It’s been a crazy year to say the least. At least it’s that time of the year when I can finally relax a little bit with my crew. Every year close to the holidays, Peter, Mel, Dave and I take some time off and spend a weekend together exploring the city. We go out for a fun dinner, and just essentially appreciate our time together as a group – #MDVPHoliday. Last year we had a crazy fun weekend and this year’s #MDVPHoliday17 was just the same to say the least.
We began our weekend with a scenic drive across the city. From the petting zoo at High Park to Polson Pier on the East end, we took our time to take in the city from one end to the other while driving in the brand new 2018 Buick Enclave. It certainly helped that we had such a large sized SUV considering the fact that we had all packed quite a bit for the weekend. Having space in the car to store all of our luggage, various camera gear, and still have left over space for ourselves was imperative. Not to mention that having WIFI while on the road is fantastic for the IG story obsessive in me. I usually have to save all of my stories to reupload once I’m back home on WIFI but being able to post it in live-time is so much more satisfying!
Mel and I recently had the pleasure of test driving the Buick Enclave in Vernon, BC, and knew that it would be the perfect backdrop to a fun weekend together that required quite a bit of transportation. Getting the four of us and our belongings from one end of the city to another is not an easy task and the Enclave was a hundred percent designed for that.
The sun and moon roofs made for perfect vantage points to view the sunset – which is exactly what we did at Polson Pier before wrapping up our night at T&T (obligatory) for a quick snack/late lunch before checking into the Sheraton Centre.
After the sun set (and duh because Instagrammers can’t really take a lot of photos without sunlight), we felt that it would be the time to check into our rooms and to drop off our belongings before heading out to dinner together. After first swinging back home to pick up our furry child (Kobe), we then went straight to the Sheraton Centre and checked in. Peter and I were stunned by the view from our room—no one can deny that any view of the CN Tower ever gets old. Regardless if you grew up in Toronto or are visiting for the first time. Keep scrolling to see the beautiful sunrise that we were treated to on the first morning that we woke up.
Kobe wasn’t as obsessed with the view as he was with his adorable pet bed that the hotel provided for him. Ever since getting a dog a few years back, I’ve become more cognizant of dog friendly places, and hotels that allow for their guests to bring their pets along with them rank quite highly for me. After all, who wants to be forced into leaving their best friend at home?! So Sheraton, seriously, thank you for the for the hospitality and from both myself, Peter, and Kobe!
After we checked in, we decided to explore the hotel’s various amenities. Can’t say no to an indoor/outdoor pool (for anyone that has never gone, it looks phenomenal when the smoke billows up from the heated pool in the winter), a Club Lounge that serves complementary European breakfasts and dinner hors d’oeuvres, or even the proximity of the location to the various fun holiday activities around downtown Toronto.
Once we felt that we had the lay of the land, the 4 of us headed back to our rooms to glam ourselves up for dinner. No done does a holiday dinner in anything else but class and style than Banana Republic—The Club Lounge offers pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres and requires a dress code, so seeing as we were hungry, we were more than happy to oblige. The 4 of us in our matching head-to-toe Banana Republic outfits headed down to the hotel’s Club Lounge for some light snacks and banter before going back down to their ONO’d restaurant, BnB, where the real dinner took off. After a deliciously hearty dinner (I highly recommend the heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella!) and a few drinks, we retreated back into our rooms to cozy up before heading out to enjoy some holiday festivities. First stop, Nathan Philips Square’s Holiday Fair!
Now I’m not always a fan of holiday/Christmas markets purely because the Distillery one that we’ve gone to in the past is so far out from the downtown core, and when it’s chilly, I can get pretty grumpy. We were lucky enough that the NPS Holiday Fair was literally across the street from the Sheraton Centre, which meant for easy warm up sessions when it got too cold. It also meant that I could get away with wearing my super cute new Cirelle sock booties from Aldo without fear of being stuck in heels for an entire evening. We took Kobe out for a quick walk to explore the set up before dropping him off (we also needed to warm up a little) and heading back out to enjoy the festivities on our own. If you haven’t yet visited NPS for the holidays, I would highly recommend that you do. The twinkly lights are the cutest and the stalls are so much fun to browse!
The next morning called for a nice and relaxing start to the day with a hefty in-room spa session that included lots of eye masking and serum application. Within the recent years, I have definitely noticed the effects of my lack of sleep, and it doesn’t help that I don’t often take enough time to counteract those effects, so I’m heavily reliant on eye masks to help me do the work. Thankfully I brought along my favourite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask to relax in while catching up on some light reading. Kobe definitely enjoyed the calming atmosphere as opposed to our usual hectic morning bustle, and cozied up next to me on the couch while I read.
Peter and I both indulged in a little bit of much needed R&R that morning by each masking and soothing our skin with serums before taking a light nap to allow for the products to fully sink in and combat the harsh winter air that would be upon us for the day. There’s nothing wrong with a calming midday siesta and I would say that we all deserve it after the chaotic past month that we’ve had! Peter of course forgot his skincare at home and ended up stealing a couple of my Estee Lauder face wipes to cleanse his face in the morning – silly. But it was okay, I was in the mood of giving 😉
Having woken up from our nap, we both felt extremely refreshed and were set to take on the day. I know that I’ve touched on this lightly before, but I have a condition called cold urticaria which results in an outbreak of hives when I’m outdoors for extended periods of time. The only way to combat and prevent the hives from happening (it works about 80% of the time for me) is to apply a thick layer of lotion to both moisturize my skin and create a barrier against the chill. I brought along my Origins Give Joy Box Set and used the Smoothing Souffle to do just that but to also add a little Christmas touch with the peppermint scent. For a girl who loves to light up peppermint candles (except for our R&R session we chose to light Origins’ Feel Good Candle) at this time of the year, this body lotion is a phenomenal complement! So that we wouldn’t smell like we just walked out of a peppermint oil factory (though I see no qualms in that!), Peter opted for the Ginger Souffle to change things up.
Fully recharged, we joined back up with Mel and Dave for a day out on the town exploring—if you’ve never visited Old City Hall, it’s gorgeous and I never knew that! Obviously Mel and I took a plethora of photos (thank you Dynamite for always being on trend yet comfortable at the same time), before heading back to the Sheraton Centre to enjoy some more hors d’oeuvres before dinner.
With food comas upon us, we all retired back to our rooms for one final night at the hotel. You can bet that we all slept in quite well into the next morning and took full advantage of the Club Lounge breakfast before we left. I’m sure that Kobe was the saddest to be leaving behind his plush bed that they provided as he refused to get up regardless of how much we implored him to “let’s go“.
And before we even knew it, our weekend of escape came to a wrap. Back to the hustle and grind that we know, but for those unforgettable two days and nights, it was the perfect way to dine and unwind with the best group of friends that anyone can ask for. After slowly and sadly packing up our belongings, we collected our Buick Enclave from the valet and headed off to work. At least we were able to take on the Monday fully refreshed and looking bomb AF after spending the entire weekend relaxing!
If you’re celebrating the holidays with your loved ones, remember to take a moment to stop and appreciate these special moments that we have together. It’s not always about pulling together the perfect dinner to wow your guests, but it’s about making wonderful memories to look back on in the future. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever else you will be celebrating at this time of the year! I hope that your holidays are memorable and that you have an exciting 2018 to look towards!
I want to take the time to thank all of the amazing brand partners that worked with us on this year’s MDVPHoliday weekend. Without them, we wouldn’t have had the phenomenal 2017 that just passed, or the great weekend altogether. So a massive hands down thank you to Buick, Estee Lauder, Origins, Dynamite Clothing, Banana Republic and The Sheraton for working with us and we can’t wait to continue working with you in 2018!