February 17, 2015

One Person's Trash Is Another Person's Treasure #varagesale

How many of you out there have too much "stuff"? I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at purging, especially old, ratty clothes and regularly donating to charity, but the fact is, with two kids, we have tons of stuff. Between baby clothes, toys, shoes and various gear, we are often tripping over this "stuff" and finding ourselves stashing it in various corners of the house because it doesn't have a designated spot.

Kids stuff is tough -- I mean, you don't want to get rid of items you may need down the line. But sometimes, you need to do a good purge before buying new. My dad always said this: "When you buy a new pair of shoes, get rid of a pair." As teenagers, my sister and I often rolled our eyes to that. Yes, we NEEDED 5 pairs of booties. But now that I have my own (smaller) home, it's so true. Buy one, eliminate one.That way, you're not adding more inventory to your home. Less stuff to pick up and put away. Or, try a different tactic: if you haven't used/worn it in a year, it's time to let it go.

Sometimes, it's really difficult to purge items you love, but, that being said, it feels really good, too. How about making some money on your items, so at least you can recoup some of the expenses shelled out?

VarageSale is an online marketplace where you can buy, sell and connect with people in your local community. It was founded in 2012 by a mom, and now has more than 350 communities around the world, the newest community being Richmond Hill. VarageSale is free to use and the mobile app is available on iOS, Android and Kindle devices.

Here's how it works: members log on with their facebook account, ensuring full identity. Join a local community. For Richmond Hill, click here. An admin will review all user requests and will moderate the discussions in the community. 

Then it's time to shop!: You can post your own items or shop from thousands of items available in virtually any department thinkable: home, decor, kids, clothing, toys, homemade and LOTS more. If you're interested in an item, click the "Interested" button and the seller will be notified. You can also post comments or questions regarding the item in question.

Buyer Beware: Private Message a user to confirm final transaction details and pick up time/location. Users often meet at someone's home or a public space to complete the transaction. If you've had a good experience, leave praises on the member's profile so other members know!

Here's what I really like about VarageSale:
  • It's local. You're buying and selling from/to local moms/people in your own community. So you're helping each other out. 
  • It's not just kids stuff. You can find great kids stuff for sale FOR SURE, but there are thousands of other items, too.
  • It's easy to use, and user-friendly.
  • The Interested button. On facebook buy-and-sell groups, you always have to write "Interested" in the comment thread. Here, you click the button and boom, you're in the cue. Genius.
  • There's help if you need it. Between the online help and your community admin, if you have a problem or question, there's a person to help out.
  • It's free to join and use.
  • You can actually make some decent money on your unwanted items.

So there you have it! Enough incentive to join? If you'd like more information on VarageSale and specifically the Richmond Hill group, there are also local events happening all week long. To learn more, visit your community page on VarageSale.

Here's to great purging, making some money and helping each other out!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed on the blog remain my own.

February 13, 2015

Little Loves #craftymom #valentinesday

If you want an uber last minute Valentine's Day gift, or just want to add some lovely decor to your home, here's a craft that's equally simple and beautiful. Pick colours that complement your home, so once Cupid's jumped ship, you can still showcase this piece.

You can use paper, cardstock or canvas. I've done this on canvas.

Using painter's tape, create alternating stripes and paint canvas in a colour of your choice. I went for a medium shade grey, but you can do any colour you like. Allow to dry and remove the painter's tape to reveal stripes.

Pick another shade for your child's hand and feet. Arrange hand and feet first, and then paint a letter l and e to complete the word. Dust with sparkles if you wish.

Don't forget to date the piece on the back so you'll always remember.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 12, 2015

50 Shades and Make Up For Ever #valentinesday #50shades

Tomorrow, millions of people will be flocking to theatres everywhere to peer into Christian Grey's red room when Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, opens.
The highly anticipated film, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, is expected to raise more than a few eyebrows; despite your views, many people want a piece of this fantasy.

Make Up For Ever, make-up partner of Universal Pictures and Focus Features, has developed a limited edition Spring make-up collection to commemorate the film's release. Even if you don't have a Christian Grey of your own (or even if you don't want one), you can experiment and play with being Ana.

The collection consists of the Tease Me lip trio (available in two shades, left), the Desire Me blush trio, and a larger makeup kit called Give In To Me, above.

What I love about the collection is its versatility; you can create simple, innocent looks, perfect for daytime or add some shine or sultry eyes for a more seductive, evening style.

I was able to test out the Tease Me lip trio in nude. It's sophisticated and innocent, offering a hint of glam with the Diamond Shine lip gloss. I love to wear the gloss during the day for an easy, on-the-run look. Or, add a dark, smokey eye for an irresistible look this Valentine's Day.

This barely-there lip trio is sweet, yet provocative and definitely a new favourite of mine.

The entire 50 Shades of Grey Limited Collection is available at Sephora. $38-79.

February 11, 2015

What's better than.....chocolate?? #valentinesday

What's better than chocolate? Seriously though, I'm an admitted chocaholic, as is my hubby and daughter. Isabelle actually calls herself a chocolate monster. Chocolate doesn't come to our home that often, because it doesn't stick around! 

You can't get more traditional (or traditionally cheesy) than chocolates at Valentine's Day. You know, the yucky chocolates in the red, heart-shaped box? Yah, those. You know, you've bought them before.

If you're opting for chocolate this year, why not kick it up a notch with a fine, organic chocolate that comes in unique flavours? Then, surprise your sweetheart with interesting ways to incorporate it into your Valentine's Day! 

Green & Black's Organic chocolate are made from fine, organic ingredients and are certified Fair Trade and come in all sorts of flavours from milk, to ginger, white and butterscotch.

Here are a few ways to incorporate these amazing chocolates into your sweet day (or life!):

  • Straight Up: Hello! This is chocolate we're talking about here. The G&B's Butterscotch is likely the best chocolate I've ever tried. It's buttery and sweet with a dark cocoa taste. Mmmmm. If you're on a diet, the 70% and 85% Dark Chocolate are full-bodied and complex. You really only need one or two squares, and the antioxidant benefits of chocolate have been proven again and again. Dark chocolate is good for you :)
  • Fondue: Melt it up, baby. Donny and I are actually having a fondue night on V-Day once the kiddies are asleep. Use the fine Organic Milk Chocolate or even a dark chocolate and your fondue will taste so much better. It's like using wine in cooking -- use a better wine/liquor and your food will taste better.
  • Mocha or Hot Chocolate: Try making a hot chocolate or mocha with the Organic Ginger. This one gives a nice zing! If you want a more traditional feel, go for the Organic White Chocolate. It'll warm you both up during our February Freeze! Cuddle up, and enjoy.
  • Bake, baby, bake: So, everyone knows I'm not a baker, but even I can see the possibilities of baking with G&B's. The Almond Bar is sweet, nutty and crunchy. You can totally eat this one straight up, or add it to a biscotti recipe, maybe. 

This Valentine's Day, instead of going with the typical, opt for a delicious alternative and experiment with chocolate. Get the family involved too, and then savour every bite!

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Green & Black's Organic Chocolate to test for this blog post. The chocolate didn't last long in my home! All opinions remain my own. 

February 10, 2015

Spread the Love with Sanctuary Day Spas #contest #valentinesday

I'm not one to make a big deal about Valentine's Day. I mean, I LOVE love, and I love my kids, my husband, my family and friends, but I don't usually do over the top gifts to celebrate the occasion. (Not that I'd complain about receiving a little velvet box, but I do prefer celebrating with experiences and surprises, not a conventional present) I'd actually rather V-Day chopped up and spread throughout the year, with little gestures of love peppered through the calendar -- more spontaneous, less forced.

That said, I do appreciate the day as a reason (or excuse) to pause and pay tribute to those we most care about. It's really a double-edged sword; would we actually celebrate our love if it weren't for this commercial holiday? So, I say, celebrate Valentine's Day, but do it in a way that makes sense to you and your loved ones.

Over the next few days, I'll be giving some great ideas for celebrating love this year, whether you're single, attached, married, etc. 

It goes without saying that people are super busy, and need a little indulgence every once and a while. Why not pamper yourself with a Valentine's Day special at Sanctuary Day Spas? This is an easy gift, but a guaranteed one at that!

Sanctuary has two V-Day Specials going on right now -- the Sanctuary Soul Mates is a 2-hour package that includes two Muru Aki rituals (a sensual body massage that combines oils, shells and hot stones) and two spa pedicures. Donny and I have actually had more than one couple's massage before and we LOVE it. And in the dead of winter, we definitely need pedicures. Time to gear up for Spring. Sign me up PLEASE. 

OR why not honour the special friend in your life with the Sanctuary Sisters package: two spa manicures and two 30-minute relaxation massages. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend some time with a closest friend, sister, mom or cousin. 

Sanctuary Day Spas has once again generously donated a wonderful prize for Simply Suppa readers. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the Sanctuary Sisters prize! That's a value of $150. This is a flash contest so get your entries in!!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 05, 2015

Valentine Craft: LOVE Maché #craftymom

Valentine's Day is around the corner, but there are many ways to embrace one of the biggest consumer occasions without spending hundreds on a dozen red roses. And how about seasonal decor? While I'd love to change up my decor seasonally, sometimes, it's just not in the budget.

So, here's a nice DIY that can double as February decor, a thoughtful gift, a bookshelf statement piece, and hey, your kids can do it. 

I'm always looking for a great craft idea, and an affordable one at that. Add that to #craftymom; I'm thrifty crafty mom, too. This craft can be made for less than 3 bucks. 

I picked up the LOVE blocks at my local Dollarama for $2.50. Using leftover tissue paper, I cut various colours into small squares. Mix standard white glue with a little bit of water to make a paste and cover the letters in the tissue. You could use any medium here, but I liked the coloured tissue paper and the maché feel. Once the letters dry, you can add a layer of shellac or glue, but I didn't.

Off to display for all to see! An easy V-Day craft!

I LOVE it :)

February 03, 2015

Bossy? Think Again. #banbossy


When was the last time you heard this word? Who was it used to describe?

My 3-year-old daughter.

She's so bossy. I wonder where she gets that from?!

Me. She gets it from me. 

Call me crazy, but, I never really thought negatively about the word bossy -- probably because I've heard it all my life. I like to lead, to delegate, to organize, to produce, to manage, to be efficient and effective. I guess you could say I'm a little bossy. 

But don't.

It wasn't until my younger cousin (who has a very similar personality to me) brought it to my attention. Simply put, she said to stop using the word bossy to describe us. 


Because it's usually girls, or women, who get labelled "bossy."

Think about it: when was the last time you heard a man pegged as bossy? 

I can't tell you when. 

Men are often described using strong, powerful words: authoritative, skillful, a force to be reckoned with, a tough leader. Women, on the other hand, are bossy.

Just for fun, I Googled the word "bossy". Here's what came up:

BOSSY: fond of giving people orders; domineering.
"she was headlong, bossy, scared of nobody, and full of vinegar"
synonyms:domineering, pushyoverbearingimperiousofficioushigh handed,authoritariandictatorial, controlling; 
informalhigh and mighty
"we're hiding from his bossy sister"

Interesting use of the pronoun "she", isn't it? Or is it? What about "sister"? 

I've never been one to harp on the inequities of being a woman, blah, blah, blah, but this is a whole lotta bull. 

And I'm not the only one to think so, either. 

On a more positive light, the first website to come up when searching the word bossy pledges to ban this degrading word:www.banbossy.com. (#banbossy) This website wants to encourage girls to be seen as leaders, and provides many tips on how to "flex your leadership muscle". 

Young girls and women NEED female leaders to look up to: politicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, doctors, lawyers. They need to know that being a confident person isn't tacky or negative, especially if you're female. Girls can be taught from an early age that delegating and dictating are two different tasks, and that being an effective leader means being a respectful one, too. 

I work in media; I embrace social media, traditional media and mixed media. I value words, the power they hold, and the potential to inspire and uplift through wordplay. But some words are poisonous.

My name is Julia Suppa. I'm a mom, I'm a TV producer and host, a blogger, a sister, a wife, a friend, a volunteer. I work hard, play hard, juggle many things at once and I try to be good (make that great) at everything I do. I'm a leader, a team player, an organizer and often, a delegator. 

I'm efficient, direct and respectful -- but I'm not bossy.

And don't call my daughter bossy either.