Tips For a Better Vacation

Mayne Island photograph, BC, 2018
Mayne Island photograph, BC, 2018
Mayne Island Japanese Memorial Garden

Or Photography for Fun

I have a theory. Taking pictures makes vacationing more fun.

Ok, stay with me here for a moment. I’m not saying ‘live behind a camera’ and go around filming every little event (errr, wait, urm, I do that, but that’s not what I’m saying.)

What I am saying is that by taking a camera (in this modern age, most likely your cell phone camera), and walking around with the idea that you’re going to take some amazing pictures, that camera takes you MORE into the moment and forces you to look, (I mean, really LOOK) at the world around you.

Now, I’ve got a few friends who are incredible photographers and if you ever get a chance, check them out (I have links at the bottom of the blog) but I know from talking to them that part of any great trip is keeping an eye open for a great picture.

Lemme give you an example. When The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I were taking a walk on Mayne Island, we decided to do this. The walk could have been done in ½ an hour, but we took a full hour, maybe more, as we took the time to look at an old stone hut, at the way the light speared through the trees, at the way the sun sparkled off the ocean or the kingfishers took flight.

And take a picture.

Mayne Island tree. BC. Photography.
The lumpiest tree I’ve seen in a long while. Mayne Island.

We found a tree that looked like it was giving birth to other trees. We found a spooky-ass spider hiding in his web (that I almost walked into because I was looking at that stone hut.) We found incredible rock formations sculpted by water. We found picturesque driftwood and spent a while punning it (The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World won with her, “Trying to think of a good driftwood pun but I’m stumped,” comment.)

Taking photos slows down time for you. In our rush-rush world, it’s so easy to miss what’s all around us. But by taking the time to look for cool pictures, every little trail you walk on becomes a chance to see something new, or odd or beautiful or terrifying.

So, this is one of the things we’re doing on our relaxing vacation – Taking time to visually smell the roses.

Check out what we’re seeing on Instagram.

Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World (


Darren Lee

Vespa (

Allison (and check out her absolutely incredible blog)





And hey, thanks for reading this!  

If you like what you’re reading, please follow on FB, subscribe to my blog, or check out my coming-soon newsletter. Or, heck, just tell your friends, your baker, your accountant and your barista. 

If you want to support a starving writer, check out the coffee link at the top right-hand corner of the website.

Wedding Advice, Anyone?

All of me, loves all of her.
All of me, loves all of her.

I know what you’re thinking.

Joe, I need to know how to do the best wedding possible. How do I do that? How?

So let me tell you some things I learned. Not like I’m going to have another wedding, but for anyone else thinking about it, read on, cuz I is gonna get out my wisdom stick and hit you with it.

  • Never eat 2 plates of food while wearing a tuxedo and vest. Or a corset-like wedding dress. Unless you’re super fit or as lean as a zombie left out in the sun for 2 years. At our wedding, we were served 2 plates of food. 2! My buttons were one wafer-thin mint away from exploding out and killing someone. So, for safety reasons, go with one plate. Of salad.
  • Delegate! Have backup to look after the kids. Have someone assigned, multiple someones to help meet and greet people. Have someone to take care of the projector. To help set up decorations. To find the groom when he goes for a long walk with a bottle of jack in his hands. Like sex, do NOT do this by yourself no matter how much you think you need to.
  • Do a rehearsal at the wedding location with the wedding planner or co-ordinator. Know where the bar is. Know where people should go. Know where the bride will come from, where she will fine-tune her dress and make-up, where the groom and his party will gather to wait for her.
  • Find a good photographer. A good DJ. A good cake balls person. Make friends with the room captain (or buffet manager). Mike did our photography. Linda was our DJ. Jes did our balls. See, these people can make the wedding so much better and help alleviate the stress. They’ve been there. Done that. And they can ensure some of the most important moving parts of a wedding go smoothly. Find people you would LOVE to work with. Check out their reviews. Take the time to get this right. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference.
  • Plan as far in advance as you can do it. The day after I proposed, I started looking into venues and many were already booked 12 months in advance. Some were booked into 2017. Go to the places. Walk around. Get a sense of what it will FEEL like when you have your wedding there.
  • Have a dinner party before or afterwards. You won’t be able to talk to all the people you want to talk to. Maybe postpone the honeymoon by a day. Maybe have someone host a gathering the night before. We both missed talking to so many of our friends and family because we ran out of time. And there was dancing to do.
  • Eat something before the wedding. Oh, I know what I said about the dangers of bursting at the seams, but the preparation takes time, a wedding ceremony takes time, and the photographs before and after take time, and that last thing you need is to run out of energy or get a case of the hangries. This really applies if you have children. Like 2 boys. Eat well, even if you think you’re not hungry.
  • If you’re a groom, help out as much as possible. There are phone calls that can be made, RSVP envelopes that can be stuffed. Spreadsheets made. I tell you, it’s so much easier to just show up, but so much more rewarding to have been a part of the process. Not in control of the process, you understand.. A. Part. Of it.
  • “Go with your gut.” This from the bride. Pick your favourite colors even if they don’t match. Pick a theme that someone might not think is cool. Do something unconventional. Have or don’t have bridesmaids or a maid of honor/best man. Wear a purple vest or funky socks. Do the chicken dance. Don’t put baby in a corner.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. A bit of dirt on your shoe. One of your best men with his fly unzipped. A goofed up slideshow. Too tight underwear. Just remember people are here to share a moment with you. To be a part of something special. Something magical. It’s all about love. Not the weather or the food or even the dancing.

Links are below.

Newlands – great food, honestly. A bright venue, made magnificent by the autumn colors. Christa was awesome and always seemed excited by what we were planning to do. And Lynda, the DJ, did the most fantastic job of not only playing music but ensuring so much ran smoothly. She even found where us boys had been hiding, and pinned the boutonnieres on us.

The wedding cake (a book) and the incredible cake balls of Jes
The wedding cake (a book) and the incredible cake balls of Jes

Jes (Coat the Cakes) – OMG, good. If you didn’t get a chance to try one, I’m so sorry. They were to-die-for. She made an amazing book-cake, then created an outstanding display to surround it.

Mike K Photography – Maybe it was his time as a pastor or rock star, but he was both to me on that day. He went the extra mile and by all accounts, his pictures are brilliant.

Dress from Action Bridal and Formal Liquidators. And for the seamstress used, contact ABFL for a referral, she too, did such a great job. It was such an amazing dress and made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World look so incredibly beautiful.

For me, the wedding was the best I could have hoped for and I want to thank everyone who could be there to share it with us.