A Blog Story, Part I

blush and pink roses

I started writing vmac+cheese in the summer of 2008, when I needed a creative outlet to share stories about my life as a recent culinary grad, and my adventures in food. 

This line has been on my About page for a really, really long time. Even when the whole background of this blog was black and all the text was orange (it was a free WordPress template. No judgement!). I’ve left it on my About page for the entire existence of this blog because it’s the truth: my blog began in a time when I was freelance food writing and temping several jobs to make ends (barely) meet. I had just finished a 15 month long culinary degree program after 4 years of university, and kind of had no idea what was going to happen with my career.

vmac+cheese was not my first blog. There was the college Xanga and Live Journal blogs; the blog I started while in culinary school to talk about all the things we were learning (you think my essays on this blog are long…); and then the OG vmac+cheese, which was technically on Blogger for a couple posts before I migrated it to WordPress (and installed that awesome all black template). Though I was writing pieces for the San Francisco Chronicle‘s food section, I wanted more. I wanted a place to tell my own stories, not the stories of other chefs or singular ingredients. The first post I ever wrote on vmac+cheese was actually written on the job while temping at a PR agency’s front reception desk. It was a short missive about — surprise! — how I could never work in PR (hilariously, I would be doing just that about a year later). I sat on the post for several hours, then published it late at night. The post’s title was, appropriately, Late Night. In case you needed evidence that all bloggers have to start somewhere. 

Notes on it because I know you’re probably wondering: not Joe in the photo; am laughing uncontrollably after having way too much to drink at the pool in Las Vegas; PR Bunny was a term used around the Chronicle; would never eat lunch at the front desk of an office by myself now and am kind of mortified I once did; am much improved at making small talk.

I wrote about all kinds of food related things. I told random stories about childhood experiences with food. I made up new recipes based on adventures and experiences in SF. I published random thoughts. This blog saw me through a weird time in my early to mid 20s, when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was paving my way through, one writing assignment and odd job at a time. Anyone who has been in their early 20s knows what I’m talking about. So, all of you.

I decided to change what I was writing about sometime in 2010; it was as simple as announcing something, much like I’m doing today. I began posting more of my own photography, writing about decorating and things I wanted to wear to work, lots of little lifestyle bits. Slowly, the audience grew. I launched a guest post series that allowed me to connect with so many wonderful women, many of whom I still call friends today. This blog began to feel like my home.

tea for one

I began thinking about the larger role my blog could play in my professional life. If I’m honest — and it’s scary to admit this given the cliff I jumped off of — I didn’t really know how it would play out long term. But having already done it once, I knew that I enjoyed working for myself, and I also knew that I had a specific set of skills in a growing industry, and that people seemed interested in them. Going to Alt in 2012 made me feel like I was ready and could get support from this community, so I took the plunge and left my traditional day job, launching Vivaleur.

In the last two plus years, my business has continued to evolve and flourish, which I’m so thankful for. The blog industry has changed too — not for better, not for worse, but it’s certainly different than when I first started. Meanwhile, I’ve continued to grow my design studio, which is where my interest and heart is right now (and where I’m spending most of my working days). Forget the industry…as time has passed, a few things have changed for me, too.

First, I’ve noticed it’s become harder to manage all three businesses — my blog, my design and consulting studio, and of course, The B Bar. It became this weird tension for me, because none of these ventures really seemed to talk to each other, and instead, everything became siloed. For example, I’ve never really spilled much ink (pixels?) talking about projects I was working on for Vivaleur here at vmac, because…well, I’d never done it before and wasn’t sure how to introduce it. I know, it sounds silly, but it was just one of those things that never happened. Similarly, I used to share lots more blog and biz tips here, but once The B Bar began, I shifted all that content over there.  It all worked, until one day, when it didn’t. It’s been driving me crazy that these parts of my work life have become so separate from each other on my various websites, but in real life, in my day to day, they’re all deeply intertwined. I found myself wishing I could share all those parts with you, because not only do I think you’ll find them interesting, but opening up those avenues of my professional life for discussion gives me lots more ideas of things to write about. I can only tell you guys about so many sales, after all.

Second is the age old conundrum of needing 36 hours in a day. I look back at the content I was publishing in 2011 through early last year and can’t believe I could churn out 2, sometimes 3 posts per day. Then I realize why — as I’ve been fortunate enough to see an upturn in client projects, I’ve had less time to spend on the blog. But I’ve felt intense pressure to keep up with daily posting — sometimes at the expense of my sanity, and certainly of my schedule.

lucy

As I began noticing these things several months ago, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I needed to order new business cards and realized I’d have to list three flippin’ URLs, just to tell people what it was that I did and get them to the right places. It became clear that it was time for a change…

If you’re still reading, if you’re still here with me — both at the end of this essay, but also at the end of 6+ ridiculously fun years at this particular URL — thank you. Thanks for putting up with my ramblings, sharing your own stories, sending along your inspiration, and for providing me with an unimaginably supportive community. I honestly get a little choked up when I think about my life with vmac+cheese…even more so when I think about life without it (in my hyperbolic way, I believe the phrase “dead in a gutter” often comes up when I discuss that scenario with Joe). This blog has meant everything to me. It’s been me, and I treasure it as a very distinctive, important part of — and time in — my life.

BUT! Lest you think this is a goodbye, it’s not. Not completely, at least. I’m still here, and still blogging, and probably always will be. I just can’t shut up help myself. But I gotta shake things up around here, y’all! How? Stay tuned…that part I’ll share with you tomorrow.

Photographs by Rebecca Dale Photography

30 comments

  1. Victoria B said: replied:

    Good for you! This honestly makes so much more sense to combine all aspects of your online life. I don’t really understand what it is that you do with vivaleur so I look forward to seeing what’s coming up next for you! It’ll be good for business and your personal life. :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  2. Drew | Catfish&Caviar said: replied:

    Loved reading this Victoria! You are amazing at what you do (obviously it was a breeze working with you)and it seems like taking that big leap into the unknown really benefited every aspect of your life! Congrats on so many successful years blogging. Here is to many more!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  3. Emily @ Rossetto said: replied:

    While I’ll definitely miss this daily read, I’m excited to hear what you have in store:) Good for you on pursuing the balance and efficiency. Happy for you!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  4. I’m so looking forward to your next post! I’m sure you have made the best decision. Congratulations on your accomplishments so far!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  5. Sonya said: replied:

    I am not sure how long I’ve been reading your blog perhaps only a year – but I love it. I will be sad if you don’t publish as often but I will understand. You’re one of my favorite bloggers (if not THE favorite) because your content is consistently interesting, entertaining, NEVER pretentious, original (or you credit the source), and you are immensely likable and relatable. You seem genuine. I read other blogs and definitely can’t say any of that about the majority of them. I look forward to the news tomorrow! :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  6. robincharmagne said: replied:

    Ohhh the suspense! I sincerely enjoy reading your blog. As one commenter said,”never pretentious”. I’d have to agree, you keep it 100 as they say. Looking forward to more goodness from you, best wishes!
    http://www.robincharmagne.com/blog

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  7. I just about cried thinking you were leaving us! Good for you taking the bull by the horns and taking back your life! I’m excited to hear what your next steps are :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  8. Ashley said: replied:

    Seems like exciting things are about to happen lady! Can’t wait to follow along :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  9. Ashley said: replied:

    ^^ What Sonya said!

    I can’t remember how I stumbled upon vmac+cheese, but it has consistently remained a part of my morning coffee routine ever since. You feel like a friend, Victoria, and even got me interested in blogging myself. It’s true that your voice is one of the most genuine out there, and it’s what makes your content so inviting and relaxing to read (despite how frazzled you may be behind the scenes, everything here always comes through lovely and pulled together!). My morning coffee and I will miss vmac+cheese terribly!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  10. Alison Dulaney said: replied:

    I hear you, 36 hours in a day would be perfect and 4 days during the week with 3 days in the weekend too perhaps ? :) Can’t wait to see what is next, I am sure it will be great!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  11. Kira said: replied:

    I’m excited to hear what you’re up to next! I’ve loved reading your blog, and applaud you for prioritizing what you want to spend time on most.

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  12. Jess Zimlich said: replied:

    The suspense is KILLING me!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  13. I’ll be patiently waiting! :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  14. Catherine said: replied:

    Can’t wait to hear the news tomorrow! I have to agree with the comments above, you’re so genuine and your content is always fresh and interesting. I always look forward to reading your posts every day!

    xx
    Catherine

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  15. India H said: replied:

    Absolutely love this. As a 22 year old blogger, there are gems here for me as I’m going though a lot of the same things you are!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  16. Julia said: replied:

    oh man, even I got a little choked up reading this. A bit of anxiety grew when I thought you were heading towards a goodbye. I started following you after you started Vivaleur but before The B Bar and you’ve always been one of those inspirational blogs that I’ve looked to for guidance (and food ideas). But the thought of you leaving this world was upsetting because you have such a presence here. So I’m really excited for your message tomorrow and am ready to follow you on your next adventure. xo

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  17. aparate sudura said: replied:

    WE thank you for your remarkable posts! Love your style, i wait for more tomorrow.

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  18. I have def enjoyed following you on this journey! Im so excited to see what comes next!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  19. Tyshia said: replied:

    Although I’ve only recently started following your blog in the past few months it’s quickly become one of my favorites! I’m looking forward to hearing about the next steps in your journey and congrats on doing what’s necessary for your business and your life!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  20. Well I have said it before, but your blog is basically the reason I ever had the courage to start my own. I’ve read for about 2 years now and look forward to your posts daily. Can’t wait to read part 2, and I definitely hope this doesn’t mean you’ll be disappearing!

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  21. Louisa said: replied:

    Victoria,

    Ahh a cliff hanger!! I have to say, I admire you so much. I’ve been a follower since back in 2011 when I was struggling to get my own blog (circa sunday afternoon at the time) of the ground. I scheduled a consult with you and your advice has still stuck with me to this day. You’re one of the few blogs that I check (without the help of a blog reader to remind me) weekly and I can’t wait to see what will happen with all of your ventures! From one NY transplant to another, here’s wishing you all the best!

    Sincerely,
    Louisa

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  22. Sarah said: replied:

    This is such a great story and certainly one all of us “bloggers of a certain age” can relate to. The early 20s are actually the worst—the ambiguity of it all! But this is a great example of how blogging and creative outlets in general can help grow and focus us as people / professionals. I’m excited to see what you do next. If past is any precedent (and it is) I’m sure it will be brilliant. x

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  23. Andrea said: replied:

    I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you! I’ve been following you for years. While I grew out of most of the blogs I was following, I’ve always loved yours! Thanks for all of the great content. Excited for whatever’s next :)

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  24. Ashley said: replied:

    I’m really glad there was a ‘But’ at the end of this post. I was starting to get sad! As a relatively new blogger trying to find my voice, my path in this world of blogging, and an early 20-something trying to find my path in the real world, you are an inspiration. I’ve enjoyed following your blog, and especially enjoyed reading this one today. Good luck to whatever you’ve got up your sleeve! I know it’ll be just as great as anything you’ve done before.

    xx

    7 Aug 2014 | Reply
  25. […] A Blog Story Part I @ vmac+cheese I am a daily reader of Victoria’s blog and I loved this post. She really is just so relatable and fun to read. However, her blog is now joining her company, Vivaleur, to become Victoria McGinley Studio + Blog. […]

    8 Aug 2014 |
  26. Victoria – I’m so excited about this new adventure for you. I think/hope having all your work in one place will make your life so much easier! Selfishly I’m happy to hear you aren’t quitting blogging because I’m a long time fan and really appreciate how real and un-materialistic your blog remains. Looking forward to what’s next!

    8 Aug 2014 | Reply
  27. Kelly said: replied:

    This is one of the brilliant qualities in blogging – watching how your writing, perspective & business grow and evolve throughout the years. Streamlining things seems to make a lot of sense and I’m excited to see everything come to fruition for you. Best of luck lady! xoxo, Kelly

    11 Aug 2014 | Reply
  28. Kacky Cole said: replied:

    This is so awesome! I love hearing about the way blogs and businesses have changed for individuals. I can feel mine already doing that and it’s not even a year old. Thank you for your honesty and bravery!

    11 Aug 2014 | Reply
  29. lauren said: replied:

    congrats!!!
    -bornandbreadny.com-

    12 Aug 2014 | Reply
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