We all strive to turn our aspirations and creative goals into what we can sustainably do every day. The dream is to have full intention, working on what most inspires us. San Francisco-based Victoria Smith, “blogger, photographer, stylist, design junkie and flea market queen,” has grasped the reins on her passion, feverishly burning the midnight oil until her part time blog became a full time career. On her blog, SF Girl By Bay, she has developed a brand and a community, thick with sophistication and free spirit. Begun as a place to store photos, SF Girl By Bay has blossomed since 2006 into a leading design blog featuring product reviews, shopping tips, photography and design resources, as well as home entertaining and lifestyle stories. She describes the process and dedication it took to maintain her posts: “I had a full-time job at the time, so I got rid of my TV so I wouldn’t be distracted and I blogged all evening long and late into the nights! I realized the blog encompassed all my passions: writing, photography and interior design, so what started as just a hobby became a full time job in 2008.” She explains that, despite her resolve and method, her creative process is scattered, finding inspiration and ideas everywhere. “I’ll jot down an idea to style and photograph something in my journals, or pin inspiration to Pinterest. I do a lot of blog posts based on a common decor theme, so I’ll save up images to share as one cohesive post, say for instance about lighting, or exterior makeovers. Or we’ll style and shoot around a theme, like holiday decorating or bedding ideas.” Geared towards achieving a personal, unique aesthetic, Smith emphasizes affordable design that is achievable and relatable, and thus all imagery is chosen specifically to reflect that design manifesto. It’s that she upholds her very applicable style and a direct voice that resonates, calling to a large audience. “I think you just do your best to present your most authentic self. I think readers can tell if you’re being honest with them. I try to share personal experiences in my own voice, as if I’m speaking to friends, which in a sense I really am.” Staying inspired is never a major issue for Smith as she is doing what she loves. However, she explains the importance of finding novel stimulus in experiencing new environments. “I love great design, and if you look around, it’s everywhere. From a funky old sign to flea markets, pretty walks around the city—beauty can be found in the most obscure objects. I do tend to feel burnt out from time to time and then I know it’s time to travel and get inspired elsewhere. It works every time.” Even with the rapture of everyday immersion in her imaginative realm, Smith has her own set of challenges including staying on top of technology; and despite the comforts of being able to work from home, she toils around the clock. “I work almost every day, all day. I may work in my pajamas sometimes, but there is always the next post, the imminent deadlines and the desire to produce fresh daily content.” As of current, Smith is working on a number of projects including hosting events and blogging cocktail bar décor and recipes to introduce women to the art of drinking whiskey with Women & Whiskies; promoting accessible and affordable travel with Airbnb; and she is set to release a photography book in April called ‘See San Francisco,’ currently available for preorder.
All photos courtesy of @sfgirlbybay.