Category Archives: Year in Review

Don’t feel seen by your #topnine2017? Choose your Own!


You’re probably seeing lots of folks post their best 9 photos today as the year ends and we’re look back…and getting ready to move forward.

I’m all about tools for looking at our visual story so when I first heard about this tool a couple years ago, I was mighty excited. You can find the 2017 BestNine site here. It gathers together the nine most liked photos on your Instagram feed in the past year.

Except when I tried it a few years ago, I was surprised at what I saw. I was caught off guard at my reaction to it. It’s the one up top there on the left.

For saw that for someone who pretty much posts selfies, I was barely in my own top 9. That seemed so unexpected. There were lots of flower photos that folks liked but well, I’m not a flower photographer.

At first it actually really bothered me. Did people not want to see my selfies? Am I driving them crazy with all this talk of body acceptance and selfies when all they wanted was serene nature photos? Don’t worry, I know that’s not the case but just wanted to share my now internal dialogue at that moment (which of course is often fairly off base and reactionary).

Well, thankfully…I got over it and made my own best 9.

The lesson being of course, that we don’t have to define ourselves by other people’s likes and comments. Sure, it’s awesome when it does help us feel seen by others but we can’t define our worthy by that. We can’t only post what we think other people want to see. I actually see that happening in some ways in the body acceptance community which worry me (and honestly feel like diet culture imagery in a new form) but that’s something to rant about in another post!

All that to say that if you don’t feel seen in what other people are ‘liking’ the most…make your own.

Define your own visual story.

Create your own vision of your life, through your own lens.

Let yourself be seen by YOU first and foremost and prioritize that vision. 

When I talk about the concept of #takeyourselfieforyourself that’s what I mean. Make sure you’re clear on what YOU feel about your self and the images you share first. Share what makes YOU feel seen rather than trying to please everyone else and post what you think you ‘should’. Because when we let ourselves feel seen by ourselves first and foremost then likes and comments become a bonus rather than where we define our worth. 

And yes, the last few years of best nine photos were a good challenge for me in that case!

In a way I think it’s a good thing some years for us to have a different perception of ourselves than of what others want from us. It’s often where we wake up to our own needs, our own internal voice, our own self-definition. It can wake us up to where we feel missing in our own story and where we want to choose to narrate it differently.

My best nine this year…I LOVE and you can see it here. Mostly because it has lots of photos of my sweetheart and I as well as some other pivotal moments of the year like when I did a workshop and we all gave the camera the finger (fuck the patriarchy style) and I took that centre photo after. That one makes me smile big time!

I’m still going to make my own version too, though it will still include lots of those couple photos as that was a pretty pivotal and wonderful part of the year (yup, the be your own beloved lady is letting herself be someone else’s beloved again)!

So I want to challenge you, if you don’t dig your best nine of this or any year. Make your own. What are YOUR top nine images you shared in the past year. Which ones mean the most to you? Which ones allow you to feel seen in the way you are yearning to?

It might even be a powerful reflection practice to look at what people celebrate you sharing and whether that fits with what YOU want to share, how YOU feel seen, and what lights YOU up. And if you found that you weren’t in any photos on your top 9 because you’ve been avoiding the camera… and you’re waking up to the fact that it’s time to get back into your own visual story and let yourself be seen, come join me for the upcoming session of Be Your Own Beloved and I’ll help you re-emerge into visibility as we explore selfies as a tool for self-compassion!

If you have posted your best nine, I’d LOVE to see it whether it’s your own version or the websites version! If you’re on Instagram use the hashtag #beyourownbeloved (especially if you have selfies as a part of your mosiac this year) or share a link in the comments here so we can find you and see your look back at 2017!

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2017 Selfies in Review


It’s been a long time tradition of mine to do a year in review of the self-portraits I took in the past year. These days we can often do that by looking back at our Instagram feed, but I find that when I do this process at the end of the year, I ditch any pressure to pick images that others might like and really choose them for myself (though I try to do this all the time with social media too).

It’s really powerful to look back at the story the images tell together. To see the images you might have struggled with in the moment but wouldn’t leave out now because of the pivotal part of the story they tell.

Wanna try it? It can even be as simple as taking 2 minutes to look back at your Instagram or  or use this as a prompt for your own blog post and ponder things like:

Which ones feel like they tell the story of your year?

Which ones embody the ways you have grown/healed/changed throughout the year?

Which photos jump out at you?

What about this year feel important to be a part of the narrative you want to tell about this year (cause remember…we get to be the narrators of our own story)?

This year looks and felt quite different to me selfie wise, I think largely because I spent the year before and this year teaching the Body Peace Program. I’m grateful for the ways it has helped and changed folks who took part and it helped and changed me too as I was putting what I practice into action in an even deeper way than before.

There were some conscious things I was doing differently in my self-portraits and I definitely see that in these photos. Alongside the ways I usually like moving or standing in my selfies I challenged myself to step further out of my comfort zone and take a lot more selfies from angles that I was more unfamiliar with in my images.

I talk about how when we expand our comfort zone, our compassion grows to meet it and I most definitely felt that this year. The perspectives and images that I took photos from might be more ‘unflattering’ to someone else but to me they felt like I REALLY let myself see my body this year and the more I did, the more I didn’t react to these photos with any sort of critique. I can’t control what everyone else might think but I sure can control what I believe about my body and this year I chose to expand my own capacity to believe in my body and how I saw it.

In particular I felt like I had been taking photos that hid my belly. I took a LOT of sideways selfies this year as that’s the part of my body I wanted to invite in even more compassion for. And while I didn’t hide it so much, I wanted to see more of my chin, more of my arms, more of the signs of hitting 40, more unexpected and unfamiliar angles. I wanted to seek out the places I still struggled with seeing myself in images and make space for body compassion to sink in even deeper.

This became a practice. I’d catch myself taking the ‘usual’ perspective and challenge myself to go further. Some days I’d be up for it, others I wouldn’t. Sometimes the photos would REALLY challenge me (like the seated beach photo) but I’m glad they did because those are the ones that really changed me this year.

I started this year at a cabin I was renting with a friend and you’ll see lots of the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia in these photos. You’ll see the story of my love for my Vancouver Neighbourhood and Garden. I also fell in love and moved this year to Victoria, BC to be with my sweetheart so you’ll see that unique landscape and the process of connecting to place there as a theme in my images.

You can also check out previous years Selfies in Review Posts here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 (yes…I missed last year and I hope to go back and do it…which was why I wanted to make sure I got back to this practice this year).

And I’ve got to say this year might be my favourite year to look back on yet. Not because the pictures are fancier or ‘better’ because to a photographers eye they may not be. But that practice of getting more of our body, and SEEING our body from not just ‘flattering’ angles. Well, it works. Many of these photos are ones I didn’t post on Instagram at the time as I was doing the work of seeing them with compassion and took them for myself first and foremost (cause while it’s mighty powerful to share our images in our body acceptance process…they also don’t have to be seen and liked by others to be worthy…it’s okay to keep the process as a personal practice)!

So here is a look back at 2017 through my lens.


























Especially if you have started taking selfies this year…what about gifting yourself with doing a post like this?  Look back on each month of the year and pick your favourites or pick your top 12 of the year as a whole?

Why not gift yourself with this time even if you just look back on your year and acknowledge what happened, what has changed and how far you’ve come with stepping into the story of your life through your camera?

Or if you’re wondering how to make 2018 a year where you get your camera out more and step into your visual story…join me for the Be Your Own Beloved E-Course, or if selfies aren’t your thing join me for the new Re-Envision class (a rare non-selfie e-course) or if the idea of expanding your compassion towards yourself sounds like something you are drawn to, join the info list for the Body Acceptance Selfie Series 2018!


Join a Be Your Own Beloved E-Course

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  • BrianaDecember 29, 2017 - 12:12 pm

    Brilliant work, Vivienne! I do feel inspired to reflect on my year based on my selfies. Thank you for the idea!
    Blessings to you,

  • RosarioJanuary 8, 2018 - 8:46 pm

    I wanted to make it to the bottom to say yeyyy!! your blog and pictures really, first showed me in a crude way how much do I hide from myself!!!!

    and secondly they really invited me, from the deepest of your heart to the deepest of my heart to dare to see me in all my ugly looks.Thank you so much!  As soon as I have the money I will for sure take your courses.Thank you for so much!ReplyCancel

A Look Back at 2015 in Self-Portraits


Every year for the past few years I’ve done one of these end of the year posts, a round up of my favourite self-portraits from the past year.

It can be mighty powerful to gather our favourite images from the past year together, to see the story of these individual images and the visual narrative they capture for us collectively.

You can check out the 2014, 2013 and 2012 posts here:

One thing I noticed happening this year was an epic return to using my DSLR. It wasn’t something I had as an expectation of myself, but happened largely because it felt joyful and extra magical to use my DSLR again. I think a lot of that magic was sparked since my friend Sylvia showing me this app and using my iPhone as a remote and to frame photos. Being able to frame my photo that way felt like it opened the door even wider to getting creative with self-portraits!

These posts are also so important to me, to bring together the visual story of the year. As always, there are stories underneath what you as the viewer will see in these.

Some of epic moments, like the story of standing on those cobblestones street in Riga, Latvia sorting through the emotion of coming home to a place I had never been but felt connected to my whole life. Or the stories that you’ll see in the October of my travels in Scotland and Ireland and how deeply nourishing that trip was. I travelled abroad more this year than I have ever in my life (I’d only ever been out of North America once before this year, to Ireland). Or that day there was suddenly a beautiful and fancy chair just sitting right in the middle of one of my favourite photo spots and it turned into an epic selfie photo shoot, the kind I’d hope to offer to a photo client and that I had to push myself to offer to myself. Or that moment drinking a glass of Rose on the Oregon Coast with truly lovely friends staring out in the Ocean looking for whales.

Others, of simple moments like that moment before the sun set in the pinkish photo taken near my parents place. Or the regular photo walks around my neighbourhood standing in those beautiful pink petals or that last ray of light of the day. Or that day when my inner protector let her voice be heard.

An unexpected muse of this year turned out to be this small koi point in the community garden. I’d put my camera on the ledge on one side (carefully of course) and stand on the other side often with the photo focused on the lotuses that grew there. It wasn’t my intention, but the imagery of the lotus representing self-compassion feels so woven into these photos and into this year, moving to a place this year in my own body love and self-compassion journey where I was able to settle into a place where all the work I’ve been doing these years to let go of the old stories of self-critique feels more embodied, more a part of my new normal and opened up to a more peaceful place with myself this year.

If you have a draw to try this kind of post on your blog…I highly recommend it! It takes a bit of time to gather them (I organize my photos by month throughout the year which helps) but seeing them altogether is a really powerful year end reflection exercise. This year I’m thinking of gifting myself with printing each of these years out in a soft cover book like this one and be able to look back on these years and the stories they hold for me.

So here they are, my favourite photos of this year.


























  • Susan BorrerDecember 11, 2015 - 2:52 pm

    OMG that app is SO! MUCH! FUN!

    (I may now have multiple shots of me tying my shoelaces!)ReplyCancel

  • Alison MiyakeDecember 12, 2015 - 5:26 pm

    Oh, these are all so beautiful, Vivienne! I hope you do make a whole bunch of photobooks. I am thinking about doing the same. It really feels like a good way to wrap up the year and start thinking about new dreams. And thank you for linking back to the timer app post. I realised I hadn’t read it (remember we talked aobut it in Vancouver?). Will check it out today!

    Lastly, I would truly love it if you wrote a post about how you organise your photos. When you take so many, it must be difficult to keep up. I put mine in monthly folders, and upload some to Flickr, but don’t do any tagging or labelling or printing out. Need to do more printing out! A great idea I saw yesterday is to print small ones (like the little Polaroids, put them on carboard, add lots of washi and then hang them on your tree at Christmas. I am totally stealing this idea!ReplyCancel

  • ErinJanuary 10, 2016 - 8:59 pm

    All of my faves are in this post. I loved getting to know you through your selfies this year, and can’t wait to see where 2016 takes you.ReplyCancel

  • Anne JutrasJune 14, 2016 - 7:51 pm

    Hello Vivienne!
    Your pictures are simple amazing! Love the light, love the pose, love the emotion. Each photo are so beautiful and it’s amaze me even more to know that is self-portrait. Fabulous!ReplyCancel

A Look Back at The Hours Project


About this time last year, I got invited to participate in a really wonderful collective project for 2015 called The Hours. I loved the idea behind it where each month, all of the photographers involved were going to take a photo at the same hour (in their own time zone of course). We started in January at 7am, February at 8am and so on…leading all the way to 6pm in December.

Each week more photographers photos are shared and my last photo of the year just went up on the Hours Website today (you’ll find it under the 6pm clock) so I thought in honour of the year coming to a close I thought I’d share a look back on the photos I shared for the project throughout the year.

I decided right from the start to make them self-portraits. Looking back, it would have made it a bit easier to have the subject matter wide open, but well…being a part of the visual story is just what I do. But other than a bit of myself in it, I let there be no pressure for it to be a certain kind of selfie so a lot of them did end up to include my hands!

I’m really glad I took part as it pushed me to get out and take photos in hours that I normally wouldn’t. I go on regular photo walks throughout the week but they are often in the 12-3pm range or around sunset during the springtime so this was a great challenge especially in the earlier and later hours of the day.

Head on over to the Hours website to check out the images from all the photographers!

7 am


8 am


9 am


10 am


11 am 


12 pm


1 pm


2 pm


3 pm


4 pm


5 pm


6 pm


  • sharahDecember 6, 2015 - 8:14 am

    Those photos are so cool! I love seeing the entire collection together all at once. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • LeónDecember 6, 2015 - 9:40 am

    What a terrific project! They’re all great, but I especially like the light and airy feeling of 2 pm, and I love “LOVE” at 6 pm! Wonderful job, Vivienne.ReplyCancel

  • Alison MDecember 20, 2015 - 10:55 pm

    These are all beautiful. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

A Look Back at 2014 in Self-Portraits


Each year I like to make a point of pausing at the end of the year to look back at the visual story of the year that my self-portrait practice has created.

Wanna try it? It can even be as simple as taking 2 minutes to look back at your Instagram or Flickr Feed (where ever you share most of your photos) or use this as a prompt for your own blog post and ponder things like:

Which ones feel like they tell the story of your year?

Which ones embody the ways you have grown/healed/changed throughout the year?

Which photos jump out at you?

What about this year feel important to be a part of the narrative you want to tell about this year (cause remember…we get to be the narrators of our own story)?

It always feels powerful to gather the photos together. Which ones feel important? Which just make me smile? Which ones do I even leave out and why?

I suppose I really do these posts for me (which is why I wanted to invite you to offer yourself the same) but I also hope that they’ll be of inspiration to pull out your camera more next year and be in the visual story of your own life!

You can check out the 2012 post here.

And the 2013 post here!

I confess 2014 began intensely. My beloved Grammy passed away in late January and my heart was broken. Self-care had to be at the forefront as grief took hold and I really wasn’t sure how the year would go. Thankfully, as the year progressed it gave way to lots of adventures, time with family and of course, a whole lot of teaching and self-portrait taking. Looking back on these photos I see the stories woven in the spaces between these photos, the ones that you have to have lived it to know.

I see a woman who has been truly lucky to go on some mighty fun adventures this year to the Bay Area, Nashville and who also really began to take advantage of the beauty that my own city holds and get out exploring it more!  I also see a woman who returned again and again to taking photo walks as a way to offer myself care and compassion, especially in a year like this one where it felt more vital than ever. I also can’t help but notice how the way I dress has changed. I felt less afraid to show my body this year (though my body didn’t change…I did) and there are more bare arms and more short wearing in these than I could have imagined!

I see peace making, adventuring, grieving, healing, walking, wandering, light catching and a whole lot of dancing!

So here is a look back at 2014 in self-portraits (all taken with my DSLR)!































Especially if you have started taking selfies this year…what about gifting yourself with doing a post like this?  Look back on each month of the year and pick your favourites or pick your top 12 of the year as a whole?

Why not gift yourself with this time even if you just look back on your year and acknowledge what happened, what has changed and how far you’ve come with stepping into the story of your life through your camera?

Or if you’re wondering how to make 2015 a year where you get your camera out more and step into your visual story…join me for the Be Your Own Beloved E-Course or if an E-Book is more your style, check out the Beloved Camera E-Book!

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