Partying Up Rain or Shine (or Snowmageddon) — The Ford Blue Party

Even though Maverick PR’s #OpenEnvelope-inspiring tweet likely got some would-be attendees to stay in and out of the cold of Snowmageddon, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Ford Canada, it’s this — they definitely know how to throw an event!

How far will you go to party?

Though many weren’t willing to brave Snowmageddon to attend “another social media event”, I’ll be one to tell them that they missed out! It was a testament to tenacity on Friday, February 8th, as a number of us made it out to Ford Canada’s Blue Party! Held at the Sound Academy on the south end of Toronto, the Blue Party was all about bringing a number of Toronto bloggers together to see the unveiling of the 2014 Ford Fiesta, a fuel-efficient hatchback with a slick look to it!

I’ll admit, I didn’t know what it was for, but since I knew the guy, I figured it wouldn’t be for spam!

Not one to waste time questioning messages from people I know, I sent it along, not knowing what would come next.

What did come next was this —

I was fortunate enough to get a ride there with my friend Christine, but even if you weren’t driving in, Ford even hooked it up with a shuttle service to the venue:

What Makes a Party a Party?

With one of the most painless check-in processes I’d ever seen, we got our badges, checked out coats, posed for pictures — and got greeted by members of the Ford Canada team and glasses of the Blue Grand Margarita (the event’s dangerously addictive drink of choice) as soon as we got in the door!

No matter where you looked, there was something you could do:

Catch up With Friends

It was good hanging with Christine again, and catching up with the likes of Alexa and Zach with many other friends in the house 🙂

Gaming and Leisure

One corner held games and grooming, with a foosball table, two games offering head-to-head racing competition, and stations for manicures, makeover and massages (oh my!)

Boys and their Toys

Ford displayed choice cars all over the floor, with detailed specs for each so you could understand what you could come to expect by being a Ford owner:

Gotta Eat and Run

The food — oh my goodness, I don’t know who they got to cater this, but the food was delicious. I had Justin jealous with the livetweeting of everything I was cramming down my throat, and he’s lucky that there was so much sensory overload going on all night, or there would’ve been plenty more:

An excuse to rock an outfit

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Battle of the Bands, so the sequined vest sat in the closet, waiting to come out and play. The Ford Blue Party was the perfect opportunity to do so, and I think it worked out quite well!

Music and Entertainment

The dance moves of the Mayhem Dance Group and Kiss 92.5’s DJ Clymaxxx on the 1s and 2s made sure that this party was happening.

When I win, TeamTrolling wins

One of the unexpected twists of the night was winning a pair of wicked tickets to a Toronto Raptors game — all for dancing; something I would’ve done anyway. It’s like I say: there’s no reward for the timid. Life isn’t going to hook you up for standing on the wall and trying to look “cool” — get in there and show the world what you’ve got! With that said, thank you Ford Canada for the tickets — Justin and I had a great time — but more on that later!!!

In case you need context for just how awesome these seats were, check this out to see Section 108, Row 14:

(SO GOOD.)

And of course, the 2014 Ford Fiesta

With Ford doing such a great job at engaging existing car lovers as well as trying to find new demographics, it’s great that the car looks as good as it does! With Sarah and I looking to buy a car in 2013, Ford’s made itself a contender, and I’ll be happy to spread the message of all they’re doing to adapt to an ever-changing world of social engagement. It’s good that there was a message behind all the lights and glamour, though…

The Overall Messages

The Ford Canada team made sure that we wouldn’t be drinking and driving, offering shuttle rides home to anyone in need, and making sure that everyone knew their limit. On top of that, we weren’t beholden to write anything, but from what I’ve seen, people are sharing the message because they had a great time. Of course, when a party is invite-only, it has its share of haters, as seen in the screen cap below:

With haters, you’ve gotta take the venom in stride…

To the haters, here’s a message — you receive from social media what you put in to it. I mean this on two fronts — put negativity and snide remarks in, you’re going to get the same back. People generally extend a hand to those who they can respect and build relationships with. Why would you want to keep someone around who’s just bringing negative attitude and poisonous words to the table? Also, if you think you should be entitled to attend an event because you’ve already invested in the group holding it, prove your worth. Write blogs about your experiences. Make videos of other friends giving products a try. Shouting at the top of the mountain that you’ve been overlooked or wronged only makes you look like a complainer, which  brings us right back to the negative energy point. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

All in all, I’m happy that Ford Canada invited me to 2013’s Blue Party, and I hope it sets the tone for the rest of the year’s events!

How did YOU guys spend Snowmageddon?

Thanks for reading, guys!

–case p.

TeamTrolling Does America

You know how in Canada, to get beer you go to a Beer Store and most of it is in a back room and brought out to you by paid beer handlers? Oh no, not in America! It’s IN YOUR FACE. GLORIOUSLY.

So I was in Vegas for four days.

In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve changed jobs, Toronto was hit by a blizzard and Burger King’s Twitter account got hacked in a gloriously hilarious fashion.

That’s the best you could do in four days, Toronto? Shoot.

I’ll tell you all about my trip soon enough; until then, there are other stories to tell and photos to share 🙂 I hope you enjoy the madness I was up to leading to the trip, and the many stories I’ll have to share from the trip itself!

But let’s start with another trip — one that found me and some close friends in Buffalo, NY….

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TeamTrolling Does America

When you have a good thing going, you’ve gotta let it grow and not see it burn out. We can form strong friendships with others, but developing those relationships involves a dedicated effort as you get to know each other, share experiences and better understand one another through spending more time together.

6:30 am of Saturday, February 9th (i.e. the day right after Snowmageddon and the Ford Blue Party) marked the beginning of TeamTrolling Does America, the trip Marcel, Justin, Lily, Sarah and I would take across the border in pursuit of “shopping and cheesecake” (word for word, that’s what we told border security)! After Snowmageddon 2013, the road conditions weren’t the best (especially in Mississauga, you cheapskates), but — despite some horrid route choices — we were able to get all of our passengers together and into Buffalo, NY to get our shop on!

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls are by far the better shopping centre. While there’s nothing particularly glamorous about Buffalo, NY, don’t let the run-down exterior throw you off — there be deals in this little shopping complex!

Compared to the later trip to the Walden Galleria, we all found more stuff we were happy with at this stop!

Our first stop would see the start of a theme for the day — Casey running around looking for juice. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is wicked fast, but the use of an LTE network to make it that quick drains a battery like a vampire at a blood bank. By the time we’d made our way to Hamilton to grab Justin, the battery was already half gone. So it was pretty lucky that there were posts in the Fashion Outlets’ food court with outlets!

That were only there for show.

Thus, with no steady stream of power to work from, I was all over the place, trying to find my next fix so I could take advantage of the Rogers Day Pass for data over the border. I’ve since bought a Mophie Juice Pack for my phone, but having to constantly look for extra power at the time was painful.

Hot Tips:

Power in Numbers

Team up with friends to get the best deal possible through volume purchasing.

e.g. Sarah and I both hit Cole Haan up separately and spent $230 combined. Already getting awesome deals on our purchases, it would’ve been even BETTER if we’d shopped together, because they were giving $50 off on purchases of $250 or more. So coordinate where you can!

Learn how to park, damnit!

The parking lot of the Fashion Outlets was atrocious. Justin covers how bad it was than I do below:

Fools trying to park diagonally, man. DIAGONALLY.

TOPS

Everything’s bigger in the States. Everything.

We got to TOPS expecting to find cool flavours and snacks that never see the light of day in Canada, but the labyrinthine  building that held it all totally caught us off-guard!

We definitely saw the power of population density at play with lower prices, massive variety and no pesky 5¢ charge for plastic bags!

BURGERS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD

I may be exaggerating — slightly — but the side trip to Grover’s for food was worth it — Justin heard of it from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I wasn’t a huge fan of the cheeseburger soup (yes, you read that right), but the Cattleman burgers that the boys each ordered hit the spot.

Hot Tips:

  • Never ask what the difference between a “cheese burger” and a “cheddar burger” is in America lest you immediately be branded as an outsider and treated like a second-class citizen
  • Always, always, always be as hungry as possible when entering an American dining establishment. We take it for granted that portion sizes are ridiculously massive south of the border. If you don’t have the tummy room for it, don’t do it.
  • If you have a child screaming/crying like it’s a banshee freshly escaped from hell, there is something wrong. Please go to the car with said child and see if you can sort it out. (Note: regular crying? Totally cool. We totally should’ve recorded these banshee screams so you’d know how bad it was!)

The Walden Galleria

If you haven’t been to Walden in a while, I wish you luck if you step foot in there.

Dimly lit, map-free (far as I could see) and utterly massive, the Walden Galleria was a shopping nightmare compared to the awesome that was the Fashion Outlets of Niagara. It looms like a shopping dungeon on the horizon, with twisting and turning roads and a confusing parking layout to top it all off.

I’d eventually buy a thing or two from the Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) and Banana Republic, but it was little return for the hours spent wandering, re-tracing steps and being generally envious of how cheap American prices are compared to those north of the border.

The Cheesecake Factory

Though tired and beaten, we did eventually make it to The Cheesecake Factory to try some of the cheesecake we’d been hearing so much about. Remember what I said earlier about things being bigger in the States? You should’ve seen Lily’s Cobb Salad:

Lily and her “Cobb salad”. That’s no salad.

That’s no salad. You can’t call it a salad when it’s as big as your head!!!

But we still had jokes to tell, a waiter to inadvertently insult about both his age and his height, and the need to rest our feet after the long day we’d had!

THE END OF DAY WRAP-UP

We closed the day off with the long trek home and a hassle- and duty-free border crossing (Hot Tip: be honest and cross your fingers for a nice and lenient border guard); but more importantly, we proved — for the first time — that Trolls can get along for long stretches of time and not lunge at each other’s throats!

If a close group of friends can do a day in the States without a problem — what will tomorrow hold?

–case p.

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