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The Best Toddler Gift To Give This Holiday Season

I’m a mom to a very precocious toddler and at two years old, we have reached the point at home where stuffies have become less interesting; now, it’s all about toys and activities that engage her little developing mind. The toddler years are often a trial and error period for most parents when it comes to toys. We make impulse purchases at toy stores to keep them from having meltdowns, or they are gifted for birthdays or holidays only to get discarded after being used just a handful of times. For that very reason, I have taken a more pragmatic approach in our home, preferring toys that not only keep my daughter engaged for longer, but that have also been proven to help with children’s development, like LEGO Duplo.

For 50 years, LEGO Duplo has been introducing block sets to little builders with big imaginations. These colourful plastic bricks have become iconic, and for good reason. For starters, they connect like regular LEGO bricks, but the Duplo pieces are much easier to put together and pull apart—not to mention a lot safer for toddlers, as most kids this age are still putting everything into their mouths.

Duplo is not new to our household, but we had never tried their themed play sets, like the LEGO Duplo Frozen Ice Castle. Little fans of the film are going to love this special edition set, out now ahead of the sequel’s November 20th release date. We’ve spent countless hours building and adapting the infamous castle together with its accompanying accessories on our living room floor. Every time we put the last block up, Maxwell wants to tear it down and start all over again. I actually encourage this because each time we work on building the castle, she is essentially mastering elementary construction skills and developing fine motor capabilities as she assembles and re-positions the bricks. Her little hands have grasped the basics of connecting the pieces on her own so well that she can now entertain and occupy herself using her own imagination, practicing dexterity and problem solving.

5 reasons this is a great gift idea for toddlers this holiday season

1. While building and creating, you get to watch your little one hit all these amazing early childhood developmental milestones like learning colours, shapes and numbers, while expanding their imagination and vocabulary.

2. Get some toddlers together to play with LEGO Duplo and you will quickly understand how well it facilitates social development. Besides teaching young children to take turns and share, it also promotes communication skills.

3. Even though LEGO Duplo pieces are larger than the original LEGO blocks, it still takes a fair amount of hand-eye coordination and strength to snap and pull apart the bricks. Using these blocks actually helps to strengthen the muscles in toddlers’ tiny hands, improving dexterity that will become important when they are a little older and learning to write.

4. Miniature versions of the film’s main characters—Elsa, Anna and Olaf the snowman—are included in the set, along with a slew of accessories: a slide, table, chairs, miniature kitchen equipment and outfits for the characters that allow for endless imaginative play.

5. All kids will love the multicoloured light brick feature that tops the sparkling Ice Castle. It is the last brick to be added to the castle, marking completion and giving children a feeling of accomplishment. This special brick also illuminates at the touch of a button and flashes, allowing toddlers to discover and learn to identify various colours.

Images by David A Pike for Today’s Parent Magazine and SoSasha.com

For all these reasons and more, I—along with countless other parents—absolutely love LEGO Duplo. The multi-faceted Duplo building play sets will not only keep toddlers entertained longer than most toys for the 2+ age group, but parents will really appreciate that they are very educational while still keeping things fun, making it the perfect toy for toddlers this holiday season. While building and creating, you get to watch your little one hit all these amazing early childhood developmental milestones like learning colours, shapes and numbers, while expanding their imagination and vocabulary.

The Answer To All Your Last Minute Holiday Shopping Needs

The idea of going into the final week before Christmas without one gift being purchased yet would cause most folks insane anxiety. Rightfully so, if you expect to be picking up all the gifts on your list from *gasp* the MALL! I have learned from years of unnecessary panicking that last minute mall shopping is not the way to go if you want to enjoy the holidays without getting high blood pressure by December 24th. My motto has simply become this…No mall. No lines. No stress. It’s really just that simple and it means I get to chill and actually enjoy the holidays.

 

There are a handful of online retailers that I rely on during this time of the year, but I swear, Best Buy is the move for last minute shoppers. Why? Their “Reserve + Pick-Up” service is the ultimate destination for all the tech-obsessed people on your list, even the youngest ones. It’s actually brilliant and so incredibly efficient. A couple of days ago I reserved some items online and seriously within 20 minutes, I had received a confirmation notifying me that they were not only set aside at the store but also ready to be picked up at the Best Buy location closest to my house.

I got a chance to test out the service earlier this week when I ordered a special little pre-holiday surprise for my little girl that was delivered to our home by a Best Buy Blue Shirt employee. I partnered with Best Buy to add an extra-special step to this already awesome service – even though this is a service they don’t offer, we had the opportunity to have the gift delivered to our home by a Best Buy Blue Shirt employee to capture the full-effect of the surprise. It was actually really cute. We cruised the website until she found something that made her squeal and giggle. Not surprisingly, it was the Spin Master Zoomer Playful Pup. A bit of a mature toy for her but the kid is obsessed with dogs and a toy robot dog that can roll over, bark and answer to commands is the coolest gift ever, so I could never say no.

Reserve + Pick-Up is available all the way until December 24th, so Best Buy has you covered down to the wire. Just find the items you want, click the “Reserve in Store” icon and choose a location nearest you for pickup. An email confirmation is sent shortly after notifying you that everything is good to go for pick-up and will be kept on hold for you to pick up within 24 hours.

Ok guys, its probably time to stop reading about how to shop stress free this season. Let’s get you actually shopping and crossing items of your gift giving list right now by heading to BestBuy.ca.

Personalize Your Love & Holiday Wishes With Staples

We are in the fully swing of the holiday season, which still seems to blow my mind. I’m just not so sure where the time this year? You all know I got started on all my decorating and gift buying super early this year, so I had some extra time on my hands to do some things I never get a chance to do; like getting my hands into a little holiday baking. As the holiday season is a time to share love and best wishes with those around you, I decided that I also wanted to send out holiday cards for the first time ever. I guess having a baby and feeling a bit more domesticated will do that to you!

Here’s the honest truth…I am by no means super crafty and knew if I was going to tackle this whole holiday card idea, it needed to be simple and affordable or else it just wasn’t going to happen. For years Staples as been my one stop shop for all my home office needs and figured their dedicated print team would be the best place to go to help me get this done. Their state-of-the-art equipment and certified “Print Pros” guarantee that any personalized gift idea you can dream up (canvas prints, puzzles, paper invites, gift labels or even professional place settings – if calligraphy invite design isn’t your thing!), can come to life.

Photography by Elaine Fancy

For our holiday cards I decided to keep it simple and use a photo of Maxie. I felt this was a much better option as our friends and family are always insisting I send them photos of her and just never get around to doing it. You can always go to your nearest Staples location to meet with a certified Print Pro if you feel like you need in person assistance, but seriously you can easily create just what you need online from the comfort of your home like I did on StaplesPrint.ca. There’s a dedicated “Holiday Solutions” section that displays all their service offerings from photo gifts to labels. In under just 10 minutes I was able to find a card template that fits my aesthetic, choose card stock, upload the photo, create a personalized greeting and place the order. This is a perfect solution for some of your holiday needs if you’re looking to avoid malls and crazy long lines this month. To make sure your personalized items from Staples make it in time for Christmas, orders need to be placed by December 10th. Head on over to StaplesPrint.ca for more information and gift ideas!

Must-Have Baby Registry Essentials

The journey to baby is marked with several milestones that indicate you are getting closer to meeting the adorable little human being you have been cooking inside of you for nine months. As I have settled into my final trimester with just over a month to go until delivery day, it is time to start organizing Baby Bean’s nursery and getting the necessary things we will need to set us up for success in the first months of parenthood. Although prepping for a new baby is very exciting, there is just so much to do which can often make this process overwhelming for some, myself included! Just a few months ago I knew absolutely nothing about baby basics and now I feel I can almost hold my own with other mom’s on newborn necessities.

So Sasha - Huggies

So Sasha - Huggies

As a first time mom-to-be, I confidently tackled all the larger items for the baby that were an obvious “no brainer” – the crib, stroller, newborn onesies, nursery furniture etc. However, after speaking to friends with babies, it was clear I needed to create a Babies R’ Us Gift Registry, like ASAP, to help me get prepared with the smaller, everyday essentials that often times get overlooked during the third trimester madness. Here’s a fun fact for you…did you know that the average child goes through 5,000 diaper changes in a lifetime? I know, mind blowing right? It kind of makes you wonder how anyone would miss adding essentials like Huggies Diapers and Natural Care Wipes to their baby registry.

So Sasha - Huggies

With my time super limited these days I was really pretty stoked that setting up my registry turned out to be a quick and painless process. For newbie mom’s, there’s a special little section dedicated for us in mind called “Top Registry Items”  in case you get stuck or suddenly feel overwhelmed. It categorizes everything and seriously steered me in the right direction to creating a comprehensive list of outstanding items we still need to get.  I simply downloaded the new Babies R’ Us App on my iPhone so I can easily update it on the go but if you’re the type that needs a bit more hands-on attention, you can totally reserve an appointment with a Baby Registry Expert in-store, who can help guide you. Oh and the best part, when you register you’ll receive a free gift pack which includes coupons and samples to help start you and baby off on the right foot!

We are seriously blessed with amazing friends, family and brand partners who have been so supportive in helping us prepare for our little girl’s arrival. After securing most of the larger items so far, many of you have asked about the about the products I’ve put on my own registry, so I thought I would share some of my favourite “off-the-beaten-path” essentials that you may not have thought to add to yours, that can be found at Babies “R” Us stores or their online registry section. 

So Sasha - Huggies
Réjean and I have chosen Huggies Little Snugglers as our diaper of choice, which also happens to be the #1 choice in Canadian hospitals, and have already fully stocked up on newborn and size 1 packages.  They come with a pocketed waistband to help keep smelly messes inside the diaper where they belong and the newborn diapers even have an umbilical cord cut out perfectly shaped to help the belly button healing process.

So Sasha - Huggies
A diaper genie is all my friends keep raving about as a must-have and the Playtex Diaper Genie Elite has a double lock design and 7-layer bag helps keep odours from escaping into the nursery. On sale now for only $39.97

So Sasha - Babies "R" Us
Based on feedback from you mama’s out there, I learned that there are to be NO blankies in crib for safety reasons so Halo’s Sleep Sack Swaddle quickly got added to our registry thanks to your recommendations, to keep Bean warm and snug while she sleeps.

So Sasha - Huggies
Made in the France with natural rubbers and paint, Sophie the Giraffe is the go-to for teething babies worldwide after gaining popularity in Europe back in the 60’s. I have literally seen this item on every one of my friend’s baby registry’s over the years

So Sasha - Babies "R" Us
Breastfeeding in public can be nerving for most new mom’s so I love this breastfeeding scarf to cover us up during feeding while we are out and about.

So Sasha - Babies R Us Canada
“I have too many swaddle blankets!” – said no one ever. I have tons but just keep on collecting. Love the neutral prints and colours of these ones by Koala Baby.

Photography by Elaine Fancy Photography

 

Throughout this process I have also realized how expensive it is to get ready for baby so I will be giving away a $200 Babies “R” Us gift card to one lucky follower on Instagram. To enter, like, comment/and or tag someone you know on this Instagram post here. *Contest runs from July 13th to July 18th, 2017. The winner will be selected at random and contacted via Instagram DM on July 19th. Open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec.

ATTN: Mom’s and Moms-to-Be, July is BABY FEST at Babies “R” Us. That means, from now until July 20th, 2017 there are MEGA savings for all your newborn to toddler needs that you won’t want to miss out on both in-store and online. Get signed up for your baby registry today at www.BabiesRUs.ca

This post was sponsored by Huggies® Canada, however all opinions and reviews are our own!

2014 So Sasha Holiday Gift Guide For Him

2014 Holiday Gift Guide For Men

Coming up with your own personal wish list is always easy and fun, however not so much when you need to buy for someone else – especially when it’s for your beau who has everything. I have carefully curated a small list of  items from my favourite stores and online shops that will no doubt make your man extremely happy (and very stylish!)

1. Aether Cone Wireless Speakers ($399).  Wireless speakers are nothing new but Cone’s capabilities will blow you away. It learns what, when and how someone likes to listen to music. When it’s turned on, it will automatically play what the listener loves with amazing sound quality. Small enough that it can be brought anywhere. Simple to use. Beautifully crafted and if that’s not enough, it even responds to voice commands.

Aether Cone Speaker2. Rag & Bone Cashmere Beanie ($135).  Crafted from extra soft ribbed cashmere, this grey beanie from cult contemporary brand Rag & Bone is a fall/winter wardrobe essential. Both comfy and snug, you will have to beg him to take it off.

3. Nike Flystepper 2K3 ($125). Whether he’s a lover of basketball or simply likes the swag and off court fashion of a ball player, there is no doubt he will be into this street wear sneaker inspired by the basketball shoe with the same name.  The Nike Flystepper also comes in a Black/White/Grey colour way but the all black version is classic and can be dressed up or down.

Nike Flystepper 2K3

4. Rimowa Topas Multiwheel 55cm Carry-On Case ($875). Perfect for the savvy traveller who believes that style should still exist when traveling, Rimowa’s compact rigged aluminum carry-on case is the ideal hand luggage choice. It’s spacious, light, has 360 swivel wheels and an extendible handle for easy  manoeuvring. Crafted to the German company’s high standards, it makes an outstanding gift for any man with a case of wanderlust.

5. RW&Co Reversible Puffer Jacket ($140). Not every single day during winter calls for a parka. Some days call for a lighter jacket that your guy can layer over his go-to cashmere sweaters for a casual yet chic look. And the bonus, this topper from RW&Co is reversible, so it’s basically two jackets for the price of one!

RW&Co Reversible Puffer Jacket

6. Byredo Sunday Cologne ($250). I am not sure why Byredo called this scent Sunday Cologne because I am pretty damn sure he will want to wear it every day of the week. Buying a scent for someone else other than yourself can be a bit challenging but this one is so versatile and timeless, anyone can easily make it their signature scent.  With a patchouli base and mixed notes of incense, lavender, cardamon and bold bergamot, it’s the type of cologne you want to spray on your clothes as a reminder of your guy when he’s not around.

7. RW&Co’s Canvas Knapsack ($70). This versatile backpack from RW&Co is ideal for both weekdays and weekend getaways with tons of room. For those who have a laid back office style, it could even be used as a computer bag. The canvas and vegan leather details on the exterior will be sure to grab some attention but not to be out down by the unique paisley print interior.

Men's-Blue-Theme-BackPack-

8. Leica x “Edition Moncler” Camera ($2,950). The ideal gift for your gadget loving dude or fashionable friend who prefers to capture images with a real camera instead of his iPhone. With a leatherette stripped cladding in the classic Moncler logo colours, 16.5 megapixels , this cam also includes a special edition white leather carrying case.

Leica x Moncler Camera

2014 So Sasha Holiday Gift Guide For Her

So Sasha Holiday Gift Guide For Her 2014

Another holiday season is upon us and during this time it’s easy to get sidetracked by year end work deadlines and an obscene amount of  seasonal parties. So where does this leave the task of purchasing gifts for your loved ones? I think it’s safe to say that it falls pretty low on the list of things “to-do” and when left for last minute, it can lead to a lot of anxiety. Although I can’t physically go out and buy the gifts for your loved ones, I can certainly help out with some gift ideas that may be helpful when you begin your shopping. I’ve rounded up a lust list of items that would make perfect gifts for the gals in your life and perhaps you will even find something you want to add to your own wish list!

1. LITTLE BLACK DRESS  A crucial part of getting through the holidays is having the right pieces in your wardrobe and the perfect “LBD” can be a lifesaver. Although you may be a busy bee in the coming weeks shopping for family and friends, I am a big advocate of buying a little something for yourself  along the way…it’s harmless.  Whether it’s a work holiday party, cocktails with girlfriends, a chic Christmas Day dinner or a New Year’s Eve fete, the  textured dress with plunging neckline I’m wearing above from the Elle by RW&Co Limited Edition ($169.99) collection is perfect for any festivity and can be worn for seasons to come. View the entire fashion forward capsule dress collection here.

So Sasha Holiday Gift Guide For Her

2 & 3. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED Every beauty obsessed babe has a fave scent and “go-to” beauty makeup products that can make them smell and look fabulous in a pinch. My adoration for Diptyque candles has now turned into love for the brand’s perfume. Eau Duelle Parfum by Diptyqye ($165) is currently my favourite and has rich and deep notes featuring a sensuous bourbon vanilla scent. Makeup is a great as a stocking stuffer and Make Up For Ever’s “Beauty Kit” ($45) offers 6 of the brand’s iconic products that can create the perfect holiday look. Enclosed is the Mini HD Microperfecting Primer, Mini HD Microfinish Powder, Smoky Extravagant Mascara, Mini Aqua Eye and Lip Pencils and the perfect red lippy.

4. CAN’T GO WRONG I don’t think it matters whether a woman lives in a city with four seasons or it’s hot all year round, if she’s seriously into fashion then she will need a statement leather jacket. And seriously who does moto’s better than Scandinavian brand Acne? Their Shearling Trimmed Leather Biker Jacket   ($1,950) is a modern classic. It comes with a detachable shearling collar, luxe oversized hardware and premium lambskin leather. It will no doubt bring a smile to whomever receives it and they will be set to start the new year in style.

Holiday Gift Guide For Her Luxe City Guides

5. FOR THE HOSTESS OR SAVVY TRAVELER The ideal gift for a hostess, co-worker or a fashionista who is a well heeled traveler. This LUXE City Guides gift set ($60) will assist in navigating the fashion capital cities of the world; London, Paris, Milan, New York and Sydney. These pocket (or clutch) sized guide books advise on the best shopping, eats and drinks each city has to offer.

6. FOR THE COOL DOWNTOWN GIRL The right pair of sunnies sometimes is just the thing you need to transform an outfit and it’s better than any beauty secret when you want to cover bags under your eyes or go makeup free.  Sure, traditional black sunglasses are cool, but nothing is cooler than The Row’s Tortoiseshell Round Framed Acetate Sunglasses ($400).

Bathnogg Holiday Bath Bomb Gift Set

7. BATHROOM BLISS There is undoubtedly items that we don’t necessarily buy for ourselves but would LOVE to receive them or would definitely purchase for someone else. Bath Bomb’s products are my latest obsession and I couldn’t think of a more thoughtful gift for someone you know is in desperate need of R&R during the holiday season.  Dense in essential oils, butters and other rejuvenating components, adding one of their bombs will transport you to a beautifully smelling parallel universe. BathNogg Holiday Gift Set ($25.95).

8. SPORTY SPICE There is not much of a separation between fitness apparel and street fashion these days. For the “Sporty Spice” in your life, Nike’s Tech Pack Butterfly Hoodie ($160) is the perfect gift. It can be worn to exercise in or can be a transitional piece to take you throughout the day paired with her regular street wear. *Can be found in Nike Retail Stores, Sport Chek, and Sporting Life locations in Canada.

9.  SECRET SANTA Always get stuck with when it comes to Secret Santa gifts? I will be honest, it can be tricky to find something chic to give to someone for under $20. RW&Co has come to my rescue this season with their extensive accessories collection with luxe looking jewelry. These Vintage Inspired Button Earrings ($16) has a stunning faceted center stone flanked by a micro pave rhinestone hailo border.

Make sure to stay tuned as I will be launching a contest to give away one of these amazing gifts to a lucky follower. The giveaway will be announced on Monday December 1st at noon.

For The Hostess With The Mostess!

photo(50)

We are right in the holiday thick of things and the other day I couldn’t help but wonder; “I’ve made a wishlist of items I would like to receive. I have other people’s wishlists so I know what to buy them and I have done some community work and given back to those who are less fortunate – so, I am done for the holiday season!”. But clearly I am not. What about thank you gifts for all the gracious people that are hosting me and my family over the next two weeks at their homes for dinners, get-togethers and over night visits. It has become more evident that gift giving to the hostess is more a thing of the past, which I am not sure I like. Gone are the days when a package or a hand written card would show up at your doorstep a few days after hosting friends for dinner. The most hostess’ get nowadays is a quick text thanking them for the shindig and a pile of dirty dishes to clean up on their own. So…I have decided to practice what I preach, take it back to the “old school” and make more of an effort to do the little things that show a host or hostess I was appreciative. In case you need a little assistance picking out the right item, here are a few suggestions that I am sure would put a smile on any hostess’ face – even if they are left cleaning up solo at the end of the evening!

Hostess Gift_1

Kate Spade Sweet Pea Posy Vase $35

 

Hostess Gift_2

Lollia In Love Bubble Bath $34

 

Hostess Gift_3

Jo Malone Travel Candle Set in 3 scents $95

 Hostess Gift_4

Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Bath and Body Collection $50-70

 Hostess Gift_5

Pottery Barn Monogrammed Oval PaperWhite Soaps $50

 Hostess Gift_6

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rose $80

 Hostess Gift_7

ILLUME Eternal Nomad Mediterranean $28

 Do you have any sweet and chic gift ideas for hosts during the holiday season? If so, please share with us in the comments section!

XO,

S

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