We will begin this story in Canmore, AB where we recently photographed an elopement. Though the elopement would only take a half day to photograph, we had booked a few days at the Silver Creek Lodge (a really nice, affordable dog friendly resort) in order to get to know this popular mountain town a little bit better. We started our first morning by meeting our clients at their favourite spot in town – Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. At the suggestion of my lovely client, I ordered the Maple Eggel – a maple flavoured bagel toasted with an egg and cheese combo in the middle. I wouldn’t have normally ordered the Maple Bagel, but damn am I happy I did! That became my “regular” order throughout our stay. Lucas had the Rosemary Parm Eggel with added Ham and he, too, was very impressed. We also were thrilled to see they had Oso Negro Coffee as a part of their wide selection of brewed coffees. Oso is not only delicious, but sentimental to us, as it’s roasted in Nelson, BC where my brother has lived for over a decade. All in all, we loved eating at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co because of the chill vibes, friendly staff and unreal food and coffee. Can’t wait until we go back!
We brought our fur child Nelson with us, so we naturally explored the Dog Parks in the Canmore area. If you’ve been to a dog park, you know about the camaraderie amongst dog owners. Questions about the dog (“Which one is yours?”, “What kind of breed is that”, “How old is she?”) slowly transition into questions about the owner (“How long have you lived here?” “How do you like it?”). We met a few interesting residents with nothing but great things to say about Canmore. One of them was an author from Ireland, who moved to Canmore 14 years ago; the other, an owner of a local Cafe named in honour of his dog who passed on too young. The author told us about how Canmore inspires her work as a creative person, which I can totally understand. The entire town is surrounded by beautiful mountains and seemingly has nothing but happy residents in it. After chatting with the cafe owner, Brad, we decided to visit Black Dog Cafe for a couple of coffees (which we can never get enough of, apparently haha). Black Dog Cafe was really quiet at the time of our visit, and had really friendly staff as well. They also serve beer, wine and liquor (hello Baileys & Coffee) which is an added bonus!
We really enjoyed our time in Canmore, but felt an itch to continue on in our exploration. We decided to hit the highway (#1 –> #93 South) as it would be our first time driving together on the #93 South. The day had relatively bad visibility, so we couldn’t see all the beauty that this particular highway boasts. However, we did a few interesting stops where we were able to do a little bit of hiking! Stop #1 was at the trailhead of Boom Lake. We began the hike without checking the length (I know, total rookie move) and then got about 30 minutes into the hike and figured maybe we should turn around because we weren’t prepared at all with limited food and water. It turns out that it would have been a 3.5 hour hike round trip which we definitely could have completed with our supplies. We will have to do the full hike next time because the photos online of Boom Lake look incredible.
Stop #2 was at the Continental Divide: A place where the water flows either to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean, depending on which way it melts. That fact to me was SHOCKING. How can the water flow all the way to the Atlantic Ocean from here? It’s nearly 3/4 of the way across our country! The sign that boasts that fact is old and chipped, which makes me wonder about the proud people that installed the sign in the first place. Every letter looks hand carved. So very cool and such a great, authentic representation of the Canadian Rockies.
Stop #3 was Marble Canyon: a short hike just off the highway. The canyon itself is so beautiful. Water erodes the rock as it melts and flows from the tops of surrounding mountains. This thought has always been so awe inspiring to me… that something as seemingly harmless as water, with enough persistence, can leave it’s mark on something as strong and steady as rock.
After all of this exploring, we were getting tired and hungry. We decided it would be best to head back to our cozy hotel room. This is the evening we decided it would be a great idea to spontaneously book a room in Jasper for one night. This would mean we would drive one of the Earth’s top rated drives, The Icefield’s Parkway, to get there.
The day started early. We decided that we would take Highway #1A to Lake Louise. We had been to Lake Louise but never in the winter. Luke proposed to me in June 2016 at Moraine Lake which is on the way to Lake Louise! On the drive up, we couldn’t help but notice a little hotel off the side of the road up, Deer Lodge, looking cute as ever. Winter makes this place look straight out of Hogwarts. So we thought we’d stop in and have some lunch and cappuccinos before our trek to Lake Louise.
All fuelled up, it was now time to drive up to Lake Louise and crush a hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House (<– Click for more info!). The hike took us about 3 hours round trip and Nelson powered through the whole way, too! The tea house itself was closed for the season, but the hike itself was full of incredible views. I can only imagine how amazing it would be in the summer. But the best part about winter explorations is there are WAY less tourists. We had this whole place to ourselves which was so special.
Just after Lake Louise is the turn off for the Icefields Parkway– Highway #93 North: One of The Greatest Drives On Earth. No words can really explain the beauty of this highway. Regardless, you’re probably here for the pictures anyway. But I will say that it has a radiating peace about it, and that I totally understand why it’s the GOAT (greatest of all time) of roads.
You’ve gotta go here. Thanks for reading.
-Julia + Luke.
*All of the restaurant names when first mentioned in this article are clickable links to their instagram accounts!*
This was our third time to Mexico to photograph weddings this winter, and we had stayed on the resort grounds for the previous two trips. We felt so pampered on the resorts, but we LOVE to explore new spots. During our recent trip to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico (a resort area close by Puerto Vallarta), we had the opportunity to take a day trip to Sayulita. Having heard it called a “sleepy west coast surfer town”, we felt very compelled to check it out considering those are all of our favourite words put together. Hahaaaa.
If you haven’t been to Mexico before, you are supposed to ask the cab driver how much before you get in. In this case, our 45 minute cab ride was only 400 Mexican pesos (~$28 Canadian dollars), we also gave him a 150 peso tip. Among our conversation topics were his family, the area around us, and how much he disliked (to put it politely) Trump. The drive was so beautiful and we were marvelled at every turn.
We got there around lunch time, and we totally won the lottery when we stumbled upon Miscelánea Sayulita and decided to make it our first stop! There’s a little sign on the road pointing you towards the cafe, as it doesn’t have “streetfront”. Walking in, you can’t help but immediately notice the perfectly attended to details of the entire place. The space is cozy, and they leave the large doors open to the outdoor patio, letting in beautiful natural light and a soft warm breeze if you’re lucky. The menu boasts some incredible drinks, including the Latte Rosa – a beet cappuccino! Sooooo yummy. I could have spent all day in that cafe, but we new we had other places to see! So we continued on.
After this we thought we’d head to the main beach. It was now afternoon, and the beach was extremely busy with people playing soccer, relaxing, and of course, SURFING!
Our second stop was to a little bar called CAVA. It was extremely quiet in there, and we had the perfect spot for people watching. Another spot we could stay all afternoon. Among the beers we drank, a favourite was this Mexican craft brew from Cucapa, a brewer based out of Mexicali, Baja Sur.
After Cava, we decided it was time to find somewhere to eat! We took a quick stroll through the colourful cobblestone streets, and came across La Esperanza. It translates to “The Hope” in english. I’m still drooling about the food we had there. We grabbed a seat at the back booth, and started chatting with the couple seated next to us. They were from Vancouver Island (there are TONS of Canadians down there at this time of year), and they shared some really cool spots with us that they had been to. Among the spots was a place called Isla Marietas. We were so bummed to not be able to check it out, as we were only there for the day. It looks incredible and if you plan ahead, we think it’s definitely something you should do. I mean, if you’re into incredible scenery and beautiful hidden beaches and stuff. Haha. It’s basically looks like “The Beach” in real life. We’ll definitely be sure to go next trip. Anyways! We had some really incredible eats and drinks at La Esperanza. We decided to split the fish tacos and fish burger, and drank some Mezcal! As Lucas described Mezcal: Tequila is technically consider a Mezcal but is only made from a single agave plant ‘tequilana’ where as Mezcal can be made up from up to 28 varaities of agave. The Mezcal we tried had a wild smokey after taste that definitely sparked my interest more than any tequila has. I left out the part where he tells you I didn’t like it. Because I think mixed into a drink I could like it, just wasn’t in the mood for sipping it… :) Someone suggested mixing it with grapefruit juice and club soda, which sounds like the best beach drink of all time. Here are some images from our La Esperanza experience:
Sadly, we were too hungry to take photos of the delicious food there. You’ll just have to go see it for yourself :)
We decided it was time to go for a real stroll around Sayulita. If you don’t get lost in a place, do you really ever learn about it? We started to walk up a cobblestone street, and after a few wrong turns we found ourselves at what seemed to be a highway with a small mall near it. We saw this hip lady walk out of a shop and asked her which way to the beach. She pointed us in the right direction, but we figured we should check out where she came from. It turns out it was Terrenal Sayulita – an organic shop! They had all kinds of stuff in there, but we ended up bringing home a bag of their locally roasted organic coffee! Which I am currently sipping on as I write this… mmm :-)
With our new loot, we headed back to the heart of town. We came across an inviting restaurant called Ino. We grabbed a seat at the bar and asked the bartender for some Mexican Craft Beers. He suggested Pedra Lisa! It was a delicious, hoppy IPA. Perfect for a hot day! We then asked the staff what we should order. They suggested the pizza, as it’s woodfired and delicious. We went for the traditional Margharita and we were so happy and satisfied, but also so full as this was our second Lunch of the day. We figured that it was time for a swim.
Lucas had heard about a beach called “Beach of The Dead” or Playa de Los Muertos, which was a smaller beach past an old cemetery on the South West side of Sayulita. Sounds… cool? Scary? Whatever, when in Sayulita right!? Along the way, we walked past a mix of a few construction sites, the cutest little stray dogs (SO hard for me not to pet those little cuties), vendors carrying around fresh donuts (if we weren’t so full we def would have bought one), beached fishing boats, outrageous beach front mansions and quaint bed and breakfasts. Then we came across the sign.. “Playa de Los Muertos” with an arrow. We took a left turn onto a quiet gravel road. We walked past a few resting construction workers, then after a short walk we saw it! The cemetary! The graves were totally what you’d expect of a Mexican cemetery… a celebration of life, full of colour and photos and candles and flowers. What a beautiful place to be put to rest. Out of respect we didn’t take photos of the cemetery, but as I write this I regret it because I’m sure those souls would want us to share with everyone to see how beautiful their graves are. Past the cemetery was the entrance to the beach. This beach had only a handful of people at it. I went straight to the water. We saw a group of girls my age walking over the rocks on our right side…where could they be going? Lucas went to check it out. Past the rocks was an even smaller beach, which only had the group of girls and another couple at it. He called me over. We sat on the big rocks at the back of the beach and took deep breaths in and realized how freaking amazing our life is at the moment. We went for a swim! Another place I could have spent a whole day at.
The sun was getting a bit low, so we decided to head back to town to quench our thirst! We stumbled upon a restaurant called La Rustica (their instagram game is off the hook, check it out). We were really impressed with the overall aesthetic, and the kindness of the staff. It seems to be pretty consistent in all of our restaurant experiences in Sayulita! We were still full from our two lunches, so we just settled in for some drinks. I had a Cabernet wine and Lucas had a lager. Nothing too fancy, but we really enjoyed our experience!
Next time we will stay for longer, surf, and try even more delicious restaurants.
If you’re still reading this, thank you for following along! I hope this blog post encourages you to head south to Sayulita. We can’t wait for our next visit.
-Julia & Lucas
PS - What did you think of this article? Do you want more articles like this? If you’ve been to Sayulita, did you go to any of the spots we mentioned? Tell us your thoughts!
Hello world! Welcome to our new blog :) Here we will occasionally share our thoughts, experiences and tips that we’ve figured out since beginning this business a few, short years ago.
We got married this past October, and from planning a wedding, we definitely feel empowered to share a few things that we learned along the way.
- NUMBER ONE: Planning a wedding isn’t (or doesn’t have to be) as stressful as everyone makes it seem! Being organized is numero - uno. If you aren’t keen on the idea of planning this on your own, I’d advise you to revisit exactly what it is that you are fearful of in planning this wedding. Like anything, it all seems so abstract and overwhelming until you break it down into bits and pieces. Make a list of the top three things that are most important to you; Florals? Outfits? Photos? Decor? Catering? Venue? The list goes on… and NO, this list doesn’t have to include everything that you saw at your cousins wedding last summer or everything that your mom is telling you that you need! Which leads me to my next tip…
- NUMBER TWO: This is YOUR day, together, celebrating YOU TWO as a couple! Make it as personal to you as possible. Ask vendors to meet with you before you hire them to see if your vibes match! We hired a commissioner that fully understood us as a couple. She asked us questions like “what is important to you?” and “how did you meet?”. We searched around for a lodge that had huge windows and sat on a mountain side, but also served as what our guests described as “a big house party”. We didn’t have a sit down dinner, and just had appies on the go everywhere. Not everyone had a specific seat, but this way had everyone mingling and later on, DANCING! Exactly what we wanted. We also had an open mic period, and soooo many great speeches throughout the night. Our dear friend Desiree Dawson even sang a beautiful tune. Make decisions and try to do things differently. Just know that you don’t “need” to have what everyone thinks you need to have to make your wedding day great.
- NUMBER THREE: Discuss a budget and stick to it. Understand that you get what you pay for. Expect to compromise on some things, but not your top 3 as discussed previously. Ask friends and family to help out. They will be honoured to spend time with you helping you prepare for your big day. It took a village to put on ours, and I’m so grateful to every pair of hands that it took to make it happen.
- NUMBER FOUR: You don’t have to invite everyone. And you don’t have to make sure everyone is okay with every decision you make. If you are a Grade-A people pleaser like me, there will be points during planning your wedding that you may feel somehow selfish for having the wedding that you want to. And as stated before, sometimes that means compromises, but people will understand, and if they don’t, then why are they even in your circle?
- NUMBER FIVE: Show your wedding vendors exactly what you want, but give them the freedom to “do their own thing”. We’ve been sooooo lucky so far with our amazing clients. They just get to be themselves and give us creative freedom. If I notice a person with a more specific vision, I ask if they have photos to reference. Then everyone is on the same page and beautiful things happen! I’ve been to weddings where the girls are in the salon for two hours, and end up not totally loving their hair or makeup. Bring photos and show the artists what you have in mind, and I’m sure they can make whatever you have in mind happen for you! We asked our friend Jess Smith Music to play some music for our guests before we walked in, and she ended up writing us a song because we just said “do your thing girrrrl”.
- NUMBER SIX: Okay, this one might sound crazy! I did my OWN MAKEUP for our wedding. All of my bridesmaids did! BUT, I got Face By Meagan and her team to come in and teach us how to do our own makeup. WE KNEW NOTHING. None of us. Like, nothing, nadda, ziltch. Any of us. So the morning of my bridal shower, we all got together, had mimosas and learned how to do our own makeup. It was so much fun! And now I actually know how to do my makeup. I really loved my makeup on the day of my wedding. I totally felt like myself, but a glamorous, more bad ass version. *It should be noted that I also had a super amazing friend Emily help me apply my lashes. She had taken years of dancing and so was a pro. This takes practice!*
- NUMBER SEVEN: Don’t over Pinterest it! Yes, you can borrow ideas from it (heck, that’s what the internet is for!). Most of us haven’t planned a wedding before, so consulting with Pinterest is an obvious and beautiful thing to do when freshly engaged. Just take those ideas and find ways to make them your own! It’s super rewarding. Sometimes, the simpler and more personal, the better. Just do you.
- NUMBER EIGHT: The real Floral Bouquet is worth it! Even if you have no other florals at your wedding at all, treat yo’self with a beautiful Bridal Bouquet. You can dry it and have it as an indefinite piece of artwork in your house. Hire a GREAT Florist that understands your vision. I had a big wild bouquet, shoutout to the gals at The Green Petal, but had pretty simple but beautiful greenery elsewhere!
- NUMBER NINE: Keep it simple! Having everything in one or two locations throughout the day ensures everyone is (hopefully) on time, safe and stress free! For the non-traditional folk, having a “first look” before the ceremony will actually allow you to transition directly into your reception from your ceremony. It is also such an intimate way to see each other. It takes stress away from walking up the aisle, knowing that you’ve already had a chance to give a great-big-bear hug to your significant other. It doesn’t take anything away from the experience either, I think if I was feeling any more emotions as I walked up the aisle, my head would have popped right off! Ha!
- NUMBER TEN: When the week, the night before, the morning of rolls around, remember why you are doing this in the first place, and all the stress will melt away. The people that are with you are there to help, and are just as excited/nervous as you. So when the tensions inevitably rise at some point on the road to your wedding, take deep breaths and know that it’s the marriage that matters most. My cousin gave me a great tip the night before my wedding–don’t forget to WRITE DOWN how you are feeling the night before, and your favourite memories of the wedding day as soon as you have a spare five minutes to! Being able to go back and reflect on this is really powerful, and will be cherished forever.
OUR AMAZING VENDORS:
Our Venue & Catering: Lizard Creek Lodge
Our Photographer: Lisa Klassen
Our Florist: The Green Petal
Julia’s Dress: Zarucci from Sweet Pea & Noelle
Luke’s Hat: Stetson