revising life’s blueprints + a giveaway.
by victoria comment


this post in partnership with St. Martin’s Press, and all words and opinions are my own. thank you for supporting the brands that help keep sfgirlbybay going with fresh content every day.

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

recently i was invited to consider my life-altering moments and share them with you here, and thought, ‘that’s not a typical ask for me’, but i thought it was an interesting subject to broach, given my recent big move from san francisco to los angeles. Blueprints is a new novel by New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Salt Air, barbara delinsky. in her new book, Blueprints she explores what happens when the path you’re on veers drastically from the plans you’ve made — the ones you thought would never change.

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

there’s a lot of things in life you can’t predict, but some of them you can pretty much count on. for instance, i really never thought i’d leave san francisco. i thought i’d live there as an old, eccentric lady and die there one day, gray haired and happy. but things changed — in my life, and in the atmosphere around the city that caused me to take a moment and pause — to really consider if i wanted to remain in a city i’d already lived in for 20 years, or if it was time for a change. other factors weighed in, too — i wanted to be closer to my mother, who’s been feeling unwell of late. i wanted to be closer to some of the people in my life that encourage and inspire me — good friends and family that offer a strong support system. and while i certainly have much cherished friends in san francisco, if i was honest with myself i’d say it was really the lure of an adventure i craved, and i knew that the lifelong friends i’d made in san francisco would understand and continue to share my life — in fact, happily a few have already come to visit in the short month i’ve lived here in los angeles. and maybe most importantly, i wanted to own something of my very own — a house i could truly call my home, so to be able to buy something i had to leave san francisco, too.

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

so i’ve revised my life’s blueprint, when i least expected to do so. i left san francisco, just as i launched my book about the city, and i think i surprised a lot of people in the process, including myself! and because i write the blog under the name sfgirlbybay, that’s a little confusing too — but had i predicted when i started the blog in 2006 that it would one day become my career, i would have no doubt considered a much more appropriate name — something that had to do with design at the very least — not some old email address i’d used over the years and chose on a whim one night. but as i’ve said, one cannot live by one’s URL alone and it’s too late to change it. anyway, i digress — quite unexpectedly i’ve uprooted myself and landed in a brand new place — in a home i’m happily adding my personality to, and creating a sanctuary all my very own.

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

in her book Blueprints, BARBARA DELINSKY explores the instinct for knowing how things work — and what to do when they break. An engaging novel from a master storyteller, Blueprints reminds us that sometimes love appears when we least expect it, and when we need it most. so maybe that’s my story too. i’d not been lucky in love in san francisco, and while i haven’t exactly come seeking it here in L.A., i do feel more open to finding it. even if that love just comes from friends and family, i feel more open to a lot of things. it was the same when i left los angeles, also on a whim 20 years ago and headed north to san francisco. i was wide-eyed and open for possibility. so maybe by being open to changing one’s blueprint, you open yourself up for a whole new world of experiences. and that’s what i’m hoping to do here now, and happy to have you along for the ride. happy independence day, everyone. see you back here on monday. xo — victoria

to enter to win a copy of barbara delinsky’s Blueprints novel, simply:

• comment here on the blog sharing your own life altering moment by friday, july 10th at midnight pst.

• yay! this giveaway is worldwide so anyone can enter to win!

• as always, please be sure to leave a way to contact you via twitter, facebook, your blog or email.

• we’ll announce the randomly selected winner the week of july 13th on my twitter, so be sure to follow along.

Set in suburban Boston in a world of reality tv and home design, Blueprints is the story of two strong women, Caroline and Jamie MacAfee, mother and daughter, best friends. The day after her 56th birthday, Caroline is told that she is too old to be the public face of their family-based home construction show, and that her 29-year-old daughter, Jamie, will replace her as its host. Daughter ousting mother from a job she loves? The resulting rift occurs at a time when each needs the other more than ever. You can learn more about the book here, and more about Barbara on her at website and follow Barbara on Twitter and Facebook.

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

revising life's blueprints / sfgirlbybay

53 responses to “revising life’s blueprints + a giveaway.”

  1. Your beautiful energy always comes across in your blog. Wishing you the best always Victoria. Your home is mouth-wateringly beautiful in these images. Seriously I am drooling ! x

  2. Thanks for sharing your ‘revision’. Mine was moving here to the U.S. for love. I married at the ripe old age of 39, had no idea it was going to happen and thirteen years later I’m still here.

  3. I’m middle-aged and thought my life would progress much as it has. Travel once a year, work, and live a fairly quiet life with my cat. Then I met someone much younger who absolutely shook the foundation of my life and how I view it. While he’s no longer a part of my life the positive images and possibilities he’s left me with will certainly change how I view myself and the world. While the shake-up has left me breathless in that I don’t know what will happen next, I think it may be a good thing in that experiences I may have passed by will be able to enter my life. It also proves you’re never too old to change and try new things.

  4. Life changing moment- Our “perfect” family had suffered , along with one of my children, the painful realities of addiction. It was a relief to let go of being perfect, and learn what was really important in this world. A priceless lesson in love, acceptance and humility.

  5. I’m going to share two things.

    First, my father died when I was seven. It changed the course of my life: I became half orphan, the child of a single mother who would later get married again… to a man who can’t stand me. That shaped my childhood and adolescence, and has an effect even now.

    Second, when I was nineteen, I met my now-husband. He lived on the other side of the country, and I told myself, “It’s not going to change my life for better if I don’t give it the chance to do so.” So I drove for hours to get to him. After that, I moved across the country to live with him. He also made me seek help to my mental health issues. All in all, if it wasn’t for him I suspect my life would be a lot worse now.

    kallavindar (at)

  6. I have had many life changing moments. Close to passing away in a natural desaster was one very important..specially that we survived…after that you stay focused for a year and then forget a little…but this means you actually “survived”

    I met my husband when I thought it would never happen..and was ok with being by myself…He has changed my life for sure! in a wonderful way and we have been together for more than 20 years now. I left my country to be with him.

  7. As I’m only 20 I’m sure I’ll have plenty more life changing events to come! But so far I would say the one that has stood out, is when I moved 250 miles from home to go to university on the other side of the UK when I was 18. I had never been on my own properly before and this brought to light how close I was to my family and friends, also how much you change as a person and how scary it is to watch everyone and everything you care about change without you there to witness it.

    Yes it was scary but it was also brilliant, for the first few months I hated it and didn’t know how to cope, but now I have made my own life with new people and my family have also learnt about ‘keeping me in the loop’ so I now longer feel so disconnected!


    PS your home is gorgeous!!

  8. There is definitely one life changing moment that shaped me and got me to where I am right now. I moved across the world to be with my husband. We met during my summer work & travel program, here is US and got engaged after 6 months. I went back home to get my master`s and year later packed my bags, left family and friends and told myself that if it doesn`t work out I can always move back. Almost 6 years later, here I am, very very happily married:) I could not imagine being with anyone else and even though it is hard to be away from my parents and friends I would not change a thing. I believe that you cannot have everything in life, you just have to make the best decisions you possibly can and hope for the best.

  9. These pictures are beyond gorgeous. And is it your new house? If so – wow! BTW we also then have the same lantern…different colour though. Well done on the life change. When I was a teenager I was convinced I would be married with kids by 21. That was it. Actually did not marry till early 30s. Kids followed. Youthful self thought I would be a nurse. Was for a bit. Now I am a teacher. But just about to stop that and take another turn along the road. What I shall be remains in the future. Who I am remains the same. As we say, here in England, mustn’t grumble…
    Your lantern pal….

  10. This is such a wonderful, heartfelt and real post. Thank you! I love your blog and am so inspired by your eye and your authenticity.

  11. Hello Victoria –
    I’ve been following your fabulous and inspiring blog on-and-off for awhile now, and recently bought your beautiful book (I’m also a designer of many things, including books). I found out you’re a friend of my friend and studio-mate, Mati Rose. I wish I’d had a chance to meet you while you were still up here. Best of luck to you in your new home, and in love ;)
    The book “Blueprints” sounds really intriguing!
    Warmly, Lisa

  12. The moment I met him, my life changed beautifully and I’m evolving and growing ever since. He helped me a lot (being incredibly patient at times) and opened my eyes in ways I’ve never thought possible and I’m thankful each day for having such a wonderful and incredible person in my life!

    I guess sometimes it’s not just about leaving home or travelling somewhere far, sometimes you meet someone and he takes you by the hand far away from what used to be your life and that’s all you’ve ever needed or craved for :)

    Good luck to you in LA!! And good luck to everyone on winning this book! I would totally like to enjoy some nice quiet afternoons reading it!

  13. I have had soooo many life altering moments. More and more for me life is about going with the flow, putting one foot ahead of the other and seeing where it takes you whilst, as you say having a blue print of where you want to go – I call that intuition – I deep knowing. I am a fashion designer in Sydney, Australia – owner / designer and I landed in this career through so many life changing moments. How it started. I was doing personal styling in LA. My nacisstic now ex boyfriend was a fashion designer. These two events put the idea in my head. Fast forward two years, I was living in San Fran, my sister and my father passed away within the same month – both alchoics – one suicide – one to alcholic induced dementia, then my other sister (who lives in LA) who I was incredibly close to (how I created ties in the /States) cut herself off from the family as a result of my sisters suicide and then if anything could ever get worse, the family house burnt down! My mum lost everything. She had lost her brother and mother two years prior and then she lost her daughter and all her material posessions. She is a furniture designer so along with her beatuiful clothing, you can imagine all the bespoke pieces of furniture that went up in flames! I always felt fashion was in my blood, not in a blonde hair flighty kind of way, in a serious business kind of way and I had to say, you only live once. Now I am in my third year as designer / owner, Mum is my creative assistant – 5% of what I do (and what I love is the designing and color selection – I dye clothing with my own colors) but the rest is creativity in business and marketing which I love but find incredibly challenging. Watch this space. Thank you for the offer to share. Love and light Celia from Sydney, Australia

  14. A little more than a year ago, I left the big corporate job. After years of living life in the “hamster wheel”, I knew this was an opportunity to change it all. After living on the westside of Los Angeles for 15 years, I sold my house and gave away most of my furniture and other possessions. I found a great mid-century home near Palm Springs and have been busy creating my new life here. It’s pushed me to reinvent myself, make new friends, become a mentor to high school girls and even go back to school to become a certified Master Gardener. Who knew?Change is good. This I know for certain. Hope you are enjoying your new life back in L.A. as much as I enjoyed it when I was there. You inspire me daily – thank you for that!

  15. My life altering moment was when I stepped into the plane on my way to Australia for a trip through Australia, Asia and Europe. After that I have been seeing my life much clearer than I did before and I was on many adventures! I took the whole trip alone which was a big challenge but I can only recommend that! When you are alone, you finally have the chance to listen to yourself :)
    With that quick comment I wish you all the best!

  16. Ohh, these pictures…one of my life changing moments was realising it was ok to pursue my love of beautiful interiors – instead of doing what I thought was the right career path – a 9 to 5. That helps pay the bills, but I love working towards chasing my dream and how I love being surrounded by other creatives – I feel my most ” at home ” ! Thankful to have a supportive husband too. I was invited to come and join the team @merakimagazine – and haven’t looked back! X

  17. My life altering moment happened a few months after college when I was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. I was told that I had to avoid alcohol, caffeine, stress and exercise while increasing my salt and fluid intake. I followed the doctor’s instructions but continued to have weird symptoms. Three years later I was diagnosed with 2 rare incurable autoimmune diseases (Behcet’s and Relpsing Polychondritis) that finally explained why I have been sick my whole life even though doctors never believed me and thought it was all in my head. Neither disease has a standard treatment protocol so for the past 2.5 years I have been on potent medications in hopes that something might work, but they have only made me worse. I was dumped for being too sick and have lost people who I thought were very close friends, but I have learned who really matters to me and that none of this is my fault. It has been 5 years since my first diagnosis and I am currently unable to work and living with my parents which is definitely not where I thought I would be at this point in my life, but I am still grateful for the lessons I continue to learn while battling these diseases.

  18. A few years ago, I became ill… very ill. It took 2 years to get properly diagnosed. This journey to health has completely changed the way I live my life: the food I eat, the people I surround myself with, the way I approach my work, etc.

  19. Marring my husband of fifteen years changed my life in many ways, unfortunately one was the rift between my parents…it all ended happily ever after…after fifteen years, they have finally come around and accepted my choice. Cheers to being open-minded and getting reaquainted with your parents!

  20. Moving unexpectedly to Dubai, I struggled for a while with the fact that many things were the same yet so much was different. I was homesick and cranky. Then one day I just gave in and accepted the change. Really a surrender simply born out of tiredness. The change in me was amazing and virtually instant. Instead of seemingly experiencing issues and problems all the time ,I started to experience genuine joy and happiness, the peace and contentment of acceptance. I fell in love with Dubai and all its quirkiness. I still live there 10 years on and love it.
    I love your blog and am looking forward to following your adventure in LA

  21. Victoria you’re awesome! Truly. Best blog out there!!!
    So brave making the big move to LA. Wish you all good things. Happy 4th.

  22. My life-changing moment was when I stepped off the plane in Australia. From that moment I completely became myself and was confident for the first time since I became a teenager!
    @Isis1981uk on Twitter

  23. 2011 – was thinking of getting married and moving to be with my future husband in Central America. Then he died suddenly in a kayaking accident. I traveled to be with his family and to attend the funeral and other ceremonies while absorbing the knowledge that my life had just veered onto a track I had no idea how to ride. But I rode it, and as I rode, it got harder – my beloved grandmother died relatively suddenly two months later, the child of a dear friend died very suddenly two months after that, then the mother of my late fiance died a few weeks later – and it kept going. It was the year I walked through the Valley of Tears. And I decided it was time for a new start and clean break. I picked up and moved, by myself, across the ocean to a new city where I knew almost no one. Bought my dream house on arrival (I’m sure the house was waiting for me – I moved in the day after I arrived) at the right price, planted a garden to honor and remember my late fiance, received an unexpectedly warm welcome from my neighbors, and three and half years later, in just three weeks, I am getting married in my neighborhood church, surrounded by my friends and family from around the world and my lovely neighbors and community here – and we live in this wonderful house together, and he cooks and gardens with me – and I have a life I couldn’t have even dreamed of. I’m glad I rode it out and listened to my heart.

  24. Thank you for this article. I have had a few life changing moments…the most recent was going from relatively good health to a life threatening disease. However, I can honestly say that the latest one as scary as it still is has exposed me (and my immediate family) to profound support, encouragement, and kindness from extended family, friends and complete strangers that I (we) would not have experienced otherwise. :)

  25. sfgirlbybay is so much more than an e-mail address or a statement of geography. it is a much loved brand created by a much loved person.
    i’ll follow you anywhere.

  26. Moving at 35 weeks pregnant with my 4 year old and husband from inner Sydney to a village in Hong Kong with no road access and no other Westerners changed my life. Five years later, the elderly Chinese who welcomed me and my family are truly friends, and we’ve been joined in the village by other families. My kids have a blessed childhood roaming the beach and forest, with all the city has to offer as well. So glad in hindsight we took the leap of faith to do it. Love your blog!

  27. Divorce. Need I say more? Everyone who has gone through a divorce has a heartbreaking story to share. But the saddest part of my story is that I still love him. . . 24 years later. I understand I will always love him – but this doesn’t mean I want to be with him. What I really want is that magical feeling that you only get the first time you fall in love. The wonder and awe of it all.
    Please contact me at if I win a copy of this great sounding book. Thank you.

  28. Side note: it seems most of these life changing posts are about falling ill, or falling in love. I certainly don’t mean for my post to be a bummer. I can write that I am in a loving relationship with a wonderful man and he certainly changed the blueprint of my life. I wish everyone good health and happiness. xoxo.

  29. welcome back home to LA!! One of my life changing decisions was to move from LA andto USC to San Diego State, way back in 1969. Still living in and loving San Diego.
    I was born and raised in LA…. where do you live??? You have had the best of both worlds!!

  30. Leaving a good paid job in the middle of the recession to travel around the world for more than a year. I did it alone, which was a first, and had the most amazing time of my life. It was a “now or never” moment. I don’t regret it for a second as the freedom I had during that time can’t be explained in words. Now I’m much happier than before my trip and have opened an online store that gives me freedom the freedom I always craved, but I do miss those days of adventure when I had no idea what was around the corner.

  31. My life altering moment…when my mother died of cancer a week before my wedding. I thought my world would shatter. But surprisingly, it didn’t. I was able to pick up the pieces and take those lemons to make lemonade. My mothers death brought me much sorrow, but it also gave me many gifts. A renewed relationship with my father. A relationship with my husband that I will know will last forever (standing by a young woman who mourns is not an easy task). And the plain fact that I know I can survive just about anything. I miss my mother every single day of my life, but I am also eternally grateful to her for all the gifts she gave me!

  32. At the point I met my husband I had come to terms that I might not meet someone and had a family like I always hoped. I still was open to the possibility, but had decided to make my life a good one, with or without a partner. Meeting my husband on a blind date when I least expected to connect with someone (after years and years of average to bad first dates!) and pretty much knowing after date 3 that we would spend the rest of our life together.

    Talk about altering a blueprint!

    We met in Feb 2011, had a baby in March 2012, got married in August 2013 and just had another baby this past June! k (dot) vansanden (at) gmail

  33. I suppose that the biggest one so far in my life (at least that I can recall) was a rushed foot surgery the night before moving myself and my belongings across the country. I had wanted to leave my home town more than anything, but the forced stay led me to meeting my love – who I have been with for almost two years now. It forced me to adventure over the summers only to return to my hometown with new vigor. It was a good thing that happened, but at the time seemed terrible. I’m grateful for it & for love!

  34. A little over 4 years ago I was in a serious accident that changed my blueprint and life on every level. Still continuing to figuring it all out…while creating my ‘new’ blueprint. Always remember to live life to the fullest and make every day count. namaste

  35. So great to read about your move! It’s funny because I moved to SF two years ago on a whim and am now wondering whether to stay here or move back to LA. Both cities have their perks! It’s also inspiring to hear that you never saw your blog getting so big. Thanks for creating awesome content!

  36. Having spent 6 fantastic years in the USA in NYC, I found myself faced with problems getting another work permit and struggling in a difficult relationship. Not wanting to pursue my chosen field in my native Britain I decided to take an around the world trip to play for time. In India I had a motorcycle accident and bashed up my leg… after shave lotion was the curative medicine. I reluctantly returned to the UK and on the train home I saw an ad in a very English magazine called ‘The Lady’… ‘Come to Tuscany & work two hours a day.’ I believed them and did and am still her after 20 years! I spoke absolutely no Italian, found myself on a hill top in the middle of nowhere. The two hours of being a girl Friday on a farm holiday estate turning into 5 and then full time in helping develop the business, when the daughter of the family eloped. I was given a unique opportunity to work in restoring houses, decorate and market them too. It has been a challenging journey, learning not just a language, another culture, self-discovery and reliance, but it has been a wonderful experience meeting the most amazing people who have helped me along the way and the incredible things that I have learned and been exposed to, which truly have enriched my life.

  37. Life seems to be full of these “moments” especially for me in the last 6-7 years. I moved to Chicago for love, it didn’t work out in the end and I had severed my ties in my hometown of NYC so there was no going back to what I had there. But with a lot of faith and perseverance, things turned around and I was able to come back to my birthplace and feel good about my life again.
    Things took a turn though, again, and my father passed away in 2013- I was grateful to have spent time with him and had gotten back to NY for the last 6 months of his life.

    Recently, my mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s. She stoically held on for 13 years with this disease but she was ready to go this March. The sense of loss is profound for both my parents, but the light that comes from it is knowing that they would be beyond happy to see me as I am today- a great job, great friends and a new apartment! You can go back home, it’s just different, and to embrace that difference, while it may be painful and difficult, is how we grow as humans.

  38. My life changing moment was leaving a course with a leader who was bullying me. I was devastated at the time but I ended up with a job I still love after ten years.

  39. My life changing moment came when I was 24 and was fed up with always feeling anxious and taking anti-depressants, as I had been for a decade. I ended up doing a simple google search and came across a medical journal and it was like a lightening bolt that went off in my brain. I had been battling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for years and had no idea that’s what it was. Knowing it was 80% off the battle. It took the fear away from my thoughts and gave me my mind back. I have been living medication free for the last seven years and even though I have my moments, I am happy and healthy! It gave me back my independence as I relied a lot on my (incredibly wonderful) parents to get me through a lot of my low points. I was able to move abroad for a year and get my degree as well as buy and renovate my own home. It’s funny the life changing moments that get thrown at you and you have no idea that they were coming. This is a great post VIctoria, and if you need any “single woman renovating her home on a budget” horror stories to make you feel better, just let me know!

  40. My life-altering moment was falling in love with my now-husband. I was seventeen and on a spiral of self-destruction. I was suffering with bulimia and depression, was drinking heavily and self-harming. I had alienated most of my friends and was at constant war with my family. I cut off all my hair and couldnt see a way out of the life I’d made for myself. Until he came along. He flirted with me while I was at my weekend supermarket job and instantly made me smile for the first time in what must have been ages. He took me on a few dates and slowly I opened up to him. And he accepted me, and didnt shy away from my issues. He supported me to find help and face some of my demons. He truly changed my life, and it scares me to think where I might be now had he not come to my checkout on that fateful day. Now I am a happy, healthy adult with a love of life and a promising career ahead of me. I still have days reminiscent of where I was all those years ago, but I know with him by my side I’ll never have to face anything alone again.

    -Sammi @SammiLMcS

  41. My life altering moment was getting married to my wife & having our lovely daughter. Life is now completely different.

  42. When we bought a new house after living in our previous one for 20 years. A bungalow in a small village (from a house in a town) and it was completely life changing, all good!

  43. When I was 23, I had-in 2 short years- fallen in and out of love with New York City. One gloomy afternoon, as it often is on days like this, I realized that the things that brought me to New York and make it MY New York, were no longer there. Now it was just a dreary concrete jungle that lost the very magic that made me pine for it for 9 years. So that day, I knew I had to move. And I did! I got a new job, a new apartment and a new life in a new city. I stayed in Boston for (another) 2 short years before making the jump to your new pastures, and now mine, to LA. It’s only been a few weeks but I too feel open. To whatever this sunny patch of earth has in store for me, be it love or the things in life you cannot predict for yourself. I’m excited to be here and look forward to reading Blueprints!

    Twitter- niha89

  44. My life was altered many years ago when I followed a then boyfriend to Nashville, TN. When we broke up several years later, he moved away and I stayed. It’s the best decision I ever made. I love this city to this day and now even some old college friends want to retire here one day as well.
    In later years, after a divorce in 2000, I found a little book called, “Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It” by Alan Cohen. It changed my life. Now, in life, I enjoy the ride! And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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