Your Guide to Holiday Style—Straight from the Pros!

Eat well, dress to impress and decorate in style for this holiday season!

This past weekend, I was invited to attend a fabulous event at The Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. The event was titled “Twas The Month Before Christmas,” a weekend long event showcasing celebrity hosts and design experts, with the event's main goal to arm everyone in attendance with all the tools needed to create the most style-worthy holiday season possible!

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I hopped on the road Friday afternoon with great anticipation of the weekend ahead. I made my way through the winding roads, becoming more and more anxious with every turn. I was so ready to spend the weekend at what I understood as fabulous resort. I arrived with enough time to make a quick change out of my driving wardrobe (leggings, fitted long cozy sweater, and my-nothing-will-ever-replace-them, Uggs) into something a little more dinner-worthy. My room was located in one of the recently renovated Summit Lodges, a group of buildings located close to the main building where the event was being held. As I walked through the doors, I was impressed; the lodge completely suited the vibe of Muskoka with its contemporary cottage feel. Loved it, loved it, loved it! I arrived at my room and was again impressed; the suite was perfect and continued the contemporary cottage feel of the lodge itself!

I quickly changed into something with less Ugg and more heel in order head over to the main building for a Marche dinner. Upon arriving at the dinner, I was excited to find that there was an oyster bar! I decided that a glass of red was in order before any shucking needed to happen. The oyster bar was located in the center of the room where Chef Michael Smith headed up the shucking lessons. I thought to myself, "Shucking lessons from a professional chef? How predictable! I prefer to get my kitchen tips from Olympians!" I thought back to Oyster 101 a few months ago when I was hanging out with friends for the weekend—one being shuck master, Marnie McBean! Shucking with an Olympian—oh the competition!

Okay, back to the shucking at hand. I thought to myself, “What the shuck? It’s oyster time again!” I bellied up to the oyster bar to get a lesson from Ian Hunwicks and see if he had any tricks up his sleeve. Well, I am no athlete and had not shucked in a while, so it took a little muscle, but holy shuck I did it! (Okay, no more shucking, shuck talk I promise, but it is kind of hard to resist.)

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I topped my oyster with Chef Michael's creative concoction of the night, Bloody Mary Ice. It was so delish, I had to have many, many more, oysters! It had been a super long day, and I was ready to hit the sheets in my fancy-pants room, knowing that there would be no small person standing beside my bed at 5:30 in the morning saying, “Mommy, is it get up time yet?”

I hit the sheets hard and woke up at 4:45 in the morning. I will never sleep in again, even away without kids. I will never sleep in again! After much coffee and social media, I headed over to breakfast. It was of the continental style, which rocks my socks; I love any opportunity to have a bagel and cream cheese! After I had my fill of bread, cream cheese, and yes, more coffee, it was time to get my Christmas on!

The first presentation was Karl Lohne, Designer on Canada AM, Marilyn Dennis, and the founder of Style At Home magazine! Karl was a fabulous presenter as he shared the three trends for Christmas this year:

  1. Deep blue, green & silver
  2. French gold & brown with natural elements (I call it Rustic Glam)
  3. Red, gold & brown


  • Owls are still big this year, but they have gone from being made of wood to a more contemporary material like a metallic metal.
  • Large ornaments are still “big” this season!

Karls forcasting for next year’s Christmas trends:

  • Victorian: things will be fancier with more detail.
  • Interesting tree toppers and more elaborate tree skirts.
  • There will be a lot more gold.
  • The fox will replace the owl, and even in colouring, the trend will be more of the burnt orange of a fox.

All of the decorations were provided by Home Depot, offering a tonne of wonderful options for your holiday décor. If you are going for the rustic feel, check out the rattan reindeer from Martha Stewart!

Interview with Karl soon to be shared, loved him!

My next stop was a presentation by Tary Roossien and Angie Hammond of Urban Rustic Living. I so loved the feel of their casual and comfortable style; everything was brimming with tonnes of creativity! Tary and Angie shared some great ideas for decorating your home for the holidays.


  • Decorate your table two weeks before Christmas. This way you can enjoy the beauty of the table, you are not rushing to get it done and it becomes a part of your overall Christmas theme.
  • Think casual for the holidays. When you decorate with comfort in mind, your guests feel comfortable when they visit.
  • A great tip for more rustic napkins: a pack of painters cloths from your local hardware store. They feel rustic and are a great inexpensive find.
  • When it comes to your kid's decorations, create a second smaller tree and fill it with all the creative, fun mix-and-match decorations from over the years that everyone loves.
  • Colour trends for Christmas: Citrus green mixed with a creamy white

Then it was time to stop for a quick lunch before the presentation by Chef Michael Smith.  Michael’s presentation was great, he is a chill and relaxed guy with a message.

  • Cook local, nothing processed.
  • Cook for your kids, teach them about food, make it fun!
  • Relax!
  • “If you are not screwing up on a regular basis, you are not living.”

Michael told a story of his daughter who loved to crack eggs: if there was an egg that needed to be cracked, she was the one for the job. One day she was cracking eggs and one fell on the floor! Michael looked at her with tears welling up in her eyes; she was devastated! So Michael grabbed a few eggs and threw them on the floor. He made it fun, he sent the message that this is fun; you break an egg, so what no big deal! Cooking is fun, you screw up you move on!

Michael highly recommends making his Heritage Bread and is very proud of creating the recipe. It is super easy with only a few dry ingredients and water. 

Tim Cantelon of Sandhill Nurseries had some great tips for decorating your exterior urns for the holidays.  When Tim is creating a decorative urn he has three elements, filler, spiller and thriller!

  1. The filler is what creates the bulk in an arrangement
  2. The spiller are the parts that spill over the edge of the urn
  3. The thriller is in the middle sticking up above the urn

Tim says that when decorating an urn, “more is more.” Decorate with that mindset and create a show stopping urn!

Anna & Michael Olsen are an amazing pair. They make cooking look so easy, like anyone can do it! Well you truly can, and if I have learned anything about cooking this weekend, it is that everyone needs to relax! After seeing Anna create her English Toffee Sticky Pudding, I am going to attempt it for Christmas this year! Really that does say a lot because I don’t bake at all!

Ahhh David Clemmer, Mr. Style. I spotted him upon my arrival Friday night with his cuffed pants, oozing with style. David makes looking fab appear effortless!  Throughout the presentation, David and his talented team that consisted of the cool and creative Dee Daly and super stylist Nicole Manek, owner of Life of Manekin David's words "where vintage finds fabulousness!" (I so want to check out Life of Manek. It looks amazing!)—all gave amazing tips for pulling off super styled hair, makeup, and wardrobe! In talking with David, I learned a few things: he is approachable, funny, and so knowledgeable—he can answer any style questions on the fly!


Along with David’s amazing career as a celebrity stylist he  is founder and CEO of JUDY INC, an artist management agency.


  • Erase paste by Benefit, a fab product for those of us that need a little coverage on those ohhh so tired days!
  • One piece can make everything else make sense, meaning if you have a skirt with red, pink and grey, you can wear a pink top and red shoes but take the skirt away and you’ve got nothing honey!
  • Mixing patterns is such a fab look, just keep in mind scale and pattern, meaning the patterns need to be of different scale when a similar pattern.
  • Denim is now the equivalent of the little black dress: timeless.
  • Cashmere: pull it and if it snaps back, it is good quality.
  • Wolford Tights: pricey but worth it!
  • Invest in a good quality denim one that has a little stretch, but not too much that they will sag. Nicole recommends J Brand Denim.

After a full day of being inspired to get my Christmas decor and wardrobe on, I was ready for a little break! Time to retire to my room, revisit the day, and get style-worthy-ready for dinner! I chose—not really I only had one option—a little black lace fitted number with turquoise earrings. Simple with a hit of unexpected colour!

Dinner Time!

Ohh the dinner. It was an interactive Cook-the-Book affair hosted by Chef Michael Smith.

An interactive dinner? What could this mean? I get we will be participating but how? Who? What will we be doing?

Every table had to:

  1. Decorate a tree with Playdoh. I made big balls, but they kept falling off. Why big balls you ask? Big decorations are a trend; I was simply following the trend!
  2. Make cocktails for the table.
  3. Carve a turkey.
  4. Act out and sing a verse in the Twelve Days of Christmas!

It was so much fun—bring on the interactive dinners!

Even though I had an amazing time eating and making big balls, I was ready again to hit my fancy-pants sheets! I hoped for a longer sleep; it was to be my last opportunity to sleep in past 5:30am without my son standing beside my bed. (But, oh how I miss my little lovies. I just wanted to kiss their faces—and well sleep. Sleep would be great!)

Oh yeah, I didn’t wake up at 4:45am this time—it was 5:00! I will never sleep in again. I accept that now.

Sunday morning, again after much coffee I spent some time figuring out what to wear, I had brought enough for a month but it still seemed like I had nothing to wear! Ok, pattern-on-pattern, let's go with that. I choose a plaid shirt and a polka dot belt. Worked for me.

Breakfast on Sunday was a wide variety of hot and cold Sunday brunch alternatives, but I stuck with my bagel and cream cheese—consistency people! After I got my fill of bagels and coffee, it was time to do a little on-camera interview with our weekend host, Karl Lohnes.

I was anxious to get back to my little family, so I headed to my room to pack my massive amount of clothing before the Grinch Tree demo and tour of the resort.

I arrived late for the demo but LOVED the concept of the Grinch Tree! The demo was hosted by Bruno Duarte from Fresh Florals, and what I loved about his little tree was that it’s such a fresh twist on tradition.

Took a little tour of the resort before heading home and man was it worth it! I so want to plan a family vacation there!

The Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka is a place some may know as the resort where Shania Twain performed in her earlier days (I know that was my mother’s comment when I told her of my weekend plans) as well as where Shania actually acquired her name. It was the name of someone working at the resort.

There are so many attractions at the resort! It has such beauty and activity at the same time! Here are some of the things Deerhurst has to offer:

  • Two 18-hole golf courses
  • Extensive waterfront with boating and slips, Splash Zone inflatable water park on the lake (so cool you can get a day pass and hang out there in the middle of the lake), waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, beach and Sunset Point
  • On-site stables, Hummer tours, paintball, hiking trails, Treetop Trekking
  • Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country ski trails, dog sledding, ice skating
  • Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is five minutes away by complimentary shuttle
  • Adventures in Excellence teambuilding with on-site high and low ropes courses and climbing wall, Personality Dimensions™, wide range of themed, customizable events like CSI: Muskoka, Survivor, Amazing Race
  • Shizen Spa with relaxing rituals from around the globe and inspired locally, including exclusive Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion treatments
  • LIVE at Deerhurst stage show and on-site entertainment team: Current production is pop hit countdown Decades as well a Christmas show soon to begin—great for the whole family!

I have already started planning a family vacation at Deerhurst, and I can’t wait to return!

Designer Terri Cumming has created out of her love for all things Design! Terri loves immersing herself in the world of Design, whether it's related to Interiors or fashion. She is constantly inspired and in turn can't wait to share her own creativity and view of the crazy, fast paced beautiful world that is Design!

Terri and her wife Andrea love to have fun with their two little babes, Campbell and Charlotte. They have family dance parties and eat tonnes of guacamole! Although the days do go much smoother when Campbell has his listening ears on and Charlotte doesn't try to climb the tallest objects in the house......and so they dance!