Swag Bags: The IT and Tastemakers Gift Lounges at TIFF

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From this side of the paparazzi lens, it looks like one of the fun things about being celebs at special events like the now-over TIFF is the big ol' bag o' party favours they get for finding time in their schedules to show up. Those party favours, of course, consist of a variety of items from companies hoping for a little (or large) publicity hit should a recipient become smitten with -- or be snapped wearing/holding -- their product. Clever PR pros makes the pick-up dead easy by assembling wares in convenient locations. And in addition to gifts, this year's IT and Tastemakers by-invitation-only gift lounges had give-back components.

At the IT Lounge, held at The Windsor Arms, famous types picked up goodies from Kiehl's (yay! Mint, Pear and Cranberry Lip Balm #1!), J. Rox Originals by Jane Apor jewelry (a sweet, handmade little bracelet), Teva footwear (the fabric toe-thong and upper makes the flipflops a new fave), and The Penny Protein Plan (healthy on-the-run snacks -- I'm going to stock up). The bigger news here, though, was that the collection of brands committed to making a contribution to the charity of their choice for each celeb visit. Participants, including SoU! liquid vitamins, Goody hair accessories, Brooks athletic wear, Sharpie pens, FILA athletic wear, Please Mum kids' clothing, Universal Music and Richart chocolates, will donate to organizations such as Camp Oochigeas, Participaction, World Vision, Kidsfest, Girls on the Run, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Artists for Peace and Justice, a new charity founded by Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis. (You might like to read this back-story on the development of the IT Lounge's charitable aims.)

Peace, Love and Film was the theme at the Tastemakers Lounge several blocks west at the Intercontinental Hotel, where War Child Canada was the official charity. On the gift menu was D&G fragrance for men and women, Guats athletic wear, Sexy Gourmet Food Co., Mattel board games (including a new Pictionary Man that involves drawing on a quirky-looking white electronic doll), Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB), PC Home decorative accents, and gift certificates from local St. Clair & Yonge restaurant Didier, which provided delicious, delicious appetizers (dee-lish-us). Also offered on site were pro-makeup touch ups with Joe Fresh Beauty (sold in the pharmacy cosmetics department at SuperStores and most other supermakets that carry Joe Fresh fashion) and hair styling by Yorkville's Chiggy Touch using Rowenta styling tools. Photojournalist Rosie Levine, who for years has been snapping candids of random celebs flashing the peace sign, was also on hand to invite famous lounge visitors, like Eric McCormack (above) to do the same for her work-in-progress, a picture book called Celebrity Encounters of the Peace-ful Kind. Proceeds from the book once it's published are earmarked for War Child.

Celebs such as Colin Firth, Ben Barnes, Kristin Booth, Ed Norton, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner hit the lounges, but since they were there when I wasn't, my beauty-geek attention was free to focus on certain items of swag. I'll tell you more about them in the next little while. Peace out.

Image of Canadian actor Eric McCormack at the Tastemakers Lounge courtesy of rock-it promotions. Darnit. You know if it were mine, I'd be in the photo too, buddy-buddy like, right?