It’s Valentine’s Day – got plans?

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or “it’s complicated”, the pressure’s on to do something today. Fear not – if you haven’t yet figured out your game plan, we have some non-cheesy ideas to help you out.
Flying solo?
The great thing about being single for V-Day is that you don’t have to consider anyone else when making plans. Pretty sweet.

If staying in, grab some wine, takeout and a classic romance like The Way We Were or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. These flicks focus on good storytelling and great acting, so you won’t roll your eyes at the love stories.  


Lisa: My best Valentine’s Day ever was at my friend Fran’s house. We were both single, so she invited me over, cooked her famous KD, with dill pickle-flavoured Crispers and tortilla chips with spinach dip. We dimmed the lights, lit some candles, and laughed more than I ever have before on Valentine’s Day.

Take the pressure off to do something romantic and hang out with friends. The Drake Hotel’s 86’D Monday, Valentine’s Edition, is a great night out. Bartenders will compete for the honour of best Pink Squirrel. What’s a Pink Squirrel, you ask? Find out tonight at 7 p.m. There’s also great live music from Boot Knives to go along with your cocktails. 
 This is not the Pink Squirrel that will be at The Drake.

Michelle: Being single on Valentine’s Day can be super fun. I’ll have dinner with my other single friends at Woodlot and dance up a storm at The Modern Love Affair party at Footwork. Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about romantic love.
A deux
Of course, being in a relationship for Valentine’s Day is great. On what other day of the year is it acceptable to publicly proclaim your affections in the most over-the-top way you can think of?
Instead of typical roses and chocolates, why not show your love by making something yourself? The effort put in will be majorly appreciated. We love Bakerella’s massive list of sweet treat suggestions. Like her 14-layer cake. 

Bakerella’s mega-impressive 14-layer cake
Rachelle: Valentine’s Day will always hold a special place in my heart. I got engaged on V-Day in Quebec City during Winter Carnival. My husband Ariel proposed in front of 80,000 onlookers at the annual Winter Carnival parade. We became local celebs, made it into two newspapers and were the photo of the day on Le Soleil’s website.
Just because you’re taken doesn’t mean you have to have a quiet, candlelit dinner. Go for a skate on an outdoor rink with some hot chocolate, then play a board game at Snakes and Lattes. Some friendly competition, a wobbly pop and a few good laughs is a lovely way to spend an evening. 
 Play nice! Image source.
Christina: Favourite spot? My house! I hate going out to restos because more tables are crammed into the same space. This year, the fiancé and I are grabbing some lobsters, a bottle of wine, and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. Wow… I just realized how domestic that sounded. 

Another fun idea is a staycation. Find a deal on Hotwire.com, or get a package from a hotel like The Drake or the Yorkville InterContinental. It’s a getaway without the hassle of travel, and you won’t even have to make the bed in the morning.

Debra: For one of my fave Valentine’s Days, Matt had our friend Chef Ezra Title drop off a delicious meal at our house. Matt’s a fantastic cook, but this was nice as he didn’t have to do anything but follow some simple instructions, and we had a brilliant meal at home with nowhere to go after but our living room to listen to music and drink wine.
 

 Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rant AND Rave: Snowboarding vs. Skiing

Some of us want to make the best of winter. We love the waft of beaver tails lingering in the air. The crisp air and cozy nights in blankets with tea. We also love being active. Some of us on the fourth floor are skiers and some are snowboarders. Here are our thoughts on which ride trumps the other.


Ross Rebagliati wannabe’s

 

Lara: As a young girl I learned how to ski on the bunny hill at Earl Bales and moved up to Lakeridge, but my heart was never in it. When snowboarding became the new “it” sport, I jumped on the bandwagon. My friend Hayley oozed the cool snowboarder vibe, was an instant pro, quickly became a teacher, and gave me lessons on her front lawn “slope”. I was in love and seriously dove in a few years ago. I crave road trips to bigger mountains, am constantly looking for new gear, and love the culture – a.k.a. poutine and nachos for lunch and talking about every ride, how good or bad or fast it went. Gnarly dude.

 

Christina: I’ve been a boarder since ’96, when an embarrassing ski accident (involving moguls and a younger child) caused me to see the light. I have never looked back. I think the ultimate reason boarding is better is the outcome after falling. When you bite it on skis, it’s downright embarrassing. As a skier, you yard sale on the hill, poles tossed in every direction, one ski sliding down the hill and with the other 20 yards up. You have to climb back up the hill (awkwardly, because walking in ski boots is the pits and your onesy ski suit is inevitably too tight) and collect all your gear piece by piece. Thankfully, as a boarder my equipment never strays. When I fall, my board is attached by a leash. I can sit down on the hill, strap back in and still look good doing it.

Abby: Skiing! Even though I am into snowboarding, I’ve only done it once. It was a blast, but hard on my wrists from a million falls, and my knee was aching by the end of the day, unaccustomed to being flexed for hours at a time. 
Skiing feels smoother and freer. I used to figure skate competitively, so skiing came easily. I love to push myself and go down moguls, triple black diamond hills and occasionally venture into the half-pipe. There’s no way I’d get that thrill factor with snowboarding – I’d have to put in years just to avoid giving myself a concussion.
 
It’s also easier to get around on flat ground (instead of doing that awkward pigeon-toed snowboard walk).

Rachelle: I love alpine skiing. I’m originally from Montreal and the skiing in Quebec is great. I love the speed, the amazing workout and and the cute après ski outfits. My husband and I love the good food you can always find in ski towns.

The former skier/snowboarder:  


Matt: The year was 1998. I was a very good skier, had a pair of K2’s and all. I made the horrible mistake of trying to impress some ladies, so I tackled a triple black diamond hill. My ski fell off on a hairpin turn, I crashed through the orange barrier fence, launched over a cliff and had my fall broken by a lone tree. Ski patrol tied me to a spinal board on a sled and took me down the hill to emergency. Along the way I saw the girls. Needless to say, they were not impressed. I was on crutches for two months. Sadly, I haven’t skied or snowboarded since, but put me down for drinks by a chalet fireplace.




What about you – skis or snowboard? Tweet us @rockitpromo.

Rave: How we’re spending our holidays

We’ve been counting down to this time of year since, well, last December! Whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or something else, we’re all looking forward to a few days of rest, relaxation and time with our nearest and dearest. Everyone has different family holiday traditions, so we thought it would be fun to share what we’re up to over the coming weeks.
My fiancé and I are spending Christmas Eve with the in-laws, Christmas Day with my parental units and then taking off for the Dominican Republic (alone) for one week of all-inclusive bliss! After a hectic, fun-filled fall, I’m craving some time off to lay on a beach (wearing SPF 50, of course) and read a good book. I’ve been counting down the days – literally, with a white board on my fridge – to bathing suits, flip flops and snorkeling. Added bonus: we’re gone for New Year’s, eliminating the need to plan for the most-hyped night of the year. 
Michelle was so jealous of my plans, she’s bringing her whole family to a resort down the road. 😉 See you at the airport, Mich!
My family has had a home in Florida since I was very young, so we travel there every year during the holidays. We visit my dad (who lives there six months of the year), catch up on loads of movies and books, eat good food, shop and rest. We have a beautiful lake outside our door and egrets and ducks that run around wild. On New Years Eve, we make wishes off of the bridge over the lake. It doesn’t matter if the weather is warm, or cool – it’s just our very special escape. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. Our home away from home. 
Lara
I’m spending my holiday in NYC, my home away from home.  🙂
 
Okay, I lied a little. I’ll actually be staying in Brooklyn at my friend’s house, while she’s away visiting her boyfriend in Switzerland. My plans there consist of:

– Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at least once to commute into the city.
– Exploring the High Line


– Seeing one of my favourite bands on New Years Eve and Day (and maybe also on December 30 if I end up getting a scalped ticket once I’m there)! 
– Eating dinner at least once at a low-key restaurant I discovered (and am a little hesitant to share, but be that as it may, they deserve it), Alta in the West Village. 
– Trying the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. 
– Trying not to eat at all of the restaurants of every chef that I watch and love on Chopped, like Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aarón Sánchez, Marcus Samuelsson, Chris Santos (especially Chris Santos) and Geoffrey Zakarian. 
– Going to Eataly for ingredients to make delicious home-cooked meals in my Brooklyn abode. 
– Doing what I always do when in NYC:  just walking walking walking, looking looking looking, and smiling smiling smiling.

If The Ghost of Christmas Past were to tell me anything, it’s that the first half of my vacation will be spent Christmas shopping. Every year I tell myself I won’t wait until the last minute, and every year I find myself scrambling. I’ll also watch lots of Christmas movies (It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer are some of my favourites). Then comes the really good stuff…
Christmas Eve
Dinner with my boyfriend, Jesse, and his brother (Kelly) and sister-in-law (Rita). We’re going to have a big feast at my house with lobster as the main course. Jesse’s cooking – he’s the best cook ever.
Christmas Day
Christmas dinner with my entire immediate family, plus Kelly and Rita. So like 10 people and two dogs in my tiny apartment. Turkey and the works. It’s stressing me out. I will definitely be drinking.
Boxing Day
A lunchtime visit with the grandparents (mom’s side). Afternoon/evening – visiting my dad’s side of the family at my grandmother’s house. It’s a tradition – we gather there every year, eat ourselves silly, drink lots of wine and exchange gifts. 
Aside from fitting in as much sleep as I can, that’s pretty much it. I’m sure more fun stuff will pop up, but I’m just taking that as it comes. Merry Christmas!
I live away from all of my family, so the holidays are really the only time I get to see them all at the same time, in the same place. My fiancé, Justin, and I are celebrating Christmas together in Toronto on December 23; then we’ll head our separate ways for family bashes. My family is really big, so it’s always loud and hectic, but lots of fun. Lots of kids, lots of laughs and the odd drink or two.
 Evidently, we are people that put costumes on our pets. 
I’m going to St. Thomas (Ontario, not the Virgin Island, unfortunately) to see my mom, dad, brother and sister at various places over the holidays. One of our Christmas celebrations is at a farm, so we will often hook up a wagon to a tractor and head out into the countryside for a snowy ride (complete with hot chocolate and sitting on hay bales). I guess I am a small-town girl at heart.

I am over going out for New Years Eve. Bars are too expensive, too crowded and ultimately disappointing. So this year, our good friends are having a house party in Leslieville. Everyone is bringing snacks and drinks, and I know it’s going to be a blast. 

I love that holidays mean quality time with people you care about (and, I also love getting gifts).
On December 23, my first day of holiday vacation, I will probably just sleep in and watch some holiday movies. Elf is a favourite.
On Christmas Eve, I am going back to my suburbian hometown, Pickering, to have dinner with my family, which is always entertaining. It’s become a tradition that later in the evening, a few of my girlfriends (who are also visiting back home) and I get together to enjoy some wine and giggles.
And this year, on December 25 at 5 p.m. (yes, I am also counting down), I will be heading south to the Dominican Republic with my mom and two sisters. I won’t be checking email for seven days, which will take a couple of days (make that hours) to get used to.  
I plan on relaxing, reading, tanning, exploring, dancing and potentially having a holiday fling (joking)! I am also happy to report that I will still be in the Dominican for New Year’s Eve, so will be ringing in 2011 wearing a little summer dress, sandals and bare legs!
 New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic will look something like this.
For the holidays, I’m a Miami girl through and through. There, I’ll be on a steady diet of Original Pancake House chocolate chip pancakes and Cheesecake Factory grilled cheese. 
 Delicious chocolate chip pancakes.
I can be found by the pool in a mismatched bathing suit, reading Cutting for Stone or Half Broke Horses. During tanning breaks, I’ll be shopping at Barney’s, Bloomies and Saks. Dinners and movies are with friends and family; the food is always good and the movies are always comedies. After a week away, I’ll come back relaxed, tanned and wearing a new Alex Wang outfit. Yesss.
My hubby, Ariel, and I are staycationing. The plan is to put our son into daycare (sorry Oliver!) and enjoy our time together (ALONE!) just doing everyday things. Movies, lingering lunches, massages, naps. You get the idea. Happy Holidays!
My holiday vacation will be filled with shopping, movies, coffee dates, trying new restaurants, cottaging and most of all, partying. 
 Christmas at Muskoka Wharf.
I’m most excited about a tradition with my dad and three sisters, where we spend the day together and shop for Christmas presents for my mom. We’ve kept this tradition going for 20 years, and it is easily our favourite day of the year. Especially since it gives us all time to enjoy lunch together, chat and take in the Christmas-y spirit!