Tag Archives: win

Vintage, for the Win!

Winning vintage china
Winning vintage china

Relics from a bygone era. Treasures from decades past. Whatever you call them, we have become a culture obsessed with all things vintage. I am an unapologetic member of this culture; an aging hipster who still gleefully snaps up Don Ho vinyl records, Pyrex bowls, and English bone china teacups. Thus, I was very happy to have won a Royal Stafford June Roses teacup and saucer, as well as a Robert Gordon tea infuser from Liv Lovely, an exhibitor at the vintage fair I attended yesterday, Town and Country Vintage Market.

A Compelling Narrative

This particular prize has got me thinking, though. Why do I love vintage items so much? The vast majority of the retro and vintage ephemera I’ve collected over the years were made decades before I graced the planet with my presence. Therefore, I can’t claim it’s any sort of nostalgia on my part. Perhaps, it’s because I’m a lover of stories. And, all vintage pieces seem imbued with a mysterious narrative. I find myself asking, “Who owned this?” “What kind of journey has this piece travelled?”

In the case of the teacup and saucer I won yesterday, my online research indicates that they were probably manufactured in the 1950s, and they definitely came from England. All it takes is this nugget of knowledge and I’m picturing a young lady sipping tea with her family and watching Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

A Different Kind of Reality

Another theory I have about my own, and indeed others’, love of vintage is that it centers on the longing for a different kind of reality. Now, I’m not suggesting that I don’t want to live in 2016. I certainly appreciate 21st century medical care, for example. No, it’s just a temporary escape that I seek. Vintage items give this kind of escape an authenticity. I used to watch Mad Men while sipping the same kind of cocktail as Joan out of my 1960s tiki mug, for example. For a little while, I didn’t have to keep checking my phone for messages or type on my laptop. Instead, I could imagine a time where it was really possible to go off the grid.

Town and Country Vintage Market


Repurposing the Past

From a practical point of view, adopting vintage items, rather than buying new ones makes a lot of sense. And I think that is primarily why Generation Y likes to go junking, engage in upcycling, etc. They see how much stuff there is and wonder if we really need to go on making more of it. As a 1980s kid, I remember this extreme consumerism at its height. From the huge gas-guzzling Oldsmobiles to shows like Dallas and Dynasty, the message to Gen-Xers like me was, “Make money and buy as much as you can!” Not surprisingly, this hasn’t made us the happiest generation on the planet. Now approaching middle age, I think many Gen-Xers look back at the 80s and shake our heads. This new appreciation for all things old and the desire to make them functional in a modern world is definitely a more positive path.

The Nitty-Gritty

So, this is my first win of 2016! It’s been a bit of a slow year for prizes so far, but again part of that is due to my own focus on career and school. It is difficult to estimate what this prize is worth. The other teacups and saucers being sold by the exhibitor were priced at $15, which seemed very reasonable to me, given that I saw prices going up to $100 online for the same cup and saucer I won. The tea infuser is a contemporary piece that is vintage-inspired and retails for about $15 as well in Australia. Consequently, I’m going to estimate this prize’s value at $30. I hope to write again soon about another great win!

2015 Ends With Two Wins!

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 was a great one for all of you, and that 2016 will bring you much joy and happiness. Personally, I’m sad to see 2015 go. I had one of my best years ever—a new job, great graphic design classes, a wonderful trip overseas, and some fantastic new friendships.

With all the changes in my professional and personal life, I didn’t have as much time for entering contests in 2015. However, I did have some memorable wins earlier this year and December ended with two wins; a great way to end 2015.

The first was a $50 drink and appie voucher for the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier (North Vancouver) courtesy of Got Craft? I enjoy going to this craft show every year before Christmas and this year was an especially nice experience because of the meal I shared with my mother at the hotel preceding the event. Here are the two appetizers we had:

Charcuterie Plate
Charcuterie Plate
Fish Tacos
Fish Tacos







Both were absolutely delicious! The charcuterie plate delighted us with its array of cheeses, prosciutto, pate, dried cranberries, and more. The fish tacos were also very unique, as they were wrapped in jicama and had a light and fresh flavour that we both enjoyed.

Our server was very friendly and the restaurant had lovely Christmas decorations that put us in the festive spirit for some crafting at the market.

My last prize of the year was a CND Vinylux nail polish set which I won via an online holiday giveaway launched by The Style Spy. I will be receiving my prize in January. If you’d like a preview of what’s due to arrive at my doorstep in the coming weeks, click here. This final prize is worth $137, making my total winnings for the year $412.

So ends 2015. A year I’ll look back on with fondness. 2016 promises to be an exciting one as well, with more changes coming my way! Here’s hoping for some more wins too!


Win #2: Far From The Madding Crowd

Putting Words to Paper

For months now, a win has evaded my grasp! It has not been for lack of trying on my part. How many times have a typed my name, age, and contact information; retweeted, liked, and more over the last few months? Far too many. However, the drought has ended. I received passes to the movie premiere of Far From The Madding Crowd at the Fifth Avenue tonight, courtesy of The Georgia Straight.

Although I love English literature, particularly late 19th century English literature, Thomas Hardy has never been one of my favourite authors. He is, in fact, a major buzzkill. If you’re feeling happy, open up Jude the Obscure and all feelings of elation and joy will leave your spirit almost instantaneously. In fact, I found that particular Hardy novel so depressing I never read another, including Far from the Madding Crowd. However, that said, a period drama set in rural England is basically kryptonite to this superwoman. So, I left modern day Vancouver behind and surrendered myself to Dorset.

The film centres around Bathsheba Everdene who is pursued by not one, not two, but three men (we should all be so lucky). I won’t reveal who she chooses, if any, of the three gentlemen, but I’ll describe them to you.

I’ll begin with Frank Troy. He’s a soldier who oozes charm and wields his sword with a great deal of panache. In a modern context, he’d be the guy at the bar who buys everyone drinks and commands the attention of men and women alike. He’s the wrong guy. He’s the one a woman should never, ever, get into a relationship with.

Then, there’s William Boldwood, a rich landowner who is considerably older than the heroine. He dotes on her. He promises her everything she could possibly want. He wants little in return, not even love, as long as she marries him. Again, in today’s world, he’s not an unfamiliar character. He’s probably divorced, 50+, and has had his head turned by a woman half his age. It is possible that he will treat her well and give her everything he promises, but that’s not enough. Not for the woman, and really not for him. He’s just too insecure to see that.

Bathsheba’s third suitor is Gabriel Oak. He makes his living as a sheep farmer and works hard. He would be the man I would choose, not because I have a particular fondness for sheep farmers, but because Oak has qualities that are rarer and more valuable than rubies.

A hard-working man who is self-motivated and sees the intrinsic value in being industrious is a keeper. The fact that he also works well alongside Bathsheba to achieve a common aim is telling too. Another rare characteristic he has is his ability to listen, and think through his responses carefully before offering them. He’s the quiet type, but not because he’s shy or insecure. He’s quiet because he knows that getting all the information first and weighing the options before articulating his ideas is the prudent way to proceed.

I don’t think I would have appreciated such a man in my 20s, and neither does Bathsheba, at first. I believe that it is only in maturity and after considerable life experience that a woman can know to bypass the flashy, the superficial, and the needy to seek out a person of substance.

So perhaps for all his doom and gloom, Hardy does indeed deserve a read…

Note: The approximate value of this prize would be $25.

Win #6: A $50 gift certificate from Clayburn Comforts and Body Works

Imagine coming home after a day of running late for the train; writing to meet a deadline; and trying to ignore the irritating blister on your toe. You feel stressed and tired, so you empty some Juicy Mint Aromatherapy Bath Salts into a warm bath. Slowly insert one foot, then the next, and finally lie back. Feel relaxed? Well, I do, because I’ve actually done this!

Thanks to Clayburn Comforts and Body Works and my own leprechaun spotting abilities, I had $50 to spend at their shop in Clayburn Village, Abbotsford. Yes, there were several leprechauns hidden on the company’s website in late March and after hours of diligent hunting, I found them. I do mean hours, as they were hidden extremely well. In any case, I went to their shop and came back with five products:


1. Juicy Mint Aromatherapy Bath Salts
5. Muscle Rub


As you can tell, I love the bath salts. They smell fantastic, as the combination of grapefruit, lemongrass, lime, and spearmint is a real winner! What I’m amazed by is how fragrant the whole room becomes when I use them.


The Juicy Mint Soap has the same scent, so it is also very pleasant. The texture is nice, as it has ground up lemongrass and candula flowers in it that makes it into a kind of exfoliating scrub, as well.

The deodorant has a similar fragrance to both the soap and the bath salts. I think it’s the lemongrass that makes it smell so great. I find the deodorant lasts all day and does work during my rather intense one-hour yoga class. The price is a bit steep for the full-size version. I gasped when I saw it was $17.95 for 75 grams, but the quality of the product is so much better than any five-dollar brand I’ve bought from the supermarket.

I have only tried the foot butter and muscle rub once, so I will provide you with a review of those products when I’ve had more of a chance to put them through their paces!

Anyway, I’m hooked! These products are all-natural, made locally, and, most importantly, they work. I recommend you take a little road trip out to Clayburn Comforts and treat yourself.

Win #5: a pair of tickets to the Vancouver Women In Film Festival!

Here we are in March and I’ve already won five contests: a Canucks t-shirt; a pass to the opening of Arctic Air; tickets to Colourful World with the Turning Point Ensemble; a bag of goodies at a friend’s Oscar party (I guessed the winners of 13 categories correctly); and my most recent win, a pair of tickets to the Vancouver Women in Film Festival, courtesy of 24 Hours.

I was allowed to go to one festival screening of my choice and I selected Hopes, Dreams + Schemes. I chose this screening because it showcased a series of short films from various countries and I have always enjoyed international films and have wanted to see more short films.
While watching all the films, one thought kept resounding in my mind: the roles that a woman takes on are seemingly limitless: artist, intellectual, nurturer, friend, adventurer, etc…We move so seamlessly from one role to the next, too. I know this may seem like an obvious idea, but the suddenness of this realization made it very powerful. I was in awe of my own gender, my own femininity in a way I never have been before.


The two films which I enjoyed the most were Move Out Clean and The Soldier Game (Le Jeu des Soldats). In about 12 minutes, Move Out Clean encapsulated the reflective and transformative nature of cleaning. Before you say, “Huh?” hear me out. Yesterday, when I cleaned an orange spot off the kitchen cupboard, I remembered the ripe, juicy mango I ate the day before. This morning, when I swept up pieces of thread, I recalled that I sewed up my coat pocket which ripped when I jammed my hand into it on a cold winter day. And, as I emptied the shredder into the recycler, I watched the half-remembered pieces of words and phrases tumbling into the bin, thinking I should write this review tonight.


Move Out Clean is about this experience. An artist cleans out the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. He plasters up holes in the walls and remembers how he put them there. He cleans up the empty beer bottles, recalling how they transformed him into someone he ultimately decides he doesn’t want to be. In the end, the apartment is clean and he has reached a new level of awareness. He knows who he was and what it cost him: the love of a wonderful woman. He can now resolve to be his best self as he starts anew.

The Soldier Game was beautiful. First, it was a visual indulgence. The green fields of Northern France. The home with its vintage charm. The storybook that Antoine, the boy at the centre of the story, reads. Yet, at the same time, it was also beautiful in its poignancy. Antoine’s world is turned upside down when his father leaves to fight the Nazis, so he decides to secure his home with the help of his grandfather and the Napoleon of his imagination. Through all this, his mother tries to comfort him, telling him they are safe from invasion. Yet, no one feels safe. In the end, however, it is Antoine who offers his family comfort.

A truly enjoyable evening for me. I wish you good luck this morning, as we all attempt to “spring forward”.

A Winning Year in Review

Around this time last year, I was having dinner at the Waldorf Hotel.

It was during this dinner that my friend and I conceived of the idea for this blog: enter as many contests as possible and the biggest winner buys the other dinner and cocktails at the Waldorf in January 2012, should the world still be here.


Well, 2011 is almost at an end and I have won 11 contests:

1. Two tickets to the opening of the Talking Stick Festival, courtesy of hummingbird604 (approximate value: $72.24)
2. Two tickets of an advance screening of the movie, West is West, courtesy of The Vancouver Sun (approximate value: $25.00)
3. $100 worth of cheese, courtesy of Holland Shopping Center ($100)
4. Two tickets to Taking Your Experience for Mine (part of International Dance Day), courtesy of hummingbird604 (approximate value: $30.00)
5. Two tickets to the movie, Something Borrowed, a regular popcorn, and a DVD of the movie, Blue Valentine, courtesy of The Georgia Straight (approximate value: $50)
6. Two tickets to a double bill of The Far Country and The Man from Laramie, courtesy of Pacific Cinematheque  (approximate value: $25.00)
7. $50 gift card to Whole Foods, courtesy of Whole Foods (value: $50)
8. $500 gift card to Pacific Centre, courtesy of Where Vancouver  (value: $500)
9. Two tickets to see Mythbusters live, courtesy of Miss 604 (approximate value $105 – $196 – I’m not sure which section we are seated in)
10. Two tickets to an advance screening of The Descendents, courtesy of The Georgia Straight (approximate value: $30 – This may change, as when we arrived, the movie theatre was full and the representative has yet to contact me, regarding tickets to another screening)
11. A razorpit unit, courtesy of Sharp Magazine (value: $25)


I’d briefly like to discuss my last win because it is the only prize I have won due to ability. First, I entered this contest because I thought my husband or dad would like some new shaving products. Second, I entered because I liked the premise: come up with a definition that describes the moustache-check out more details here:
You will see my definition listed on this page, too:
Heforestation: noun.

The regrowth of facial fuzz after a long lack of cultivation.

I was awarded one of the six runner up prizes-a razorpit unit, which is designed to sharpen razors. The contest was across Canada, excluding Quebec, and I was very excited to have won a prize.

So far, my total winnings add up to $1012.24 – $1103.24. I am still hoping to win one more prize before the end of the month, so I will have won one prize per month in 2011. I’ve loved the new experiences, products, and excitement of winning throughout the year. It has definitely made me a lifelong contest enterer. My advice to anyone wanting to enter contests is to use social media-Facebook and Twitter provide so many opportunities to enter contests. Also, set up a free e-mail account, just devoted to entering contests-the spam quotient is very high. Go local, rather than national. The number of entrants is lower and your chances of winning are much higher. I entered many national contests and only won one. I wish you all the best of luck! And, to my competitor/friend, you’ve got 19 days left to beat me. Otherwise, I’m inviting you now to dinner and cocktails on me!

A winning end to a tough day

So, today was a tough day. The details are unimportant. It was just one of those too much to do, too little time in which to do it scenarios. Thus, I find myself on a hot Tuesday night feeling tired and just a little nauseated. Imagine this shell of a woman opening up Twitter and finding she’s won another prize! Yes, for telling Whole Foods what my husband and I do with local ingredients (blackberries – great for homemade tarts and quick breads), I have won a $50 gift certificate. I do promise amidst helping my brother with his wedding, working, and preparing for a trip overseas I will post what I buy with this great prize.

Win #5! Run of engagement passes to A Wake

A couple of days after I won tickets to “Taking Your Experience for Mine” I was notified by The Georgia Straight that I had won two run of engagement passes to A Wake.

I was delighted to win tickets to this particular movie because it is loosely based on Hamlet, my favourite Shakespeare play. I have watched every version and seen every performance I could ever since I first read it at age 17. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it at Fifth Avenue Cinemas, as the place has special significance for my husband and I, as we shared our first kiss outside the theatre.


Stay posted for my review in the coming weeks.

International Dance Day – “Taking Your Experience for Mine”

Luck seems to be on my side lately as I have won my fourth prize since I began this blog back in January! I entered to win tickets to the April 29th show of “Taking Your Experience for Mine“, a dance performance that was part of International Dance Day.

I entered this particular contest because I wanted to see my first modern dance performance live. Also, I must confess that I am a terrible dancer and have great admiration for anyone who can use their body expressively, rather than clumsily.

The basis for Taking Your Experience for Mine was described as follows in the program:


“Throughout the creative process I have explored many questions surrounding the relationship between the body and technology. Is there a new language? Is the renegotiation of skill being forced upon our state of being? What will happen if we always connect through a device? If we are always collecting and deflecting information in such an obsessive manner how long before it becomes part of our neural make-up?” (Sara Coffin, choreographer and director)


I think choreographer Sara Coffin effectively presented these questions. I was especially struck by a couple of sequences in the performance. In the first, two dancers move to the music, pausing to photograph their actions and facial expressions. I was reminded of the film Shadow of the Vampire when the fictionalized F. W. Murnau asserts that if something is not on film it does not exist. Also, I have often thought that one can get so wrapped up in photographing an event that the enjoyment of the moment becomes lost in the desire to commemorate it.


The second sequence that struck me was when one performer was watching a series of film clips on a T.V. and was describing what was happening while the other performer tried to dance in response to what she heard. I think technology does manipulate us and we will inevitably struggle to keep up.


All in all, the evening was very enjoyable and thought-provoking. The reception canapes were also delicious. I’m certain that this will be the first of many modern dance performances I will see.