Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reader Showcase: Your favorite photos

For my first-ever Reader Showcase, I asked for you all to submit your favorite photo of yourself. Whether it was a memorable event, a favorite outfit or a beloved time in your life, many of you had beautiful pictures to share.

Putting this together was a wonderful experience. In a world that often focuses on faults in women's appearances, it was rare and refreshing to see so many embrace who they are. Below are stories of self-love, confidence and personal triumphs:

This is my favorite photo of me for a few reasons. My eyes have always been my favorite physical feature of mine, and I think this picture really shows off their cool yellow sunbursts. That said, I've always been insecure about the asymmetry of my face, which definitely comes across in this photograph. I think it wasn't until I took this photo that I made peace with my imperfections. At first, I loved the photograph, but hated how I looked. Then I realized that not only am I probably the only one who notices them,  those quirks are also what gives my face character.  And, gosh, how could you not love beautiful fall leaves and light? 

Elena, Caffeinerd 
The attached photo is the first one that came to mind. It was taken right after I moved to Milwaukee in August. I feel like it captured a moment of utter giddiness. I had just finished my Master's degree, moved in with my boyfriend in Milwaukee, and was about to start a new job. On this particular night Adam and I had been to a (very decadent!) wine/cheese tasting at the local market, and I couldn't resist picking up an Eiffel Tower shaped chocolate for the walk home. I just remember feeling silly, happy, and like my "grown-up" life was finally starting. Liking the outfit doesn't hurt, either!
I dont know why this is one of my favorite photos, really. Colin Ferguson being in it certainly helps!! It just really looks like me, gray hair, wrinkles and all. Im really happy here. Hubby and I were having a fantastic time at DragonCon, I was meeting tv stars that I adore and it was just a good day!! This isnt a put on smile for the camera. Its a real, genuine Joy smile!

Okay, I know it seems like cheating since I photoshopped a monkeyface on here, but this photo makes me so happy because it captured me celebrating my 30th birthday with silliness and style!  I love how confident I look as I'm approaching the camera in spite of my new grown-up age.  I dress like a thirty-year-old (usually) but I still have a little-girl's heart & humor, and I love that this photo celebrates those qualities!


This picture was taken soon after my PhD defense last spring.  [The star is there because I'm sure my advisor would prefer not to be on a style blog.]  I love this photo because I am SO freakin' happy and excited!  In our group, it's tradition that we toast with champagne and then sign/date the empty bottle.  All the bottles from PhD grad students in our lab are on display in the student office - I was #49! Definitely a happy happy moment and one that I won't forget.  

I struggled to choose between this shot and an actually outfit shot. In the end, I chose this because this is me - unposed. When I take outfit shots, I'm still me but I am trying to take a good photo. I took outfit shots this day but at this particular time I was simply enjoying an ice cream cone with my family. I always love the photos that you don't even think about snapping until you look at them later. 

Kristina , Fashiontina
I love this picture because it shows me doing one of my favorite things: walking and exploring the streets of Prague. Prague truly holds a piece of my heart and here my husband was able to snap a quick pic that captures me in my element. 
Victoria, Justice Pirate
  Why this photo is my favourite: It looks like something out of a faerytale, and I seem to gravitate towards taking photos of or wearing outfits that have that type of beautiful fantasy aspect to it. It is a vintage 50s Dress and vintage 50s hat that I am wearing. 

Kimberly, Fashion Momma
Why it's my favorite: Hubs and I had been married for a year and a half, just bought our first house, and we'd both been going to the gym and eating really well. I think this picture embodies how happy and healthy I was at that very special and successful time in my life. This was taken in February, 2008, and I was 23, about to turn 24. I look back at this exact picture and think, "That's me. That's where I want to be. That's when I loved myself the most."

This is my favorite photo because it captures a face that says I'm sweet and lovable, but maybe a little bit quiet and mysterious, too. Which is totally me. I describe my personal style as snappy casual: very comfortable and relaxed, but still cute and unique. And this is my favorite outfit from the 30 for 30 challenge so far (and I am in love with that wall, too)! 

Kinsey, In Kinsey's Closet  

I love this picture for a few reasons.  I love the vibrant colors that I was wearing in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I was having a good hair day and I look tan (which in Seattle is a miracle), what more could a girl ask for? 

I love this recent outfit that I put together! It made me feel super confident. I really like mixing feminine pieces like the pinky ruffle blouse with menswear inspired pieces like the structured suit vest. The angle of the photo is really fun and I really love how my blue eyes pop:) 

Sarah Misfit, Misfits Vintage 
I think this pic is particularly flattering but it was also taken around the time that I began emerging from years of 'hiding', wearing baggy, shapeless black clothes - and began wearing the clothes I really loved - vintage, colourful, shapely and beautiful! It was about so much more than clothes and was the beginning of a much happier and more authentic time in my life.

Mugdha, A Vigilant Muse 
I love this picture because it captures my personality well. It was actually taken right before I laughed at something my friend was saying, hence the huge smile. I'm really quirky in a little-kid sort of way, and I think this captures that innocence.

Debbie,Dark Horse 
 Here is one of my favorite recent photos.  It's from a few weekends ago when my husband and I spent the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather at a couple of local parks.  I like this picture because it reminds me of a fun day with my sweetie.  I also like the sunlight on my face and my cheery yellow sweater.

I love this picture. It really captures my personality. And I love the glasses and hat. :)

I love this top but thought it was too unimaginative to wear with plain black.  When I was at the hairdressers I saw a picture of leopard and tweed together in a magazine and had an AHA moment.  I love love LOVE leopard print and I love the cut of this skirt.  I also love boots and red.  So, all the individual items I LOVE all together in one outfit is a total bonus!!!  Wearing this I feel spunky, sexy and like wonder woman ready to take on the WORLD :)

Alessandra, Mode Moods
I chose this photo because it just looks and feels like me. Plus it's from Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge, which I'm really enjoying.

Steph, Tiny Junco, Dashing Eccentric 
The attached is my favorite picture because forty years on, I still dress my own way, love Lewis Carroll, tilt at windmills, consort with dragons, and manage to surprise and crack up my friends and family. Strangers, too! I took this one myself with a timer - more fun than having a photographer, and no one I know is in on the surprise!

This has to be my favorite.  I had just rediscovered how much I love twirling in a dress.

Why it's my favorite? This picture is one of my all time favorite pictures because it reminds me of the importance of family. Sometimes we forget that family is a treasure that should be cherished and appreciated every single day. This photo makes me smile every single time I see it because it reminds me of how much I love my parents. They have given me so much throughout my life that I want to thank them and tell them how much I love them every single day.

I selected the attached picture because I think this is an accurate representation of me at my happiest and most relaxed.  This picture was taken on my favorite type of day: it was Friday evening in late summer and I was looking forward to a fun weekend.  I also happen to  be outside one of my favorite places -- a beautiful local library.  Lastly, I like this picture because it encourages me to continue to be adventurous in my outfit choices.  In this outfit, I did several things that were out of my comfort zone: wore bright cerulean patent boots, wore boots with a shorter skirt, and wore a dress as a blouse. I almost never wear glasses out of the house, but I decided to incorporate them into my outfit and make the most of it.   I think the end result was successful, and this picture reminds me to take more risks in my fashion choices. 

This is one of my favorite photos because I feel like it captures part of the whimsy in my personality, as well as representing a girl who is becoming more and more comfortable in her ever-evolving style.  The skinny jeans and the belting at the waist are both two things that I've only gotten comfortable with this past year.  To me, that evolution shows that I'm not only becoming more comfortable with my body but also am getting more creative with my overall style, versus being not only a slave to "fashion" and ever-changing "trends", but also a slave to my own insecurities about my body.  It's a great feeling to see a picture that captures a moment in time of this ever-continuing growth process and journey as a person.

While this picture is in no way a picture of my face, I think it embraces my personality whole heartedly!  I took this picture over 2 years ago when I was actually doing a 365 Self Portrait photo project.  It was one of the last photos I took and I was trying to get this effect, but I wasn't sure if I would get it right.  Sure enough, I got it right on the first try! This picture is "me" because I like to live my life as fully as possible, embracing it with open arms and optimistically- with lots of sunshine. 

The attached photo is from June 2009, my husband and I spent a week at my parents house in Normandy, France. The weather was wonderful and my hubby snapped a few pictures of me on our trampoline. I don't look particularly amazing and am wearing travelling clothes but I love how stupidly happy I look to be there (we'd just arrived) in the sunshine bouncing about! For me the picture represents what being at TFH (the french house) is all about - happiness, fun, sunshine if we're lucky and generally messing about and having a grand old time.

Caroline, Church Sexy 

 I finally picked this photo, taken soon after we moved here when my son was 2 1/2. After I had him, I developed thyroid disease and it went undiagnosed for almost  2 years,as I didn't exhibit the common clinical symptoms (only some very life limiting and disturbing ones!) - so I feel like I missed the first 2 years of his life. It was a huge strain on our marriage. When I finally got stabilized on medication, it was like having a new lease on life, marriage, and motherhood! We moved here at about the same time, so it seemed like a fresh start for everything, and for the first time in a long time, we had HOPE. Kevin took this photo one Saturday at a park near town and it just symbolizes that time for me. It was way before I started blogging and probably not the best photo of me, but I love it. :) It's a new lease on life for all of us, falling in love again, bonding with my son, and LIVING.
I completely agree that seeing so many images of myself doing the blog has changed the way I consider my body, and only for the better.  My favorite photo, though, comes from about two years before I started BoYS.  My boyfriend at the time (aka. "J", my hubby now) and I went on a Caribbean Cruise with a group of dear friends in January 2008.  I had always been very careful about not having my body photographed.  I hated the way it looked and felt and had been undergoing therapy for an eating disorder and depression that had been with me for years.  While I could deal with spending basically the whole vacation in a swimsuit, I didn't look in mirrors and sure hid it behind towels or in the water when the cameras came out on the beach.  But, then came this night, maybe halfway through our cruise, when our group of friends went up to the observation deck to watch the sun go down as we pulled out of a port.  Now, there might have been a boat drink or two involved as well, but we were just goofing off and reveling in the fact that we were there and having genuine fun.  J had our camera and I was just goofing off so I didn't even realize that he took a picture of me pretending to be a "Caribbean Sun Goddess".  Had I known, I probably would have erased it at the time, since it shows so much of my skin.  But once we got back and I saw this picture full-sized, I felt proud of my body for the first time in years.  It made me realize that my tummy isn't flabby, my arms aren't jiggly, and my hips are not too big. Plus, it also shows me just being what I think is the best part of myself, just relaxed and silly with my friends, during one of my favorite vacations of all time. 

Oh let me count the reasons I love this photo:
1.  It was taken at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Canada, which is my favorite lake ever.  I lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for 4 years and this beautiful lake was a 2 hour drive away … how lucky was I?  The road to the lake was typically closed October - May due to snow, so when it was open I loved to visit it.  I have many great memories of this lake and the hiking trails around it.
2.  This picture shows the side of me that people don't see everyday.  Most people categorize me as a "girly girl" due to my love of heels, skirts, and manicured nails.  But I am a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts, and part of the reason I have chosen the career I did is because of my love of the natural world.  Underneath the day to day heels beats the heart of an environmental hippie.
3.  I love that despite the fact that this shot captures the outdoorsy side of me … the floral sweater hoodie is still very girly and very me.
4.  I am wearing my "Running  Room" hat.  I've had an up and down relationship with the Running Room … living above a Running Room store for 4 years, I was frequently annoyed by the runners stretching on my front steps when I just wanted to get home with my groceries.  But then I took up running myself, and 50 pounds lost later I completed my first half marathon in part due to the training I did with the Running Room.  And I met some really great friends in the process.
5. In this picture I am relaxed and just taking in the world around me.  I don't do that often enough.  I spend most of my life in go go go mode.  This picture reminds me that often it is worth it to slow down and enjoy the world around me.


  1. Thanks so much for including me, JoAnn. All of these pictures are truly wonderful, but what was most inspiring was reading the stories behind the selection of these pictures. This was such a wonderful first reader feature. Thanks again!

  2. What a great feature Joann..I see some of my blogging buddies:)
    Time got away from me and I forgot to send in a pic...maybe next time:)

    Stop by and say Hello:)
    Enter my Spotted Moth Giveaway♥

  3. This post is awesome, JoAnn, thanks for doing it! It is great reading about why everyone loved their particular photo!

  4. huge entry but it was really nicve to read through it all and see everyone's photos. My favourite was the snappy casual girl's photo. . .plus I really want to know where that amazing background is with all the biblical stuff on it!

    my photo looked a little duller on here to me. you didn't edit any of these I hope? eh. anyway thanks for including it.

  5. This was SUCH a fantastic idea!!! I wish I'd been able to submit a picture to you for this - hopefully next time!

    I really enjoyed seeing what everyone celebrates about themselves and their photos. I hope you continue this feature!

  6. GREAT idea Joann, I really love this, well done and so great to see what everyone chose. I think you are really on to something here!! love it and thanks for the invite!!

  7. Love this post! Geez and all the ladies looked so adorable :D

    Thanks so much for including mine too!

  8. cheers, JoAnn! This was such a joy to see all put together :-)

  9. Thanks, Joann!! Loved reading through this - you're so right, let's celebrate ourselves more, nitpick less :)

  10. This was such a great idea. It has been so much fun to read about the photos and why they were chosen. Good job!!!

  11. JoAnn, i loved reading this post! thank you everyone for submitting these wonderful photos and heartfelt stories!! and our generous hostess deserves kudos for the tremendous amount of work in putting this all together. i'm going to have to re-visit this one a few times to check out so many new-to-me bloggers : )

    Joy, you outshine Mr. Ferguson in that photo - no wonder it's your fave! brava!! steph

  12. Such a great idea, thanks for doing this. Loved reading everyone's story.

  13. This is a great feature! I love it.


  14. @ Victoria/Justice Pirate: The only editing I did was resize all the photos to fit the widths of my blog margins, but other than that no other touchups. I'm sorry it looks different to you, but thanks again for participating!

  15. Thanks so much for including me! What a cool, inspiring post :) This to me is the real Dove campaign for true beauty :)

    Thanks for doing this Joann!

    Small Time Style

  16. Wow! This must have taken so long to put together. What an awesome post, JoAnn! I'm so appreciative that you included me, and I also truly enjoyed reading everyone's stories of self love. It's so important that we realize how beautiful we are, inside and out!

    Thanks, again!

  17. Thank you for doing this and including me! I enjoyed reading everyone's posts under the pics. I feel like I know some of you better!


  18. Love this!!! it is great to see the bloggers in their favorite pic with their explanation...

  19. Thankyou for doing this post! What a celebration of life from across the spectrum of life experiences. Well done.

  20. This is such an amazing post!! Thanks for posting everyone's pictures, I really enjoy reading everyone else's stories.


  21. you're so fun! i loved reading this! thank you again :)

  22. thanks for including me in this! so great to see all of these confident young ladies:)

  23. I wanted to submit one. I even starred your post, but then I forgot :(

    I love all the photos and all the stories.

  24. What an awesome post! I loved reading everyone's positive self-thoughts. We need more of this in the world!

  25. This is so awesome to read through! Thank you for taking the time to put this together! So much awesomeness! :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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