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Big Day Downtown: How to shop like your favorite TV characters in Halifax

I was recently asked to participate in a really cool project by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. They asked 30 bloggers and media personalities to take part in a campaign called “Big Day Downtown”. Each person received $100 to spend in the downtown Halifax area, and I was one of the lucky people able to do so.
I’ve lived in the downtown Halifax area my whole life and spend a lot of time shopping, eating and hanging out downtown. There are so many fantastic stores where I could have spent my money. But I wanted to tie my Big Day Downtown to television, so I decided to play “What would my favorite TV characters buy?”

Obviously, I can’t purchase everything my favorite TV characters might buy. I refrained from purchasing any illegal drugs, despite my love for The Wire. I didn’t book any flights in honor of Survivor or The Amazing Race. I love Dexter, but I didn’t spend my day searching for duct tape and really sharp knives.

Instead, I kicked off my Big Day Downtown on Friday evening with a trip to The Bitter End on Argyle Street. Inspired by the ladies of Sex and the City, I indulged in an end-of-week cocktail with my friends Sarah and Nicholas.

Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are known for their love of cosmos, but I’m not a huge fan of the drink. My favorite things about The Bitter End are their champagne cocktails. I tried two: The Grande Champagne and the Japanese Typhoon. Both were delicious. The Bitter End has a great atmosphere and was the perfect place to start my Big Day Downtown.

I got up bright and early the next morning (OK, more like 9:00 a.m.) and headed down to Uncommon Grounds on Barrington Street for a coffee, just as my favorite TV character Lorelai Gilmore might do. I splurged and got the caramel latte.

My next stop was also Gilmore Girls inspired – I checked out the local farmer’s market.

The farmer’s market is one of my favorite places to go in Halifax, especially in the summer. It feels like something you would find in the fictional Gilmore Girls town of Stars Hollow. You can buy local produce, crafts, jewelry, baked goods and more. I’ve gotten some gorgeous earrings there over the years, but every time I go I purchase a bouquet of fresh flowers:

I love being able to pick and choose my own flowers at the market. The market is always crowded, but it was especially packed when I went for my Big Day Downtown because it was the last weekend at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery location. It’s moving to the Halifax Seaport location, which I’m quite excited for.

My next stop on my Big Day Downtown was again, inspired by the Gilmore Girls. I couldn’t get a coffee in honor of Lorelai without stopping in a bookstore on behalf of Rory Gilmore. I popped into J.W. Doull books on Barrington Street, a bizarre and wonderful second-hand bookstore.

If you haven’t been in this shop before, you should definitely go. It is quite a sight – I don’t know if it would be Rory Gilmore’s dream come true or biggest nightmare because there are books EVERYWHERE. Piled high to the ceiling and stacked on the floor along every row. It’s a labyrinth of literature.

The owner is also quite the character. As I was browsing I decided to snap a photo for the blog, and this did not sit well with him. To be fair, I should have asked permission but I didn’t see anyone around to ask. Apparently a lot of people come in to take pictures (because of the store’s “interesting layout”, he says – a.k.a. insane disorganization) without ever buying something. Although the owner of Doull books is a bit of a curmudgeon, it actually adds to the whole experience. Sure, I browse in fear of accidentally knocking over a stack of books and being thrown out of the shop, banned forever. But he’s such a character that I can totally picture him in Stars Hollow, or another quirky fictional TV town. It’s a store and experience unique to downtown Halifax, and I love that.

After the bookstore I decided to keep with the second-hand shopping and head to Random Play on Barrington Street, a used CD and DVD retailer. They had an impressive selection of TV on DVD and after browsing a while I decided to purchase seasons two, three and four of The Office. (Full disclosure: The Big Day Downtown money covered season two, but I bought seasons three and four myself). I already owned season one and have been longing to build the collection for a while now. When I saw seasons 2-4 I pounced on the bargain!

You can get some great deals at Random Play, and the staff is really friendly. I had a great chat with the clerk about what TV shows we like to watch. The only downside was when I spotted a mouse running across the floor mid-conversation. I wanted to scream and run, but I didn’t want to seem like a wuss (though I am one) so I played it cool and pretended I hadn’t seen it.

Next I traveled to Renaissance Clothing on Barrington Street. I’ve always admired the window displays of this store, but I’d never gone in before. Their display of Converse sneakers drew me in:

I decided to buy a pair of Converse sneakers in honor of one of my new favorite shows, Chuck. If I’d been able to buy some awesome spy gear so I could pretend to be either Chuck or Veronica Mars I would have, but I have no idea where one might purchase a watch with a built-in walkie-talkie. So instead I decided to dress like Chuck, minus the Nerd Herd uniform. I know he wears black Chucks, but I chose red:

For my last stop on my Big Day Downtown I stopped in at one of my favorite downtown stores, Biscuit General Store. It’s a fabulous shop on Argyle Street where you can find great clothes, shoes, accessories and quirky household items.

I was looking for jewelry inspired by Emma Pillsbury from Glee. I’ve always admired Emma’s style and she always wears the most adorable jewelry to match her outfits. I ended up purchasing this necklace:

How cute is that? I can totally see Emma wearing it. I can’t wait to pair it with the rest of my outfit for an upcoming “Dress like Glee” event that the lovely ladies at Fashionable People, Questionable Things will be doing. Biscuit also had some very adorable, very Emma Pillsbury tops and cardigans that I might have to make a return trip for.

And that was my TV-inspired Big Day Downtown! I hope that you enjoyed the post even if you’re not from Halifax, and check out the Downtown Halifax website to see how other bloggers spent their Big Day Downtown. There are some fantastic bloggers here in Halifax, and some great downtown stores too.

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