Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Outfit Idea

Hello my lovely readers,
As mentioned in my last post I have included the outfit I wore to a holiday party this past weekend, which I think may give you all some ideas for your own. What I love about the trends for fall/winter this season is they touch each end of the spectrum. From lace to velvet in fabrics, to deep purples and light pastels in colours.

For my outfit this weekend I decided to go for a more romantic feel. I wore a pale rose blazer that I bought this past spring 2010 from Zara (love how I was able to transition this piece from spring to fall), and paired it with an empire waist (ballerina style) pale rose dress from Winners. The look felt very monochrome, I understand the Regis Philbin Monochrome movement went on for far too long, but I think put together with a statement necklace, pearl earrings, and biege patent round toe pumps it just made sense.

Blazer - Zara Basics - $89.00
Dress - Unknown Brand - Winners $29.99
Statement Necklace - Aldo Accessories - $25.00

I promise next time I will not use my blackberry to take pictures, and instead use an actual digital camera.

Friday, November 26, 2010

FASHION (BLACK) FRIDAY - Edition 3

The famous Black Friday falls on my infamous Fashion Friday Post. Black Friday follows the US Thanksgiving, and traditionally kicks off the Christmas Shopping frenzy.  The days name originated in Philadelphia where it was used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic the day after Thanksgiving.  The earliest recorded use of the term was in 1966, and after broader take-up it was later described as a period where retailers turned a profit “in the black.” Being a Canadian I have not had as much exposure to Black Friday, I have been brought up to wake up in the wee hours of December 26th to search for deals on BOXING DAY. Boxing Day traditionally recorded as a day to donate money and give gifts to the needy has turned into a Canadian consumerist shopping holiday. However, being an avid shopper online across International retailers I have become exposed to Black Friday deals. I have never been one to cross the border to Buffalo specifically on Black Friday, but now I don’t have to be an American, or be suffocated in a mall to comfortably enjoy the discounted offers that Black Friday entails. Which leads me to my first and only tip for this post: Go to all your favourite online retailers and check out the savings you will endure today, this weekend and cyber Monday.

A few of my online Black Friday picks:

Jcrew.com – 25% off orders above $150 (promo code Turkey)
Shopnastygal.com – 20% off on all purchases
Saksfifthavenue.com – 30-70% off on all purchases
Revolveclothing.com – 30-95% off (ongoing)
Shopbop.com – up to $500off (based on spend) – free worldwide deliver of $100+ orders
bebe.com – 40% off Black Friday sale (select items)
macys.com – 20-70% off black Friday specials
Nordstrom.com – up to 50% off sale
Neimenmarcus.com – 15-25%off
Bloomingdales.com - 20-40% off and up to $25 off on every $200 spend.
Victoriasecret.com - Buy 1 bra get the 2nd 50% off (ends on Tues), plus spend $60 and more and receive a free supermodel tote bag
Etsy.com – many sellers are giving special discounts this weekend
so many more this list can go on forever

Also visit blackfriday.redflagdeals.com

Check out My Black Friday purchase on my husband’s charge card (I love how 1950s that sounds), the real reason I used his card was because mine was 3 steps too far away. My inspiration for this look was Serena Van der woodsen (Blake Lively), when she wore a sequin mini while taking a stroll in Central Park on Gossip Girl. When did sequin become part of the casual wear category? Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love the idea of adding pizzazz to my day. I actually picture the sun glittering on my skirt as I walk down the street and everyone enviously staring at how I pulled off a retro studio 54 look during the day.
My Inspiration
 My J. Crew Purchase

Oyster sequin skirt $128.00 - J.Crew
Natural Cardigan $44.99 - J.Crew


I don’t know if it’s just me but all this talk about sales and percentages off is just giving me way too many options (my mind is going everywhere). I want these high-waist pants from Nordstrom, velvet blazer from Bloomingdales, and ankle peep toe boots from Saks - too many beautiful pieces that I should not be splurging on. If my family is reading this blog you should have no trouble finding me presents.

Since the holidays are just around the corner I thought I would pick outfits that would be appropriate for work or personal holiday parties. Remember any of the fun outfits you pick for the holidays can easily be packed up and reworn on your next travel adventure. I love wearing an old dress in a new city, it almost feels like it’s the first time you are wearing it. Tomorrow I will post the outfit I wore to my husbands work holiday party (in case you guys need more ideas).

Outfit 1: The center of attention dress. I call the girl that wears this dress the ‘it girl’, because when I saw this dress online I wanted to be what this dress exudes, class, sophistication, and beauty. Described online as the “glass of bubbly” dress, meaning anyone wearing this dress is out to celebrate something. The dress has my favourite neckline, sweetheart, and has a full rosette skirt that poofs out in such a girly way. You can find this dress at Modcloth.com, it is a bit pricy but if you’re going to end up the ‘center of attention’ why not? Price: $241.99






















Outfit 2: The cheap chic dress. The reason I call this dress cheap chic is because it is under $40CAD, and with a few blinging accessories this dress could look like a million bucks. I would add some statement studs and a bracelet with a cute metallic platform sandal. I think this could be worn while hosting your own holiday party, even if it gets stained or ruined (from cooking/entertaining) by the end of the night, you won’t feel as bad since you got it at such a great deal. You can find this dress on the Canadian Forever 21 site.
Forever 21 - sleeveless silk bow dress - $39.80

Outfit 3: The ‘all figures’ flirty dress. This dress can suit any figure, with a corset it can make an A cup look like a C, or take the D cup and hold it in firmly. The full skirt is definitely forgiving if you have any extra love on the hips, and even adds the illusion of hips for those with a square shape. I added the flirty to this dress name because it is just so flattering that I think it would make any girl feel super confident and bubbly. Also this dress comes in lace which has been the trend this fall, it’s a win win in all forms. I would suggest wearing this dress to any semi-formal function. You can find this dress at victoriasecret.com, currently $99.

Outfit 4: A piece of summer in winter dress. This BCBG printed one shoulder dress is everything fun about the summer brought into a chic pattern for the winter. Winter does not have to be blah, with this one shoulder pattern dress you will walk into any holiday function and brighten up the room. Most holiday parties are surrounded by LBDs (Little Black Dresses), but if you’re looking to stand out in a positive way this number will do just the trick. Available online at www.bcbg.com at a discounted price.
Printed one shoulder dress - bcbg - $159.00 (previously $318.00)

Outfit 5: The retro house party dress. What I love about this Mango dress is it can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on the accessories you add. You can transition it from work wear to lounge wear to holiday house party wear. The fabric is soft and the wide sleeves and skirt add the perfect feminine touch. I have lots of catch-ups with friends to do during the holidays, I can see myself wearing this for after work cocktails. Visit mango.com if you’re interested in purchasing.
 Price: $129

Outfit 6: The little red dress. I don’t know if it is just me, but just like a LBD, I think most people can pull off a red dress. Mind you different shades of red may work better for different skin tones but I am yet to see a girl wear red and it not look great. I think especially during the holiday time a girl wearing red just sparkles. With this dress I would do light eye makeup, bold red lips and maybe some nude patent round toes. This is a great dress for a work holiday party that you can ditch early and head to town in.  Visit http://www.ardenb.com/ to purchase this bow mini tube dress for $89.

http://www.ardenb.com/catalog/product.jsp?categoryId=140&subCategoryId=167&productId=40466&source=pf&ref=ab_aff_pf_k108283

Outfit 7: The soft sophisticated mama dress. This dress takes the fabric and silhouette of the late 50s and adds the sparkle of 2010. The woman of Mad Men have thankfully brought back length in hemlines and class to embellishment (oh how I adore you January Jones and Christina Hendricks). This dress is perfect for a work holiday party, cute pocket accents, the perfect length, and in the most holiday fabric ever – velvet. I know not everyone is a fan of velvet (circa 2002 - rocawear velvet tracksuits), I understand it brings back bad memories. But come on we all know velvet hugs the curves so well and in a dark navy it won’t feel like holiday décor. I think this dress is a keeper. Check out www.outnet.com if your interested in purchasing.
Anna Molinari - navy embellished dress - 80% off $189


Stay tuned next week as I pick outfits across the 2010 Winter Fashion Trends. From winter pastels, cut-outs, and sheer outfits to tapered pants, capes, and ankle boots!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What to look for in a ‘9to5’ if you love to travel

In order to be able to travel and enjoy the beauty of the world, you need to ensure that your employer is able to easily make this happen for you. When I was thinking about how I would help my readers find the right employer, I decided to reach out to one of my close friends in HR. Manpreet Batoo (HR Supervisor @ a leading Financial Service organization) told me that in order to create a work life balance and enjoy the worlds wonders, you may want to ask your existing or future employer if the following ways to earn and burn vacation are available:

Vacation Time
Unfortunately the minimum requirement for vacation in Ontario is only 2 weeks. Some employers offer only the minimum but negotiate this when you are looking for a job. When you find the employer of your dreams stick with it as your number of years of service will add to your vacation days.
Personal Days/Floater Days
Many employers allow you to have multiple personal days (which can be used for any purpose) and floater days that can be used to celebrate a non-statutory religious holiday or enjoy an additional day off. Depending on when you start in the year with an employer you may get 100% of the personal/floater days or ¼ if you start in the last quarter of the year.
Banking of Hours/ Annualized hours
This arrangement allows employees to choose, within negotiated boundaries, their days and hours of work to the maximum for a set period of time. This period of time may be weekly, monthly or yearly. Such arrangements are often a combination of flex time and compressed work week and can help reduce the amount of overtime hours required. These arrangements may be suited to fields where there is variation in demands such as peak hours or seasonal peaks. This is great if your work has set busy seasons where you can put in your 10-12 hour days, but bank those extra hours to use as vacation during the non busy months.
Compressed work week / Summer Hours
Organizations that have this arrangement available typically implement a full-time schedule compressed into four 10 hour days when employees work a 40-hour week. As well, some apply a "summer hour" schedule where they might work longer Monday through Thursday and offer a half day on Fridays. This arrangement allows for a longer weekend and more time for mini-getaways!
Job sharing
This represents regular part-time work where people share the responsibilities of one job. Incumbents work 50 per cent of their regular schedule using a combination of days over a two-week period. Typically, employees wishing to job share seek this arrangement for a longer period. Job sharing may not be the best option for everyone since you are also sharing the salary.
Telecommuting
Telecommuting allows employees to work at home part of the week and/or all of the week. This could be a permanent arrangement and/or temporary for a specific project or for a specific time frame. With Internet and computer access to your workplace, this is an easy benefit to implement. Employees can work regular hours and/or scattered hours as long as the work is done. This may not provide additional vacation or travel days, but for those that have longer commutes it might make your work day less stressful going from a 2 hour to a 0 hour commute.
Leaves and Sabbaticals
Leaves and sabbaticals are authorized periods of time away from work without loss of employment rights. Paid or unpaid leaves are usually granted for family, health care, education or leisure reasons. Sabbaticals are usually paid (or partially funded) and occur on a regular basis in addition to vacation time. In some cases, self-funded leaves are also possible where a portion of the employee's salary is withheld and returned to the employee 'as pay' during the time away from work. This would be a great option for someone wanting to travel the globe for 3-6 months and still have a job secured when you return.
Bought Vacation Days/Unpaid Vacation

An organization may allow an employee to purchase additional vacation days, which cost them a ratio of their current salary based on days taken. It is almost like having unpaid time off but guaranteed as it would be part of a benefit package. Employers usually ask that employees get their supervisors permission before buying any additional days (no point in buying days if you won’t have the time to use them). I think this is a great benefit and this past year I actually bought 5 additional vacation days (which I will be using this winter).
Reference Source:
Manpreet Batoo – Human Resources Supervisor

Friday, November 19, 2010

FASHION FRIDAY - Edition 2

As the holidays creep up on us, December can get quite hectic with family gatherings, company year-ends , and holiday gift purchasing. I know ‘tis the season for giving’ but sometimes the ‘giving’ needs to be to ourselves. We have all worked hard in 2010, we deserve some TLC whether that be by travelling somewhere warm or buying something that makes us feel warm this holiday season. This week I have included some of the top sales I have found, which I think would meet the needs of any traveler or fashionista.
One of my favourite discount vintage/new apparel stores is www.shopnastygal.com. The attire they sell is anything but nasty gal like, but their prices are so low its nasty lol. They still have their end of summer sale going on, which is great for someone that’s considering heading somewhere warm in the weeks to come. See two outfits I want to purchase below:











Outfit 1: Martini sipping in LA. Ruby is heading to LA this winter and she plans on wearing this Navajo cut-out dress her first night out. Although she may have to wear a La Senza ‘dreamshaper’ stick on bra due to the extra low cut-out back, she’s definitely going to make a guys dream come true in this dress. She plans to wear this dress as she sips on martinis at Château Marmont in LA, when she spends an evening with old friends and her twin sister. You can find this at www.shopnastygal.com


Price:$68USD
/Navajo-Cutout-Dress.html



Outfit 2: Martini sipping in LA. Rania (Rubys twin sister) is also heading to LA this winter, and although she loves her sister to death she hates being known as “the twins.” When she heads out that first night for drinks she plans to wear this sizzling red number, so that everyone can see her unique style. This crimson red dress is simplicity at its finest,  all the details (like her sisters dress) draw attention to the cross bow back. Her sister may have the cut-out back tonight, but Rania has red lips and a smoking hot attitude to match. You can also find this dress at www.shopnastygal.com.
Price: $48USD
Direct Link:http://www.shopnastygal.com/products/new/clothing/dresses/Cross-Bow-Dress-%252d-Crimson.html





Outfit 3: Soaking in sun in Maui. Sasha is heading to the beaches of Maui in one week with her boyfriend of 2 years. Sasha is spending two weeks at the Grand Wailea resort in a cottage by the water. Sasha and her boyfriend are big surfers so for the most part her boyfriend sees her in a full body suit. When surfing, Sasha puts looking good on the back burner; favourite board shorts over sarongs any day. But for this trip, Sasha wants to blow her man away with this racy number. Luckily she did some quick browsing online and she was able to find this smoking black bikini by Vitamin A, available at www.tags.com.
Price: $67.50 (20%off)
Direct Link: http://tags.com/products/wrap-top-onyx-1
Outfit 4: Safari adventure in Kenya. Michelle is a humanitarian who plans to volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity ‘Global Village program’. She is heading to Kenya this January and will be shoveling, plastering, mixing concrete, and pushing wheel barrows as she helps rebuild communities. Although she is mainly going to volunteer her time, she also plans to go on a safari where she will relive the youtube video ‘battle at kruger.’ Michelle is quite the frugal shopper but splurges every once in a while on a purchase by one of her favourite brands. She plans to wear a safari stripe shirt dress with a straw hat and shades when she takes off on her adventure. If you would like to purchase her dress it is by Elizabeth and James and is available at www.shopbop.com.
Price: $182.50USD (50% off)
Hope you enjoyed this week! Stay tuned for next week as I share my favourite cocktail dresses for this holiday season.

Friday, November 12, 2010

FASHION FRIDAY - edition 1

How many of us are guilty of buying outfits for a trip, to end up wearing those outfits while shopping on the trip? I think the whole concept sounds crazy to an outsider (non travel/fashion lover). Well if no one is going to admit it in my comment section below, I will be the first to admit I am guilty. Prior to going to any new city I strategically think about what I want to do each night and imagine, then purchase the perfect outfit. This may be completely foreign to others but honestly the best part about going on vacation is planning the fun outfits you will get to wear. I purposely search opentable.com to find restaurants that would work with the outfits I want to wear. Prime examples below:


Resto-lounge =printed mini
Brunch = cap sleeve A line dress
Dessert bar = knee-length jumpsuit

I know what you’re thinking, but I live in Canada remember? We have 2 months of fabulous weather and the rest of the year is pretty much panty hose, wool jackets, and turtlenecks. Travelling allows me to truly expand my wardrobe and wear different pieces.

When shopping for a trip, it can get very frustrating if you need certain apparel for your adventure and you cannot find it. With limited days before a trip it can get quite stressful having to shop for a bikini, shorts, or a dress and not find something you like. My Tip for today is: Plan ahead and always be on the lookout. For example, if you know you are going to the Caribbean in October, you will only find fall gear in store, so plan to buy your outfits during summer end of season sales. I’ll buy outfits for trips I don’t even know I will actually be going on - now that’s thinking ahead.
What I thought I would do to entertain you all each Friday is share specific outfits that are currently available online for different adventures. I think you will find the faux adventures just as entertaining as my outfit selection.

Outfit 1: Wine Tour in Tuscany– Jill below is wearing a printed silk crossover jumpsuit. She plans to wear this while bike riding on a wine tour in the country. In the event she gets too tipsy during the wine tour, she will avoid any Britney Spears like paparazzi mishap, by wearing a short jumpsuit. She can freely tumble or peddle carefree. Check out http://www.bebe.com/ if you’re interested in purchasing. Bebe online is having a Veterans Day sale with up to 70%off until Sunday November 14, 2010.
Price: $98USD


Outfit 2: Bazaar shopping in the Caribbean – Melanie below is wearing a camel satin drop sleeve dress. She is quite the frugal shopper so whatever she wears always has multiple uses. When she heads to the Caribbean this holiday season she plans to wear this outfit as she bargains with the many jewelry shops. She then plans to wear it as shown below (minus the hat) as she transitions from Friday work wear to dinner with her friends. If you want Melanie’s outfit check out http://www.asos.com/.
Price: £28.00
Direct link: http://www.asos.com/Women/Dresses/Casual-Dresses/Cat/pgecategory.aspx?cid=8834#parentID=-1&pge=3&pgeSize=20&sort=-1



Outfit 3: Basking in the sun, on the beaches of St. Barts. Naomi has made it clear with her most recent purchase that beaches don’t have to be about skimpy bikinis and tanning lotion. This rust coloured safari cover-up allows you to mix and match with multiple swimwear. The back perhaps may be the best part, throw a cross strap bikini top and you got yourself some classy beachwear. Naomi loves that the tunic is sheer enough to still look quite alluring (as she has been working on those abs for months), and dressy enough she can wear it with shorts and strappy platform sandals to Chez Maya, a celebrity frequented chic beachside restaurant on the water’s edge in Anse de Public. You can find this outfit at http://www.bluefly.com/ under designer A.B.S by Allen Schwartz. Today only Bluefly.com is having their OMG SALE, 25% off all reduced items!
Price: $50.99USD (reduced from $76.00)
Direct Link: http://www.bluefly.com/ABS-by-Allen-Schwartz-rust-sunset-safari-v-neck-cover-up-tunic/cat20030/306404701/detail.fly


Outfit 4: Dining in Paris with her two best friends. Sarah is wearing a light pink frock with pearl shoulder accents. Sarah came to Paris to eat, drink, and find love. Sarah and her two best friends decided to dine at Le Grand Vefour which overlooks the Palais Royal Gardens. As she dines at this 18th century building she hopes that a Parisian Prince will enter and whisk her away. The chances of this are a gazillion to 1, but tonight those odds just got better.
Visit http://www.modcloth.com/
Price: $79.99USD
Direct link: http://www.modcloth.com/store/ModCloth/Womens/Dresses/Effervescent+Evening+Dress

Outfit 5: Drinks in the meatpacking district in NYC. Gina is wearing a white tank with a statement necklace and a black lace pencil skirt. She loves travelling but always ends up in the most cosmopolitan of cities, so her vacations are go-go-go. The best part about this outfit is she can transition from drinks at a bar to club hoping on little west 12th street. The skirt is from Mango and available at http://www.asos.com/ to purchase, the statement necklace is available at http://www.aldoshoes.com/ in both gold and midnight black.
Necklace Price: $18.00USD

Please note: As time passes the direct links above may change or no longer lead to the correct item.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking for some Southern Comfort

Can you guess where my most recent travel booking is taking me? There will be beads, fried chicken with pecan pie, cabaret, karaoke and southern hospitality.

If you guessed New Orleans, you're right. I will be part of the infamous Mardi Gras parade (not quite literally, most likely watching from a hotel balcony) along with my closest friends and sister. We are heading down to celebrate my best friends soon to be marriage.

Don't let past weather like Hurricane Katrina scare you, its been back with avengence for years. For those considering a trip down south - Air Canada and Westjet just increased the amount of direct flights to New Orleans (check out the article below from www.metronews.ca):





I will save my full review and details for when I return, but I booked my direct flight for $400 through Air Canada. I will decide what type of days I will use to take the two days off in the new year.

Right now I need to start planning my 2 week trip this December to India. Yes, after almost a year I am NOW using my 12 vacation days. We are heading down for a wedding, but plan to travel around in between functions to see as much as we can. Has anyone been to central/southern India? Bobby and I want to go to Goa perhaps for New Years. I have heard the beaches are beautiful. I will have my India review up in early January. Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chicago - Aug Civic Long Weekend 2010


Ok I know I just went to LA for Canada day long weekend, who am I to pack up and head to Chicago for August long weekend. Well I did and we actually planned this trip well in advance. Why you ask? It was a multiple couple trip turned into a friend trip, and everyone’s work schedules are too different to do something last minute. So we rented a Car and booked our hotel and the 10 of us were off! Rented a car all the way from Toronto to Chicago you may ask. Yes, and the ride was 8 hours and one of the best road trips I have been on. Blasting music and singing “we saved $300 each by driving and NOT flying.”

How I saved moola for the important stuff…shopping!
We wanted a fun hotel in a location that was walking distance to everything. We called the W hotel (since they are known to be hip hotels) and found out that if you book using an Amex Credit Card you get the “book 2 nights get the 3rd free” promotion. We got the W hotel City Center for $460CAD for 3 nights. For the car rental one of the 10 people going on the trip had a corporate rate with Budget, and we were able to get a van that fit 6 of us for $550 including insurance.

9to5girl Time
As it was a long weekend we left Thursday night and only needed to use one vacation day, since the Monday was off!

Chicago Thoughts
- I love love love Chi Town! It is literally the best of both NYC and Toronto. It has the lakefront I think Toronto will never have, and it has the great culture and shopping that a big city like NYC holds strong.
- I will call out the W hotel City Center because it was amazing! They have this “whatever wherever” service that basically makes hotel guests' wishes come true. I went to Sprinkles cupcake store and there was a HUGE line up that I did not want to waste my trip waiting for. Sprinkle cupcakes are to die for, I love the coconut, red velvet and black and white cupcakes the best (I experienced these on my LA trip)! So when I realized I would not be getting any I went back to the hotel only to see the whatever/whenever service booth. I thought there is no way they will wait in line and get me those cupcakes but I should try anyway. Turns out they got me my cupcakes and delivered them to my room at no extra charge. I was quite impressed and W hotels definitely do make wishes come true!
CUPCAKE AFTERMATCH

- My highlights: Doing a bike tour across the city, dining at Sushi Samba (Japanese/Brazilian fusion restaurant), dancing the night away at Underground and Crescendo. The best part about Chicago in the summer is the great street festivals. We happened to be in one when we went to TANGO SUR. Tango Sur is a Bring Your Own Alcohol restaurant, where literally you can bring bottles of vodka, wine, beer to enjoy with your meal (which happens to be straight from an Argentine grill). BYOB restaurants are quite popular in Chicago and the best part is there is NO CORKAGE FEE! Another great part about Chicago is the beautiful Magnificent Mile which is a less dramatic and scary version of Rodeo Drive. People are actually in the stores on Magnificent Mile (when I was in LA the stores on Rodeo were intimidating as there would be 10 salespeople and 1 person in the store).
- Also, like all big cities like NYC, MIAMI, and LA you can make reservations at top restaurants using opentable.com
- Make sure to check out: Millennium Park, Lincoln Park, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Deep Dish Pizza Store(although I did not enjoy), a Blues clubs, a BYOB restaurant, and the artificial sand beach on the lakefront!
- I absolutely fell in love in Chicago and had the time of my life! Looking forward to my next trip back.
Kicking off the bike tour
A Chicago Street festival near Tango Sur
Lou Mitchells the BEST BREAKFAST place



The famous BEAN
I do not understand the fuss about DEEP DISH, it was not good.

LA – Our Anniversary Trip - Canada Day Long Weekend


We were thinking about where we should go for our big 1 year anniversary for a while. We did not want to take too much time off and wanted to go somewhere we both hadn’t been. It was almost fate that we ended up going to California for our honeymoon. My cousin (bob) had called me and told me that Air Canada was having a buy one ticket get one free to all California destinations. We used this as a sign and quickly booked flights from July 1 to 6, 2010.

How we saved moola for the important stuff…shopping!
-We booked our flight as mentioned above directly on the Air Canada site, with the Buy 1 get 1 free deal our total for both flights was $650CAD. We then proceeded to book our hotel using priceline and got a deal for $93USD/night at the Hyatt Regency in Century City. Apparently, “presidents” stay at this hotel according to one of our Cab drivers in LA. We also did some major car rental searching online and came upon Hertz as it was located in our hotel and got a FORD MUSTANG for $30USD a day for 4 days. We believe it may have been just chance that we got it for that price, because the next day it said $80USD a day. I have never driven a convertible and was super excited to be rolling in the hills with my beautifully blow dried hair and ray bans. – It didn’t quite look like that unfortunately. After a while of having hair all over my face I was over it.
View from our hotel balcony
9to5 girl
- Since our anniversary falls on Canada day long weekend we needed to only take 3 days off. I get summer days so I used all three for this trip! So far I have not used any vacation days woot woot!

LA Thoughts
So… everything in LA is like 20 minutes apart and there is a retail development in EVERY corner. I love shopping but there are too many options! I was super excited to buy a graphic tee from Kitson and walk down rodeo like a pretty woman.
- I am a big foodie and there are so many great restaurants all of which you can book online before you get there on http://www.opentable.com/. Try Katsuya/Geisha house for Sushi, Mr.Chow for Asian, STK for Steak and mac&cheese, and In and Out for some classic burgers. If you’re looking for some casual eateries in the day check the Farmer’s Market, and the Ivy in Santa Monica.
- Must do list: Universal Studios, Hollywood (Kodak Theatre, Chinese theatre, mulholland drive), Bel Air (big homes, playboy mansion), Beverely Hills Shopping Centre, Santa Monica Pier, 3rd street promenade, Malibu Beach, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Pinkberry (frozen yogurt joint), and the Camarillo Outlets.
- Although I had a fabulous time in LA I don’t think it is a place I would go back to unless I had to. It is so spread out and I just did not fall in love with it as easily as I should. The weather in JULY was also very chilly at night, which was quite surprising – 90210 makes it seem like it is sun/sand and fun all the time!
Wilma and Fred at Universal Studios!
DORA! I got to meet her lol.


me in my drop top in hollywood!
Santa Monica
Santa Monica PierYummy sprinkles cupcakes!

Caribbean Cruise February 2010 - Family Day Long weekend


Okay I know what you’re thinking, is she really in her mid 20s that she is going on a cruise with oldies? For your information Cruises are not just for the 50plus population! Although, when I think back now I did play a LOT of BINGO :S. Anyway, so a few months after NYC and a Canadian winter getting to me I yearned for some much needed vitamin D. I wanted to feel the scorching heat of the Caribbean and after spending a fortune in NYC (dinners, nightlife, shopping) I did not want to spend a fortune on my next trip. We decided to reach out to one of our closest couple friends (who also recently got married) and planned to go on a Carnival Eastern Caribbean cruise.

How we saved moola for the important stuff…Shopping!
We booked the Carnival cruise in December 2009 by phone and got an inside room so that it ended up being just under $500 a person. Our cruise was leaving from Miami port and so we booked a hotel the night before the cruise using priceline – which came to under $100. We decided to wait on booking the flight and got completely screwed as it was Ontario’s Family Day long weekend (also valentines day in 2010) all flights were around $550plus pp. We ended up getting our flights from Toronto (Buffalo was not any better) for $557 each with TWO not ONE but TWO stopovers to Miami. A flight that would normally take 5 hours maximum took 8 hours. I will make it clear that Bobby booked this flight without my say and he will NEVER be responsible for flight booking again. I am not sure if he purposely planned this so he never has to plan a trip again, if that is the case his plan worked. Picture us at Miami International Airport and my husband sweating bricks in hopes that my luggage also made the two stopover journey. His prayers were answered and all my clothes, shoes, makeup made it! – I am scared to think what could have happened to him if they did not make it.

9 to 5 travel girl
As it was a new year I used 3 of my personal days, 1 floater day, and one day was off due to family day long weekend. So I got a full 7 days off for the price of using NO vacation days.

Eastern Caribbean thoughts
- Our cruise took us to Bahamas, St Thomas, Grand Turk and Puerto Rico. We did snorkeling in St.Thomas, swam with the Dolphins in Bahamas, did ziplining in Puerto Rico, and rented scooters in Grand Turk.
- The Carnival food was great, maybe too great as I probably gained 5lbs on this trip. So I would try not to overeat! The shows on the ship were quite entertaining especially the comedy shows, we took lots of dance lessons, and spent nights at the casino. I also had the BEST massage of my life on the ship and I get massages every two months from different spas.
- It was a positive experience, and going with a couple friend is great because you can ditch the boys and have a girls spa day. Although it was great I will likely not do a cruise again for a long while, I liked that you could get a taste of multiple islands but I would rather go to one place and truly delve into the culture. I also did not like the overeating I witnessed in the buffet lines!