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?


Me and the cupcake tower.


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.

I’m glad I missed the bus

I am unfortunate, in that I rely on public transit.  Daily.  Yes, you may now do the appropriate thing and feel sorry for me.  But do not berate me or tell me I need to get a car.  This will solve nothing, as I will not listen to you.  I’m one of those people who complains about public transit all the time.  But today I’ve decided to focus on the positive for a change.  Yes, apparently I do have it in me to do so.  Who knew?

Commuting is always a struggle.  Because it usually involves several buses and a sky train.  Often it’s bus, sky train, bus.  If you care to know the exact order.  I was on the sky train today on my way home from volunteering (yes, I volunteer, you may now applaud me for being such a caring and selfless person).  The unfortunate thing (one of many) about commuting at night is that the buses run infrequently, more so than throughout the day.  After 8:10pm, the 401 bus that I take only runs every half hour.  And after 10:40pm, it only runs every hour.  And then it stops altogether at 1:44.  Luckily, I was commuting before 10:40, but after 8:10.

It’s always a struggle and a disappointment.  I’ll be on the Canada Line, nearing Brighouse Station, at which point I have to get off, go down the escalator, around the corner, and to my bus stop.  Sounds simple enough.  However, as the train is nearing the station, I look out the window and see the 401 bus sitting there, about to drive away at any second.  And so I push past people, burst out the doors, run down the escalator and around the corner.  Only to discover that the bus is no longer there.  This has happened more often than not.  But on occasion I do get lucky.  As I look out the window and see my bus sitting there, I can never tell whether or not I should run for it.  Apparently today, the correct answer was not.  Unfortunately, I chose incorrectly.

I ran.  Off the train, down the escalator, and around the corner.  Well I didn’t run fast.  I don’t think I’m capable of that.  But even running a little faster probably would not have helped.  It was too late.  I now had 30 minutes to kill.  Obviously I wasn’t going to just stand there for 30 minutes like a complete loser.  I may be a loser who runs for the bus and misses it, but I’m not some loser who stands in the cold doing nothing for half an hour.  I have my pride.

Richmond Centre closes early on Tuesdays, so that was not an option.  The Shoppers Drug Mart is open til midnight, so that was an option.  But I go there all the time since it’s right across the street.  And I had more time to kill than Shoppers would allow me.  So I opted to walk down to London Drugs, as I tend to do if I have a bit more time.  The struggle is always making sure I can complete my trip and still make it back in time for the next bus.  Missing one bus is unfortunate.  Missing 2 buses is just maddening.

Once there, I was able to find some shampoo I wanted, as well as a bunch of random food items.  They had my favourite cookies.  Lemon poppy seed.  In my last post, I had mentioned how I had overcome my need for diversity among cookies, meaning I was perfectly fine with buying several boxes of the same kind.  It seems as though I may have had a relapse.  Dare cookies were 2 for $5.  I bought one lemon poppy seed, and one oatmeal.  I just couldn’t bring myself to buy 2 lemon poppy seed.  Perhaps because I knew I still had some at home and didn’t want to be overly excessive.  And I felt like oatmeal was a healthy option I suppose?  I don’t know why I feel the need to try and justify my cookie buying behaviour.

They also had soup and peanuts and tuna on sale.  So I bought them.  And right as I was going to pay, I noticed the strategically placed vitamin water was also on sale.  I’m a sucker for those things.  So they were purchased as well.  Not only did I get back to my bus stop in time, but I got back with time to spare.  So naturally, I walked into the Fresh Slice that is right by my stop.  It was Festive Tuesday, after all.  And I hadn’t had pesto pizza in a while.  And it was the rare occasion that I had over a dollar of change in my bag to pay for it.

Why am I glad that I missed the bus?  Did you not just hear how much fun I had in those 30 minutes of time I spent waiting?  If I had gotten on that first bus, I would have missed out.  And I feel healthier too.  Because I got exercise from walking to London Drugs and back.  And also from carrying the four bags of stuff I bought there.  And from eating the pizza, since Fresh Slice claims to be “healthy”.  So yes.  I’m quite happy that I missed the bus.  My wallet, however, is not as thrilled.

I would probably fail a drug test

I would like to take this opportunity to share one of my addictions with you.  If you think this is about pot, you’re wrong.  Am I secretly addicted to hard drugs?  No, of course not.  Nothing illegal.  Just something I pick up at the local drug store.  No, not at the pharmacy.  I am not addicted to prescription drugs.  Not yet.  I would hope I still have a few more years until that happens.  Despite what the title may imply, this post is not about drugs of any kind.  Maybe addiction is too strong of a word.  Obsession maybe?

So what am I talking about, if not drugs?  Something simple.  And I don’t need to buy it at the drug store.  Any grocery store will do.  I just usually tend to buy them at London Drugs because they often have good deals on them.  I remember a few months ago, when they first came out, as I made my way down the aisle, they caught my eye.  And it was love at first sight.  At that moment I knew that it was meant to be.  And when I went home and opened the box, it was love at first bite as well.

Dare Simple Pleasures Moments lemon poppy seed cookies.  Yes, rather a long name.  But I have to specify the brand and all that, you know, so you don’t mistake my description for some other random lemon poppy seed cookie.  I would hate for you to think it was something different from the ones I actually mean.  Anyway, these are my new favourite cookies.  I remember the first time I bought them they were a really good price.  And then soon after, the price was jacked way up.  I suppose I was not the only one who soon realized how great they really were.  Lucky for me, London Drugs often has them on sale at 2 for $5, which is really quite a bargain.  I stock up whenever I see this, even if I already have some at home.  One can never have enough.

Perhaps this is why I’ve referred to it as a sort of addiction.  Whenever I see them, I have to buy them.  And whenever I buy them, I have to eat them.  And both the acts of buying them and eating them excite me.  It’s like the name indicates, they’re simple, but they bring you a moment of pleasure.  I could eat the whole box in one sitting.  I don’t, because I shouldn’t.  But I could.  I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten half a box in one sitting before.  And by sitting, I mean standing and waiting at the bus stop.  Hey, I need some way of passing the time while waiting for the bus.

Dare simple pleasures moments also has cranberry with chamomile and creme brulee flavoured cookies.  But neither of these come close to the lemon poppy seed ones.  The creme brulee were alright, but the cranberry chamomile I didn’t really care for.  But due to some weird thinking I have, since they were 2 for $5, I somehow felt the need to buy 2 different flavours.  But after doing so, I realized that I would be stuck with the second flavour, while the lemon ones were finished right away.  I have since overcome this need for diversity among cookies and have come to accept that lemon poppy seed are the only ones for me.

You’re probably still wondering about the title of this post.  Why would I fail a drug test?  Did I use the wrong title on this blog post?  Was the title supposed to actually be “I love lemon poppy seed cookies!”?  No.  I meant what I said.  The connection is the fact that there are poppy seeds in the cookies.  And consuming a large amount of poppy seeds can  cause a false positive in a drug test.  I think back to the Seinfeld episode, where Elaine tests positive after eating poppy seed muffins.  I’m not sure what the actual amount is that you need to consume.  I’m probably nowhere near there.  Yet.  But if I continue with the path I’m on, I may get there faster than I think.  If I even do need to take a drug test, I just hope it’s around the time when these cookies are not on sale.