I Am Downtown Shopping Night, Part 1: Cupcakes, Fashion, & VIP Swag Bags

On Wednesday, November 14th, Pacific Centre held their annual I am downtown shopping event.  I hadn’t actually heard about it until this year but now that I know what I’ve been missing out on, I’ll be sure to continue attending in the future.  I was at the food court in Pacific Centre a couple weeks ago with my mom, grabbing a bite to eat before going to the Vancouver Symphony, when I noticed a sign on the table advertising the shopping event.  It intrigued me, but then I forgot about it.  Fortunately, I happened to be at the food court again later that week, getting food before going to the Comedy Mix.  This time, I picked up the sign and googled the event.  I have class on Wednesday nights, but I hadn’t missed one yet, and this seemed like it might be a good enough reason to finally do so.  I thought I would see if anyone was interested in going, and if they were, then I would do it.

i am downtown shopping

I’m so glad I saw this ad in the food court.

I didn’t really know what to expect.  But I knew I wanted to purchase a VIP ticket.  The event was free for anyone, but for $20, you could purchase a VIP ticket that gave you a VIP swag bag filled with samples and coupons, as well as access to the VIP cupcake lounge.  The $20 also went to their partner charity, Coast Mental Health.  There was no reason not to get one.  So I did.

The event ran from 5-9pm, but I arrived after 6pm since I was coming from work.  The swag bag was so worth it.  Best $20 I’ve ever spent.  I got a free umbrella, which was convenient, since I had left mine on the bus just the day before.  I also got a $20 gift card to GUESS, a $5 gift card to Take 5 Cafe, body lotion, a hair product sample, a shoe horn (I know, who even uses those things?), a coupon for a free smoothie at Orange Julius, a Fashion magazine, and an eco bag.  Two eco bags, actually, because there was another bag inside the swag bag.  I also got a $10 shop card for filling out a form that was in my swag bag and redeeming it at Guest Services.

Over by Sears, or should I say where Sears used to be, there was a wheel that you could spin to win prizes.  The first time I spun it, I got an H&M coupon for $5.  Yes, I spun it a couple more times after that, because I could.  We had a few hours so we had time to come back and line up again throughout the night.  I ended up also getting two $5 shop cards from the wheel as well.  I love that wheel.  I wish it was there all the time.  But alas, it was just a one time thing.

My friend and I purchased VIP tickets, but two of my friends did not.  So they couldn’t come into the VIP cupcake lounge with us.  Which was basically an area outside Aritzia with little mini cupcakes from Cupcakes.  So we went in and sampled a few.  And then I took a couple and gave them to my friends after leaving the area.  Apparently the people manning the “lounge” gave me dirty looks as I did so.  But whatever.  I paid for this.  I can share my cupcakes if I want to.  Because I’m a nice person.

cupcake tower

Who doesn’t love free cupcakes?

cupcakes

Me and the cupcake tower.

cupcakes

I’m so glad I have a friend who loves cupcakes as much as I do.

Across from the cupcake lounge, there was music playing and a booth from David’s Tea.  They’ll be opening up a location in Pacific Centre some time soon.  They had tea samples for us to try, so I sampled the cocomint cream herbal tea, which was a nice blend of coconut and peppermint.  It was very refreshing and went perfectly with the cupcakes.  The guy there also gave us coupons for a free tea at a David’s Tea location.  I’ll be sure to go redeem it at Oakridge, probably for the cocomint cream.

At 6:30, there was a fashion show just outside of H&M, displaying the men’s and women’s fall fashions of Holt Renfrew and other retailers.  I thought back to when I went to Vancouver Fashion Week, and how skinny the models were.  These ones were super skinny too, but not as extremely so.  In watching this fashion show, I got to achieve one of my goals:  Eating cupcakes in front of models.  I don’t know why, but for some reason getting to do this made me really happy.  The male models were kind of good looking and my friend was sorry she didn’t bring her camera.  I think we got some pretty decent photos with our phones though.

fashion show

I ate cupcakes while I watched the show.

fashion show

I really liked this coat and these boots.

fashion show

I’m sad that this picture came out blurry.

fashion show

Male models are always nice to look at.

little black dress

A little black dress is always fashionable.

After the fashion show, we headed downstairs where there was a seminar about how to wear different items of clothing.  You know, in case we couldn’t figure that out on our own.  It was nice because it gave us a chance to sit down.

fashion seminar

Listening to the fashion seminar.

And after that, they informed us of the photo shoot area, where we could get our picture taken in front of a Fashion Magazine backdrop.  Two of my friends and I got our photo taken and they gave us each a copy to take home.  We also did individual shoots, which will appear on their website.  I totally felt like a model.  Not necessarily a good model.  But a model, nevertheless.

fashion magazine

I so wish this was the actual cover of Fashion Magazine.

There was also a Sweet Court area just below the elevator with various samples.  There were cookies, popcorn, and Orange Julius smoothies.  We went through there several times and my dinner pretty much consisted of cupcakes, cookies, and smoothies.  And a tiny piece of sesame chicken, since there were samples when I walked by the food court.  There were different kinds of cookies and they were all very small, so my friend asked if we could take more than one.  The cookie lady looked upset by this.  The second time I went through, there were only two cookies on her plate, and the two people ahead of me took them.  Instead of taking out more cookies from her box, she just stood there and sort of looked at me.  After I left, she slowly began to put out more.  We didn’t understand why she was rationing them like that.  It was her job to give out samples in order to promote them.  When I saw her put more out, I went back and took one.  Because I deserved it.

There were a lot of sales and promotions going on at the various retailers as well that we were able to check out, but I didn’t actually buy anything that day.  I wasn’t in the mood for shopping at the I am downtown shopping event.  Go figure.  But there was so much else going on that it was okay.

The event was amazing, but the best and most exciting part of the night was yet to come.  Stay tuned to read my next post, I Am Downtown Shopping, Part 2: The Pretty Penny Contest.

Clubbing

It’s stupid.  It makes no sense.  It’s a major waste of money.  And yet we do it anyway.  Why?  Are we stupid?  Maybe it’s just me who feels this way.  I’m a major hypocrite.  Much of what I do in life is highly counterintuitive and clubbing happens to be one of those things.

I remember one day I was having a conversation with a few of my older coworkers.  They were recalling a time, not even that long ago, when they could take $20 to the bar and get plastered.  Upon hearing this, I sat there upset, with a “this is so unfair” look on my face.  If I were to take $20 to the bar today, I wouldn’t even be able to get in anywhere.  Some clubs have a cover charge of $21 now.  Why?  Why such a random number like that?  I remember when I heard that I thought, wait, 21, is that the cover charge or the age you have to be to get in?  It’s dumb, you can’t even give them a $20 bill, you have to fish in your purse for change.  I feel like in this case, it should be acceptable to give them a twenty, and then throw 100 pennies at them just for the inconvenience.

As I was trying to figure out which club to go to last night, we were trying to weigh the cover charges, length of lineups, etc.  One thing I hate is when pubs suddenly start charging cover at night.  I don’t want to pay money to be able to be at a pub.  If you think about it, it really doesn’t make much sense.  I’m going to pay you money, to allow me the privilege of being able to spend more money once inside.  And then there’s coat check which goes up to like $5.  And then you get creative, shoving your jacket into your bag so you can check them both together, or saying, no, I don’t need a jacket even if it’s cold and raining, I’ll be fine…  Or risking it and leaving your jacket/bag in a corner, under a table, hidden, assuming no one will take it, because it’s the decent and honest people who frequent the clubs…

In the end, it’s probably not even the money that’s the biggest problem.  It’s what you’re paying for and what you’re getting from the experience.  What I usually get is stepped on, shoved, drinks spilled on me, creepy people staring, ugly guys hitting on me, and my personal space invaded.  I remember telling a friend once that I hate crowds.  And then he said, but you go clubbing all the time.  And yeah, I couldn’t explain myself with that one.  I don’t know why I keep going back?  Maybe it just seems like the appropriate thing for someone of my age to be doing?

But really how I justify it is that I like dancing.  And it’s more socially acceptable to dance badly when you’re at a club.  I mean I’m not the worst dancer in the world, but I wouldn’t say I’m great.  So-so maybe, at best.  I remember a few years ago, my very conservative aunt and grandma had a conversation with me about clubs and how they were bad and I shouldn’t go to them.  My aunt said that girls in Vancouver go to clubs because they’re looking to hook up.  What’s funny is that at that point in time I had only been clubbing a couple times.  But after that, I began to frequent them more.  Maybe because I was told not to?  Who knows?

But yes, I go clubbing because I like to dance.  I’ve learned that clubs are an awful place to meet guys.  I mean I’m sure it works for some people but not for me.  I don’t go there for that purpose.  It’s just unfortunate that more often than not, the ugliest guy in the club will be the one to express interest.  And if you want to go and just dance, couples tend to ruin your experience by surrounding you and getting in your personal space.  I’ve realized that gay bars are better, because you don’t have to deal with the creepy straight guys.  Although, the creepy straight guys have caught on that us straight girls have become fans of gay bars, and now they show up there too.  They’ve gone and ruined a good thing.

So will I continue to go clubbing when it never really turns out the way I had hoped?  Probably.  Simply because I tend to do things that are counterintuitive.  And because I can.  And because I just want to dance?  And people say I may as well go while I’m young and still can.  At some point in time I suppose I will just suddenly stop being able to?  Although every time I go, there’s always the one lone old person on the dance floor, probably desperate to feel young again, pretending as if this is where they belong.  Maybe someday that will be me.  Maybe I don’t appreciate what clubs have to offer right now, but when I’m old and lonely, I will see the value…