Many of you have been patiently waiting for all the details, well here they are…
When Jillian first mentioned on Instagram that she was hosting a brunch in support of Mamas for Mamas, I knew I would love to support such an important organization + to have the opportunity to meet a woman I admire so much – that was just so surreal!
On September 29, I found out that my bid secured one of 10 seats at Jillian’s table for brunch! I was so freaking excited and in complete disbelief. I kept opening the email from Team Jilly that congratulated me to reassure myself that I wasn’t imagining the whole thing!
When I called my BFF's - who love Jillian as much as I do - they were so excited for me and each one of them said we are coming along! So, we booked a girls' trip to Kelowna and the countdown began.
We arrived in Kelowna two days before the brunch and had such a fun time visiting all these awesome wineries. Needless to say we drank A LOT of wine those first two days, starting at 11 am until we crawled into bed the wee hours of the night. The night before the brunch, my very responsible girlfriend Gabby gave me strict orders to hit the hay early and get a good night’s sleep. Best advice ever.
I woke up a bag of nerves. What if they don’t like me? I won’t know anyone at the brunch? What if I drink too much, LOL?! Very quickly, my girlfriends reassured me to just to be myself and all would be good. With that advice, and a few mimosas, my nerves subsided.
I had arranged for Jenny McKinney, a local makeup artist, to come to our suite and pretty me up. Jenny was amazing + so much fun! We had the tunes going and the mimosas flowing. My girlfriends walked me down to the lobby where the limo arrived and off I went! Champagne was flowing in the limo and very quickly, all of us 10 lucky ladies heading to brunch became new friends.
We reached Jillian & Justin’s home and it looked just as beautiful as it does in her Instagram stories. Justin (who is soooo super handsome) opened the limo door and welcomed all of us. Man, my heart skipped a beat. Jillian was on her porch, with a smile from ear-to-ear, looking stunning as always and greeted all of us like we were old friends. Mindy, Shay, Mackenzie, Tori and Nacho were also there and little Leo joined us later too. All of these ladies are super sweet, beautiful and kind. They made me feel so comfortable.
We went inside and hugs were exchanged. Mackenzie, who is also from Winnipeg, gave me the biggest hug and said how happy she was when she found out someone from her hometown was coming to brunch! After Jillian’s heartfelt toast, we all settled at the table and were serenaded by the very talented Aaron Pritchett! We sipped champagne, rosé, and red wine.
Then brunch was served. The food - oh my gosh! All of the wonderful courses prepared by Chef Jeremy Luypen and his team were vegetarian or vegan. It was so delicious!
After brunch, Jillian gave us our incredible gift baskets. Seriously, Jillian spoiled us. The gifts were so very generous and thoughtful. Birdie slippers, Smash +Tess romper (I wore this for a solid week), Larson & Jennings watch, Minted gift certificate (which I just used for my holiday cards), Melanie Auld Jewelry and so much more! This was a day and experience I will never forget.
When I thought the day couldn’t have gone any better, Jillian came to me as I was leaving and said that she would like to surprise my friends that evening and meet us after dinner. I tried to act as cool as a popsicle, but I was dying – DYING - inside. Jillian Harris was going to hang out with us!
Back at the hotel, my girls wanted all the details! We cracked open the bottle of Cedar Creek wine from my gift basket and poured over all the amazing brunch details. They were so excited and happy for me.
Photos by mackenziejanephoto
That evening, we headed to Quail's Gate for our last wine tasting + dinner. When Jillian arrived to the restaurant, my BFF Alison said: Don’t look, but I think Jillian and her friends are here for dinner? Jillian walked to our table with Justin, Shay, Mindy, Mackenzie, Luke, Aaron & Jess and asked to join us? My girls had no clue that they were there to surprise them! The girls literally screamed their faces off! And the surprise was really so sweet and generous of Team Jilly.
It was an evening filled with wine, fancy tequila shots, many selfies and us making plans for Team Jilly to come to Winnipeg. Wouldn’t that be so awesome!? I know many of my Manitoba friends adore Jillian as much as I do. The real, kind, loving woman we see in Jillian’s Instagram.... times that by 100. She’s the real deal!
Alison, Harinder + Gabriela thank you so much for coming along. Our trip to Kelowna is one that I will never forget. Love you girls to pieces. xo