May 19, 2016

Breaking Through the Old Boys Club

This morning I was fortunate to attend a networking breakfast with local career and business-focused women. I've attended many of these events in the past and to tell you the truth, I always have a good time. I enjoy the social nature of the get togethers, the casual approach and the ability to meet quite a few women all in a couple of hours.

This morning's session was a bit different, though. 

The theme for this meeting was Marketing, and Nadia Cerelli from Plan B Promotions gave an informative presentation on the subject. She brought years of experience to the table and we were all grateful.

But it was the fellow participants that surprised me the most. 

The energy was strong. 

The women in this group were badass.

I love a strong woman. I pride myself on being one, and I plan on raising my girls to kick some butt, too. But without getting too rah-rah feminist granola on you, I was so proud to be among a group of women who are either running their own business, a family business, a personal brand or a franchise. These ladies are strong and confident, sassy, smart, witty and charming. What a bunch.

We all came from different worlds and experiences but we were genuinely there to learn and to feed off one another. 

And then I thought: we're doing it.

We're doing the same thing men have been doing FOR YEARS. 

This hive was not bitchy or cold -- quite the opposite, really. It was a support network, a tribe, a community.

For the longest time (and still today), the "Old Boys Club" created the deals, inked the contracts, and develop friendships and partnerships. This idea has been almost impermeable, and yet, despite the generations of advancement made for women, we are often left behind, and left out. 

And sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Woman-to-woman bashing is real -- it's prevalent and it's sad. Men feed off competition; they thrive on it. Women turn catty and shallow. (Massive generalization for effect!)

Well, today, it felt like we had our own club. We were wheeling and dealing, and making coffee dates and planning meetings and future opportunities. And we did it while being kind to one another. 

We were doing it. Finally.

Cheers to this new ideal. I hope to see many of you in a similar forum, sharing your many well-deserved successes and tips. Together, the tribe will grow and blossom. Together we are stronger. 

P.S. A special thank you to Laura Cannone and Josie Cannone for hosting this morning's session at Petite & Posh in Vaughan. Your generosity is always noted and always appreciated.

May 01, 2016

Ballerina Girls...and Mommy #mothersday

My younger sister and I spent the majority of our childhood in a dance studio. We danced for decades -- Laura even went on to dance in university -- and we eventually became accredited ballet teachers. Ballet was fun, but it also became a big part of our lives. It taught us discipline and poise, and while difficult to explain, there is something just magical about ballerinas. As young children, we trained and trained and yearned for our chance to wear a tutu and dance on the big stage at our year-end performance. I remember it well. 

When I was pregnant and found out I was having a daughter, I couldn't help but be excited. And when Isabelle was first born (prematurely), the note I left on the white board outside her room said, "Isabelle, I can't wait to have dance parties with you. Love, Mommy." Isabelle happens to love dancing like her mommy and her Auntie, and is just about to finish her first year of ballet classes. (Her first year-end performance -- tutu and all -- will be later on this spring. Mommy is stoked and so proud.) And little Madeline, although only a recent walker -- let alone dancer -- also seems to share this love of music and movement. She mimics her sister and together, we have quite a few dance parties. 

A couple of weeks ago, while at the Spring Babytime Show, I met Sarah, a mompreneur from Markham, who recently launched her business called BLUISH. BLUISH offers matching tutus and ruffled skirts for little girls, AND their moms. Sarah, a Chartered Accountant, had a tough time finding a tutu for her daughter's birthday that was well-made, well-priced and looked good, too. Sourcing a "mommy" version proved to be an even harder feat. 

BLUISH was founded on passion, and a lot of help from friends and family, credits Sarah. The brand is bright and happy, but the name stems from baby blues, a postpartum symptom many moms experience. Sarah admits to being blue after having her daughter, and so, BLUISH is a juxtaposition of blue-ness and happiness. "Much like that early stage of new motherhood," says Sarah. 

It didn't take long for me to really like the brand and the face behind the company. As everyone knows, I love to support local, and local moms. But I loved the concept, too. 

So when I brought home our matching tutus, I knew Isabelle was going to be thrilled. Well, it was beyond. My girls have their share of costumes, yes, but we certainly didn't have a tutu for mommy. Until now. 

The tutus are so very well made. The elastic is velvety soft and stretchy and the tulle (6 layers on mine and 3 on the baby version) is very delicate and silky. Each tutu has a layer of cotton lining, making the skirt extra comfortable. And they come in a few chic and stylish colours - very fashion forward. 

I have to admit -- I kinda like the Mini Me trend that's happening right now. I mean, I don't want to dress like my kids all the time, but I know the girls get a kick when they can dress like Mommy and I think it's adorable when we have coordinating looks. And I LOVE that I have a new tutu to wear for our dance parties.

Even if you don't have a Mini Me, adult tutus are all the rage right now -- especially for brides! Pair it up with a killer pair of heels and you're ready to party!

BLUISH is having a special Mother's Day promo on until May 7 -- this is the perfect time to get a set of tutus for yourself and your daughter, or give as a gift!  Use the promo code MOMSDAY to get 10% off storewide. 

Don't forget to give Sarah some love on facebook and Instagram!

Prices range from $30 for the baby tutus and $70-120 for the Mommy versions. Isabelle and Madeline are wearing the Baby Celine in Ivory and I am wearing the Vintage Celine in Blush. All prices on BLUISH are in CAD. Yeah!

Disclaimer: I received product in order to write this review. All opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

April 24, 2016

Be Adventurous with Disney Princess Rapunzel #DreamBigPrincess

Disney Princesses are some of the most iconic characters in the world. Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Rapunzel -- most of their stories have been carried down from generation to generation. I remember loving Cinderella as a little girl, knowing the story, singing the infamous songs and relishing in the daydream. A dream is a wish your heart makes...

In 2014, Hasbro announced a merchandising partnership with Disney and they've worked closely to develop a new Disney Princess line that gives kids new ways to play, emphasizing storytelling, while staying true to each Princess's unique attributes and story. They call this line the Modern Princess. And as you may have seen on my Instagram feed, Simply Suppa is SO SO SO SO SO SO happy to be working with Hasbro and Disney to introduce you to this new collection, and feature a different Disney Princess each and every month.

Girls aspire to be extraordinary; Disney Princesses are no different. Take Rapunzel, for example.

Rapunzel is Adventurous. She's been trapped in a tower since birth but is curious and puts her trust in stranger who helps her escape from the tower and visit the twinkling lanterns in time for her birthday. 

Rapunzel is actually Isabelle's current favourite princess. She loves her long blonde hair (similar to her own) and I do see a lot of the same qualities in the two -- they are both feisty and strong-willed, independent and creative. We recently hosted a Tangled Birthday Party for Isabelle at a local play place that allowed the kids to be wild and adventurous. Needless to say, she was stoked to find out that Rapunzel was our first featured Princess. 

The Rapunzel doll is just lovely. She is wearing her traditional purple dress and has big, beautiful eyes and soft hair. She's easy to move and maneuver, and her dress has a handy velcro attachment at the back. (My girls had her nekkid in minutes!)

Hasbro has also released a line of Disney Princess toys called little Kingdom. These little princesses come with removable parts and can fit in the palm of a child's hand. Play with the Princesses on their own, or add additional accessories, like Rapunzel's Stylin' Tower. Rapunzel's Stylin' Tower also comes with a few hair styles (tangle-free cause they're plastic!) and her little chameleon friend, Pascal. Note, the pieces in the little Kingdom line are...well, little. Very little. We made sure to find a special "Princess Box" to hold all the little Princess accessories so Madeline (and Rex) are safe.

The little Kingdom collection is super cute and already has a prime spot in our family room. 

My girls were so excited to get their hands on this month's Disney Princess feature and I want you to have the chance to #win this for your kids! 

Each month, in addition to reviewing the latest in Hasbro Disney Princess, Simply Suppa will also give away a Disney Prize Pack so you and your family can enjoy them just as much as we do. 

 Good luck!

April 19, 2016

Why You Need Oliver's Labels In Your Life #win

By now, if you're a Simply Suppa reader, you know that I'm a list maker, a note taker, and a calendar filler. I'd like to add Crazy Labeller to that list. My name is Julia and I like to label things. 

My family was first introduced to Oliver's Labels a few years ago when Isabelle started daycare. She received a package for her birthday and I was so impressed. I labelled all her daycare clothes, her shoes, her hat and mitts, her jacket, knapsack and blanket. Label heaven.

I really like that Oliver's Labels is Canadian -- that is paramount to me. But the labels are also affordable, come in a variety of colours, styles, patterns and even graphic images. They also ship in days so if you need a last minute label (aka label emergency!), you can have your labels delivered super quickly. 

Recently, Oliver's Labels has come out with an ADULT COLLECTION of labels. Oh yea, you heard me. I'm obviously not the only one who has a little label obsession. I've very fortunate to have been able to test a few of these products and of course, I highly recommend. 

Here are my favourite ways to use Oliver's Labels:

  • Obviously, labelling your kids' clothes and school stuff is really important. My ultimate favourite in the collection is the Clothing Labels, which are tiny and discreet, and don't come off in the wash.
  • Shoe Labels or Match-Up Labels are great for the pre-schooler, and helps them learn their left and right. 
  • Allergy Labels are so important for parents to put on their child's lunchbox, or even on their clothing for a school trip. Safety wristbands are also available.
  • Original Labels, Round Labels and Mini Labels are perfect for items around your home, your office, your desk, or items you transport on a regular basis. I label the items that like to walk off my desk (like my stapler), but more importantly, my agenda and even my workout gear. 

  • This week, Oliver's Labels released their Bin Labels -- perfect for your garbage or recycling bins. Bye, bye, spray paint. 
  • I use the Large Tags and the Mini Tags for so many things -- on my daughters' knapsacks, on a carry-on, and most recently to label our Bubba mugs and sippy cups while on vacation. (see photo above) I actually printed an entire set of labels for the whole family and that ensured all our cups and mugs were organized and everyone was using their own. If you have kids with similar items at home, you've eliminated a potential argument right there!
  • I JUST discovered the Date Labels and I have to say...."Where Have You Been!?" I'm a meal planner and I love to have frozen meals in a pitch. I usually batch cook TONS of chicken soup and freeze, and prior to this recent discovery, I would use a piece of paper and tape it on. (Shame, shame) These Date Labels come with a pencil crayon that is erasable. The labels are reusable and dishwasher safe. Mind Blown.

Lastly, another favourite is the Party Package. Starting at $4.99, you can create a customized loot bag for kids that is affordable and useful. 

Simply Suppa has a chance for you to WIN a $50 Gift Card to Oliver's Labels. 

To enter, follow @simplysuppa on Instagram and let me know what you would spend the $50 on. A winner will be notified via Instagram April 30.

Good luck and happy labelling!

Disclosure: I received Oliver's Labels in order to write this review. As always, the opinions expressed on my blog are my own.

April 11, 2016

Don't Crawl....Run to The BabyTime Show #BabyTime16 #contest

It's that time of year again -- the Spring BabyTime Show comes to town April 22-24 and if you've never been to Toronto's longest running and most-loved baby and toddler event, it's not too late. It's true, even if you don't have a baby (yet, or anymore), you will still find gain valuable tips, meet great experts and even score wicked deals on some of the hottest, newest and coolest baby toys, gear and clothing around.

I've probably been to the BabyTime Show about 10 times now -- seriously. I started going before I was pregnant, which was overwhelming but wonderful, and have been attending both the fall and spring shows ever since. Even with a (now) preschooler and toddler, each time I attend, I love looking around and finding some great gems, which I do, every single time.

Regardless of your stage in parenthood, you will find something worthwhile.

For the parent-to-be: NEW for 2016, Graco will be running an exclusive car seat clinic to answer any questions you have about car seat safety and installation. Plus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 24th, CPSAC certified technicians will be running free-of-charge appointments to check and install car seats for all ages and all brands.

For the new parent: Participate in informative seminars on everything from Breastfeeding to Infant and Child Choking, learn about cool products for feeding, bathing, teething and walking. (Left: Munchkin White Hot Tub is a hot product you can find at the show. I bought this years ago to travel with -- made bathtime a breeze!)

For the parent of the toddler/pre-schooler: No matter how experienced you are, you're never prepared for an older toddler or pre-schooler, and everything that comes with them. Potty training,  sleep schedules, prepping for the future. Plus, if you bring the kiddies along, they can snag some photos with Angelina Ballerina, Olivia the Piglet, Jess the Cat and Little Charmers and catch Dora and Boots at the Toddler Time Stage.

And of course, there are always new vendors (some of them local), showing off their new products. Last year, I learned all about MagneTree Books, Mimosura Jewellery, 4D Flashcards and Ollie Jones Clothing, a Toronto-based company that makes amazing hipster leggings that are super soft, organic and definitely statement pieces. Will definitely have to pick up a few more pairs for the girls this time around, too.

Simply Suppa is proud to be partnering with The BabyTime Show once again, and I have two pairs of tickets to give away to the show. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. How cute are these grey and white arrow leggings from Ollie Jones!?

April 02, 2016

Vote For Your Fave Poster #YRbabytalk

When I had Madeline, York Region Public Health was an invaluable resource to me, especially with nursing assistance. And I wasn't a new mom. Isabelle was already 2.5 years old -- being a mom was not a new thing. But I still needed help. 

Regardless of the stage of motherhood/parenthood you're in, it's ok to ask for help. York Region Public Health offers great assistance. Here are some commonly asked questions: 
  • How can I get support for how I’m feeling?
  • Where can I go to find support with breastfeeding?
  • How can I learn what to feed my baby?
  • Is my baby ready for solid foods?
  • What is my baby trying to tell me?
If these questions sound familiar, connect with York Region Public Health by visiting, calling 1-800-361-5653 or using #YRbabytalk on social media.

York Region Public Health has recently launched #YRbabytalk, a poster series to direct new and expectant parents to information, programs and services they provide. They're inviting everyone to visit their website and vote for your favourite poster. Don't forget to share your fave and look for the posters to pop up all over the Region soon!

March 22, 2016

How to Wear Glittered Shadow

This spring, eyes are sparkling -- that is, with glitter. Glitter and lustre, sparkle and shine are all the rage this season. Maybe it's due in part to Lady Gaga rocking shiny pink eyelids at the Superbowl, or maybe it's the bright, light tones of spring -- either way, I'm here to tell you that yes, you can wear glittered eyes, and yes, you can wear them during the day, too.

Introducing a fairly new product from pur minerals called Eye Polish. Eye Polish is a one-step, Base + Top Coat eye colour that's super easy to wear and apply.

It comes in a little pot, with a mesh opening and a silicone applicator and is available in 6 different tones from soft champagnes to deeper chocolate colours. To apply, you dip the tip of the applicator onto the polish and smear onto your eyelid. The product goes on creamy, yet soft, and dries very, very quickly. It's quite silky in texture and not heavy one bit.

Choose to wear it on its own, or combine with a powder shadow. What surprised me most is that the product didn't crease in my eyelid. So, while it goes on like a cream, it dries like a soft shadow.

For a perfect day look with a bit of glam, I stuck to earth tones with a soft brown liner and light mascara. A light dusting of blush and a soft lip colour and I was ready for the day.

To amp up the sparkle, pat additional polish gently on TOP of your shadow and add a darker shade in your crease.

For a full evening look, I'd add a thin black liner on top and even a bold lip.

Pur Minerals Eye Polish is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and various department stores and retails for $26 CAN.