Saturday we slept in, thinking (wrongly) that we could easily catch a cab down to Main Street whenever we were ready. But with the snow, the crowds and the lack of taxis we barely made it to our first movie, a shorts program featuring four mini-movies from around the world. The biggest hype was around the first short, a bittersweet robot romance from Spike Jonze titled I’m Here, but my favorite of the four was actually Seeds of the Fall, an odd little movie about a couple who rediscover romance after a bulldozer plows through their bedroom. Also of note: The Fence, a hilarious and disturbing mini-documentary about the ridiculous barrier being built between the U.S. and Mexico.

After the movie, we headed out with an ambitious agenda, planning to work our way though the lounges. Our first stop was the Red Carpet Main Event Lounge, a huge improvement compared to the mayhem of Fred Segal Fun. After checking in we were matched with a personal hostess who shepherded us through the lounge and managed the gifts we received (and checked our coats!). We had a very cool 3D picture taken, scored dirty t-shirts from Badcock Apparel and discovered some yummy-looking new beauty products from Lifetherapy and Livia Skin Care. Representatives from the Salty Horror Film Festival were also on-site to provide information about their bloody counterpart to Sundance making its debut next November. After a complimentary manicure from OPI and a (vegetarian!) sandwich in the comfy sitting room, we headed back out to the cacophony of Main Street.

Our next stop was the Talent Resource Sky Suite, right across the street at the Sky Lodge. We had a minor delay in the lobby–check-in was crammed–but the A-list action made the wait quite entertaining (including a surprisingly adorable Khloe Kardashian cheek-kissing her way around the room and a bored Pauly Shore in the background). Finally, we checked our coats and headed upstairs, where the Sky Suite partying was in full swing. It was a cool (if ridiculously crowded) space, opening up onto a tent-covered patio with a DJ spinning in one corner and a dusting of snow sifting down at the doors. Gifting tables lined every inch of walls, but the space was so small it was hard to really browse, so we just started at the bar with a unique mix of black tea and booze. We moved on to some rad chocolate-colored earphones from Urbanears, and a whole bag of products from EOS (including some delicious-looking shave creams). I also scored a free juice fast from Blueprintcleanse, which I can’t wait to review. Monster, AXE and Perky Jerky were all in the house, all of which the guys back at our house found quite delicious.

We headed back down to the lobby where I overheard a call made upstairs to Sky Suite security stipulating ”no one gets in now except for celebrities!” Heh. Guess we left a little too soon. We made our way down Main Street (through slush and flying mardi gras beads) to the Kari Feinstein Style Suite, probably my favorite gifting suite of the Festival. Not nearly as large as the Red Carpet Lounge, but with a friendly vibe and a lot of great products (though sadly, no coat check). We got an eco-friendly dimmer from Lutron, some awesome vintage NFL gear from Retro Sport (go Saints!) and I picked up a variety of beauty and health products to review–including Infinty Sun Glow on the Go, a month-long supply of Usana vitamins and Cor silver soap. Melrose Mac was there too, though we were more in the mousepad and mug gifting category than in iPod land. Our absolute favorites were the hip clothing at Superdry and the gorgeous and whimsical letterpress goods by Linda and Harriet–I loved them both so much I had to hold myself back from pulling a Paris.

Our last stop on Main Street was the ALIVE! Green Expo. I loved the ”green” theme, but the space was super tiny and almost impossible to navigate (though I did get a killer margarita from the free bar). Bravely making our way though the tiny maze, we were especially impressed by the healthy food options from Food Should Taste Good and Explorer’s Bounty, and I snagged some intriguing nutritional supplements from North American Herb and Spice and Fruit Advantage. I also had the great pleasure of meeting the very warm Dr. Suzanne Bennet, whose PurGlo collagen system is on my short list of products I’d like to review.

We caught a cab and swung by the Tweet House on our way home. Gifting was just about closed down for the day, but I managed to score a gorgeous bubble-gum pink Hamptons duffel from B’s Signature Purses, a online bespoke bag manufacturer. A few sips of a Dirty Blonde Cocktail (ugh–like a carbonated Boone’s wine) and we were on our way, finally heading home to friends and good food. Once again, we had big plans to head out later to the parties–including the AXECYB launch–and once again, the siren song of the hot tub was just too strong. Sorry to all you Danny Masterson and Steve Aoki fans out there… I got nothing. Next up: Sunday movies, food and music!

PS–The two pictures here are shamelessly stolen from Linda & Harriett’s charming blog. Go visit!

About the Author

Sarah Gupta

Sarah Gupta is a recent medical school graduate and the inventor of the Buff Cuff.

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