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The SoHo Hotel Toronto

I’m back with another hotel stay review! Sashien and I were so excited when we got the opportunity to check out the SoHo Hotel and Residences in Toronto. Having stayed at the SoHo Residences in Ottawa, I knew I was in for some great hospitality. Toronto is one of our favourite cities so we were more than happy to make the trip down.

The SoHo Hotel Toronto

Located in the heart of Toronto’s financial district the SoHo Hotel Toronto is a 89 room boutique hotel. The property also features residences for long stay guests (over 14 days) and is divided into two parts; the hotel and the residences. We stayed at the hotel.

The Room 

The SoHo Hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation which included many upgrades to the property and guest rooms. The renovation resulted in 89 rooms by Gluckstein design. Post renovation all rooms include: 80 sq ft dressing areas featuring Canadian maple millwork, Italian Frette linens, a 55-inch LG TV, spacious Sahara Marble bathrooms with heated floors, a deep soaker tub, bedside controls for drapes and sconces and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light.

The room was very spacious and had enough space for luggage and accessories. The his and hers dressing area was great with more than enough closet space.

I’m very particular about bathrooms, especially when I travel and this one did not disappoint. The bathroom featured imported marble and well equipped with a bathtub and separate shower. Molton Brown amenities imported from the UK, were on hand as well but the stand out feature for me were the heated floors. It was great stepping on to a warm marble floor just before a morning shower.

In addition to a spacious bedroom all suites include a sitting area and coffee/tea station. My room had an added bonus of an outdoor patio area. We really enjoyed this outdoor space in the middle of the city. The hotel also has a common courtyard area accessible to all guests.

Although we were in the hotel portion of the building it wouldn’t be fair to leave out one of the largest and most luxurious spaces at the SoHo Hotel Toronto. Located on the residence side the three story Presidential Penthouse is a hidden gem at the SoHo. The penthouse is comprised of two separate one-bedroom suites spanning over 4000 sp ft.

Photos supplied by hotel

This updated space includes a hot tub on a large rooftop terrace with views of the CN Tower and Rogers Centre. It is a favourite of celebrities and has been home to A-listers such as Will Smith! This space is great for a posh luxurious stay, a special occasion or even product launches.

The Amenities

The hotel features many added amenities which include a luxurious saltwater pool and steam room. In addition the hotel also houses a state-of-the-art gym designed and managed by  two-time heavyweight champion and trainer, Dalton Brown. Gym and pool access is managed via a sign up process to respect Covid-19 protocols.

Photos supplied by hotel

The hotel  also offers many new COVID-safe features, including touch-less check-in, room service and special requests via direct message using the new SoHo Hotel app.

Dining

The hotel offers two dining options for breakfast and dinner. Located on either side of the hotel lobby Moretti Cafe and Moretti Restaurant are great ways to start and end your day. We enjoyed a gourmet breakfast at Moretti Cafe. I loved the decor in the cafe which had a European flair to it. Moretti Cafe is a lovely place to meet for breakfast or to just work out of during the day. Less hectic than other Toronto cafes it has a both a street and hotel entrance. Stepping inside Moretti Cafe truly feels like an escape.

On the other side of the lobby is Moretti Restaurant a great spot for dinner or a late night cocktail. We stopped by for after dinner drinks and the ambiance was great. The decor was very classy and we really enjoyed our time there. The cocktails were delicious too!

The Verdict

The Soho Hotel is a great choice for luxurious accommodation in the heart of Toronto. Conveniently located on Wellington Street the hotel is close toToronto’s beautiful waterfront, Billy Bishop Airport, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium. King Street and Queen Street are just a short walk away and guests are close to numerous shops, pubs and restaurants.

We really enjoyed our stay at the SoHo Hotel Toronto. The rooms were spacious, the outdoor patio area was a great added feature and the heated bathroom floors were heavenly! The best part about a stay at the SoHo Hotel is the service! The hotel staff were welcoming and always ready to help. We even enjoyed a tour of the hotel lead by General Manager, David Kelley. Service is so important in the hospitality industry and the SoHo Hotel Toronto certainly doesn’t fall short! I would definitely visit this hotel again and recommend it to anyone. A big thank you to Mr. Kelley and the staff at the SoHo Hotel Toronto for hosting us and making our stay so memorable.

Thinking of booking a room at the SoHo Hotel Toronto? Use the code SOHOSOCIAL to save 12% off your stay!

 

 

Capsule Collection with Rebecca Rowe

I have some very exciting news to share! I’m launching a workwear capsule collection!! I’m so excited to be able to finally share this news with all of you. I’ve collaborated with Ottawa based designer Rebecca Rowe (known for her capsule collections) to create a collection of feminine women’s workwear.

Rebecca and I have been working on this collection for over a year and dealt with many challenges along the way but we are so happy to finally launch our project.

Background

I first met Rebecca in March of 2020 when I was invited to attend her popup shop at Bayshore Shopping Centre. I had been following Rebecca on Instagram for a while and I was familiar with her work. What really caught my attention was how her clothing was tailored to fit many different body types and could be customized to suit your personal style.

A few months past and I approached to ask if she’d be interested in collaborating on a capsule collection. I wanted to focus on workwear as I had always struggled to find professional clothing that was also feminine and fit well. After a few discussions about style and fashion icons The Weekend Fashionista collection was born.

This collection is inspired by one of my favourite classic fashionistas Audrey Hepburn.

Here’s a look at our pieces:

Tiffany Dress

Do you believe in overdressing? Audrey Hepburn sure did. This boat neck black and white dress is perfect for the boardroom or after work cocktails. Inspired by Audrey’s Hubert De Givenchy gown from Breakfast at Tiffany’s this LBD is fitted yet comfortable and effortlessly chic.

Ann Blouse

Finally a crop top you can wear to work! This cropped printed blouse was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe in Roman Holiday. Easy to wear and pair with the Gabrielle skirt or Anya trousers this versatile piece is a great addition to your workwear wardrobe! Pair it with high waisted jeans for a causal chic weekend look too.

Anya Trouser

High waisted but also high fashion! These trousers mean business (or pleasure). Inspired by Audrey’s style in Roman Holiday when she goes incognito as Anya and famously dons more casual attire to hide the fact that she’s royalty. These trousers are perfect for a chic yet playful workwear look. Pair it with the Ann cropped blouse or your top of choice.

Gabrielle Skirt

What workwear wardrobe is complete without a quintessential pencil skirt. You’ll be skirting around town in style in this fitted skirt with front ruching inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s character Gabrielle Simpson in Paris When It Sizzles.  It can be paired with the Ann cropped blouse or your a top from your existing wardrobe.

You can shop the collection here: The Weekend Fashionista Capsule

Although this collection is inspired by Audrey Hepburn we understand that not everyone has the same body type. All pieces in the collection can be customized to fit and flatter you! Rebecca also has some tips on what to do if you love someone’s style but have a different body type:

What I Wore in California

It’s been a while since I did a fashion post and I’m super excited to share my outfits from our recent trip to California! It was so great to finally get to travel, albeit just across the border to the USA. As Sashien and are both fully vaccinated we were able to fly to the US and back without any difficulty (I’ll pop up an Instagram story for any of your travel related questions).

As with any trip we always like to plan our itinerary beforehand and have everything organized, which means all the flights, activities and restaurant reservations are booked well in advance. This also helps with packing and outfit planning. We had a flight every other day so I needed to be organized and know what I wanted to wear to each outing.

Here’s what I wore in California:

Leopard Print Top & High Waisted Pants

I wore this look to what I thought would be brunch at the London West Hollywood. Instead Sashien had planned a surprise for me and took me to the rooftop at the Peninsula Hotel. This wasn’t my original outfit choice (I had planned to wear a pistachio green slip dress) but Sashien insisted I should dress up a bit more, and boy am I glad I did.

My top is from Shein and I love the print and cut away neckline. This top is so light and airy as well. I paired it with the Heidi wide leg pant from Dynamite. These pants come in many different colours and the high waisted look went well with the top. You can also wear this top with shorts or a skirt. To finish off this look I added a hat that I also picked up from Dynamite, because you just can’t go to Beverly Hills and not wear a hat. If you’re looking for a place where it’s okay to be extra then BH is it! To tone down the look and blend in the colours I wore nude sandals.

Shop the look

Ruffle Detail Halter Dress

This dress was such a great find to wear during a hot summer in California. It’s also from Shein and it’s so comfortable and chic! I love that this is a one-piece outfit. This dress traveled well and needed minimal ironing which was great. I added a pair of snake print Tory Burch flip flops to give some contrast to the dress. For some extra flair I accessorized with some long earrings. This photo was taken at the historic Hotel De Anza in San Jose. We had no idea this hotel had such a rich and storied history when we booked it online but we loved the art deco elements mixed in with modern touches at this hotel.

Shop the look

One Shoulder Ruched Dress

I wanted something a little more fun and out there for dinner in San Jose so I wore this hot pink one shoulder dress. It also traveled so well, I didn’t need to iron it at all! The ruching was really flattering and forgiving ( we had been eating out for the last few days so I was a little worse for ware). I felt like a Barbie doll in this dress and I just love the colour! I went for a more simple look with this and added some sparkle with a gold metallic purse.

We went to dinner at Pedro’s in San Jose as we wanted to try some tex mex food and this restaurant didn’t disappoint. First of all, how gorgeous is the outside! It’s built to resemble a classic Spanish villa and the inside of the restaurant is just as nostalgic. The food was great and we really enjoyed the cocktails too. This restaurant was huge and we felt really safe inside with plenty of social distancing.

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Floral Print Cami Dress

Our travels from took us from San Jose to San Francisco, and since we had both been there before we decided to spend a day in Palo Alto. For our day out in Palo Alto I wanted a dress that could go from day to night without being overly dark in colour. This floral print cami dress was an easy choice. It worked perfectly for shopping and walking around during the day and transitioned well for dinner at Nobu Palo Alto in the evening. This dress was also travel friendly although the material was a little bit warmer than some of my other choices. Since the weather in Palo Alto wasn’t overly hot I was comfortable in this dress. I wanted a very easy carefree look so I paired this dress with nude sandals and a straw bag with pompom details.

Shop the look

I hope you enjoyed my California vacation looks! Don’t forget to look out for my story sticker where you can send me all your travel questions!

Luxury Mountain Resort: Fairmont Tremblant

Summer is my favourite season to travel in! Now that restrictions are lifted within Canada I’ve been doing a lot of exploring. This past August long weekend Sashien and I were hosted at the beautiful Fairmont Tremblant, a luxurious mountain resort located at the foot of the Tremblant Peaks in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. I had visited Mont-Tremblant a few times but never stayed at the Fairmont Tremblant before.

The Hotel

Fairmont Tremblant truly is a luxury resort with its numerous pools, restaurants and activities. It’s situated in a prime location right in the heart of the pedestrian village and at the foot of the mountains. The hotel offers all the amenities of a world class luxury resort with its 314 guest rooms, including 62 suites. Many of the rooms offer breathtaking views of the mountains and are spacious and comfortable. I especially liked the rustic chic look of the room which offered a lovely mountain view.

The Fairmont Tremblant has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to stay active or just relax. The hotel offers four outdoor pools and an indoor pool, hot tub and dry sauna. We especially liked relaxing by the outdoor pools and enjoying a cocktail. You can also eat your lunch outside at the Veuve Clicquot terrace just next to the pool. The terrace offers beautiful views of the pools and pedestrian village. There is also an onsite spa that offers all the luxury treatments. If you’re looking to keep fit during your stay the hotel offers a 24 hour gym.

One thing that truly stands out at Fairmont Tremblant is the hospitality and attention to detail. All staff at the hotel were so friendly and welcoming, they truly made us feel special. This level of service is of course synonymous with the Fairmont brand.

The Activities

I wasn’t joking when I said there’s something for everyone at Fairmont Tremblant! The hotel has an extensive activities guide that changes with the seasons, as they are a year round resort. If health and wellness is what you have in mind you can of course check out their outdoor pools and nordic baths or opt for a massage at Moment Spa onsite.

If you’re in the mood for something more active the resort offers its own activities such as Yoga, Guided Nature Walks and the Studio Elmt training room. They also have activities for families like the tipi and bonfire experience and games room. For adults 16 and older there is a billiards room as well. With their location in the Laurentian mountains the hotel also offers lots of opportunities for hiking and biking. Not sure which activities to try first? Create your own adventure with Fairmont Tremblant’s Mountain of Activities offer.

In addition to the activities in the resort there’s also lots to do in the area surrounding the hotel. You can enjoy a 360 degree view of the mountains from the panoramic Gondola, check out the Birds of Prey show or even try out the climbing tower. During the winter months there are ample ski trails surrounding the resort and you can even ski into the hotel. We took a ride on the panoramic Gondola and enjoyed a lovely view from the top of mountain. The gondola ride was so relaxing and you can purchase a round trip ticket right at the hotel. Another relaxing thing to do is to take a walk around the pedestrian village, we took a few morning and evening strolls around the area.

Dining

One thing I love almost as much as fashion is food and Fairmont Tremblant did not disappoint! There are many dining options to choose from. If you would like to dine at a restaurant the hotel offers options such as Ricochet Cafe and Terasse which is also home the the Veuve Cliquot terrace and champagne bar during the Winter and located close to the ski-in ski out access to the pool. For more formal dining you check out Choux Gras Brasserie Culinaire which offers a dinner service Wednesday to Sunday. The hotel also offers in room dining.

Sashien and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Le Comptoir, which is also open for dinner daily. The restaurant boasts beautiful views of the gardens surrounding the hotel and the service and food was impeccable! If you’re looking to unwind with a cocktail or in the mood for apres ski drinks then you must check out Axe Lounge Bar! Located on the same level as Le Comptoir, this lounge is open every evening and offers lovely views of the pedestrian village and the pools. It’s a great place to relax and take in the sights of Mont Tremblant. We had a relaxing evening there and I would highly recommend it. The lounge bar does not take reservations so I recommend going in a bit earlier in the evening.

The Verdict

We really enjoyed our time at Fairmont Tremblant. It was such a relaxing getaway, we felt like we were in another country. The hotel and scenery were so beautiful and picturesque. It was a truly luxurious stay. We will definitely be back! If you haven’t visited Mont Tremblant before then this is a must visit destination. The Fairmont Tremblant is the perfect place to stay in Mont Tremblant as it’s close to attractions, activities and the pedestrian village. I would gladly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to visit Mont Tremblant. The location, service and accommodations are unsurpassed and it is a true testament to the Fairmont brand. A big thank you to the team at Fairmont Tremblant for hosting us on this stay, we had such a lovely time!

Summer Staycation:The Westin Ottawa

Can you believe we are halfway through Summer already? I’m back with a new staycation destination! I’ve lived in Ottawa for over 25 years and the Westin Ottawa has always been a notable landmark. I stayed at the hotel for the first time earlier this year to celebrate my birthday, and I was delighted when we were invited back for a weekend staycation.

The Hotel

Centrally located on Colonel By Drive in downtown Ottawa, the Westin Hotel is close to many great attractions in our nation’s capital. The Parliament of Canada is just a few steps away from the hotel and so is the vibrant Byward market, full of restaurants and boutiques.

The Westin Ottawa is also connected to the Rideau Centre shopping mall and guests can access the mall without ever having to go outside. Also located close-by is the Shaw Centre, which makes the Westin a popular choice among business travellers and tourists alike.

The Rooms

The rooms at the Westin are quite spacious and comfortable and offer ample room for relaxing as well. The hotel features traditional guest rooms, deluxe rooms, junior suites and suites. I was so excited to stay in a Deluxe King room with a Parliament view.

The room featured a sweeping view of downtown Ottawa against the backdrop of Canada’s Parliament buildings and a spacious seating area to sit and enjoy the view. The room also included comfy terrycloth robes and complimentary wi-fi. All deluxe rooms are located on higher floors as well.

The Amenities

The Westin Ottawa offers guests many amenities in addition to their generously sized guest rooms. The hotel features an indoor saltwater pool and outdoor terrace featuring views of downtown Ottawa. There is also an onsite gym called the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio which includes Peloton Bikes.

Don’t feel like working out indoors? No problem, the hotel has a RunWESTIN program and can provide you with a running map to guide you through downtown Ottawa. Don’t want to run alone? You can join a running group led by a RunWESTIN Hotel Running Concierge who will lead you through a three-mile group run. The group run takes place every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning at 6:30am from April to October. To join just meet the concierge in the lobby.

The hotel also has two squash courts that guests can take advantage of. If you’re like me and forgot to pack your workout gear there’s no need to fret, the Westin has partnered with New Balance to provide athletic shoes and apparel during your stay, for a small fee. I believe the fee was just $5 during our stay.

If swimming, a gym and running are not your thing you can explore Ottawa on a bike through the BikeWestin program. Guests can rent BWM bicycles for $10 each at the front desk. This is a great way to explore Ottawa and give back to the community as all proceeds are donated to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Dining 

The Westin Ottawa offers two restaurants for dining options. For breakfast guests can check out Daly’s restaurant located on the third floor of the hotel. This restaurant is currently open as a grab and go option during the week and open for seated dining on the weekend. Their Sunday brunch is a popular favourite among Ottawa locals.

We enjoyed a lovely a la carte breakfast at Daly’s and enjoyed the view of downtown Ottawa along with our food. The portions here are generous and filling, so remember to bring your appetite.

For dinner or drinks, the Shore Club restaurant is located on the ground floor of the hotel. I’ve visited this restaurant many times and it’s a family favourite for cocktails!

The Verdict

Whether you’re living in Ottawa or just visiting the Westin Ottawa is a great choice for a staycation or vacation! It’s centrally located and close to many Ottawa attractions and offers great amenities and guest services. Sashien and I really enjoyed our staycation and we actually felt like we had left the city, it was so relaxing.

Right now the Westin has a Staycation package that includes the following:

  • $20 meal credit at Daly’s Express per night
  • Upgrade to Parliament View Room
  • Valet parking

Reserve your staycation here.

Thank you to the Westin Ottawa team for hosting us on this gifted staycation. We’ll surely be back 🙂

The Soho Experience

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post, but I’m back with a great new recommendation for you. Life has certainly been busy with lots of changes and updates, I’ll post about those later but first it’s time for some relaxation.

I recently discovered Soho Residences. They offer luxurious fully furnished suites in central locations in both Ottawa and Toronto. Locations in Ottawa are Soho Lisgar and Soho Champagne. The Soho Hotel is located in Toronto. I had previously stayed at Soho Lisgar, which is a great downtown location just steps away from restaurants, grocery stories and many Ottawa tourist attractions. This past Victoria Day long weekend Sashien and I had the opportunity to check out Soho Champagne, located in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy and featuring beautiful water views of Dow’s Lake and the Tulip Festival.

The Suites

The suites at Soho Champagne are spacious and provide ample room for rest and relaxation. Soho residences have one and two bedroom suites which feature separate areas for living/work and sleeping. Having traveled extensively for work I really appreciated the larger suites and designated areas for work and relaxation. I found the Soho suites much larger and more homely than a traditional hotel suite. Our two bedroom suite had a fully equipped kitchen including plates, glasses and cutlery. With Soho you have the option of making a home cooked meal while away on business or a vacation, I really liked this feature. The suites are also great for business meetings and entertaining.

Our suite had one master bedroom and one smaller bedroom. The master bedroom had a large closet and an ensuite bathroom. I loved the marble finishes in the bathrooms. All Soho suites feature carefully curated interiors by Gluckstein design. The high end features and finishes in these suites really speak for themselves. The master bedroom also featured a second walk in closet which could double as a home office area, so useful with most of us working from home these days! The smaller bedroom was also spacious and featured a great water view of Dows Lake.

The living area was comfortable and the wall to ceiling windows and gorgeous views of Dow’s lake from the couch. The balcony in this suite was quite extensive with access from the living room and master bedroom. I thought the private balcony off the master bedroom was a really nice design feature. The kitchen in our suite was fully equipped and we were able to enjoy a few meals at the counter. I’ve always loved a white kitchen so I especially liked the design of this one. Having a fully stocked kitchen really helped us feel at home and not like we were at a hotel. I love the fact that Soho Residence offers guests a luxurious boutique hotel experience that’s still homely and comfortable.

The Amenities

No luxury experience is complete without amenities right? Soho Residences certainly doesn’t disappoint. Soho Champagne features a gym, private movie theatre, coffee lounge, executive meeting room and rooftop terrace. The rooftop has a BBQ and a hot tub, perfect for Summer relaxation. The Champagne location also features The Champagne Club which is a great event space featuring a lounge, library, catering and fireplace. I attended an event at the Soho Champagne Club and the space is great for entertaining.

Photos courtesy of Soho Residences

In addition to these amenities Soho properties feature a personalized concierge, housekeeping facilities and parking garages. Our check-in was really smooth and easy. We were provided with a lockbox number and code where we found our suite keys, parking pass, welcome letter and garage access fob.

The Experience

Soho Residences provide guests with a luxurious hospitality experience. From the glamorous interiors, to their spacious suites and enticing amenities Soho Residences is an experience to be enjoyed. I fully recommend checking out either their Lisgar or Champagne locations if you’re visiting Ottawa or if you just need a staycation. Both locations are great for business travel as well featuring complementary high speed internet and smart TVs with cable and PVR connections.

Looking to stay longer than just a few nights? No problem! Soho Residences features extended stay suites as well. Special pricing and savings can apply for longer stays. This is a great option for anyone who is relocating.

We really enjoyed our staycation at Soho Champagne, thank you to Anna and the Soho team for hosting us and making our stay such a memorable and relaxing experience.

A Day of Relaxation at Koena Spa

Have you been to the newest spa just 5 minutes from downtown Ottawa? Koena spa opened last Fall and Sashien and I were so excited to check out this new nordic spa.

Koena spa is located in Gatineau, Quebec on the grounds of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel. Koena is the Hawaiian word for balance. The whole spa has a Hawaiian relaxation theme to it with pools and saunas spread across a 40 000 sq ft facility including indoor and outdoor space. The entire spa experience is inspired by the four elements: air, water, fire and earth.

Here’s a breakdown of the Koena experience:

Air

The spa houses two dry saunas called Mahana and Wela. These are great places to relax and the heat on a Fall or Winter day is just lovely. The spa also offers five relaxation rooms some of which are outdoor.

Fire

There are many fire elements in the form of fire places and fire pits located throughout the spa. Fireplaces can be found in the garden pavilion, the Ahi Room and at the KŌENA Bistro. The spa also contains outdoor lounging space with natural sunlight, you can sunbathe in the Ho’o.la room or lie down on a deckchair on the spa’s terrace.

Earth

A hidden treasure at the spa is the ‘A.pona room. Here you can grab a handful of salt and exfoliate your skin or head straight in to the Eucalyptus steam room. We decided to try the steam first to relax and finished off with the salt exfoliation. This room is located in the lower, basement area of the spa. The spa also has a Himalayan salt room called the Pa’akai room, which is located above ground.

Water

Koena offers 3 hot baths and one cold bath. We especially enjoyed the warm baths, I could literally spend a day in the water. My favourite part of the hot baths was the Pohina Bath Cave located in one of the  baths. It was so relaxing with the hydromassage jets.

In addition to the steam rooms, baths and saunas the spa also offer massage therapy and aestethic treatments. You can choose from massages such as the Swedish Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Lomi Lomi or Mom-to-be massage. For aesthetics Koena offers a wide range of facials, mani/pedis, body wraps and waxing services.

The Food

The Spa offers a selection of food, soft drinks, wine and cocktails at their restaurant Bistro Koena. The food choices are healthy and filling. We shared the Hoisin Barbecue Chicken Wrap and it was more than enough for us. We tried some Riesling and Chardonnay,  as well as some Prosecco, because no trip to the spa is complete without some bubbly!

The Experience

We really enjoyed our day at Koena. The staff were warm and welcoming, the facilities were brand new, clean and the experience was so relaxing. I highly recommend treating yourself or a loved one to a spa day. Koena is now open for massage therapy treatments and the thermal experience. Don’t feel up to a spa just yet? You can always purchase a gift certificate.

Thank you to the staff at Koena for hosting us.

Embrace Winter with Toboggan Canada

Can you believe we are already two weeks in to 2021! It’s been a while since my last post and this is my first blog post in the New Year! It’s January, and if you live in Ontario that means we are smack dab in the middle of winter!  At the moment we are once again in a lockdown and many indoor businesses such as restaurants, malls and gyms are closed, the only way to stay active is to go outside. I’ve been making it a point to exercise and stay active this Winter and was looking for a warm parka that was also long enough.

I generally wear a lot of skirts and dresses, even in the winter so I needed a jacket that was both functional, warm, long and stylish. I was so thrilled when I came across the Eva B Long II Parka from Toboggan Canada.

Toboggan Canada

Toboggan Canada is a winter apparel brand founded in 1977 by two brothers. The brand focuses on functionality, protection from extreme cold temperatures and style. Toboggan jackets are filled with responsibly sourced down from their exclusive down partner. Their responsible sourcing and proprietary cleaning processes allow them to offer customers comfort and peace of mind in knowing their product is filled with the best insulation on and for the planet.

Eva B Long II Parka

The Eva B Long II Parka is a knee length jacket that comes with a second vest-like enclosure for extra protection from the cold. I especially like the diagonal zipper which gives this piece more style and flare. The faux-fur sweetheart neckline gives the parka that added touch of elegance. Unlike most parkas this jacket is form fitting and includes a belt for a more figure flattering, stylish look. The faux-fur trim is also an excellent barrier against the cold and the wind. Another feature I like about this jacket is the polar fleece lined pockets and magnetic closure on the pockets, no more struggling with buttons or zippers!

Toboggan Canada offers a wide range of stylish and functional jackets to choose from, there’s something for everyone in their collections. I highly recommend checking out this Canadian brand. After all who understands winter better than a fellow Canadian?

The Year in Review: 2020

Can you believe this year is almost over? And what a year it has been! For me 2020 started off pretty slowly. I was very ill with a bout of food poisoning on January 1st, great way to start a new year right? It was a slow, cold and boring start to the year. I remember feeling de-motivated and like everyone else was going ahead with their plans but me. My mom encouraged me to set some goals and stay motivated.

Personal and Professional Achievements

I decided to set some professional goals for myself to help create some structure. I still decided to enrol in the CITP (Certified International Trade Professional) program at the Forum for International Trade Training. In order to earn this certification I would need to take 6 courses and pass 6 exams, after which I would have to submit my resume along with my experience in international trade.  In January when I signed up for this, it seemed daunting and never ending. I also decided I wanted to complete my PMP – Project Management Professional designation this year.

I finished the first course in my CITP when the pandemic hit. All my classes at Algonquin were to be taught remotely and it took a lot of adjustment to get used to teaching fully on zoom. The pandemic hit us harder than we expected in Canada, and the initial lockdown was both disheartening and depressing. I decided to make the most of this time and complete the rest of the 5 courses. Within the month of April I started and completed 4 courses to finish off my CITP designation. This was exhausting and I frankly don’t recommend trying to do 4 courses which are supposed to be 6 months each within a span of 4 weeks, however I’m glad I did it. I earned my CITP in June and I was really pleased with this achievement. I was also surprised and humbled to be featured by FITT in their CITP spotlight.

I was on the fence about studying for my PMP but decided to take it seriously and started studying in September. If any potential PMP test takers are reading this, yes, I did read the entire PMBOK! I completed a prep course in November and did countless practice exams from mid November to early December. I wrote my exam at home on December 14 through PMI’s online proctoring service PearsonVue and passed it on the first attempt! I was and am so thrilled about this! I had been wanting to take this exam since 2018 and this year I finally did it! P.S. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the PMP exam, feel free to comment or email me 🙂

Blogging Progress

On the blog front I really focused on growing my following and creating more engaging content. The pandemic prompted me to shift my focus to more local brands in Ottawa. I was happy to collaborate with businesses such as Skuish Cookies, Oh My Honey, The East India Company, MC Laser and Hair and Buyers + Cellars to name a few. I am so pleased with the growth I’ve experienced on my blog and Instagram channels, I was able to reach and surpass my goal of 10K followers this year, which was a milestone for me. Thank you to everyone who supported me in this journey.

I also focused on more hospitality and lifestyle content and was fortunate to collaborate with The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, The Frontenac Club and The Fairmont Chateau Montebello. I was also thrilled to secure more fashion collaborations with international and local clothing brands such as Shein and Chicwish. Sashien and I did some his and hers style collaborations as well.

I didn’t travel as much this year due to the travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic however Sashien and I were able to take a trip to Florida in February prior to the lockdown. We were thankful to have been able to experience a little bit of warm weather before the shutdown.

Overall 2020 was not the write off everyone keeps calling it. Plans may have changed and we all needed to adjust but in the end life is what you make it. I decided to make the most of a rather unfortunate year and I’m even more motivated for 2021!

Looking ahead

I’ve got a lot more goals and plans in place for next year. I’m currently working on a capsule collection with none other than the Capsule Creator herself, Rebecca Rowe. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks! I’ll be posting about this on my Instagram page.

Sashien and I also have something exciting that we’ve been working on and we can’t wait to share it with all of you! I’ll be posting and sharing more about this project soon!

Holiday Staycation at Fairmont Montebello

It’s the holiday season! My favourite time of the year. I love Christmas in Canada as we almost always get a white Christmas 🙂 This year I wanted to really get in to the holiday spirit so we went on a little pre-Christmas staycation. Sashien and I were so excited to be invited to check out Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello located in Montebello, Quebec. This hotel is breathtaking and a truly unique Fairmont property. I’m excited to share all the details about our stay!

The Hotel

Located in Montebello just 70km away from Ottawa, the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is the largest log cabin in the world. Built in 1930 the hotel is a year round resort celebrating 90 years this year!

Chateau Montebello is a great celebration of Canadiana and each of the hotel’s 210 guest rooms pay homage to the local culture and Quebecois life. The hotel ambiance is rustic chic and this is seen in both the room decor and the overall layout of the hotel. In 2019 the hotel underwent a $17.5 million renovation which included 102 newly renovated more modern rooms. We stayed in one of their newly updated rooms but if you’re looking for more rustic charm the hotel has many other room choices as well. More information about the rooms and suites can be found on their website.

Our room was spacious and we were still able to experience the rustic feel of the hotel. We loved the sitting area and the large windows. We enjoyed some champagne before dinner in our room and relaxed in the sitting area.

The Activities

The hotel is a year round luxury resort and offers a wide range of activities for any of our four seasons here in Canada.  The hotel does charge a resort fee to cover these activities which includes a long list of fun filled adventures for the whole family.

When we visited the resort we were especially excited to visit the aquatic centre. We spent an afternoon by the pool and enjoyed the hot tubs. The hotel also includes a gym and tennis courts. There’s many outdoor activities at the hotel as well such as volleyball, canoeing and basketball in the Summer and dogsledding, skiing and snow shoeing in the winter.  Walking and hiking trails nearby the hotel are open year round. Sahsien and I enjoyed taking a walk by the water and exploring the area surrounding the property. A full list of  summer, winter and year round activities can be found online. In the summer months the hotel also features a yacht club.

The hotel offers a range of dining options. Some restaurants are season while others such as Aux Chantignoles are open year round. We had all our meals at Aux Chantignoles and we especially enjoyed our breakfast and the views from the restaurant.

The Verdict

Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello is beautiful all year round but it is absolutely magical during the Holiday season. There’s no better way to get in to the holiday season than enjoying a glass of wine or hot chocolate by their six sided fireplace.Visiting Chateau Montebello really put me in the holiday spirit. The whole hotel is decorated for Christmas and it looks spectacular. Fairmont Montebello has a wide range of offers for the holiday season and beyond.  I highly recommend checking out their Early Christmas, Country Christmas or Holiday Getaway packages.

We had a lovely time and a truly relaxing experience at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. Thank you to the staff for hosting us and making our stay a memorable experience. We will definitely be back!

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