by Kristyl Clark
When I found an invitation in my inbox to spend a whole day indulging in three of my favourite recreational activities: shopping, food and wine, there was absolutely no way I could refuse.
Actually, I had been dying to go on the Retail Therapy Boutique & Wine Tour with Vanilla Clothing since I wrote about it in a blog post last summer.This one-of-a-kind wine-fueled day trip involves sipping LOTS of vino, savoring some delicious nibbles and shopping in specialty boutiques throughout ‘the Valley.’
The beauty of these monthly adventures is that the locations are constantly changing and you have no clue where you’re headed. How fun is that?
Tickets are only $45 a piece and include brunch, transportation, cocktails, appies, some serious swag bags, VIP discounts and a wine tasting experience. Seriously, where can you go for an entire day of fun that includes drinks, great food and transportation for under $50 these days?
I was also thrilled to discover that Maryanne Lechleiter, the publisher of Stimuli Magazine(she also happens to be a recent Mom Crush and a new friend) was also invited on the trip. Speaking of moms, I also brought along my own mom since we were due for a mother-daughter day on the town and well… she loves her wine and shopping as much as I do. You know what they say… like Valley Mother, like Valley Daughter. Isn’t my mom purdy?
The tour kicked off at 11 a.m. inside Vanilla Clothing’s Langley location. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the boutique’s friendly owner, Deanna Whissell, who also happens to be the mastermind behind this marvelous monthly field trip for grownups.
Having spent the majority of her career in the food industry, Deanna is thrilled to have the opportunity to unite her taste for fashion with her actual taste buds.
“I wanted to do more to encourage women in our community to shop on this side of the border but I had to do more than just say ‘shop local’ – we had to create an experience for our ladies,” she said of the tours that began last March.
“The ladies have such a great time – they have no clue where we are going.”
Past trips have included stops at chocolate making/cooking classes, cheese shops, wine tastings, home decor stores and many more great local hot spots.
In addition to the wine, we were treated to a lovely brunch as well as a relaxing hand massage before heading out to our unknown destination.
Our first stop was at Kamer Decor in Port Kells. While I had never heard of this specialty home decor store before, I’m certainly glad I’m well aware of it now. Inside, one will find a plethora of beautiful, eclectic home decor pieces, like lamps, vases, pictures, etc. — all reasonably priced I might add — along with some stunning home decor displays and window treatments.
Denise Kamer, the owner and a renowned interior designer, had a large table laden with savory goodies and was quick to top off our wine.
At this point, I was probably three glasses of wine in (this was before 1 p.m.) and felt like I had died and gone to retail Heaven.
“We should do this every weekend!” I whispered to my mom while stuffing any oyster into my mouth and washing it down with a swig of some oh-so-delightful Merlot.
“Maybe you should slow down on the wine Kristy, we still have two more stops!!” lectured my mom.
I may have given her the stink eye under my heavy false lashes, but I knew she was right. Moms always know best!
For anyone who is looking to revamp the interior of their home for spring, I highly recommend popping into Kamer Decor to chat with the lovely Denise. With a flair for knowing which part of the home deserves investment, this petite spirited lady can work with any budget and actually help you save money in the long run. Note: The shop is open by appointment only.
For the second stop on this tour, we headed to the Backyard Vineyards in Langley (formerly called Neck of the Woods Winery). This award-wining winery prides itself on making exceptional wine at affordable prices. All of the grapes used are grown in their Langley vineyard and are complemented with fruit from the Fraser Valley and South Okanagan. After going behind the scenes and getting a tour from our amazing guide, we were treated to a sit-down tasting, complete with nibbles, inside the winery’s tasting room.
We were treated to dark chocolate and brie and olives, oh my! This was probably one of my favourite stop as it gave us all a chance to sit down and get to know each other better. All of the ladies on this trip were so nice and easy-going — of course, the wine always helps to get everyone chatting.
Last but certainly not least, we headed to our final destination — Jack & Jill Clothing in South Surrey. This boutique is a store for women who love quality European clothing. At this point, I was feeling tired and full so I was happy to sit down with the peanut gallery, glass of wine in hand, and help my fellow tour companions decide on what clothing to purchase.
What do you think of those red pumps with the studs? I may have to go back and use the gift card that came in my swag bag to purchase them.
Some of the ladies ended up leaving with some pretty heavy bags — my mom was thrilled to leave with a new pendant that she won in a draw!
And there you have it — a day of fun, friendship, mother-daughter bonding, nibbles and sips that I won’t ever forget. If you’re interested in going on one of these great tours — and I highly recommend you do–visit http://www.vanillaclothing.com or call 604-371-0071 to be placed on the reservation list . Just be warned — spots fill up very fast!
For those craving a little adventure beyond the burbs, make sure you check out the upcoming island tour:
***Special Island Tour***
Please note that this tour leaves in the morning of Saturday, May 24 and returns at approximately 6:00 pm on Sunday, May 25, 2014
This special edition Island tour will include transportation, accommodations, VIP discounts, shopping, wine tour, tastings and education as well will include a “foodie” cooking class. C. Only 21 spots available for this Island tour.