alrighty, it’s time to say farewell to the holiday season — and hello to a brand new year. the holidays are full of such a plethora of emotions. from wonder and optimism to chaotic mayhem, a gamut of emotions is on display. it happens to me, and i know a lot of us, this time of year — the expectation to be having a blast no matter the ennui or disappointment we may feel for a variety of reasons one can only imagine. the holiday hype is a lot to live up to. but here we are, 2024, and it’s ours to do what we will with it. a fresh start, as they say. but there can be pressure in that, too — can we not do that to ourselves and instead just do our best? after all, everything happens in its own time, and it’s only natural to feel the same feelings you felt just yesterday — in 2023. but i’m choosing to be optimistic this year and excited for things to come, especially here on my substack. the excitement of what’s behind the curtain is half the fun!

it’s now monday, new year’s day, and like fairy dust has been sprinkled over my overly-self-examined life, my brain fog begins to lift, and i start to feel like me again. you may have seen my post a few weeks ago on instagram — i’ve been contemplating a tattoo that reads amor fati in small, feminine script. the concept of ‘amor fati,’ is a latin phrase, first introduced by philosopher friedrich nietzsche and translated means ‘love of one’s fate,’ and it encourages us to embrace everything that happens in our lives, both good and bad, and see it as an essential part of our personal journey. i first saw it in the film a good person, and there’s even a very beautiful song by washed out with the same title. by the way, this is a temporary tattoo (below) from tatteco, and they have a beautiful selection of tattoos if you’re not quite ready to make a serious commitment.

i quite like this sentiment, possibly because my life hasn’t turned out quite as i expected, but as we often do this time of year, i’m taking stock of all i’m grateful for, even when my life is somewhat unusual in terms of the status quo. if you don’t know much about me — here’s the dirt: i was once engaged, but broken off, and i’ve lived with several boyfriends over the years but never married and haven’t had children. and i’m fine with a less traditional life for the most part, although i would like a future partner to spend time with, travel, and to love, but thus far, my fate, if it is to be believed, has not yet delivered that. but i do love my life — a lot. therefore, amor fati seems a very appropriate tattoo for me, n’est-ce pas?

i’m not one to really make new years resolutions, but i am someone who thinks in terms of do-overs and at least making an effort at a clean slate no matter your history, so that’s where i’m headed. this year i want to make room for a happy and harmonious home full of curiosity and creativity, but less stuff. i also have this strong inner fashionista who is daring me to dress a little differently, so i’ve been pinning outfit ideas that inspire me. i may just become that eccentric lady who wears whatever makes her happy even if it’s not the norm, especially here in laguna beach where basically everyone dresses like they’re at surf camp. i feel my fashion rebel about to emerge!

and a huge part of my creativity is contributing here on substack; being ad and sponsor-free gives me a sense of creative freedom, and it’s so rewarding to know you’ve followed me here and have subscribed — just because you want to. that brings me unlimited amounts of joy and gratitude. and, it’s really been wonderful this past year to see a lot more of my fellow bloggers moving to substack and building a community here again — it feels much like our original blogging days when i first started, way back in 2006. one thing will be changing, however — i will rarely be offering free posts, and i know that may be hard for some of you to reckon with, but please hear me out. i’ve been creating content for you for over 18 years, and i feel that I’ve earned the opportunity to be compensated fairly for my work. and honestly, i feel that $5/month is not much money to ask for all the creative inspiration i work so hard to provide you. it’s my only source of income, as well, so honestly, i need to up my subscriptions if i am to make this work; otherwise, sadly i’ll have to say a farewell to the blog as we’ve known it for so many years. so while there may be free posts now and then and always free previews, primarily, this will be a paid subscription-based format going forward. my goal is to be fair to all subscribers and create more of a community, and it seems to me that paid subscribers shouldn’t be supporting and carrying the blog on their own. i hope those of you who are free subscribers will consider a full annual subscription, or perhaps you’d like to try a subscription out at just $5/month. i am going to continue my 20% off annual subscriptions for the next two weeks, so now’s the time to pay just $3.33/month.

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i look forward to sharing so much more interior design inspiration with you (which is always my main passion here), super marché vintage and unique shopping finds, home tours with unexpected guests, my color stories, travel insights to parts unknown, including city guides, reading and film recs, charming new ensembles for you to wear this there, and anything and everything that inspires me and i think you’d like to know about, too. and please, if there’s something you’d like to see more (or less) of here, please do tell! so — do you know what 2024 means for you yet? or are you still foraging around for your own unique purpose? if so, i get it, and there is no rush — you do you. happy new year, and thank you eternally for being here. xo, v.

• photography credits: click on the image, which will take you to its original source. in my collages, all photographs by me. the fashion collage was made up of my fashion and street style pinboards.

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