Try to contain yourself as you have a browse through some luxury lifestyle homes for those who like to think “outside the box” for price souring housing solutions.
These home are made from shipping containers. That’s right. Some ranging from small “tiny house” structures featuring a single container to larger, more ambitious projects that combine numerous containers that result in opulent luxury homes. These shipping container spaces offer something for every budget and lifestyle.
I just spent a little time in a winery built out of two shipping containers with windows cut out large enough to have a view of the vineyard. I couldn’t believe it!
Every time I see a container now I envision what the inside would look like if I wanted to make it into a home. The way things are going you just may see them becoming more mainstream.
The SMALL LOT FIVE- little hidden gems; BIG on taste.
vinAmité Cellars: Hiding in plain sight
“vin-ah-mee-tay” – meaning: harmony, friendship, meeting of minds of family and friends.
The word “vin” in French means wine
The word “Amite” is an old fashioned word going back to Medieval times,
Meaning friendship and balance in life.
Here we sampled a few whites with names like “Chanson d’amour” which alone was enough to make us want to buy a bottle or two. Followed by a single red varietal Petit Verdot and a few blends with charming names like “Compass” and “Hidden Corner.”
We were tipped off to make sure to order the charcuterie cone (yes; it’s a cone, not a board.) And it was Fab!
This hand-crafted family estate vineyard makes small quantity wines with character and taste that are true to each grape varietal and honor the history of the wine and the winemakers’ special touch.
The vineyard is well over two decades old, yet each wine is carefully crafted to the tastes of modern life. The wines are enjoyable and easy drinking. With $15 tasting fee you get a crystal Riedel wine glass – lightly inscribed with their name on the glass. Very classy.
We no sooner pulled up to this boutique style winery when we were eagerly greeted by a very friendly golden retriever. A nice start to another favorful and flavourful tasting.
The 10 acre property located adjacent to the first green of the Fairview Mountain Golf Course was purchased by Bill Eggert in 1989. After development of the water system the vineyard was started in 1993.
I can’t remember what Margeaux bought but I ended up with a bottle called Bucket O’ Blood – a white wine it is not. It wasn’t open for tasting however a table of six ordered a full bottle and raved about how good it was. They said every time they go to the winery they order the same bottle. Sold!
We skipped straight to the Second Chapter. This is certainly a unique winery that produces no more than 4,000 cases featuring truly local wines inside a funky building made out of two 40 x 8 sea cans.
Apparently it’s a trend. Guess you can refer to it as a cannery. I’ll blog more on the home can craze separately because I was fascinated by them and have been checking out some amazing examples – you wouldn’t even know what they were…if you didn’t already know what they are. But getting back to wine…
Our firecracker pourer Dianne Gibson @diannegibsongirl entertained us with stories and she happens to also design amazing corsets and costumes. She was a riot. The wine was good but it would have been a totally different experience had she not been there. Let’s just say she made it better. I would go back just to see her again. Ok; let’s not forget who I am – to also drink wine.
River Stone is a small, family owned and operated winery located on a small knoll in the middle of the valley, just south of the well-recognized McIntyre Bluff and just north of Oliver.
The day we arrived they were in the middle of a private tasting on their gorgeous outdoor garden setting.
See the idyllic farmhouse in the distance? That’s the winery. It may be yellow in color (even though in this photo it looks to be white) but the entire site is truly ‘green’. You won’t see any wires running to their buildings because they’re 100% off the grid!
The place wasn’t even open when we arrived on the drive out. They were in the midst of getting set up and their computer was down so we went for a walk for half an hour then came back to be first in line. Margeaux already left for her drive back to Castlegar so I did a mid morning round on my own. Don’t worry; my boyfriend was the designated driver.
Let me be clear that as a rule I never drink wine before noon. Normally not even before 5:00 pm. 5:01 is when I start. What a surprise.Fabulous wines. I bought one of each and called Margeaux to tell her she missed a good tasting. Margeaux; having FOMO (fear of missing out – I didn’t even know what the letters meant until just recently so don’t feel bad), ended up ordering a case with the four bottles I sampled.
We have our wine map for next time. Only 40 more to go!
My friend and I experienced two exceptional wine country dining experiences.
The Sonora Room Restaurant at Burrowing Owl Winery is where Margeaux and I had dinner on the first of our two night stay in Oliver, B.C. That was after wine sampling next door at the winery, and before finishing off our special bottle from the restaurant’s wine library. The library holds exclusive wines with a list changed regularly that are no longer publicly available for sale. And of course, they go along to compliment the menu. They have a very talented culinary team.
From their website:
“The philosophy… is to embrace the
privilege and the opportunity to
showcase many of the local producers
with their array of local organic
produce, fresh, seasonal fruits and
artisan breads and cheeses.”
Instead of dessert we decided to go back to our luxury B+B “uncorked” and polish off the leftover wine with a cheese assortment and “Hooray” decadent chocolate truffles (the ones that are included in my gift packages – but more on this later). Yes we indulged!
The views from Burrowing Owl – fyi you can book a room there too.
The second night we chose Miradoro at Tinhorn CreekWinery on the advice of the maître d’ from the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl. There are many fine places to dine in Oliver but these two restaurants were highly recommended and we also wanted to do wine tasting at their wineries before dinner so it was perfect.
At Miradoro the locally sourced market cuisine menu has a Mediterranean influence, drawing inspiration from countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal – countries that know a thing or two about food and wine pairing.
When it comes to modern, local and sustainable cuisine, Chef Jeff Van Geest (check him out; he’s amazing) is one of British Columbia’s most celebrated chefs.
Not only were the wines superb but the panoramic views from the valley below were to die for! Both restaurants have amazing outdoor seating however it was a bit chilly both nights so we decided to dine inside.
Both restaurants including their adjoining wineries require reservations. We were very lucky the first night especially because we got in due to a cancellation – the room was booked a few weeks in advance. And this is in September!
Next I’ll blog about the small lot wineries. So many wines; so little time!
Next time we’re going here on the advice of a winery owner and others:
Come eat, drink and relax at Popolo Cafe! We’re located inside a beautifully renovated church. Choose from a variety of unique sitting areas and enjoy fresh homemade pasta dishes and more with a glass of local wine, beer, or an espresso beverage.
Photos from an afternoon gathering last Friday at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna amongst interesting people and the most delicious Asian Fusion food...with a twist.
A sampling of creative Chinese, Korean and Japanese delicacies put together by chef Yan Cowan of Lucky Dragon Catering, who is considering to franchise. And lucky us; we were invited which was an unexpected but welcome surprise considering I had booked a reservation at the bistro for myself, my boyfriend and my next door neighbour who happened to be in Kelowna at the same time.
It was a feast for hungry eyes!
Yan (the caterer who prepared all this food) Chris (her commercial realtor friend) and Stephen (proprietor of Summerhill Pyramid Winery – the best all organic winery ever).
Although the Summerhill Bistro is always excellent, it’s not every day that you get to be part of a most yummy experiment.
The foodie in me will always appreciate times like this. Friends old and new make it all that much more worthwhile.
What can be better than spending a weekend over wine, food, fun and friendship?Not much!
That’s exactly how I spent last weekend – with my dear long time girlfriend Margeaux. We go back to working together over thirty years ago first selling advertising at an established Canadian film publication. Wanting to branch out, we convinced our boss to fly us to Toronto once we didn’t think there’d be a twice to cover the Genie Awards (recognizing the best of Canadian cinema – now merged with the Gemini Awards to include Canadian television…but to my non-Canadian friends, you’ve probably never heard of either). By some sheer godsend in between partying with celebrities like Donald Sutherland & Kim Cattrall at the event, our commentary and photos ended up getting published in the magazine. Later we worked on a Canadian Mad Max style film together But I digress…
Margeaux met me halfway (well almost) in Oliver, British Columbia – Canada’s wine capital.
She drove from Castlegar, BC and I had spent the night before in Lake Country, Kelowna with my boyfriend so I was not too far away. The drive from Vancouver to Oliver takes about 4 ½ hours and we were lucky to stay with a friend on Thursday night and watch the sunset while drinking champagne on a sailboat. I had to set the scene. Sundown was also the end of a holy Jewish holiday; Yom Kippur. Breaking a fast with champagne? Winenot?
Margeaux had booked a perfect B+B in Oliver that appropriately goes by the name Uncorkedrun by Ian & Judy Born, a couple originally from small farming communities. Uncorked is located within a 15 minute (if that) drive of 40+ wineries in either direction and a lakeview location with a saltwater pool you can use from May – October.
It’s quiet here and all 3 private entrance rooms have en-suite bathroom and flat-screen TV. The beds are king-size, super comfy with new mattress and deluxe bamboo bedding. After all, you need a good night’s sleep for next day wine tasting. There’s a BBQ, shared lounge with efficiency kitchen and a coffee tray was left outside the room in the morning with the little extras (milk, cream, sugar) and full homemade breakfast included.
I was not expecting a menu from which to choose what we’d prefer for breakfast. That was a pleasant surprise. Dietary restrictions noted. Judy’s homemade farm fresh breakfasts are beyond. Coffee, juice, fresh fruit salad, free range local eggs, home grown tomatoes, homemade jams, etc….It was exceptional. As was her advice on which wineries were her favourites (she works at one twice a week which we visited – to be blogged about separately).
As a local, Judy provided plenty of relevant information about small lot wineries (producing less than 5,000 cases) that are excellent that I would probably have passed by had she not mentioned them…including tipping us off to some wineries that are now run by big corps and foreign investors. A few other well known ones that are overblown and such. After our weekend we really appreciated her guidance.
Aside from our drop in to District Wine Village and a vintage shop on Saturday, we managed to visit 7 wineries in total. Two well known wineries where we had dinner and 5 distinctive small lot fabulous wineries we’d never know about had Judy not circled them on our wine map. And as usual, the wine and conversation flowed and the time went way too fast. We decided to do this sametime next year. We’ll stay here again if the rooms are available.
The first of an open-ended number of Wine Wednesday posts for the unforeseeable future.
Just spent 3 unforgettable nights and days in Oliver; The Wine Capital of Canada, home to nearly half of British Columbia’s vines and more than 40 wineries. While there, my friend Margeaux and I were at the official opening day of the first wine village in Canada, aptly named District Wine Village. It’s a unique on-site vineyard built around a huge Ampitheatre with a local community mindset, celebrating artisan production and craftsmanship in wine, beer, food and entertainment. You don’t have far to go from one tasting to another and I hear the venue for live music is amazing. Unfortunately we didn’t stay for the concert as we had dinner reservations elsewhere that evening.
History taken from their website (link below):
Many business ideas are born over glasses of wine and that is exactly what happened with Okanagan Falls born and raised, long-time friends and neighbours, Max Brock and Matt Kenyon. Max had previously travelled throughout the US and had seen the model of winery clusters in other wine regions and wanted to bring the model to BC, the first of its kind in Canada. Together, they created a concept to launch this one-of-a-kind village in wine country. Expanding on this concept was to include Matt’s love of beer and food resulting in the inclusion of a craft brewery and a restaurant on site. Sadly, Max passed away before breaking ground. The District Wine Village project continued on, and is now being built in honour of Max and his family.
Michael Daley, an industry veteran was brought on as Director of Operations to bring the project to fruition, and the vision to life in further planning and the building out of the village. The rest as they say is history.
Well actually it starts at home. However if you have an opportunity to have as good or bettera meal in a restaurant that resembles your grandmother’s home, then look no further. The owner appropriately refers to it as “my apartment café” as the exact location was her home.
Noticed the heritage building with the inviting sign out front by accident during the summer when I was on Main Street. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed at the time. A few of the surrounding business owners who were sitting out front raved about the regular lunches that are served only by RSVP and then received at the takeout window. Elizabeth; the owner and chef, used to reside at what is now the restaurant, specializing in lunch and brunch menu. I called to make a reservation and was told they were opening for dinner (and would continue to on occasion for private parties) starting September 10th. Voilà! Went with my friend Janice on a lovely evening where we sat outside. The inside is very tiny with only a few tables that were already reserved. Lucky for us the weather cooperated. The food is local, sustainable, creative, comfort food. Of course I had to check it out.
Because travelling with dogs can sometimes be a pain for finding overnight accommodation.
La Quinta Inn & Suites – now owned by Wyndham are reliably dog friendly, clean, comfortable, cost-effective, all no-smoking rooms, free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast (sometimes full depending where you stay) and friendly service.
OK let’s be honest, while The Four Seasons it is not; your dogs probably won’t notice the difference well Layla might and if you’re looking just to overnight on your way to let’s say Palm Springs when the border finally opens and you want a very comfortable bed and a no-charge fee for your pooches – this is the place. If you’re a member you can receive regular room upgrades to larger suites which is what I usually take advantage of. I’ve also stayed at Best Western Plus and the only difference is that they charge for your pets and have a bit more on the menu in the morning. I don’t know about you but none of these breakfasts at either place are my cup of tea. A coffee and yogurt to get me going is usually sufficient and a stop somewhere along the drive for something more substantial is the norm.
Here are a few properties that I can vouch for:La Quinta in Eugene, Oregon is completely revamped with indoor pool, gym and you’ll find the Willamette River right outside the door with a great green space for walking your furry friends. Or if you have time you can run or bike along the many miles of trails. It’s very pretty and peaceful here.
La Quinta in Redding, Ca, off the Cypress exit on I-5 in Shasta County. Located near the Sacramento River where you can explore National Recreation Areas within a five minute drive to Whiskeytown or the scenic world-renowned Sundial Bridge. They have a fitness center, outdoor pool and breakfast. Plus a little courtyard to walk pets and enjoy a coffee before taking off.
If you absolutely must overnight in Bakersfield, all I can tell you is to make sure you stay at the La Quinta at the North end of the city (not the South end god help you).
Another positive beauty product review because I only write about what I like.
All Seeing Opulent Eye Cream is my favourite eye cream to date. I’ve been using it for several months now on the advice of a knowing friend with beautiful skin. What’s a girl to do? I’m almost running out and I’ll make sure to re-order. Thought you’d like to know. You’re welcome!
WHAT IS IT?
Taken from their website…
All Seeing Opulent Eye Crème is a thick, rich, luxurious crème that effortlessly sinks into skin and is specially formulated to nourish the tender skin around the eyes. Dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles will enjoy an influx of moisture with this caring crème.
WHAT’S IN IT?
All Seeing Opulent Eye Crème is made by whipping herb-infused Jojoba, Tamanu, Shea, Borage, and Avocado oils with refreshing Rosewater and Aloe Vera. We then infuse this mixture with an entire palette of nourishing essences to soothe and infuse the delicate skin around the eyes. Dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles will enjoy an influx of moisture with this caring crème, which is perfect to wear under make-up (and may also be graced upon the entire face).
Cape Chamomile – Eriocephalus punctulatus
Cape Chamomile has a high content of rare ester and azulene compounds that impart a teal blue hue to soothe all manner of skin imbalances. This rejuvenating essence balances sebum and softens the appearance of scars, and spots.
Blue Tansy – Tanacetum annuum
The beautiful, blue-hued color of our All Seeing Eye Crème is thanks to an infusion of Blue Tansy oil. The high azulene content of this oil makes it prime and sublime for skincare. Blue Tansy has a deliciously sweet herbaceous aroma and enhances relaxation while soothing the appearance red, dry, or cracking skin.
Fall is the perfect time to freshen up your wardrobe.
I hate saying goodbye to Summer however it’s time to begin to embrace the Fall, and what better way to start than with your clothing. Let’s face it – Fall fashion is the best!
Whether you’re headed back to the office or to the classroom, Fall is the time to put away the shorts and little summer dresses sigh and pull out your cozy sweaters and jackets. Let’s take a look at a few Fall fashion trends – courtesy Harper’s Bazaar Magazine (my favourite for fashion).
The future is bright, bold, and primed for attracting attention. Here to herald this message are fashion designers. From Thebe Magugu to Simone Rocha to Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton, many presented collections with wild, wonderful prints. Magugu, for example, referenced mysticism in the pattern of a sleek suit; Ghesquière brought the Louvre’s paintings to life; and Rocha went for Baroque with romantic florals. Come fall, we are going to break free from gray and neutral tones, and bring some vibrancy into our lives.
Pictured from top to bottom: Duro Olowu, Colville, Christian Dior, La DoubleJ, Arthur Arbesser, Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Prada, Moschino, Simone Rocha, Stella Jean, Thebe Magugu, and Victoria Beckham.
Back to Black
LBDs are perennial; they’ll never go out of style no matter how many times we can say black is back. They haven’t left and never will. But what does change is the proportion. Some seasons have the ubiquitous style long and covered in appliqués; others have it prim and unadorned. For fall 2021, the trend de jour is short and super fitted. It’s all about the sultry mini. From tuxedo dresses at Fashion East to babydoll silhouettes at Christian Dior, the rule of thumb is to show legs for days, darling.
Pictured from top to bottom: JW Anderson, Schiaparelli, Fashion East, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Carolina Herrera, Giambattista Valli, Versace, Tom Ford and Eftychia.
The Suit Coat
The trusted suit has gotten a revamp. Traditionally, the style is composed of a blazer-and-trouser combo; blazer and skirts have also become commonplace. For fall 2021, designers introduced something new into the fold: coats. Instead of fitted jackets, Givenchy, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, and more showcased palazzo, paper-bag-waist, flared, or cropped trousers all with elongated toppers. It’s a look that is meant to be worn and fully appreciated outdoors.
Pictured from top to bottom: A Potts, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Zimmerman, Jason Wu, Hermes, Marine Serre, The Row, Proenza Schouler, Balmain, Givenchy, and Chanel.