Saturday, December 15, 2007

views and gratitudes

this weekend is proving to be amazingly un-stressful and not what i had feared it would be. i'm done anything that needed to be done within the city....and have saved my last day before i go for cleaning, packing and wrapping pressies!

i'm so thankful for lists. my big ol' list makes it all feel so much less overwhelming. i got everything on my list done easily today, whereas two days ago i was sure i would i would be in complete chaos. fact at the moment i'm enjoying a delicious treat of french goat cheese on sesame rice crackers, cornichons and a glass of sweet white wine and feeling like i'm on holiday already.

i've been reflecting so much these days about what this year has been for me. it held unimaginable beauty. beauty that could not have occured without the really rough year and a half before it. thats gonna be a long post...but i'm already formulating it in my mind and look forward to getting it all from thoughts to words.

yesterday i got to hang out with my super amazing lovely pals who are 3 and a half. i've known them for a couple years and they are amazing little beings. i don't see them so often anymore so it was a real treat to have a day full of art-making and nature walks (i LOVE taking nature walks with kids...especially these two). so here is another addition to december views...which i must say i am thoroughly enjoying. i've recently started a photoblog but mainly to show my favourite stuff, kind of an informal online portfolio. but doing december views has been so good....just to share what i see. and to the lovelies that have commented...i'm super happy to make your aquaintence and be introduced to your blogs.

i'm heading out to watch some gay square dancing. yes, you read that right. some of the loveliest people i know in this city are part of the gay square dancing league. too cute! i'm so excited to see them dance!

so here are some of my views of a beautiful day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

make it all a little easier on yourself!

Okay...its four sleeps until i fly away back east to my lovelies in toronto and to hang with the fam.
And although today was supposed to be an oh so productive day full of shopping, wrapping and packing.
My body had a different plan for me. I slept. Almost all day. I had a really really long night shift (actually 3 in a row) with the loveliest of twin babies. My work is as a postpartum doula (in case you are one of the lovely new people i feel blessed to have visited me here via december views!)

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has a big ol' list right now, listing all that needs to be done.
Last night the first rush of stress arrived in my body, I thought of an old post by the lovely Andrea Scher about making things easier on ourselves. I can't stand feeling stressed....especially about something that is supposed to be a celebration of giving. so i've been sorting through ideas about how i can make this holiday season (and especially the next four days of getting ready) a bit easier on myself?

here's what i've come up with:
-make a star on 'the big list' beside things that need to be done in vancouver (it feels less overwhelming)
-order presents online (at places like etsy) for those folks i need to send things to far away
-be realistic about what actually needs to be done and what would just be nice to get done...for example i have shortened my list of who to send handmade christmas cards to a very select few.
-make sure to get good sleep, eat nourishing food and get outside for makes everything easier to handle
-releasing expectations!i had wanted to get all my shopping done in vancouver so i could have nothing to distract me from soaking up the loveliness of my friends. alas, i do have 6 days! so i'm releasing that expection and saving a few tasks for the 6 days i do have there!

how are you making the holidays easier on yourself?

and now for some more december views....yet another indoor views (it was pouring rain out there today....welcome to vancouver!) so here are some of the beautiful art pieces i feel blessed to have on my walls!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

three cheers for susannah

beauty arrived in my mailbox today.
a package sent all the way from the UK from a photographer i so admire, the great Susannah
this gorgeous image captivates so much of what I love about her work
its timelessness
its textured
its magical
its simply gorgeous

i was initially drawn to her photography because of our mutual love for holga cameras. her holga shots just blow me away!

and reading her blog is such a touching, honest, authentic experience.

so three cheers for Susannah please!

i'm chock full o' gratitude today for what she brings to the world!

simply beautiful

a beautiful day can come out of the most simple ones!
-a very lovely hair cut by my new friend andrea
-a delicious treat in the mail (that needs to be a post unto itself)
-a scrumptious salad of kale, cashews, goat cheese, cranberries and naam gravy
-a photo adventure in my apartment. i haven't left the house yet today so i thought i'd share what i see here!

Monday, December 10, 2007

december views

i'm a bit late in beginning, but i'm super excited to join in on 'december views'. lately i haven't felt like writing much and am all for speaking in photographs. also...with these cloudy days i haven't gone on many photo i'm eager to get out on some more december-views-walks and share what i see in my days.

so here are some of my views and adventures on main st. here in vancouver

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How to Cook Your Life

i'm so excited to see the film 'How to Cook your Life'.
do check out the trailer!

Monday, December 03, 2007

etsy love

Lots of new pictures up at my etsy shop and more and more to come!

I'm loving searching etsy for potential gifts and ideas for things to make!

to etsy.

its a rainy week in vancouver, after a beautiful few days of gently falling snow. as a non-car-owning individual, i found the snow to be a gorgeously blissful experience while drivers cursed as they clutched their steering wheels. but the snowman in the front yard is slowly dissolving into a pile of mush and i am missing life back east with a winter filled with snowfalls.
but only 15 more sleeps till i head back there for the holidays. i'm so excited to get back to both my family and my crew of beloved friends in toronto and just soak up the beauty of being in their company.

with love,

Friday, November 30, 2007

dear body

dear body

this week has been a struggle
my mind feels like a hurricane and
my eyes are obviously a waterfall.
i accept that i need to take better care of you
all month long, every single day.

but please,
can ya just bleed already?

love vivienne

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: what i wear (week four)

i love my necklace collection. though i never actually wear them all at once, as the picture called for...but nearly every day i am wearing at least one of them! that and earrings have become part of my 'uniform' of sorts.

my favourites include:

my joy necklace from superhero designs
my bird necklace i picked up at mabel & zora on alberta st. in portland
my zoecite and ruby necklace (the big green stone) that i got years ago on granville island
and the purple vintage beaded necklace that my mom gave me

check out more beauties and the things they wear here

Thoughts on Blogging

I've been kind of blog-absent lately. Life has been lovely and social and packed full of night shifts working with lovely sweet babies.

But also...

I've been pondering what role this blog has in my life. What I want from it, what I want to put into it, what it means to me.

After reading Keri Smith's post entitled 'warning: rant on blogging, read at your own risk' (look down the page a bit on this link for that title) a lot of these questions came to the surface that had rumbling beneath for a while.

I've been thinking about how much of this is 'ego'?
how much of it is wanting to be part of some blogging circle of women that all know each other and support one another?
how much of it is different now that people do occasionally read my opposed to when i started and it was almost a private journal of sorts?
where do i want this to go?

i do know why i read blogs. i am creatively inspired, i relate to life experiences and feel less alone, i love the way people tell stories, i am intruiged by their life experiences, i feel hopeful from reading blogs.

i expect i will always be a blog reader.

at the same time as pondering the future of ladyvivienne, i felt inspired to start not one...but two other blogs!

i've been realizing that it is becoming common for photographers to have a photo-blog...which is very inticing as it is a free way to show and showcase one's work. so i introduce to you: viva photography blog

the other new blog has arrisen out of a realization that my gluten intolerance is most likely celiac disease. i have been exploring a lot of celiac blogs and i'm loving how giving that community is with their recepies and experiences. i don't feel like there is a lot of room in my life to talk about living gluten-free, or should i say...i feel like i've talked so much about it to friends already that it doesn't feel like a subject i can talk much more about to them. to see this whole online community in which ALL they talk about is the deliciousness and beauty and challenges of living gluten free. so i would also like to introduce to you: deliciously alive. i do realize that i may be a bit of an outsider in that community...because i don't expect my blog to be offering recepies, but i do hope to give and recieve inspiration through it. i also don't want it to be only about celiac disease, but to be moreso about healing one's body and relationship to food.

i'm feeling very excited for both of these things.

i am sure i will keep posting here....i love participating in the Self Portrait Challenges, and sharing stories....and i will just keep on pondering what this blog means to me......

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the adventures of a culture crawler

a beautiful day
romping around in the rain
to my favourite building in vancouver (parker st. studios...aka the factory)
exploring 4 floors of artists spaces

being in the company of a dear friend that i haven't seen in 3 years.
i didn't realize how much i missed her till she was there with me again.
we've both done a lot of healing in the last few years
and said the words


throughout the day.

sunshine and layer-wearing-cold
romping around Strathcona
each block having at least 2 studios

my words are falling short today.
so i'll tell you in pictures:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

east side culture crawl

i am so excited for the east side culture crawl. Though i live far away on the west side...i am an east sider at heart. if you don't know vancouver....i'm sure there are similar neighbourhoods in your city: the artsy, young, cheaper rent, but sketchy in some parts east side and the fancy, lululemon wearing, pointy shoed, latte drinking west side.

The culture crawl is a big ol' open house of artists studios. there are painters, photographers, glassblowers, jewelers, writers, sculptors. It is gorgeous and inspiring to get a sneak peek into their lives as artists.

I'm particularly excited to get to the studio of the fellow who painted the first piece of art I purchased. Jordan Bent's art hits me...right there in the heart.

to see Sarah Race photography

and to check out the live/work art building the ARC that i've always admired from the outside!

and i'm just about bursting to get a chance to be inside what i often refer to as my 'favourite photo spot in vancouver' which is an old factory that is now art studios....called the Parker St. Studios as seen from the outside in the above picture.

i'm so ready to soak it all in!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: what i wear (week two)

i love my dansko red mary janes.
i got them on my birthday 4 years ago and although they make me feel purdy.
i had expected to do this post about my flowered rubber boots, but the beautiful wide open skies of today promoted purdy shoe wearing on the rare november day that my galoshes aren't necessary.

today was what i call one of my 'gentle days' in which i have to sleep off a night shift and feel low in energy. i like to try to be productive but also be gentle with the expectations i put on myself as being sleep deprived sure takes a lot outta you (as all you mammas out there know)!

so my photo walk (to the post office to get some v.i.p. packages out the door) turned into a gorgeous playful adventure. my red mary janes intice that i think!

check out more beautiful people expressing themselves through what they wear here.

Monday, November 12, 2007


its not every day you meet two people you admire and they place a seed of inspiration in the palm of your hand.

it was a night unlike any other.

i went to see mel watson and sam lohs (of the band fruit) at the railway club.

i arrived early hoping to get a good seat from which to take pictures of the show. the venue was alreay packed although the doors had only recently opened. i abandoned my attempts to get a seat, but did notice that mel and sam where both at the merch table.

now i must tell you...although i've thanked sam a few times after shows, i've never been able to bring myself to talk to mel. but things have changed in my world in the last few months...the pedistals that i've put musicians on have been removed.

so off i went. i ended up chatting with the two of them for a good while. at one point i mentioned that i live gluten free and they both immediately decided that i needed to travel the world finding gluten restaurants and recipies and turn these writings and photographs into a book.

um. excuse me? did someone just speak my dream aloud?

in the last days my mind has been flooded with the development of this idea. pages of notes in my journal...ideas transforming the idea into a bit of a different shape...but one that feels authentic. its drastically scarey to think about such a big dream but to find ways that i can start the dream now and hold the vision of the potential future.
details to follow...

the show itself was phenomenal. i ended up sitting at the very front, just before the stage...the perfect spot for a girl and her camera. my lovely friend kris was along side. it was truly one of the best shows i've seen in ages. i love when the connection between performers and audience feels like a friendship. with these folks it so is. theres so much laughter and play.

oh, its a good life.

Friday, November 09, 2007

sing now. do it loud.

i was just listening to some breathtaking new versions of miss glenna's songs. she's an ol' music pal from the days that i used to perform a wee bit in victoria. her live shows are so amazing and these new versions are so lush and lovely.

i start singing along unconciously and immediately.
my eyes are closed soaking in all these new supporting sounds accompanying her strong voice.
getting lost in the beautiful moments that music allows for.
when everything else is gone except for
what is coming in through my ears
and how it feels in my heart.

i've been thinking about how kris carr of the crazysexycancer fame inspires me to dance wildly to a song each day. i've been doing this each day lately, but being drawn to songs that bring me to that centred place. that bring amazement, gratitude and even tears to the moment. my life lately is good. i am happy. but some days i crave so much more.

i crave more love in my life.
i crave more expression of the love that is already that my love for music or photography.
i want love out loud. i want to live louder.

after singing along with glenna's four songs on myspace i had to take note of how comfortable i felt belting it out.
anyone who had lived with me, above or below me would be able to attest that i'm shy about belting it out. when i know no one can hear i turn the music louder, play guitar louder, sing sing sing louder.

it feels so right, so validating to know that i can belt it out here in my home without being self concious.
it validates that i am living in the right home.

perhaps its the frequent rockin' out on the grand piano that i hear upstairs.
or the unabashed singing i hear them do.
i'm so grateful that i can sing without fear here.

i'm beyond excited that in 2 nights i get to go see two of the members of one of my fave bands fruit at a lovely local bar. sooooo excited. i'm hoping to get a prime seat for some subtle live music picture taking. so looking forward to it. oh fruit...if you haven't heard of them i highly recommend going to their website jukebox and listening till you can help but admit you are smitten!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the night of her insistence

walking home in the rain today i started humming a song by a band i loved, but hadn't listened to since i started listening to my little pink vast collection of cds has been very ignored. i put on one of the Wyrd Sister's albums Raw Voice and immediately knew what song i was craving.

you know those songs that immediately make you close your eyes, put your hand over your heart and sing? that make everything disappear but the lyrics and the melody.

and you know those songs that you've listened to so many times and have always appreciated the lyrics but all of a sudden they hit you in the heart and you feel like someone just sang the exact words your soul needed to hear?

this is the song.

Night of Her Insistence

By the Wyrd Sisters

she finally understood it
the sadness of her life
the weight of her emotion
the gravity of light
she looked into the back of her mind
to see where she had been
and all she saw was the secret
and she could not look in

all those years of waiting
all those years of trying too hard
all those years of failing
pushed her down too far
she wearies of the geographies
that tell her who she is
she chokes on her philosophies
and all that she has been

when she finally put her foot down
she put her fears down too
she left them by the back door
and through the night she flew
away from her emotions
away from tricks of time
away from cruel devotions
she left them all behind

it was the night of her insistence
it was the day she found her will
it was the dream she'd always harboured
and harboured still
it was the night of her configuration
all the pieces finally there
and in that light of transformation

finally understood it
the sadness of her life
the weight of her emotion
the gravity of light
she looked beyond the back of her mind
to see where she had been
and there she saw the secret
and now she looked in

Self Portrait Challenge: what i wear (week one)

i love tutus. crinolines. layers and layers. especially pink ones.

not every day of course, but they have a super special place in my heart.

on rainy days in vancouver that are uninspiring for outdoor adventures, putting on my tutu and my winged tshirt makes me feel like the world is shiny despite the cloudy skies.

see more self portraits here.

Friday, November 02, 2007


this week my spirit has felt so revived.
i realize it has been a year now since i emerged from my depression.

i remember feeling like that grey cloud that was following above my head cleared up and although it wasn't exactly blue skies and a rainbow, i could feel that the pressure of the storm was over.

the relief of the storm being over had left me feeling grateful but having no sense of who i was after having let go of some of the really toxic parts of who i had become.

i no longer take care of everyones needs before my own.
i no longer had the energy to offer to friendships that weren't mutual.
i no longer drew people into my life that were looking for someone to save them (and have learned the boundaries to say no, when such energy comes to me)

but who the hell was i without all that had so defined me before.
for the first few months i was so concious of how i took up space.
so awkward in social situations, not really knowing how to connect with people

since then i've been up and down (gently, not dramatically though...thankfully). I've spent a lot of time alone, sometimes needing it and sometimes resisting being social.

The biggest and most defining gifts of the year has been discovering photography. i didn't see this coming at all. and now i'm knee deep in something that has changed the way i exist in the world. Photography has given me a new voice to my identity. On those days that i couldn't be in the company of anyone but myself, it gave me a new friend to fall for. I think what i value the absolute most about this new love of mine is how it allows me to value every connect with moments, to celebrate this details i could have otherwise slows things down to a pace in which i can appreciate each day.

so. this week its felt like another weight has lifted from my heart. i was able to be social without feeling like i needed to run home to recover from it. if you don't know me and met me in person, you might be surprised with all this talk of solitude that i'm actually a really outgoing person. i'm an outgoing introvert you could say, as i really get energized from being alone and although i often enjoy social encounters, i often feel drained from too much of it.

but i can't walk alone in the world.
nor do i want to.

its time to thrive.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


(click on the images for for a larger view)

Monday, October 29, 2007

surrounded and supported

So, I'm a witch.

Just in case you didn't know.

I feel like what i write on this blog only really captures one element of who i am. That said, what i am drawn to write here really feels like it is nourishing and encouraging my authentic self.

Still, there are so many sides of me I keep fairly private.

That said, I'm not kidding about the witch part.

6 years ago I was initiated into the thirteenth house mystery tradition, which is based in victoria, british columbia. when i moved away from victoria to vancouver, I left behind a really wonderful collection of women that I miss dearly. We circled monthy for the full moon and for many years we did what is called the 'tree of life chakra process' in which we spend a month working, meditating, processing in each chakra. i love that process and it has become something really integral in my life.

i've been living in vancouver for more than 2 years now, and i haven't initiated any connection with the wiccan community here other than to attend some public rituals. each year when i go to the samhain ritual it hurts my heart that this part of my life isn't at the forefront anymore. I don't even really do solo rituals except when in nature and the moment strikes me.

last night was the 15th annual reclaiming spiral dance and ritual in vancouver. oh i love this ritual. its so powerful and the spiral dance is an experience that i can compare to no other.

one of my favourite parts of the ritual is when we remember our beloved dead. we do a guided mediation in which we have the oppourtunity to connect with these beloveds, whether they are an anscestor or someone you knew who had passed on recently or long ago.

i'm not the best meditator and i tend to 'think too much' in this meditation rather than let it flow. but this year was different. as soon as the guide led us to the place where we would meet this person i was overwhelmed with the energy of my great grandmother, someone i truly adored. thats the best way i can describe it. i don't know if i was actually connecting with her spirit, but what i do believe i accessed was the essence of the love between us. i loved her so much. that love doesn't die. one of the most beautiful lines that is said regularly in this ritual is

'what is remembered lives'

and that i so believe. my love for gaggy (thats what we called her) overwhelmed my heart and tears dripped freely down my cheeks. two words clearly emerged from this meditation.

surrounded and supported.

i can still feel it in my heart. the ritual is an amazing place for us to mourn, unabashedly and publicly. there are a whole lot of tears shed. they speak the names of the newly born and the recently passed. there is also a whole lotta joy, so much play and an abundance of beauty and connection.

after the main ritual we began the spiral dance. i don't know how many people were there this year, but i suspect a few hundred. during the spiral dance we pass by each person a number of times. we are encouraged to make eye contact and i so love that. giving and recieving connected eye contact between perfect strangers is such a profound experience.

i felt so surrounded and supported.

after the ritual we feast on food that everyone brought to share. and feast we do.

i feel such healing from the ritual. more than other years by far. i so needed it and ache for more of that energetic space.

the last few days i have been more social than i've been in months. and i don't feel so overwhelmed by it. i will continue to take lots of alone time, but i do look forward to the connection that i'm gratefully soakin' up right now.

i want to end this with the words that we sing during the spiral dance (we probably sing it about 500 times!). As we began singing these words i realized how much they were actually a mantra in the last year of my life, though i didn't conciously intend it as so. Each day has felt like a new oppourtunity. Each change or broken chain has been a darkness i've worked through back into the light. And it all has been with the purpose of living more conciously awake.

Let it begin with each step we take.
Let it begin with each change we make.
Let it begin with each chain we break.
Let it begin everytime we awake.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

finding quiet in the city

Lately, upon waking, i gently ask myself what this day will bring. I'm working hard to not get in the 'i must go somewhere, do something, be something, make something of this day' in a frantic way....rather to figure out what i need intuitively of the day and accept what it is...when you follow your intuition its much harder to be dissapointed!

So yesterday I awoke and the beach was clearly present in my mind. It was a gorgeous blue sky day in a city that so often is rainy. Armed with all my photo gear i hopped on my beautiful blue mountain bike and biked down to the beach.

Like most bike rides or adventures of the day, there is some sort of food-centred stop (i love food...). It may be the gluten-free banana bread on grandville island, rice pudding on mainstreet or as today...lunch at the naam. deliciousness! i sat beside the most beautiful painting of a cow! (thankful to be eating soy).

Then, once perfectly to the beach. i'm so happy to share some of the gorgeousness that i saw there with you.

Spending this time on the beach reminded me of my days in Hilton Head when I would spend hours walking up and down the beach collecting shells. Taking pictures of waves, bent down in my skirt (i'm pretty sure i accidently flashed the people dining at the yacht club...oops!) i felt so calmed. I want to find a way to have more time with the elements... a walk through the ravine a mere block from my house, biking through the endowment lands by ubc (so much calmer than biking on streets), more beach-walking-meditation-picture-taking.

I'm also so excited to be part of the 'Small is Beautiful' bazaar over at Magpie Girl's gorgeous website. Check it out and get ahead on your holiday gift buying by supporting small-scale artists!

Another internet moment that made me smile today was seeing my picture as one of the favourites at the Self-Portrait Challenge.