quite the thrill.
6. Kayak.com - An easy way to compare multiple travel sites pricing.
5. TravelZoo.com - These deals get picked up fast, but I look forward to the newsletter they send out that has so many possibilities. It is hard to search the web for all the promos that are going on, and this site does it for you.
4. TripAdvisor.com - If it weren't for this site I would not know a 5 star from a 2 star disguised as a 5 star. The community built content allows you to understand the demographics, physical condition, and perks of almost any property in the world.
3. AirCanada.com - I was able to get two tickets to LA for $650 - they had a promo at the perfect time. There are always great deals throughout the year on Air Canada.
2. Expedia.ca - I can't even name how many hotels and flights I have booked through this site. I always find the best deals on Expedia. It is easy to navigate through and search for exactly what you want even in the most foreign locations. I have booked my hotel in Agra through Expedia.
1. Priceline.com - I was able to get the Hyatt Hotel in Century City - LA for $92 a night


My Favourite Fashion shopping sites of 2010
10. Jcrew.com - only on my list this year because I can only purchase stuff online as there is NO STORE in Canada yet. That will change shortly...
9. ASOS.com - UK online retailer that ALWAYS has a fully stocked clearance section. Downside - the customs fees!
8. Net-a-porter.com - Luxury Designer fashion, I love looking at this site for trends. A great ongoing sale section that makes some of these top shelf items reachable.
7. Shopnastygal.com - I enjoy this website because it has a great selection of both new and vintage items that are all very reasonably priced.
6. Gilt Group/Beyond the Rack - Two fairly similar sites that regularly post sales from todays top designers. You must stay on top of these or you will likely not get the item you are waiting for. Sign up and wait for your dream purchase to be showcased here at a reduced price.
5. Nordstrom.com - This is probably one of my favourite big retailers online, lots of great sales online and much better prices even when compared to some of the smaller discount online retailers. They ship to Canada and include customs pricing from the get go so you are not surprised at the door!
4. Modcloth.com - I love love love this site. It always has over 300 dresses to browse through at a time. We all know my obsession with dresses and this site definitely fulfills. Aside from the great selection the best part about this site is how actively involved the visitors are. Each dress has a post from those that purchased and received and you get authentic reviews from fits too big or looks cheapy. I love that I have raw info on how buyers felt about an item.
3.Etsy.com - It is a mini ebay for small business sellers across all categories. I believe you can get lost in this site for hours on end. I think it should be called the unique gift giving site because some of the things you find on here will likely not be seen anywhere else!
2.Shopittome.com - twice a week I receive a newsletter from shopittome with sales across all of my fave websites. It is quick and easy you sign up, pick all the brands you love, and wait in your inbox for a summary of all the sales online across your favourite brands and retailers.
1.Shopstyle.com - this is a fabulous site instead of just showcasing sales like shopittome it helps you browse for the item you are looking for. For example, in their search tool you type in "red dress" and it will aggregate a list across all top retailers online a list of red dresses. This is super great when looking for a specific item, you can search by color, price, store, size, sale and brand!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the gift of a gentleman

Just came back from dinner with my husband on King West, and while walking 10 minutes to our restaurant my husband offered me his gloves and ear muffins to keep me warm. I looked over and thought in this minus 18 temperature he cared more about me staying warm than himself. Although, come on ladies this is expected from our partners, it just really reminds you how far the little gestures can go. I mean flowers and chocolate are nice, but the everyday opening doors, coat on a chilly night definitely feels a bit more real. In conclusion ladies, I believe I married myself a true SOUTHERN (ONTARIO) GENTLEMAN, he can stop buying me purses, shoes, or trips - but when he stops keeping me warm or pumping my gas that's when I will worry lol!

Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

FASHION FRIDAY: Edition 5

Happy Friday everyone!

I know I am quite excited for the weekend, I am having drinks with some of my besties tonight (I'll share my outfit tomorrow for another idea for the holidays).

I was thinking about all my fashion friday posts and I noticed I was lacking on sales and updates on SHOES. I have two fashion obsessions SHOES and DRESSES. The obsession for both is quite similar - If I see a pair of shoes or a dress I love (whether I have a place to wear it or not) I will purchase! Unfortunately this obsession has left my closet with lots of tags still on some shoes and dresses lol. There needs to be some sort of group that I can go to, to help me through that. However, I have justified it all by saying one day even if I wear my shoes or dresses they will be vintage and be EVEN HOTTER.

This week I have shared some of the great sales I saw online from boots to pumps to some summer sandals you can take on your holiday vacation plans.

1. The "Buy a pair of cute ass shoes, and take 40% off the second pair" Sale from shopnastygal.com

I have shared two pairs of shoes I would take advantage of purchasing for this sale. The first one is a pair of affordable velvet grey pumps ($48USD) that I think would look great paired with dark or light stockings. They also have the platform heel in the front which will make this 4 inch heel a lot more comfortable. The second is a pair of brown lace up boots that I think would look great with one of those below the knee hemline skirts, or tucked over a pair of jeggings (jean leggings). The brown lace up boots are $178USD.



Velvet Wrap Platform - Gray
 http://www.shopnastygal.com/products/new/clothing/shoes/Velvet-Wrap-Platform-%252d-Gray.html
Messina Lace-Up Boots
http://www.shopnastygal.com/products/new/clothing/shoes/Messina-Lace%252dUp-Boots.html
2. Select shoes 50% off at shopbop.com

These Joie over the knees suede grey boots are a perfect compliment to any winter outfit. Wear it with a mini skirt/dress, leggings, jeans, or stockings - the possibilities are endless. The price for these boots is on the higher end but think of the warmth you will feel all winter in these boots. The boots regularly are $575USD but are 50% for 287.50.

Joie Stand Tall Suede Over the Knee Boots
http://www.shopbop.com/stand-tall-knee-boot-tie/vp/v=1/845524441875944.htm?folderID=2534374302076317&fm=sale-category-shopbysize-viewall


3. 30-50% off  Ninewest.com
Ninewest.com is having quite the sale across all shoe categories like sandals, boots, and pumps. I have picked 2 different pairs for 2 different reasons.

First shoe - is a pair of black lace ankle boots that would definitely transition well from workwear to party wear. The boots are currently $109USD with an additional 30% off. These shoes also come in brown.
Trixxy
http://www.ninewest.com/Trixxy/5746448,default,pd.html?cgid=526934&itemNum=93&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=WINELE
Second shoe - is a pair of black strappy sandals on sale for $49.99. This is a great shoe for the summer, and I know plenty of you are likely heading somewhere south during the holidays so put your boots aside and pack these babies.
Desine
http://www.ninewest.com/Desine/5300324,default,pd.html?cgid=526934&itemNum=86&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=BLACKLE


4. Dance to the sale up to 50% off - aldoshoes.com/ca
Aldo shoes is having a 50% off sale and I thought I would pick a pair that will work really well for the holiday season.
I call this pair "The perfect new years sandal". The reason I picked these silver heels is because there super cute and they are only 2.5 inches high. The last thing you want during new years is to be complaining about how much your feet hurt. These sexy shoes are only $45.49 and I can guarantee you will be super comfy all night.


http://www.aldoshoes.com/ca-eng/clearance/womens-sandals/heels/78017435-macnamara/80

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I heart Air Canada

Just thought I would share some of the current Air Canada promotions. I love Air Canada flights the service, entertainment and staff are unbeatable in my books. Check out http://www.aircanada.com/ for current Domestic and International deals.


Friday, December 3, 2010

FASHION FRIDAY: Edition 4

Fall/Winter 2010 Trends
I have devoted this Fashion Friday post to talk about the big trends that came out of the Fall/winter 2010 collections in both Paris and New York (last March). Sometimes I think when editors review fashion shows they become so technical and forget that you can interpret fashion in any way. So I have provided a list of what I found to be the key trends on the runway.  Remember, designers may  come up with their vision for the season, but it doesn’t mean you have to take it literally. I think what designers do best is steer us in the right direction and it’s up to us to take up styles we feel confident in.
Trends – Fabrics/Cuts/Styles

Fur – Okay one of the more obvious trends this fall is fur, each designer collection for Fall 2010 had some form of it. Fur has come back in a way that it fits well for both day and evening wear. Pairing a fur vest with a sexy mini, or a fur scarf with a blazer – watch out PETA here we come. Just kidding any fur I wear will be faux fur. Left to right - J Mendel, Dennis Basso, and Nina Ricci.




The 70sThis decade was all over the runway with high waist lines, sheer blouses, shiney fabrics, and of course sequins. I have highlighted a few key trends that I think we can all try that bring us back to this time.

70s - Sheer – I love sheer, it allows you to show parts of your body you may not necessarily be comfortable showing in any other light. What we’re seeing is deeper necklines in the front and back, cut outs on the thighs, abdominals, and lower backs. With sheer your seeing no-no areas being exposed in a more polished and classic way. In order - Balmain, Herve leger, and Stella McCartney.
70s - Sequin – The sun shines, stars sparkle, and the moon glitters – ladies it’s now our time to do the same! One consistent element across almost every designer was sequin/embellishment. Sequin can look extremely elegant or extremely tacky.  I have 3 tips when wearing sequin 1) Avoid over accessorizing, you will look like a Christmas tree. So put those chandelier earrings/statement necklaces away and find some sparkly studs. 2) The right shoes are key – if you’re wearing a sparkly dress, matte heels may not work with the look. Try a pair of patent leather shoes, or a pair of funky strappy ankle boots.  3) Be confident – you’re making the world a brighter place, so have the attitude to show for it. With a statement outfit you need to show confidence, because trust me lots of people will turn their heads! (Left to right - Monique Lluillier, Luca Luca, Isaac Mizrahi)


70s - Bold Shoulders – It is funny when padded shoulders first made a comeback in 2009, it brought me back to being 10 years old. I was a very curious preteen and very imaginative when it came to make belief games. I would actually pretend the upstairs of my house was the uptown of a city, and the downstairs level of my house was the downtown. I would set up my kitchen as a fancy restaurant in downtown and prepare Caesar salads with spaghetti for my cousins and I to enjoy in our fake metropolitan city (yes spaghetti is about as upscale as it got at 10). As part of these games I would scope my mom’s closet to find grown-up outfits. I am not going off tangent completely I know....but one time I remember finding a black and white blazer with heavy shoulder pads and gold monogram buttons going down the center. When I picked this out of the  closet to try on, I thought “what was the world thinking having shoulder pads?”. I did not understand why there was foam in the shoulder. Why would anyone want to look bulkier there? It made no sense to me and I swear to god I remember saying this will never come back in style. I should bite my tongue because shoulder pads are back. The funny thing is when I was younger I thought it was more masculine having shoulder pads, now I think it is so empowering and exudes a confident woman – I really do love it. In order - Atelier Gustavo, Balmain, and Giorgio Armani.


Deep V neckline – When I think of deep v necklines I specifically remember the 1999 Grammy awards when Jlo rocked that overexposed sheer green dress. Fall fashion has not gone that far (yet) but what I found across various collections was a sexy deep V neckline, just enough to continue to allure your admirers. Deep V with heavy shoulder pads how 1970s can we get? In order- Balmain, Jill Stuart, and Karl Lagerfeld.


Thigh High Boots – Is it just me or does everyone think of Vivian Ward when they think of thigh high boots? You’re probably thinking who the heck is Vivian Ward? Well she is the very popular character Julia Roberts played in Pretty Woman. Do you not remember those patent leather thigh high boots she wore on sunset blvd right before Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) whisked her away in his Lamborghini. I have watched that movie far too many times, I love it. Of course now thigh high boots don’t equal prostitutes on sunset. They can be worn with an oversized sweater, blazer, tights, mini dress (as Julia rocked), or with a pair of shorts. Endless possibilities for these boots… trust me if you walk into Toronto’s Yorkville, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, LA’s Rodeo Drive, Miami’s Bal harbor shops, and New York’s fifth avenue with these boots on you will not be shamed like Julia was (aka my fave part when she goes back and makes them feel bad for not helping her and losing out on her sale). If thigh high boots are not within your budget, there is the thigh high leggings as shown below, a great opportunity to rock this look and not impact your bank balance. From left to right Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, and Rebecca Taylor.

Single strap– We saw the single strap appear in spring 2010 and fall 2009 collections and it still is showing up across various design houses. I think a single strap allows someone to highlight a part of their body that no one talks about as being overly sexy (but definitely is). In order - Emanuel Ungaro, Nina Ricci, Badgley Mischka


Capes – For Halloween I dressed up as little red riding hood, who knew a part of that costume was hitting one of the newest trends in coats for fall/winter. They call it the cape. It feels like such a mystery putting on a cape, like you’re a princess escaping your royal duty.  Bring us back to today and you can disguise that beautiful party dress with a magnificent cape coat. In order - Giorgio Armani, Rebecca Taylor, Hussein Chalayan


Turtlenecks – I live in Canada so no matter the trend every winter I bust out with my turtle necks. Turtle necks are a staple part of my wardrobe in the winter, so when I saw it in many of my favourite designer collections for fall I was quite excited. In order - Versace, Jean Paul Gaultier, Badgley Mischka

Fall/Winter Colours
Camel – This colour was quite popular on the runway, and you can now find it all over top retail stores like Mango, Zara, and H&M this fall. Camel just feels like fall doesn’t it? When I think of fall I think of the leaves changing and this colour just blends in with the season so nicely. In order - Vivienne Westwood, Emanuel Ungaro, Chloe



Blue – Although blue was also a colour that stood out for fall, I personally have not seen it picked up across storefronts. In any case who doesn’t love a little blue in their closet. I think it is the most popular favourite colour, I remember in elementary school EVERYONE’S favourite colour was blue. In order - Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furtzenburg



Grey – When I think of grey, I think of my university wardrobe. Grey sweatshirts and sweatpants! Well on the runway it was anything but cotton, there were beautiful grey outfits in jackets, dresses, and blazers in some of the most luxurious fabrics! In order - Balenciaga, Nina Ricci, Stella Mccartney



Deep Purple – So excited about this color. I have been told that purple eye makeup goes really well with brown eyes. Being a brunette I would think this applies to apparel as well! With camel also a big color this season it is a great contrast. I would rock a purple turtle neck and a camel blazer with skinny jeans. In order - Jill Stuart, Donna Karan, Stella Mccartney



Red – Like I mentioned in my last post, who doesn’t feel special when they wear red? I adore how the Givenchy collection used red as an accent color, from gloves to a scarf to the perfect red blazer. You can use red to draw attention to one key piece of your outfit, or make it all red – you decide! In order Givenchy, Stella Mccartney, Emanuel Ungaro




Pastels – I think it was ingenious to bring these colors into fall. Up north everyone gets a bit paler during the winter, and not all of us want to look like zombies with pale skin and dark attire. Why stop wearing pastels like beige, pink, white in the winter? I think this romantic colour palette goes perfectly for the winter, afterall isn’t December the most popular time for baby making? I am glad that it is no longer a faux pas.




Please note: All pictures above were taken from the official NYC Mercedes Benz Fashion week microsite (IMG), and Designer Central for Paris Fashion Week Collections images. I did not take these pictures but I did go through almost EVERY collection to find commonalities to determine the trends for this season.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Getting away without going away...

Are you wanting to getaway during the holidays, but don’t have much vacation time left? Well you’re in luck with Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Years falling on the weekend there are plenty of long weekends you can use (during the holidays) to go on a mini getaway. Many of the top travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, and Priceline are pushing travel deals with mid December expiry dates, to get us to travel during the low seasons of mid Jan to Apr (with the exception of spring breaks). Many people are heading down to the Caribbean where an all inclusive that usually goes for $800 to $1200 during low season, is now running from $1500 to $2500+. I mean who doesn’t love the Caribbean, but with holiday gifts to purchase and New Years parties to enjoy - budgets can get quite tight during this time. So instead of sharing grand vacation destinations that will cost you thousands, I thought I would share tips on almost local destinations that will allow you to getaway without necessarily putting a number on your bank account.

Top local destinations that will allow you to getaway without necessarily going away...too far!

Blue Mountain/Collingwood
Hotel Suggestion: Blue Mountain Resort
Hot deal: This weekend the resort is giving away 99 rooms for $99
Activities: Skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, toboggan tours, outdoor skating, explore georgian trail
Drive from GTA: approx. 1.5-2 hrs
 
Niagara Falls
Hotel Suggestion: Fallsview Casino Hotel
Hot deal: December weekend getaways from $149/night
Activities: Casino, nightlife, concert events, Lundys Lane, watch the falls, plenty of dining options
Drive from GTA: approx. 2-2.5 hours

Niagara on the lake
Hotel Suggestion: Vintage Hotesl (Pillar and Post, Queens Landing, Moffat Inn, Princess of Wales)
Deals: Packages including dinner, and breakfast - starting from $99 pp
Activities: Wine tasting, Holiday culinary events, December festivals, Historial museums, Fort George, spas, upscale dining
Drive from GTA: approx. 2.5
 
Algonquin Provincial Park
Hotel Suggestion: Algonquin Lakeside Inn http://www.algonquininn.com/
Night avg: Low season rates range from $79per night for a regular room, and $199 per night for a suite by the water (rates based on occupancy of two)
Activities: downhill/cross-country skiing, dogsled tours, snowmobile, snowshoe trails
Drive from GTA: approx. 3.5 hours
 Algonquin Lakeside Inn
Muskoka
Hotel Suggestion: Deerhurst Resort, Taboo Resort
Night avg: Taboo Resort Gold and Spa - Has a Spa package starting from $338 per couple (which includes a $200 voucher towards a spa treatment of your choice)
Deerhurst Resort - Currently has a "Muskoka your way" package from $219 per night that includes a $100 credit towards dining/entertainment
Activities: Spa, upscale dining and lounges, Santa’s Village, Muskoka Wildlife Centre, Bethune National Historic Site, snowmobile, horsedrawn sleigh carriage rides, skiing, dogsleds, snowtubing, and more
Drive from GTA: approx. 2-2.5 hours
TABOO
 
DEERHURST
Toronto - I know you are thinking why would I stay in Toronto if I am from the GTA. If you live in a suburb and not directly in the city, it may be an opportunity to explore a city you take for granted.
Hotel Suggestion: Metropolitan Hotel
Night avg: There current unbeatable special is $139 per night.
Activities: Xmas shopping on Queen West/Eaton Centre, exploring the distllery district, catch a show in Toronto's Theatre District (on King), Spa (Stillwater/Elmwood), bargain shopping in kensington market, gift shopping in the st.lawrence market, dining at some of TOs top restarurants (Brasaii, Spice Route, Buca, Sputini, Sassafraz, La Marquette, Canoe, Marben, Ciao Wine bar, Terroni, Jump, and so many more). Visit http://www.toronto.com/ to find out how you can explore your own big city in a new way!
Drive from GTA: