Monthly Archives: April 2010

Sweet Dreams at the Jupiter Hotel

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week in pictures

When people write me and ask what they should do while visiting Portland, the inevitable question of where to stay usually arises. Since I live in the city and 15 minutes or less from most of the hotels I like, I’ve never really had a reason to stay overnight. Until now.

The Jupiter Hotel is a quaint boutique hotel with a mid-century modern feel. Formerly a motor inn, the Jupiter is next door to the Doug Fir, one of my favorite places in town to grab a drink and dinner. I’ve sat around the Doug Fir’s fire pit out back and watched massive parties go down at The Jupiter – it’s definitely earned a reputation of being the ‘rock and roll hotel’ of Portland.

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Awhile back, the Jupiter kindly offered me a room for review – I knew the basics but before recommending it to my readers, I wanted to experience it firsthand for myself. On Friday night, we packed our bags, sent out invites to some of our closest Portland friends and drove over to our temporary digs.

The Jupiter provided us with their most popular room, The Metro. According to their site, “The Metro has space to spread out and get creative. These rooms feature 32” flat-screen TVs and modern Tomita Design desks in addition to our standard amenities: Chalkboard door, free WiFi, private bath with eco-bath amenities, queen pillow-top platform beds, down comforters and pillows, and speakers for your notebook or MP3 player.” Nice.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Perhaps the coolest part of the Jupiter rooms are the chalkboard-friendly doors. World famous artists Star and Joey helped us deck them out in some lewd finery.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Star poses in front of our handiwork. In case you were wondering, I’m responsible for the drippy boobs and drumstick.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Isn’t the desk and work area cute?

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Erin and I met on our first day of high school in 1995. Still goin’ strong!

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Brent, Katie and Erin joined us for the festivities.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Joey and Jason also stopped by….

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Star and I compare legwear at 2 AM.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

You may be asking yourself…what are some qualities that make the Jupiter unique?

• Each of the 81 rooms feature a unique theme / wall mural. Mine had a floor-to-ceiling portrait of Buddha.

• The Jupiter is very green and uses low-voltage lighting, provides guest room recycling and cleans with environmentally-friendly products.

• Besides having the Doug Fir next door, an on-site hair salon called Wack is perfect for a quick cut and massage.

• There are pet friendly rooms! Read more about the LexiDog Metro.

• The Jupiter is barely a few minutes from downtown and surrounded by a plethora of independent businesses and indie boutiques.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Overall, I was very satisfied with my stay. The room was larger than I’d expected; I loved the modern decor and huge window. And, the convenience is unparalleled since the entertainment is right next door at the Doug Fir, where you can grab breakfast, lunch, dinner and a show all in one stop! If you are hip, love to party and aren’t offended by obscenities scrawled across people’s doors in chalk, this is your place. If you’re old, stuffy and lack a sense of humor, there’s a dumpy Thriftlodge down the road.

To find out more about the Jupiter or to book a room, please visit the website. Last but not least, I should mention that there’s an after midnight $59.00 special if you’re needing a last minute place to crash!

week in pictures

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The Week in Pictures: 4.23.10

week in pictures

week in pictures

Welcome to The Week in Pictures! I was having some major site issues over the last few days but thanks to the web ninjas known as Star and John C. Worsley, everything should be smooth sailing!

week in pictures

week in pictures

I have the best friends – Kristin Cofer always sends me the cutest little packages. This one came complete with a gorgeous vintage dress and customized letterhead. Adore her.

week in pictures

week in pictures

It cracks me up that there’s always a Mystery Machine parked right around the corner from my house. Scoobydoobydoooooooo! Haha.

week in pictures

week in pictures

Joey and I wanted to go out the other night but our local bar didn’t allow drinks outside at the picnic tables so we waltzed in with Rocky. Nobody seemed to care. It was his first time at a bar but don’t fret…he’s 21 in dog years!

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

Type and lips and studs, oh my! These are a few of my favorite things. I’m not big on fancy jewelry at all. I prefer red, black and white along with piles of acrylic.

week in pictures

week in pictures

Last Friday, I volunteered to do portfolio reviews at PNCA and it was an enlightening experience in part because it was my first time sitting on the other side of the table since graduating two years ago. I distinctly remember what it was like and how nervous I was. I never want to be the Simon Cowell of portfolio reviews – design is so personal and while it’s important to be honest, staying constructive and providing advice that is legitimately helpful goes a long way.

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

I adore the signs in my neighborhood.

week in pictures

week in pictures

I saw the latest issue of O yesterday while in line at the grocery store and thought, “Ah, why the hell not?” Someone gave me a copy probably 8 years ago and it had some of the cleanest, most crisp editorial design at the time. Inspiration is lurking everywhere! The mag and these shoes paired together practically scream “SPRING!”

Readers, do you have any awesome weekend plans?

week in pictures

Until next week,
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Link Love: 4.22.10

link love typography

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• The Magazine Cover Archive is devoted to helping keep inspirational magazine design alive. It has collected thousands of magazine covers from various titles that can be instantly viewed.

Brand New Classroom is “publishing identity work from students around the world who tackle redesigns of well-known brands as a class assignment. The focus will be as much on the final result as the process to get there.” If you’d like to submit your work to be critiqued, click here.

• Swooooonworthy: Scandinavian logos from the 60s and 70s.

• I love viewing photo essasys of people’s daily routines. Kris Atomic’s is especially beautiful.

• Just a few hours after he died in 1955, someone snapped a photo of Albert Einstein’s desk.

• How do you cope with client fallout?

• I wish I had the time to do this! Create your own Penguin book cover! You can download templates and whip up your own version – a perfect self-initiated project. (thanks, final fashion)

• Graphic design through the decades has a special roundup this week of design examples from the 1950s.

“You ever think about how in, like, a Tom Hanks movie, everyone lives in a reality in which there’s no such person as Tom Hanks? Because otherwise, people would be mistaking the main character for Tom Hanks all the time? Yeah….me neither.

• Find out what goes into designing Selfridge’s store window displays. It’s waaaaay more work than you think!




What I Wore: 4.20.10

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

If Little Red Riding Hood had a penchant for mod attire and listened to black metal, I imagine that she’d wear something like this. A few weeks ago when I wore it for the first time, I forgot to mention that my Rick Owens jacket came with a detachable cape. Yes, a cape. I zipped it off, realized that it made a cozy little capelet and used a sweater pin to secure it.

In other news, little Rocky just got a haircut and has been shivering nonstop so we put him in this little Rock n’ Roll shirt. He looks so glam rock now!

I wore:

Capelet, borrowed from a Rick Owens jacket
Dress, Forever 21
Tights, ModCloth
Headband, Forever 21
Watch, Nixon
Wedges, Camilla Skovgaard
Purse, Miu Miu

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One Year of Freelancing: What I’ve Learned

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

When I started freelancing full time in May 2009, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Freelancers seem to have quite varied experiences which is to be expected when you’re working as your own boss. I’m a very structured person that was accustomed to working in teams with other designers and art directors; I wondered if would I be able to trust my own judgement and still output high quality work. I questioned whether I could handle not having a set time to show up to an office every day. Would I be able to keep a schedule that allowed me to not only get all of my client work done but also have time for meetings and blogging?

Though I’d been taking on freelance jobs since 2005, I’d always had another job to back me up. Taking the leap into running my business full time was scary because it meant that I was fully dependent on my design and networking skills to make a living. Though, I was lucky because I already had a few big clients in my portfolio (including Forever 21 and Virgin Records) and had received great hands-on training during the year and a half I’d spent at an ad agency. And, my largest freelance clients were in LA and New York so I was accustomed to working remotely. Sending off rounds of work through email and having conference calls instead of in-person meetings was an easy adjustment.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

To drum up new work, I didn’t have to do any pitches since I had a steady stream of clients who contacted me through my blog. Though, I did do a few other things to secure new work:

1. I built a print and PDF portfolio of my newest work. By having a PDF on hand, I could upoad it to my blog and let potential clients know that I was accepting new projects. If they liked what they saw, they could email me for a quote. I also kept an 11 x 17 print portfolio ready to go for face-to-face meetings with creative directors, clients and designer friends. I took every opportunity where I thought a critique could be possible and drug my book along. The feedback, though differing, made my work stronger overall. 7 Tips for Creating a Print-Based Portfolio can provide some pointers.

2. I set up appointments with placement agencies. I pounded the pavement, went to as many placement agencies as possible and in turn, had a steady stream of offers in Portland and New York within the first few months. Not every one was a perfect fit and I turned down more than I took but because of these contacts, I was able to do work for companies including the Wall Street Journal and Nike. My agents did the screening, found suitable positions based on my experience and set up the interviews. If you’re just getting started and need to build connections and contacts, placement agencies are a huge asset.

3. I contacted ad agencies directly. Design communities are pretty tight knit; everyone knows each other, even in larger cities. I reached out to producers and agency owners, forwarded them my resumé and portfolio and when there was a need, they brought me in to work on projects. Once you’ve passed the test on a project or two, demonstrated that you are reliable and easy to work with, chances are that you will get called back. Building strong connections with just a few agencies can keep you fairly busy.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

First of all, you get to become your own boss. You can go anywhere, work for anyone you choose and take on a huge variety of client projects while getting out and seeing the world. I spent a huge chunk of last year traveling. During stays in Orlando, Phoenix, New York and Seattle, I was on my laptop, still meeting deadlines and keeping current with client emails.

While freelancing, the sheer variety of jobs that I get to work on has made me a much more rounded designer. Some of the current jobs I am working on include a wedding photographer’s media kit, a logo for a restaurant specializing in hot wings, album packaging for a metal band, an identity for a gourmet line of sweets, a media kit for a burlesque star, a full website design for an art organization, a logo for a fashion line and more. The combination of styles, not to mention striving to meet a wide variety of client needs keeps me on my toes, stretch my skills to the limits while diversifying my portfolio. I love being able to work with people from all walks of life – it’s refreshing and satisfying.

From a networking standpoint, it really is astounding how many contacts you can make when you’re not sitting at the same desk all day, every day. Your world as a designer begins to expand infinitely. Being a freelancer forces you to get outside of your little bubble and to interact with the community. As you start working with more agencies, going out to art openings, visiting open houses, reaching out for informational interviews and emailing people you admire, opportunities begin to pop up. Creative stimulation is important for designers and the internet can only provide so much; it’s important to make regular face-to-face contact.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

Along with the perks, there are many potential downsides to freelancing as well. The work / life balance becomes increasingly hard to manage, in part because there’s not a clear division of where your ‘day job’ ends and your personal life begins. It’s easy to get caught up in jobs and spend the entire weekend in your office, to turn down invites to stay home and work into the night and to check your email at 6 am, only to realize that there’s a looming client emergency and jump out of bed.

One of the most significant downsides to freelancing is the lack of a consistent or steady income. Some months, the stars align and money pours in at a rate you could have never imagined; you think you know what it feels like to be rich. Other months, deals fall through, agencies don’t call and it seems impossible to wrap up old projects. Overall though, if you’ve built up a solid network, the good and bad months tend to balance out. Diversification helps immensely in this area; keeping agency work, staying in contact with agents and working with your personal clients tends to keep the jobs coming in.

Lastly, it is easy to become isolated. If the phone doesn’t ring for awhile, it’s all too convenient to sleep in, have your food delivered and sit in front of the computer in the same room every day. Lulls in work should be viewed as an opportunity to create self initiated projects, a chance to take short trips and to go out on lunch dates with friends.

freelancing design nubby twiglet

freelancing design nubby twiglet

Some techniques that help me function as a freelancer are quite simple but work wonders. Now that I have a dog living at my house, I use that as an excuse to get out and take regular walks. It not only helps to clear my mind but is also a chance to take different routes every time with the intention of scouting new spots to take outfit photos. Recently, I’ve also been writing out daily schedules of what work needs to be accomplished by what time. If I don’t do this, it becomes easy to surf the net and lose focus. By holding myself accountable and crossing off accomplishments as I move along throughout the day, I can see tangible results. Finally, I set up regular meetings with friends at coffee shops and bars to break up the day. Human interaction, not to mention the chance to explore new establishments across the city keeps things interesting.

As a freelancer, I would say that it takes a solid six months to really cement your branding, overall vision, to make enough contacts and to get up to speed in general. I’ve had an amazing time freelancing and running my own business has been hugely fulfilling. Though I am open to returning to agencies on a full-time basis, the opportunity to freelance has taught me more in a year than I ever thought possible. Freelancing has forced me to grow up, to take charge of my professional career and to realize that I am responsible for my success or lack thereof. Freelancing can make or break you…and in the process, at the very least, you have the opportunity to learn so much about yourself. That in itself is invaluable.

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