Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Long weekend here we come!

Well I know I talked about my European adventure coming up, but unfortunately it is still 2 months away. This upcoming long weekend is my 2 year wedding anniversary and in order to make the home stretch to our Europe trip easier, we decided to book a mini trip to Montreal/Quebec City. It almost just fell into our lap when we got our weekly Top 20 deals from TravelZoo. On the weekly deals page Le Sheraton Montreal Centre was available for only $99/night for 3 days (which in comparison to their standard prices, was quite the deal). We booked Montreal for the Thursday night, and decided to book Quebec City for the following 2 nights since we both have never really experienced Quebec City to its fullest (last time I went was when I was 16 on a breakaway tour bus). We used priceline.com and bid $120 and got the hotel for 2 nights taxes in for under $300. We are planning to drive down and will likely spend $100-$150 in gas to fill up twice, given it is almost a 10 hour drive to Quebec City.

I have reached out to a few of my work colleagues in Montreal to give me a run down of which trendy restaurants to try out, and which activities are a must. I will definitely keep you all informed when I return on where I went and what was a must try!

Until after the long weekend,

9to5travelgirl

Sunday, June 26, 2011

STYLE SUNDAY: FASHION INSPIRED BY FAMILY


Hello readers,

I just had the most fabulous weekend. I spent Saturday at my cousins place lounging by their heated pool with some great company. Although the weather was cloudy we still managed to have a blast. I may have gotten a very minor tan (mission accomplished!)

After some fun in the sun we decided to have dinner downtown on Saturday night. Which was traffic galore due to the IFFA awards being held at Rogers Centre. Downtown was chaotic/exciting all week with the IFFA awards in town, with screaming bollywood fans trying to find every opportunity to see their favourite star (ask the staff of the Fairmont Royal York). Although, I am not a big bollywood movie watcher, I do think I would have gotten into the frenzy if I were to surround myself with the fans swarming the Rogers Centre on Saturday (apparently there was a girl that fainted and started pulling her hair because she had a glimpse of Shah Rukh Khan – Bollywood's Brad Pitt equivalent). Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I missed out on some of the chaos and decided to spend the evening in King West with my familia (my cousins and my sister). We ended up having dinner at LEE (resto-lounge owned by Chef Su Sur Lee) which was quite delicious but RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. Our waitress I believe truly screwed us, we had originally decided on ordering the following: 1)Green curry balls 3) 3 cheeseburger rolls 4) 2 Asian Slaws (best thing on menu by the way) 5) Chickpea fritter 6) Spicy Tofu 7) Watermelon Salad.  Which was the perfect amount, but we were pushed into ordering the following additional items: 8) Skirt Steak (which was the second best thing I believe) 9) 2- Black Cod 10) Garlic Shrimp. We were quite overstuffed by this point and ended up spending more than we needed to, aside from the overpriced menu and the aggressive waitress I would still head back, but this time stand my ground.

As the lovely familia all looked super great on Saturday night, I thought I would have another Fashion inspired post with my familia. Below are different looks of the night that I hope will inspire you all on your next night out!
***I apologize in advance for the dark pictures, I did not have my camera with me!

Flower Power – Floral patterns seem to be everywhere, but I will warn you that floral can sometimes look too casual or too busy. When I found the jumper I am wearing below I liked that there was still a lot of white space between the flowers so it did not look too busy. I think a shorter jumpsuit looks very chic when popped with a blazer (makes it less casual and more dressy). I am wearing a camel blazer from H&M ($59.99), with a floral white print jumpsuit from Forever 21 ($19.50 – what a steal bought it online), bracelet from So good jewelry in NOLA ($27), and shoes from Aldo ($19 Sale, Regular $89 – got them when I was in LA)

LBD Lover– How can you go wrong in a Little Black Dress (LBD), LBD lover looks super sophisticated in a chic black dress with beautiful rhinestone accents around the neckline and two waist pockets for your lipstick/ID’s for a night out (price and store unknown). Her shoes are from Nine West which she snagged when she crossed the border for only $54.99. The bracelets were borrowed from a friend and were $8.99 from Nordstrom.


Pretty in Print – What I love about this outfit is its quite revealing with the short shorts, but still feels super conservative when paired with a  blazer. Pretty in prints outfit is also one that can go from evening to late night, take off the blazer and add a chunky necklace and she’s ready to go dancing! The printed shorts make the full outfit pop and adds a fresh touch, the shorts are from dynamite ($20), tank top from Smart Set ($16), blazer from Joe fresh ($40), and shoes from BCBG ($89).


Pastel Princess – I don’t think I can repeat myself anymore, blush pink and cream are the look of the summer. Below is Pastel Princess in an uber chic cream dress (from a boutique in NOLA for $39.99) that almost feels upscale bohemian, paired with a shirt blazer in blush pink from H&M ($39.99), a chunky necklace from Forever 21 ($10), watch Michael Kors ($250), and shoes Aldo ($99.99).

Eyelet Enamored – A summer wardrobe would not be complete without a white dress. Eyelet Enamored looks ready for the summer in an eyelet white dress from Dynamite ($59), with camel belt from Forever 21 ($8), Pandora Bracelet ($60), and shoes from Winners ($50). What I love about white dresses is they can be super versatile, you can pair it with flats and have a more casual backyard bbq look, or add some pumps (see below) and be ready for a dinner night out, or add a short crop blazer and you could take this look to the office.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

STYLE SUNDAY: Retro Swimwear

Hello all,

The days are warming up (well atleast they are here in Toronto), I spent my Saturday at Wasaga beach soaking in the sun. Although the weather was too cool to jump in just yet, I did get to relax and fall asleep on the sandy beach (still got the sand in my ears to prove it :S lol). This season can be super exciting or somewhat nervewrecking when thinking of getting into a bathing suit again. As I was trying to find a bathing suit for my Cottage trips planned for later this summer and my European adventure, I noticed the high waisted bikini bottoms were making a come back. The retro bathing suit is super cute, the bottoms are high enough to cover key assets, yet still leave a bit of a space from the bottom to the top piece to show a bit of skin (so you don't look like a 12 year old in a swim suit lol).

When I realized I wanted a retro bikini I checked a few stores, and then did some major digging online. I ended up finding pinupgirlclothing.com, which has a pretty sketchy name (I think most corporate security would block this website just because the name sounds a bit more alluring then it really is). I ended up ordering their two piece cherry print bikini with high waisted shorts (comes with a matching sarong). The suit was $100 altogether (not more then what I have paid at bikini village or victoria secret so I was okay with the price). The shipment was at my house within 2 days of ordering, and when I received my package I was pleasantly surprised. I was almost afraid the quality of the swimsuit was going to be super thin and not up to par (given I ordered it from a site I just found googling away one day). Turned out the quality was super high end, thick material that provided the right amount of coverage. I would say it was well above the quality of any Victoria Secret bathing suit I have had in the past. So if your stuck on purchasing swimwear and are interested in the retro look be sure to check out pinupgirlclothing.com and let me know about your experience. Below are some pics of some of the bikini's available.




Vintage Pinup High Waisted Short with Matching Sarong in Black Cherry from Pinup Coutureclose
ntage Pinup High Waisted Short with Matching Sarong in Green Dot from Pinup Coutureclose
Sailor Girl Nautical Bikini Bottom

Sunday, June 12, 2011

STYLE SUNDAY: Tassled Earrings

Another style sunday...when I was thinking about what to share when it came to style this weekend it was clear that I had to share my recent obsession with Tassled Earrings. I don't own a pair yet but I am certainly intrigued.

The long tassled earring go hand in hand with the 70s chic look of Spring/Summer 2011. Louis Vuitton Spring 2011 was not only full of bright colour palettes but beautiful beaded tassled earrings in a smoky black. These earrings reach the end of the neckline (in some cases even further down) and are beaded full from earloop to neck with several strands of beads.
I started noticing these earrings after the season finale of Gossip Girl where Blake Lively was rocking a pair of black beaded tasseled earrings by Oscar Del La Renta. I mean she can rock any look but they looked so hot on her with her hair tied back (see below picture of Blake Lively).
Check out two pairs from Oscar De La Renta in midnight blue and sea green. Unfortunately these earrings run from 300-600CAD, so I am hoping the Aldos/Zara's/H&M's of the world will bust out with knock off looks that the rest of us can afford!






Monday, June 6, 2011

My European Adventure BOOKED!

 EURO TRIP HERE WE COME!

Yes I have officially booked all of my flights and hotels for my European Adventure for August. I will be traveling from mid August to early September (almost 3 full weeks eeeekk I am excited).

Below is my itinerary and details on how and what I booked for each destination. I will be blogging from each location when I am in Europe, so I thought I'd talk about the planning stuff now to focus those blog posts solely on food, culture and activities.

International Flight - I booked a multi-destination flight through Air Transat at a cost of $855 per person. We are flying into London and flying out of Barcelona International Airport.

London - We are planning to stay for two nights. We booked our hotel through expedia.ca and got the Holiday Inn on Kings Cross 3.5 star (which is suppose to be an accessible area) for $200 a night. A bit pricey but I believe we will save money on our transportation there, since we will be in a prime location.

We will then be taking the Eurostar train at $60 dollars a ticket, and heading over to Paris (2 hour train ride).

Paris- We are staying here for 3 nights, and booked our hotel at an incredible deal through priceline.com. We bid $135 a night for a 4 star hotel near Champs elysees and got Le Meridian Etoile. This hotel I believe goes for around $300+ a night, so we definitely snagged a big deal here. I would suggest using priceline wherever possible, especially if you know the core area you want to be near. Some European destinations on priceline you can not completely isolate the areas you want to bid at and are a bit broader, so where you can narrow down on priceline I would suggest using this site. You always get a big bang for your buck.

Flight to Venice from Paris was booked through Easyjet Airlines at a cost of $80 per person. I am a bit skeptical about this airline as it sounds like a joke (easyjet - it has 'that's what she said' all over it)

Venice - We booked the Best Western Albergo in San Marco, Venice. We got the room for $132/night (staying for 2 nights) through expedia.ca.

Booked train from Venice to Florence at a cost of $60 per person, through euro rail website.

Florence - We booked a B&B apartment in the Duomo region in Florence for $82/night called Locanda de' Coimpi, it has over 72 reviews with 100% recommendations on Tripadvisor. We booked this hotel also using expedia.ca.We saved big here, and will hopefully allow us to take advantage of the prada, gucci, and armani outlets!

Booked train from Florence to Rome at a cost of $60 per person, through euro rail website.

Rome - I won't take credit for this booking. One of my friends (the couple friends that are joining us on this trip), they did extensive research on the areas in Rome. Well actually they just went on Tripadvisor to determine the top rated hotels in Rome, and booked a boutique hotel called Campo de' fiori. We were able to get an apart for $450 for 3 nights. We booked the hotel on booking.com which is a sister site of priceline.com.

We are then ending our adventure off on the beaches of Barcelona, by taking a flight through Vueling airline from Rome to Barcelona, which cost around $63/per person.

Barcelona - Las Ramblas was the suggested area many of our friends and family gave us as the area to stay near. Luckily priceline.com had the option to select this location along with a 4 star rating. I bid $125 per night and got the Gran Silken Hotel.

TWO KEY TRAVEL BOOKING TIPS:
1) I would strongly suggest before booking any hotel to read guest reviews on tripadvisor, specifically look at what people are saying about the location and service. If the hotel has great service but everyone is saying it is 20 minutes out of the city core (take into account the incremental transportation costs you will face). I did this with all our hotels to ensure we were booking in the right spots.

2) The other suggestion I have is to use mapquest or google maps to determine the distance between the hotel to the airport or train station so you know what costs you will incur when it comes to taxis (or water taxis when it comes to Venice).

Stay tune for my posts in August as I hop from one country to the next! Super excited to share this adventure with you all.

-9to5travelgirl