Sometimes, I come home to my tiny apartment after dark, exhausted after working for 14 hours, thinking of my Bay Street buddies who head home to their swank condos at the stroke of 6 each night and ask myself why the heck I got into journalism in the first place.

And then I glance over at the bulletin board of media passes hanging above my desk and I’m like “Oh yeah…”

Perks, ladies and gentlemen. Perks.

Media kids work our butts off in a very big way, and we’re not paid a great deal on the whole (at least I’m not). Especially when we’re young.

But producing content is 100% worth the effort it requires for many reasons – the most important of which, of course, is how fulfilling it is and all that junk…

The second most important is the the sweet, sweet kickbacks we every-so-often get when we’re on the right beat.

(Blokus courtesy of Mattel and Fysh Specs courtesy of Wescan Optical)

This week, I’m on the TIFF beat. And that spells happy.

Today I was writing about the fabulous world of film festival gifting lounges (you know, where rich celebrities go for the sole purpose of picking up high-end freebies that only rich people can afford but don’t have to afford because they get them for free? The irony. It kills us all, I know.)

I was fortunate enough to score an invite from Rock-It Promotions to check out the creme-de-la-creme of Swag Suites in Toronto, the Tastemakers Lounge at Yorkville’s Intercontinental Hotel.

image ripped from (thanks! / sorry!)

The place was gorgeous, first of all (Kudos to Marla Brown) and the attendants were all so sweet and helpful.

I talked to some business owners and publicists, snapped a few pics, ate some vegan deserts from Rawlicious, got a makeup consultation (+ a bag of goodies) from Joe Fresh Beauty, and walked away with a freakin’ bounty of awesome gear including:

- Some Bamjamz PJs (soft, comfy, eco-chic. Apparently, Woody Harrelson was all over the guy’s version last year)
- A pair of Damn Heels (this product is genius. Will definitely need these after running the party circuit this week.)
- A Loves Legends Patriot tag necklace (the American version… any of my U.S. buddies want it? Something feels so… wrong about wearing an American flag around my neck)
- A Me+You F@*ck Plastic Bag (SWEET)
- A Blockus game from Mattel (They were giving out lots of cool games (LIKE UNO!) and will be auctioning off star-signed versions of these after TIFF to benefit SickKids Foundation. Tres Sweet.
- A tube of Nanoblur (Have yet to try this, but I’m excited by the prospect of looking ten years younger. Can I really pass for an ninth grader?)
- A KeepLeaf coffee-cup holder
- And my favourite favourite favourite of all gifts, a pair of DESIGNER FASHION SPECS from Wescan Optical. I could pick from an entire wall of glasses.

I told the ladies that I liked mine big and nerdy. “Ah yes, the geek chic look is quite popular right now!” one of them told me.

You don’t have to tell me twice, hunny. Nerd is teh hot. Belieb me.

I can see why celebrities like this sort of thing.

Photo time:

And with that, I bid you adieu dear friends. It’s 1:17AM and I should get to bed. 6:23 AM wakeup call… tworkin’ till midnight tomorrow. See you at the social?

I wonder if faux-Joaquin will stop by…

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