December 15, 2017

Host & Hostess Gifts Under $50 at William Ashley's Holiday Pop Up Shop

With just over a week to go, the Christmas hustle is upon us. It's also prime-time for holiday gatherings, wining and dining, jingling and mingling. It's customary, when attending a gathering -- formal or not -- to bring a little gift to present a host or hostess to thank them for their hospitality. But instead of the customary wine and flowers, I've gone shopping to William Ashley's first ever Holiday Pop Up Shop and compiled a list of exquisite gifts, all under $50. 

This is the first time Bloor Street has coming to Vaughan with their Pop Up Shop, and features over 350 items, along with a Bloor Street selection, all up to 40% off. The Holiday Pop Up Shop is open through the holidays and into the new year, in the same location as the Warehouse Sale, at 111 Creditview Road, in Vaughan. 

In no particular order, some of my favourite items under $50, perfect for last-minute entertaining (and these make great teacher gifts, if you haven't purchased yet!):

Boards, Boards, Boards

Cheese boards, wood boards, marble boards. I love myself a good board. They work for entertaining, appetizers, make beautiful centrepieces and statement pieces. I'm particularly a fan of the marble boards, which come in white and grey marble -- I'm obsessed with anything marble nowadays. The grey, with the leather strap, is $39, and the larger white marble board is $49. Be warned: these are heavy, so you'll need a sturdy bag, or wrap beautifully in a tea-towel, to present to your host. 

Kate Spade Treasures

Kate Spade New York makes amazing gift pieces at affordable prices. They're cute, dainty, and useful. William Ashley has a large selection of KSNY giftware, and I've selected a few that I love, all under $50. Pictured above (L-R): Porcelain Scented Candle $40, Daisy Place Round Dish $45, In the Right Place (Heart Dish) $24, Ring Dish $35, Just Between Us Flask $44. These items are available in-store and online. 

Christmas Crystal

Nothing sparkles quite like crystal, and there are so many styles to suit your taste. From vases to candy dishes, votives and bowls, William Ashley does crystal perfectly.

How stunning is this Markham Marquis Crystal Bowl for $50? If you're responsible for bringing a component to your holiday meal, why not bring it in this spectacular piece. Maybe fill it with tangerines, pomegranates, mixed nuts or even sparkly ornaments.  Now THAT is a statement bowl. 

Wine Time

Wine is always a good idea, especially when you're invited to a party. Maybe pair your favourite vino with this affordable and uniquely designed Riedel swirl decanter ($33), or this fancy-dancy Peugeot Altar Corkscrew ($44).

The gifts will last longer than the wine (that's for sure) and they're useful, as well as beautiful.

Did You Say Creuset?

I'm obsessed with my Creuset cookware, and some of them can be very pricey. Believe it or not, there are quite a few pieces in the colourful Creuset collection that are less than $50 -- think mugs, utensils, dipping jar and jam jar, among others. I was most impressed to find this beautiful canister ($48) in green -- a little holiday-inspired. And if you're a baker, why not fill it with your homemade cookies to bring to the party? That'll be a fave for sure.

A Little Token

Sometimes, all you need is a little something to spruce up a gift. I just love these Christmas Tree Coasters, with gold tree accents. They come in a set of 4 for $19.

For good measure, I had to include a pillow -- of course. There are select decorative pieces available at the Holiday Pop Up Shop, from pillows to throws. I love this checkered throw ($60 -- ok a bit over budget!), and the Merry Christmas pillow ($44).

You know what's even better? From now until December 24, if you visit the Pop Up Shop, or shop online and use the code Social10, you will save an extra 10% off! Big score.

And I have even better news! One Simply Suppa reader will be receiving $100 to spend in the store! To enter to win, from my picks, let me know your favourite and who you would gift it to!
I'll make the draw next week!

To shop more holiday gifts, check out the William Ashley Holiday Gift Guide. Happy Shopping!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All content is original and generated by me. As always, the opinions expressed on my blog are my own. 

December 14, 2017

Tribute to an Old Friend, PLUS Win One of the Hottest Toys of the Year!

Twenty plus years ago, I graduated from elementary school. Think back. Wayyyy back. I'm proud to say that some of my dearest friends today are my friends from way back when. When we rode our bikes on the road until the street lights came on. When we had home birthday parties with Fimo and painted sneakers. When we all went off, many to different high schools, and into the "real" world, full of opportunity and more challenges.

Think back to those elementary school friends. The boys and girls you grew up with. Maybe in that group, today you'll find a future teacher, doctor, real estate agent, journalist, lawyer, entrepreneur, engineer, and inventor. This is true for many of my friends. And today I want to highlight one of them. The inventor.

I have an old friend who's an inventor. AN INVENTOR. And by old, I mean long-time. Not only is she an inventor, and software engineer, and wife AND mom, she's also the brains behind one of the hottest toys of 2017. Her name is Natalie Rebot. We went to grade school together, where she had an enormous dog and a younger sister the same age as mine. And now she's taking the toy world by storm. Her invention -- Moonlite.

Have you heard of Moonlite yet? Moonlite is the device and app that turns your cell phone into a storybook projector. It was recently licensed to Spin Master, a Toronto toy giant. You may recall the 2016 Hatchimal madness -- yah, Spin Master was responsible for that. I backed Moonlite's Kickstarter way back in January 2017 and received our unit this fall. And my girls are hooked.

Moonlite is very easy to use. You clip the Moonlite projector onto your cell phone and insert a story reel. Open the app on your phone and read the story, following the directions to spin the reel. My kids were so excited to read the stories and couldn't get over the fact the stories were on the ceiling. We've read them over and over, and they do not get bored of them.

There are 12 stories in the collection, with more to come next year. There are some old-time favourites and depending on the pack you get, some newer stories as well. Moonlite is available at Target through the US and at Mastermind in Canada, both online and in stores.

And I'm so pumped to announce that 1 lucky person will have the chance to win a Moonlite Experience Pack. This package includes 1 Moonlite Projector and 2 story reels. To win, visit my Instagram post, tag 2 friends and tell me your favourite storybook to read to your kids.

ANDDDD as a special to all my followers, Moonlite has given me an EXCLUSIVE discount code valid until Dec 24! Use the discount code: SUPPA_MOONLITE to save 15% off any Moonlite puchase on

Watch this video to learn more about Moonlite and pick up the Winter edition of York Life Magazine to read my profile on Natalie!

Celebrate The Last Jedi with Hasbro

Apparently tomorrow is an important day for Star Wars fans. I know this because I live with one. On December 15, Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theatres. This is Episode VIII, the second in the third trilogy and NOT the last one. (I've tried to wrap my head around this many times, but have now given up) There's one more coming, released in 2019. I went to my in-house Star Wars Wiki for all these stats.

This is not a movie review, because, believe it or not, I haven't seen one episode. Shame, I know. I really should watch these films. One day, I'll do it. I'm a bit embarrassed actually, and think by now, I just NEED to watch them so I understand wtf everyone is talking about.

Of course, the Star Wars craze has transcended to clothing, and decorative items (I DID buy Donny a Stormtrooper Nutcracker), and of course, toys. Hasbro has an extensive collection of Star Wars products from masks to action figures, light sabres and Jedi gear. Sounds like I know what I'm talking about, right? And because kids -- and adults -- of all ages are into Star Wars, there are toys designed for the tiniest and largest of fingers.

I actually really love this Mr. Potato Head Mini Multi-Pack. I received this one so the girls could play with Donny. It's aged 2+ because the pieces aren't too tiny to pose a hazard, but you do need a bit of dexterity to snap the pieces together. The 4-pack includes 18 pieces to mix and match, and features Mr. Potato Head as Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, and R2-D2, and Mrs. Potato Head as Rey.

Speaking of Rey, I understand she's one of the leads in the new episode, helping to unlock mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past (I totally took that from the Synopsis!). Earlier this year, Star Wars Forces of Destiny launched. This animated micro-series celebrates some of Star Wars' most beloved characters on Disney YouTube. Lucasfilm's President, Kathleen Kennedy, says Star Wars Forces of Destiny is for "anyone who has been inspired by Leia's heroism, Rey's courage, or Ahsoka's tenacity."

And of course, there are toys! The toys are 11 inches in scale and feature multiple points of articulation, and they actually move! Of course, Donny was jacked to get these toys, Isabelle really enjoyed playing with them, and while I'm admittedly ignorant to the storyline, I always appreciate girl power. Toy Villains are on their way to the collection.

Notice Isabelle's wearing a Star Wars dress!

Of course, there are thousands of Star Wars toys to choose from, and Donny would have them all, but we need to stop somewhere. Add some to your collection this holiday. Even if you're not a kid. It's not that weird.
And if you're headed out to see the film in the wee hours of the morning: "do not go gentle into that good night". 

No, that's wrong. 

May the Force be With You. 

Enjoy the movie!

December 13, 2017

Mask It Under the Mantel

Stocking stuffers aren't what they used to be. A stocking stuffer or filler used to be trinkets or treats and likely some essential items like socks and underwear. Somewhere over the years stocking stuffers have become full-blown gifts that barely fit in the stocking. I'm saying, cut it out, people. Let's bring the stocking stuffers back to their roots.

My favourite things to receive in my stocking are beauty items. Pretty nail polishes, fancy creams and make up. This year, I'm adding masks to the list.

Facial masks have taken the beauty world (and YouTube) by storm the last few years. From painted masks, to peels, to cleansing masks, people all over the world are using masks for all sorts of purposed. I quite enjoy them too. I don't LOVE sitting with a mask on for half an hour -- kind of like teeth whitening strips -- but my skin feels so radiant and smooth when I take the mask off, it's totally worth it.

For Beloved Girl (a subsidiary of For Beloved One) makes a collection of affordable Mineral Cloud Silk Masks for beauty junkies on a budget. There are six masks in the series, each one using different minerals to target various skin types and concerns. Choose from Skin Renewal, Extreme Moisture, Flawless Brightening, Puffy Elimination, Oil Control and Active Resilience. Each mask comes in boxes of 3 for $12.99 CAN.
The masks are fairly easy to apply and the the silky fabric is beautifully pliable and soft. There's a plastic layer you need to remove, which can be cumbersome, but with some adjusting and fixing, you get the mask into place. I really like the Fe -- Flawless Brightening. While on, it is cool and comfortable and when you remove it (don't rinse the goodness!), your skin is almost instantly illuminated. I didn't even want to wear make-up afterward, although you're supposed to apply a day cream.

If face masks aren't your thing, what about a hair mask? Yes, I said hair mask, and no it's not conditioner. And yes, even if you condition, a hair mask is a good idea. The Moroccanoil Smoothing Mask smooths and tames unruly and frizzy hair. Here's the thing: you need to shower, wash and towel dry your hair. Then you apply the mask, comb it through, wait 5-10 minutes before rinsing. It's not something you do every time you shower, cause, who has time for that, but the results are phenomenal and the scent of the mask is just divine. Like beachy coconuts. Heavenly. $44.00 CAD.

These little luxuries are perfect stocking stuffers: they're definite treats, they're affordable, and they're definitely small enough to fit into a stocking! Most of all, they would make the receiver very, very happy.

Simply Suppa has 2 boxes of For Beloved Girl Face Masks to giveaway -- Tea Tree Oil Control Mineral Mask and Flawless Brightening Mineral Mask. Perfect to share, or keep for yourself! To enter to win, visit Simply Suppa's Instagram page and look for the post!

Best of luck!

December 12, 2017

Old School Fun This Holiday

I'm a big fan and supporter of technology and always encourage my daughters to use technology to learn new skills. That said, I also see a tremendous need to sometimes toss the tablet away.

I found the most ideal toy for kids that teaches new skills, all while spending quality time and having fun. It would make a great stocking stuffer, or activity to do while school's out.

These Easy-to-Build Wooden Toy Kits from Lee Valley Toys are the perfect activity for parents and kids to play and learn together. The kits come in a variety of vehicles/machinery types and teach kids how to build, read instructions and use a screwdriver. They also teach patience, because, as we know, this can be challenging!

The kits are geared at kids 8+, although Isabelle had a good time with her dad putting together the Fire Truck. Each piece comes pre-cut and sanded, and you just need to read the instructions and put together. Simple, right? Be warned, this is not a 5 minute activity. There are over 40 screws in the kit, and Isabelle tried to put each one in, all in herself. 

Kidding aside, I really liked that she could sit with her dad for an hour (I could have done it too, obviously), technology away, and build something tangible. Plus, how many kids know how to use a screwdriver these days? The kit comes with a mini one, perfect for little fingers.

And there's complete gender neutrality on this one -- the wood is plain. Not coloured. Both boys and girls would have fun building and constructing. And if you really wanted to add another element to the fun, I suppose they could paint or decorate their creation after they are done.

Most of all, I like that this is old school fun. I don't remember building my own car as a child, but Donny remembers building a car in shop class. This is a basic version of shop class, but it's building memories all at the same time. And without the bells and whistles (and LED lights and computer chips), this pared down toy reminds us that sometimes, simple is best.

The Easy-to-Build Wooden Toy Kits are $14.95 each, or buy a bundle of 5 for $59.50 at Lee Valley Tools. And, you're welcome.

Creating a Functional and Fashionable Entrance Way

Designers always say the front of your home is the first impression you give to guests, visitors, and even yourself. Right from the driveway to your front door and into your foyer.

While we do keep a fairly neat and presentable yard and front porch, our entrance foyer was nothing to write home about. Scratch that. It was embarrassing.

Here's the thing: while I would love to have a glorious white entrance way with marble tile and cathedral ceilings, I just don't. I have a tiny entrance way filled with boots and coats, hats and gloves and more often than not, toys, too. I want and NEED my entrance way to be as functional as fashionable.

Here are my must-haves for an ideal front entrance:
  1. Seating. Whether you're struggling to put on your boots, or wrestling two kids in the morning, seating is essential. It's also courteous to guests to offer a place to take off or slip on their shoes. 
  2. A mat. Especially in the winter time, you need a mat, and I prefer the bigger the better. While I love the look of light coloured mats, they're great in magazines, but just don't work in my house. I wonder why....
  3. Storage. In addition to closet space, I love and need easy to access storage for hats and mitts and scarves and whatever else I need to stash away.
  4. Lighting. To me, every room must be lit properly. Entrance lighting is the time to shine - literally. Go for something a bit fancier or a step-up from the standard. 
I recently started working with Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) and Rethink Tires to create an entrance way to our home that we can be proud of -- in more ways than one. OTS is an organization championing waste diversion to collect and recycle used tires. You may remember we visited that AWESOME park in Richmond Hill, its playground tiles made with recycled tires. Just amazing.

I learned that Ontario Tire Stewardship works with manufacturers who make more than just playground tiles made of old tires. In fact, there is an entire list of recycled tire rubber products that have come back to life in many different shapes, sizes and forms.

I was able to transform my entrance way simply by using mats made from recycled tires. The large rectangular entrance mat covers nearly all the tile in our small foyer, ideal for this time of year. It means less slipping, less stepping in a snowball and more room for all of us to get ready in a tiny space. And I adore the dark, crisp black colour -- a sharp contrast to my light walls. The mat is heavy and durable; the backing is made with recycled rubber for slip resistance. Even hubby was impressed.

And the Colossal Scalloped Boot Tray is actually a dream. I've never had a boot tray, but it totally makes sense to have one. This scalloped boot mat is large enough to fit an entire family of boots and shoes and small enough to tuck under my bench. We're trying to encourage the kids to place the boots on the tray and keep the area tidy.

Now let's talk about the exterior -- equally important. We do our best to keep it up-to-snuff, but let's face it, the outside needs some TLC too. I'm a sucker for big, colourful plants in the summer and winter pots when the temperatures drop. The more, the merrier.

Well little did I know, there are planters made from recycled tires, too. These ones are made from 98% recycled materials, actually. And they're crack resistant. There's actually a 365 day no-crack guarantee. Crazy, right?! The Planters come in different sizes and colours and they're a great way to add a festive touch to your walkway. Plus, they're self watering and have a drainage hole (and plug), that protects against overwatering. Use them all year long to change up the decor on your front steps or patio.

What you put inside is up to you -- small pine trees, sticks and branches, balls and twinkly lights. I usually opt for something real and natural looking: Canadian pine and cedar with pine cones and birch, and a little added bling for the holidays (which you can remove post Christmas, and still keep your greenery looking seasonal).

Since the Used Tires Program started in 2009, OTS has successfully diverted more than 100 MILLION tires from landfills. Instead, they've been efficiently and responsibly recycled into new products we can all enjoy. And I really like that. I like that in addition to keeping my curb appeal up, I can support an organization that's creating hundreds of new jobs in Ontario and helping to grow our green economy all at the same time.

Create a functional, fashionable and eco-friendly entrance way you can be proud of, with recycled tire products.

For more information on Rethink Tires, you can visit their website.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. As always, the opinions expressed on Simply Suppa are my own.

December 11, 2017

Stocking Stuffer: Disney Emoji

My girls love miniature items. Teeny tiny little pieces that they can play make-believe, stash in a purse and collect. When I first learned about the Disney emoji collection, I hadn't heard of it, but I knew my girls would be all over it.

There are over 100+ emojis to collect and they come in packs of 2 (#ChatBubble), 5 and 9. And of course, there are surprises. The ChatBubble emojis are complete surprises, whereas the larger packs have some visible and others hidden away.

Isabelle was most excited to reveal the surprise emojis. As you receive your surprises, you can keep track on the included legend. Some packs even have a squishy emoji -- almost like a bonus. 

If you're looking for a stocking stuffer, this is pretty fool-proof. Firstly, it fits into a stocking. Also, price point is very good -- from $3.99 to $14.99 for the larger packs. And if you're kids are like mine, they're going to love them.

We only got one double in our packs -- it's bound to happen. But surprisingly, my girls were totally cool with it. Isabelle said: "That's great, one for me and one for Madeline."