Monthly Archives: January 2012

Setting Goals: Doing What You Love in 2012

do what you love


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do what you love


In a recent post, I proclaimed that you should make it your mission in life to do what you love. That’s easy enough to say but the big question is, how do you make it happen?

Because social media has become so polished over the last few years, from the outside, it can seem like everyone else has already achieved the so-called dream life that you aspire to. It’s not quite that simple though. Beneath the facade, we all struggle. It’s just that for varying reasons (some personal, some professional), not everyone chooses to share those struggles publicly. And since you often ‘meet’ people online who are already at the height of their careers (you didn’t discover them five years ago, when they started with five readers), you don’t see how they got from point A to point B. When you can’t clearly see the path they’ve taken, it all seems like a big ol’ brew of black magic.

Today, I’m here to help you think about what you really want, to make a plan and most importantly, to follow through with that plan.


Define exactly what you want, even if it feels unattainable.

If you don’t acknowledge what you want out of life, you’ll coast along, settling for what’s familiar and comfortable. How can you work towards your ideal life if you don’t even know what that resembles?

I’ve always been a dedicated list maker. When I was in my early 20s, living at my dad’s house in the suburbs, working a retail job selling shoes and in school full-time for business (completely not the path I wanted to be on!), I made lists. Lots of them. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do but I knew that I had to make small changes in order to move forward and unlock the puzzle. I did know that I loved advertising (I’d discovered a George Lois book in my high school library that was life changing) so I minored in Marketing. That was a start. I knew that I’d make more connections if I lived in Portland so I worked as many hours as I could, built a savings and moved into the city. I knew that having my own business was important to me so I blogged regularly to build an early platform for what would later become Nubbytwiglet.com.

All of these small changes were pieces of a much bigger puzzle and collectively, they started to shift my life. The picture became much more clear each day, each week, each month and so on. Based on achieving small, concrete results, I was then able to set new, more focused goals. At 24, after many list-filled notebooks, I finally knew what I wanted to do. Because I was equally drawn to marketing and design, working at ad agencies seemed like the perfect dream career. The idea excited me and I set out to find a way to make it happen.

Once I’d finished my business degree, I took a year off to regroup, started reading piles of design books and finally enrolled in a graphic design program. I secured an internship during my first year and set a new goal of working full time at an agency by age 27. It happened. That became a stepping stone for freelancing at another five agencies and each stop on that path was hugely beneficial (while being filled with very steep learning curves). As I worked at more agencies, design felt increasingly closer to my heart and became my true passion (as cheesy as that sounds).

After taking on nearly every job I possibly could in the first four years of being a designer to build a diversified portfolio, I’ve started to refine my business plan and figure out the next steps that I’d like to take professionally. It’s time for me to step back, reevaluate and refine my goals even further. It’s time to make a new list.

Why am I painstakingly detailing this part of my life for you? Because I want you to see that there’s a process for getting what you want out of life. Everyone has a beginning but it’s up to you to decide what the middle and end of your story will look like. Getting what you want doesn’t just happen magically.


Goals are like a map, outlining the path of your life with clear markers.

Goals give you momentum and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Unlike dreams, goals are concrete measurements that signal that you’re on the right track while opening doors to new experiences and opportunities.


Accept where you are, right at this moment.

Be realistic about where you are, right now. This can be a hard pill to swallow if you’re really far from your goals. Remember that accepting your current spot doesn’t mean that you have to be content. It just means that you’re being realistic so you can make an honest plan outlining how to move forward.


The one thing that’s constant is change.

If you’re feeling stuck or unsure of your path, remember that everyone’s been in your shoes. Feeling uneasy is actually a good sign because it means that you’re aware and not willing to settle for where you’re currently at. Instead, you’re searching for a new opportunity, a new path, a sign that something needs to shift.


Once your goals begin to transpire, find ways to help others.

Enjoy your successes as they come but stay grounded and aware. Nobody likes dealing with a self-absorbed asshole. The best way to stay grounded is to find ways to give back. Donate your time and talents whenever possible. Even better, become a mentor. What you choose to give back doesn’t have to be monumental; do what you can do, when you can. The best gift you can give is to help someone else achieve their goals.


Live a life that you love.

Reworking your life is overwhelming and scary; it’s okay to start really small. Set regular check-in points along the way so that you know you’re on track. If you’re feeling stuck, the best way to overcome a mental block is to get it out into the open; talk it out or write it out. And finally, the challenges we face along the way only make us stronger. Never, ever give up and never, ever sell yourself short. You only live your life once so really, truly make the most of it. There’s no time for regrets. Do what you love in 2012.


Link Love: 1.19.12

link love


link love

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• It seems that working in solitude, especially in offices is no longer in vogue. These days, it’s all about teamwork.

• If you’re an individual that wants a text-based newsletter without too many bells and whistles, TinyLetter may be the perfect solution.

• When it comes to makeup, brights are in big time!

• This photo set of New York in the 1980s is captivating.

• Elsie of A Beautiful Mess has been doing a great series of sewing posts that cover basic sewing machine stitches, basic hems and more!

• Declare something finished.

• Onepager is a great service that allows you to quickly build a simple, professional looking website in a matter of minutes.

• Not every Kickstarter projects goes as planned. There’s a lot to learn from this tale.

• Three top Condé Nast editors in chief won’t be at their magazines forever. Who’s next in line at Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker?


The Typofiles #94: Rick Ross for GQ Magazine

magazine typofiles typography



When it comes to offline inspiration, my primary source of design research relies heavily on magazines. By day, I do everything from branding to retail to web design but my personal, off-the-job passion is editorial design and fashion magazine layouts are what excite me most. Yesterday, as I was idly flipping through the October 2011 issue of GQ, this beautiful type treatment that accompanied an interview of rapper-of-the-moment Rick Ross totally blew my mind. Reminiscent of vintage maps and banknotes but thoroughly modernized with the text Simple Lessons For Bosses, Dons and Bitches, it’s the perfect merging of old and new. I love it.


Decor Notebook #17: Red Hot


Though nearly the entire interior of my house, Wolfgang Manor is comprised of black and white, small dashes of red are scattered throughout to add a lively sense of energy. I tend to collage images into my Decor Notebook primarily by color since so many other components of my life are also color-driven including my books, clothing, and shoes. When people ask me for organizational tips, I always say that you have to develop an individualized system that works for you — color just happens to be my self-prescribed method to keep the madness in check.



Luke Copping Photography Magazine

luke copping photography magazine


luke copping photography magazine


Photographer Luke Copping came to me late last year with a new promotional idea. He wanted to present his top images not in a portfolio but instead in a magazine format. In the few years we’ve been working together on his branding, we’ve collaborated on a number of web and print promos but in Luke’s true style, it was time to push the envelope. You’ve probably noticed the trend of bloggers putting out their own magazines and this seemed like a natural transition for Luke as well. With on-demand self-publishing becoming an increasingly affordable option, photographers can self-promote in ways that seemed incredibly out of reach just a few short years ago.

Photographers know their work better than anyone and after Luke had selected his top images and mocked up a dummy issue, I started playing around with layouts and type-driven introductions for each themed series.

I’ve worked with a lot of photographers and my number one goal as a designer is to never overpower their work. I believe that less is more. Great photographers’ work stands on its own and the accompanying branding should accentuate it, not distract. Because of this, I kept the layouts and overall design fairly minimal.


luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine

luke copping photography magazine


The outcome was 58 page perfect-bound magazine with matte pages. I commend Luke for constantly being on the lookout for the next promotional vehicle to elevate his brand. It’s been great participating in the evolution from the creation of an identity to print and web promos to premium business cards and now, a print magazine.

P.S. You can read about Luke’s take on the project here.


The Week In Pictures: 1.13.12

week in pictures


week in pictures


week in pictures


week in pictures


My office is the cleanest and most organized it’s ever been. And now I’m ready to conquer the longest design to-do list I’ve ever had.


week in pictures


An inspirational poster, perhaps? You be the judge.


week in pictures


Switching things up with new colors: I picked up this trio of Face Stockholm polishes at a J. Crew store in Phoenix and am still enjoying making small changes from my normal beauty routine.


week in pictures


Every time I wear this textured silk bomber jacket by Quail, everyone wants to pet me.


week in pictures


I just happened to witness the funniest photo shoot ever that included very large hunting knives.


week in pictures


The current wallpapers on my desktop and laptop: Black and white and minimal.


week in pictures


My default everyday shoes: Minimarket zipper wedges. I love these so much that I’m on my third pair.


week in pictures


Isn’t this type great? I love discovering design inspiration in unlikely places.


week in pictures


We’ve got small Bavarian-inspired touches scattered throughout our home. I especially love this vintage piece from an old cuckoo clock in the kitchen nook.


week in pictures


One of my favorite outfits: a red plaid vintage skirt from Etsy paired with Cheap Monday patent wedges.


week in pictures


There’s a ramen place with really great branding on Water Street in Portland called Boke Bowl. It’s always packed but definitely worth visiting.


week in pictures


This is a little old but here’s a peek of what I packed for my Phoenix trip.


week in pictures


The design necessities: my Pantone notebook, Moleskine planner,pens and tea. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here to share a design project I just finished (and am super happy with) on Monday!


nubby signature

Link Love: 1.12.12

link love


link love

Karen Elson by Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue, 1997.


• 17 design pros share their best career advice.

• The handwritten trend on editorial and blog layouts is HUGE right now and Pugly Pixel has tracked down the best pencil and chalk brushes to achieve the look.

• Swissted is a project by Mike Joyce. By combining his love of punk rock and swiss modernism, he’s redesigned vintage punk, hardcore, and indie rock show flyers into typographic posters!

• This is what London looks like, nearly empty. Amazing.

• Twelve things you were not taught in school about creative thinking.

• You have to check out these cowboy boots, featuring the longest, pointiest toes ever.

• My favorite article of the week: You Say You Want a Devolution chronicles how, these days, “even as technological and scientific leaps have continued to revolutionize life, popular style has been stuck on repeat, consuming the past instead of creating the new.”

• How to splurge responsibly.

• The best movie posters of 2011. My favorite of the bunch is L’Armour Fou featuring Yves Saint Laurent.

• How to lead a creative life.