It’s the dawn of a new year, so it seems fitting to start it off with a very real truth: I had a hell of a time writing a post about 2018. I tried writing a letter, like last year. I tried highlighting some of my favorite moments. I tried penning an essay with a single, poignant story, to share something personal about what the year taught me.

All of it fell really flat.

It took me a couple days (and a quick overnight trip to Napa on Sunday—any excuse for a wine country getaway, right?) to clear my head and figure out why.

Last year was without doubt one of the most intense, emotional, wonderful, beautiful, surreal, fun, expansive, [insert 50 more adjectives here], best years of my life. I hesitate to say BEST YEAR EVER, because does such a thing exist? There was an equal measure of pain, of headlines that made me want to bash my head against a wall, of loss, of uncomfortable growth, of feeling completely burnt out from work. But on so many fronts, it was great. There was simply no way I could write one post to encapsulate what it was like. Everything fell flat, because the year was too many things.

The other thing I realized is it’s still going, in a way. Most years, flipping the calendar from December to January feels like taking a giant eraser to parts of my life, giving me an opportunity to begin anew, clean the slate, a whole blank notebook before me, breathless with anticipation for another 365 days of stories. But 2018 feels special, because so many new stories began, and so many wheels were put in motion. All those things carry over into 2019; there’s simply no leaving them behind. They were seeds planted over the course of one year, and in the next, it’s my job to continue nurturing them, to see how they grow.

This is all vague, so here are two big examples:

One, obviously, is the story of my birth family. It makes me laugh to think about this now, but last year, I thought going to Korea and meeting biological relatives would be the closing of a chapter. Like tying a neat little bow on a journey. Oh sweet, naive, 2018 Victoria! In fact, while the trip definitely closed one (small) door, it simultaneously opened about a thousand more. In 2019, I’m still assessing the long term impact of last summer’s trip, and will hopefully continue developing relationships with my family of origin. In some really WOW personal news, one of my sisters and her daughter—my niece, my first ever!—are coming to visit me in San Francisco in February. To say I’m excited and a little nervous is an understatement! It is bizarre to think about traveling and sharing my city with a sibling, when for so many years, I didn’t have even one. To say to Joe, for the first time ever, “Meet my sister.” To be in America with a family member, and people can tell we’re related. So many firsts! I feel lucky and blessed to even have this opportunity, but as you can imagine, it brings up a lot of emotions too.

The other big thing happening for me in 2019 is a shift in how I work. I mean it this time! Despite being burnt out at the end of 2017, I didn’t address the issue as I should have in 2018, and I really reached the bottom of my well. You probably noticed, with longer, quieter stretches between new posts. For 2019, I’ve already begun changing how and who I work with, to dedicate more time to the creative personal projects I’ve been putting off for a long time. I’ve been doing a lot of writing behind the scenes, on a work that might become a memoir, or something else, or never see the light of day, I don’t know. I want to write more personal, relatable essays for you guys here (and maybe via a newsletter—what do you think, would you subscribe?). And just post more regularly, period. I’ll be picking your brain about some topics I have in mind, (and topics you’d like to see) next week. Quick update: I did it, I started another newsletter sign up! Go to More, then newsletter up in the scrolling navigation above, or click Newsletter in the main blog navigation!)

And—here’s a big change—I actually want to design less. For the foreseeable future, I’ve decided to take a little sabbatical from doing custom website design projects. I’ll be focusing on my retainer clients, building <em>press (it surprised us with its growth last year, and we want to invest more time into it!), and on writing projects. Just like my personal journey, I’m excited and nervous about these professional changes, too. They feel different, and it’s scary to let go of the processes (and revenue flow) I’ve become used to over the better part of a decade.

But truthfully, after 7 years of running the studio, things had been feeling a little boring. Stale. Learn from me: burn out AND boredom is an awful combination. Avoid this at all costs. I realized late last summer I really needed a change.

Journeying into the unknown is always a little scary—and what is the beginning of any new year if not an unknown?—but I also know that challenging myself when there are no promises or guaranteed outcomes always yields the most growth, and the best surprises in life. So here goes.

If my past 365 days have taught me anything, it is this: Give yourself permission to change. To make a new habit. To let go of the old, and to begin anew. To do something foreign, or that five years ago, you could never imagine yourself doing. Stay open and curious—not only to new ideas and perspectives, but to challenging your OWN beliefs and proclivities. The best is yet to come, indeed. And my forever motto, always: Have faith in yourself, and in the future.

Let’s do this thing. Onward!

xo, Victoria

Image Credits:

All images taken by Victoria McGinley


  1. 1.1.19
    Erica said:

    Yes to more posts in the new year! I truly love to read everything you write and would happily subscribe to a newsletter. Cheers to 2019, Victoria!

    • 1.2.19
      Victoria said:

      Thank you, Erica! You are always so encouraging and it’s very much appreciated. :)

  2. 1.1.19
    Jennifer said:

    I was going to post the exact same thing as Erica! Your blog is my favorite one of the few I check and I missed hearing your thoughts more often over the last year. Would love a newsletter. Great first post for 2019! :)

    • 1.2.19
      Victoria said:

      Thanks, Jennifer! Here’s to posting more in 2019. Happy New Year!!

  3. 1.1.19
    Lauren said:

    I’d like to join Erica and Jennifer and say that I would also enjoy a newsletter from you.

    I’ve been here since the vmac and cheese days and you just keep getting better. I remember when your posting schedule was Tuesdays and Thursdays and yet I’d still check in every day just to see if there was a surprise post. You truly have one of the most original and creative blogs on the internet. Very few can match the quality content you publish. I’m excited to see what you share with us in 2019 and please know if you wrote a book I would be first on line to buy it!

    • 1.2.19
      Victoria said:

      Wow, thank you for your comment, Lauren! It’s feedback like this that encourages me to keep going. I’m going to try and get back to my Tue/Thurs schedule, but at the very least, at least once weekly this year!

    • 1.6.19
      Reema said:

      Lauren wrote out pretty much exactly what I think/feel every time I read one of your posts. The time and work you put into this blog shines through, and this is truly one of my favorite places on the internet. You are seriously such an amazing creative talent, and I’m so excited to see what you’ll do in 2019!

      • 1.7.19
        Victoria said:

        Wow Reema, thank you! Feedback like this is what motivates me to keep going. I’m glad you’re here and enjoying my sporadic posts—here’s to more this year!! :)

  4. 1.1.19
    MEG BIRAM said:

    Might have to become a retainer client then b/c I want to do some updates this year! xo

    • 1.2.19
      Victoria said:

      Yas, girl, email me! We’d love to have you.

  5. 1.1.19
    Sarah said:

    Agree with all of the above! Sign me up for a newsletter and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in 2019.

    • 1.2.19
      Victoria said:

      Thanks, Sarah! I will for sure post when I get my MailChimp act together :)

  6. 1.2.19
    CL said:

    OMG Victoria! It made me so happy to hear about your sister and neice’s impending visit! So excited for this chapter in your life! Also, I felt the same way about 2018. It was so many things and if I dare say one of the best years ever – despite the trials and tribulations that came along with it! Excited for what 2019 will bring and following along on your journey! I would love to hear more about your memoir writing process! I too would love to turn a piece of my own story into a book some day! But I don’t even know where to start! Cheers!

    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      Thanks, CL! I hope we both have great things ahead in 2019!!

  7. 1.2.19
    Sofia said:

    Yes please to more posts, and a newsletter! Seeing a new post from you brightens my day.

    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      Thank you, Sofia!! I’m on it :)

  8. 1.2.19
    Maggie said:

    Would definitely subscribe to a newsletter!

    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      I just launched a sign up! Click on ‘newsletter’ at the very top of this page, or in the scrolling navigation, hover over ‘more’ and then click ‘newsletter!’

  9. 1.3.19

    How exciting about your sister and niece! And the change on the work front! Thank you for always inspiring me + happy New Year!


    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      Aww, thank you, Kirby! I hope you guys had a great holiday! Cheers to 2019!! :)

  10. 1.4.19

    What an absolutely beautiful post – and I love the quote at the top. Also, definitely allow permission and time to change, couldn’t agree more. Here’s to 2019! x


    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      Thank you, Katy!! I love the quote too; when I read it in his book, I stopped and had to dog ear the page! Cheers to 2019!

  11. 1.4.19

    Love this Victoria and I am so beyond excited for you and this next adventure.

    • 1.4.19
      Victoria said:

      You too, sista! Excited to see what this year brings for both of us!!!

  12. 1.9.19
    Tara said:

    Hi Victoria–I am late to the party (for the best possible reason–just back from a week in Kauai with my family; I know you love it there, too!) but I’ll add my encouragement and thanks to all of the voices above. Long-time reader (since the vmacandcheese days) who loves your voice and is excited to see what the year ahead brings! You’ve influenced me many times (faux leather moto pants, rose witch hazel and silicon popcorn popper to name just a few–ha ha!) and I feel like every time you post it’s a gift to me and others. I hear you on the boredom/burnout toxicity, too, and need to make a few changes in my own life on that front! Take care and thanks for all you do!

  13. 1.13.19
    Ali said:

    Thanks so much for sharing Victoria! This post really resonated with me. As a social entrepreneur who also had a killer year in 2018, your thoughts / approach to getting through burn out are something I come back to again and again. I have also loved reading about your birth story and hope that this year is one of the best years to come as the story unfolds…

    I love reading your content so please do keep it up – it’s always a little highlight of my week when you post! xx

    ps. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s a great long form piece on burn out. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work

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