Do You Know What Your Legacy Is?

So much of who you are is connected to what you do: your passions, your practices, your regular routines. Life as you live it.

That’s how people remember you. Through moments you spend doing ordinary things. Effortless memories twined over decades.

The forested trail you walk the dog along every Saturday afternoon. The vegetable garden you tend year after year. The faded recliner you relax into – everyday for decades – and read the evening paper.

Your famous split pea soup with baking powder biscuits. Your penchant for all things sweet: pies, cakes, anything desert.

Your annual family trips to sun-soaked destinations: Mexico, Maui, Malaysia. The list goes on and is different for everyone.

Whatever your legacy, these are the kinds of moments Rob Jirucha, of Legacy: Documentary Photography, is in the business of capturing: the things people remember you by.

You’ve all heard the saying “a picture’s worth a thousand words”. I can’t compete. Best if you see for yourself. Check out the photos below for a glimpse at Rob’s work.

There’s plenty more where those came from.

Visit Legacy: Documentary Photography to learn more about the project, the photos, and Rob’s passion for people. You’ll be glad you did.

Let me know what you think.

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Petals Plus: Who Needs Words When Flowers Say so Much?

You love flowers. Not just because they’re unique and beautiful and smell good, but because they’re so expressive.

The joy of a sunflower, the delicate specificity of an orchid, the bold optimism of a daffodil in early spring, or the simple gesture of a single rose. Who needs words when flowers say so much?

Jane Travis, of Petals Plus Florist, couldn’t agree more. A lover of flowers, Jane’s dreamt of owning her own shop since she was ten-years-old. About a year ago, circumstance aligned with courage and Jane got her wish – Petals Plus, your full-service floral shop.

To the casual observer, Jane’s in the business of flowers. But, if you spend a bit of time listening to Jane talk about her customers, her work and her penchant for matching just about any occasion with the perfect flowers, you soon realize: Jane’s in the business of feelings.

Weddings, funerals, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day (don’t get me started) – the occasions people purchase flowers for are almost always emotionally charged, intimate, or otherwise deeply felt.

Whether you’re congratulating, thanking, apologizing or celebrating – flowers send a clear message.

Be it a bouquet, a corsage, a basket, a centre-piece or a display, Jane makes it her business to know the message you’re sending and to find the flowers that say it just right.

For flower arrangements as perfectly unique as you are, check out Petals Plus Florists at 201 – 3749 Shelbourne Street, Victoria, BC.

Yes, the photos posted here are just a few examples of Jane’s work. Thanks Jane!

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Fine-tuning Your Passion: Insights from the Piano Man

Follow your dreams. Make your passion your work. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Being passionate about your work is the gold standard of employment opportunities these days.

It’s a lot of pressure. Some folks spend years pondering, reflecting, educating, experimenting, in search of the right fit. Other folks just know.

Greg Davidson, of Topaz Pianos, just knew.

A lover of pianos (he has 12), and a master at tuning them, Greg’s played the piano since he was four years old: churches, dance halls, recitals, auditoriums, recording studios, restaurants – there’s nowhere he hasn’t played.

As a young man, Greg did a short stint selling Yamaha pianos before he quickly realized tuning pianos is much more interesting than selling them.

35 years later, Greg has a reputation for excellence. A master craftsman, he boasts clients as prestigious as the Victoria Symphony, The Royal and MacPherson Theatres, Government House, and as luck would have it, my roommate Anna.

Imagine my delight when Greg Davidson showed up in the living room to tune my roommate’s piano. “Do you mind if I get my Flip cam?” A good sport, Greg earnestly got to work, uninhibited by the camera or my prodding questions.

Want to see what it looks like to tune a piano? We sure did. Check out the video below.

Thanks again Greg, it was a pleasure to meet you.

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Soaking up Summer: Back Next Week

Remember when you were a kid and summer vacation lasted two whole months. That’s right, one month right after another.

Time seemed to expand as days rolled effortlessly one right into the next.

Oh, those summer days of youth: bike rides, halter-tops and sprinklers. Roasting marshmallows, campfire songs and calomine lotion. Ocean swimming (okay, maybe you were more of a lake person), skipping rocks and jumping off docks. Hours of uninterrupted novel reading. Entire afternoons spent eating Mr. Freezies.

(It’s true. If you factor in the time it took to walk to the store, hem and haw over orange or purple, purchase the Jumbo sized tube of frozen sugar water, and then massage chunks of ice up and down, sucking on the plastic until the corners of your mouth turned raw, you could easily while away the better part of an afternoon eating a Mr. Freezie.)

Sure, it wasn’t all blackberry pies and inner tube rides. Irritants like mosquitoes, stinging nettles and wasp bites helped to keep things real (not to mention, nothing good on tv). But, all in all, summer was a pretty sweet deal.

In case you haven’t noticed, here at the Minding Your Own Business blog, we’re feeling nostalgic for those long stretches of lazy afternoons spent soaking up summer. We also realize an important part of minding your own business is knowing when to take a break.

Yes, two months is a lot to ask for, we wouldn’t dream of it. But, we hope our patient readers will agree, a week’s a fair amount of time. This is a long-winded way of letting you all know we’ve, well, gone to the beach (with a novel) to soak up some summer before it’s too late.

We appreciate your patience. Don’t worry. We promise to be back next week — rested, rejuvenated, relaxed — and all fired up to get back to the business of bringing you thoughtful posts about cool and interesting businesses in and around Victoria BC.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below and let us know what soaking up summer means to you.

Thanks again for your understanding… now, where’d I put that sunscreen?

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Graffiti, Summer Camp and Vinyl Records: 3 Tips for Creating a Great Place to Work

You love going out for breakfast. You’re the first to admit you’re a breakfast snob. You can’t help it. You know what you like and that’s what you want: eggs, soft but not too soft; toast, buttered all the way to the edge; freshly brewed coffee, served hot. Not too much to ask for.

The folks at Cabin 12, in downtown Victoria, BC, know how to do all that, and then some. The brainchild and brawn of Corey Judd, Cabin 12 has a reputation for creating great food, from scratch, and serving it up in a comfortably funky atmosphere.

Under the steam of Corey’s resourcefulness, “The Cabin” opened a little over two years ago. Since then, circumstance spread its wings and Dan and Heather del Villano followed suit, joining Corey as a complimentary, not-so-silent, partners. The result: a thoughtful trio who balance skills, abilities and resources to get things done. In the process, they create a pretty awesome place to work.

Here’s what summer camp, vinyl records and graffiti have to do with it.

Summer camp: a nurturing and safe place to grow. 

When Corey worked at summer camp, Cabin 12 was the big cabin, with the welcoming front porch, where everyone hung out. That’s the atmosphere he aims to create: an inclusive, diverse, welcoming space where people feel safe, comfortable and nurtured. Not just the guests, but the employees too.

Corey thinks of the workspace at Cabin 12 as a healing space and a growing space. Uncomfortable with the hierarchical structure of most restaurant environments, Corey runs the restaurant on a mentorship system. The guy who washes the dishes gets treated with the same thoughtfulness and respect as the guy who cooks the food.

Yes, Cabin 12 is a restaurant. This means Corey is in the business of training people to work in a restaurant, but he’s also (perhaps more importantly) in the business of training people to be, well, people: boys into men, adolescents into adults. It’s about how you treat people. Everyone wants to be a part of something. Corey creates an opportunity for belonging: employees get as much out of it as they put into it.

Ideally, Corey imagines, over time, each staff member will have the opportunity to learn every aspect of the restaurant. That way, when they leave (eventually they will), they’re well positioned to start their own business. It’s like a video game, you start at one level and then you move to the next. The final level: your own dream.

 Vinyl records: the music sets the mood, but so does the service.  

You probably agree: music plays a big part in creating a mood. At Cabin 12, they have an impressive record collection. A steady supply of vinyl to compliment the comfortably funky atmosphere: brightly coloured walls, eclectic mismatched mugs, and honest, friendly service.

When it comes to atmosphere, the tone of the service is just as important as the tone of the music. At Cabin 12, the staff are encouraged, expected and empowered to contribute. You can tell. People treated well, treat other people well. It’s contagious.

People acting like themselves is comforting. Confident service is honest and engaging. It makes for relaxed customers. The tone of the service sets the tone of the customers. Like a well-produced record, Cabin 12 mixes individual styles to create a captivating medley much more interesting than the sum of its parts.

Graffiti: the writing on the wall and other ways to contribute. 

The walls at Cabin 12 are covered with paintings, photographs, drawings, posters: art of all shapes, sizes and styles. Those are just the front walls. The walls at the back of the restaurant are offered up to local graffiti artists – a space to make their art. What else would you do with a big blank wall?

Cabin 12 photo courtesy of Brennan Storr

Yes, Cabin 12 is a restaurant. But it’s also a physical space. Corey aims to make Cabin 12 a space that contributes. Interested in creating the possibility for something to happen – even the slightest twinkle of inspiration – the folks at Cabin 12 are generous with their space.

The art on the walls: a commission-less opportunity for local artists to show, and sell, their work.

Fundraising events: a free space for community groups to organize, host and gather.

Yes, Cabin 12 is about creating good food, from scratch, and serving it up in a comfortably funky and friendly environment. But just as importantly, Cabin 12 is about creating possibilities, good people and community.

If you haven’t already, check them out at 607 Pandora Ave. Open for lunch and breakfast, 7 days a week – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Or, check out their website for menus and more info about who they are and what makes them so cool.

As always, let me know what you think.

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4 Incredibly Fun Things You Should Know About Passion and Performance

We all have some kind of relationship to dance.

Maybe you were raised a ballerina – one class after another until your toes bled. Or maybe you took tap lessons when you were 7-years-old and decided you hated all kinds of dance – everywhere, forever.

Or maybe you spent the better part of your twenties at raves and dance clubs because it’s the only place you felt free. Or maybe you danced competitively for your entire adolescence, and now you’re in your twenties and you wonder what’s next.

Whatever your story is – whether dance is, has been, or secretly wants to be, your thing – Rachel Paish, owner of Passion and Performance Dance Studio, is your gal. A thoughtful, enthusiastic, talented, savvy young businesswoman/dancer/choreographer, Rachel’s excited about making dance fun and accessible to adults of all ages.

Passion and Performance weaves traditional classes (that’s the performance part) with non-traditional classes (that’s the passion piece) to offer something for everyone: tap, yoga, belly dance, chair dance, Burlesque and a whole lot more. Check out their website for complete schedule and class information.

Here are 4 exceptionally fun things everyone should know about Passion and Performance Dance Studio.

1. Sexy is fun! – Rachel believes expressing our sexuality through dance is a good thing. Passion and Performance Dance Studio creates an inclusive space to do just that: a space where the curious, the passionate, and the playful can explore and express the sensual, the sassy and the sexy. It’s a great workout too!

2. Pop culture class – Okay, this sounds fun. Explore the movement of influential pop icons like Michael Jackson and Lady GaGa. Students study the choreography and learn to perform dances from iconic music videos – “Thriller” for Halloween, Biance’s “Single Ladies” for Valentine’s Day, and a few more. A rare chance to perform like the masters!

3. Flash mob choreography – You’ve all seen one on YouTube, watched one on Oprah, or maybe you’ve come across one in your everyday life. Flash mobs are magical moments that transform ordinary spaces and regular looking people into vibrant groups of connected choreographed dancers: tens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of bodies moving together. Pretty cool. Now you can have your own. Ask Rachel about it.

4. Looking good on your big day – You, and your soon to be spouse, are keen to impress your guests with a memorable first dance. Let’s be honest though, you’re a far cry from Fred and Ginger. Rachel can help. She works with couples, weeks in advance of the big day, to choreograph unique first dances that match the couple’s style and abilities. Sure, it’s about looking good in public, but it’s also a great opportunity to connect. When else would you dance around the living room on a Tuesday night? Practice makes perfect after all.

This is just the tip of the Passion and Performance iceberg of fun. There’s a lot more to know, do and learn. Check out their website for more information, or contact Rachel at

Now it’s time to get your groove on. Let me know how it goes.

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South Island Studio: How Making Music Makes a Better World

Secretly, you’ve always wanted to play an instrument: the guitar, the piano, maybe the drums.

You know you’re not the next B.B. King, Thelonius Monk or John Bonham. In fact, you don’t aspire to be.

What you would like is to participate more fully in the music that happens around you all the time: your kid’s school concert, your neighbour’s backyard jam, your local music festival. In short, you want a deeper experience of the joy you see happening through music everyday.

You told yourself, early on; you’re just not good at music (whatever that means).  The truth is, you’ve never been willing to look bad, publicly, long enough to get good at it.

For whatever reason – wisdom, necessity, perspective – you’re over it. You’ve conceded: practice probably does make perfect (or at least better). You’re ready to try. Look out music lessons, here you come!

Meet Lonny Koch of South Island Studio. He couldn’t agree more. Music lessons aren’t about being the best, the greatest, or the most talented. They’re about creating a place for music in your life: a way to participate – enthusiastically, unabashedly, more fully – in the music that happens around you all the time.

Sure, making the world a better place is a tall order, but not too tall for Lonny and the crew at South Island Studio. Here’s how they do it:

They love music.

The five teachers at the South Island Studio love music. It’s a huge part of who they are and how they live their lives: they teach, they perform, they practice and they teach some more. Passion is inspiring. A teacher’s enthusiasm combined with a student’s curiosity is what South Island Studio is all about.

They meet you where you’re at.

You have a unique learning style, all your own.  The folks at South Island Studio get that. They tailor their lessons to meet students where they’re at. What worked for the 12-year old son of the guitar-playing doctor, might not work for you. That’s okay. They’re flexible. The goal: to maintain the fun, curiosity and inspiration that drew students to music in the first place.

Students come in all shapes and sizes.

Most of the students at South Island Studio are school-aged. Classes are run to coincide with the school semester. Lessons are private, but students commit for a semester of lessons. Not everyone’s a high-school student. They teach doctors, nurses, teachers, mechanics, folks, like yourself, of all ages, who’ve decided now’s the time to make music!

You’re never too old to try.

In case you’re getting cold feet (your resolve, of just a few short paragraphs ago, softening), let this man be an inspiration. What man? The 83-year-old man, who, after a lifetime of waiting, decided to learn to play the guitar: yep, lessons at South Island Studio. You can wait a long time for the right time, but it’s never too late.

Learn to play nicely with others.

Okay, so now you’re confident. You’ve overcome your fear of looking bad publicly and you’re ready to take your playing to the next level. You want to play with other musicians. Playing nicely with others doesn’t come naturally to all of us. South Island Studio can help. They offer workshops to help students learn to play music well with others. Rockshops!

They create and support community.

Twice a year, South Island Studio puts on a concert: a couple of bands, singers, guitar players, pianists – you name it. It’s a great opportunity for students to experience performing. You never know if you like something until you actually do it.

Maybe you’re not quite ready to perform on your own. That’s fine. Participation isn’t mandatory. Some students perform with their teacher: a nice warm-up to a solo performance.

There’s a $5 admission for the concert, all proceeds are donated to a local charity.

That’s how making music makes a better world. Thanks Lonny!

For more detailed information about lessons, teachers and schedules check out the South Island Studio website.

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