Monthly Archives: February 2013

In The Mood #1: Citrus & Sunshine!

In The Mood

I’ve been thinking of new columns to add to the blog, especially after writing the first Blog Log article last week about developing features. Columns come and go and mine are often inspired by other bloggers.

When I spotted fellow designer Emma Robertson’s new column, Moody which revolves around real life mood boards she creates, I had a lightbulb moment. One of the best times I had last year was making mood boards for this DIY project.

In The Mood

As much as I love Pinterest and appreciate the way it helps me organize client projects, I still find great solace in magazines. No matter how big the stacks of unread magazines get in my office, I won’t give up my subscriptions. For me, it’s important to keep a connection with the tactile and collect visual research in different ways, including flipping through those pages.

In The Mood

In this new column, I’ll be putting together real life mood boards around a theme. Right now, warm citrus hues are on my mind (obviously the Portland doom and gloom is getting to me!) Interestingly enough, these colors took center stage last year in a Latest & Greatest column. Some things never change!

In The Mood

I’m having a great time pulling together “real life” inspiration and am already plotting out the second installment of this series! Have you came up with any new columns lately?

View more of the In The Mood series here.

Life On The Farm

Blog Log

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that when I visited Ridge Farm during my last day in the U.K I went a little mad. As our driver pulled into the driveway of the residence, I literally couldn’t believe my eyes. We were in the midst of a farm house that had existed since the 16th century.

Blog Log

This wasn’t just any house, either. It was deep in the countryside of Surrey, about an hour outside of London but this place has some really unexpected history.

Blog Log

Blog Log

See, there’s a recording studio in one of the many cottages that dot the land and the likes of Queen, David Bowie, Little Richard and Black Sabbath have passed through its halls. We heard that it was the place to be in the 70s, 80s and 90s for bands looking to record their albums on state of the art analog equipment.

Blog Log

Blog Log

Upon further research, one of the “farmers” dug up photos of Freddie Mercury strolling across the front lawn in a canary yellow 3 piece suit! Oh, Freddie. I was already dying of excitement just seeing the front of the house (I couldn’t shut up — “We don’t have stuff like this in America! I can’t believe this place!!!”) but then, I had a mini freakout when we were led up the very settled (read: crooked) winding stairs to the top of the house. We’d been promised “Freddie’s Bedroom” for our night’s stay, complete with a four poster bed and peaked ceiling. Legend has it that he wrote Bohemian Rhapsody up there. And that David Bowie had slept in that same room. It was like nowhere I’d ever been — it exuded magic.

Blog Log

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. We had been invited to The Farm by celebrated UK wedding photographer Lisa Devlin for her intensive photography workshop dubbed, quite accurately, the Photography Farm. This time, she’d ambitiously set up a multitude of masterclasses that people had flown in from all around the world for and we’d been invited along to speak at length about our Blogcademy social media segment tailored to photographer’s needs. We met so many fantastic people during our three hour talk and spent the rest of our time exploring the grounds, eating gourmet meals whipped up by the chefs and obsessing over Freddie’s bedroom (wait, that was me).

Blog Log

This little adventure was the perfect way to end our time in the U.K. and unwind after two sold out Blogcademy workshops. Getting out into the world and visiting places like this is a dream come true. Seriously, it was like an idyllic storybook setting (though I can only imagine the hijinks the big name rock legends actually engaged in)!

* If you’d like to attend a future Photography Farm event, you can learn more here.
* If you’d like to book an event at Ridge Farm, you can do so here.

The Week In Pictures: 2.15.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

It’s always good to switch things up. I was still feeling completely exhausted last week and needing to get away from all things work-related so I drove out to the suburbs and spent the night hanging with my grandparents (aren’t they the cutest?!) at The Eagles. The place was filled to the hilt with Valentine’s decor and I looked on, grinning as little old couples danced the night away to a live country band. I even snuck in a dance with my grandpa — he’s 85 and still going strong! One the way out, they handed me a tin piled high with freshly baked cookies. How’s that for service?

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend, I joined my brother for The One Motorcycle Show and it was soooo awesome. I grew up surrounded by motorcycles (my dad’s an ex biker and his collection is impressive!) but personally, they’ve never been my “thing.”

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I have a newfound appreciation for them after this amazing show — the lengths people go to to customize their bikes blew my mind. They’re really their own design project, each one showcasing the owner’s personality.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Mustard yellow velvet? Sure, why not! Everything was fair game at this show! The place was packed to the gills with everyone excitedly snapping photos. Portland has a lot of really tight communities and this show reminded me of that sense, witnessing so many people gathering their dream bikes together to make this show happen.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Also, I finally had a chance to visit Ampersand, a mecca for design and photography books. Exquisitely curated, the tables are stacked with everything you won’t find everywhere else.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Each month, they curate a new art show along the back wall as well.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I’m really looking forward to this three day weekend…partially because I need to get my taxes wrapped up, once and for all (yeah, seriously not exciting). And, make a much needed IKEA visit. Joey’s been on a mad remodeling spree, fixing up our ancient basement and making one of the extra rooms inhabitable for Kat and Gala when they visit next month. Right now, it’s a dusty mess but once we make some more progress I’ll share.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Make time to get out and explore…

Link Love: 2.14.13

link love

Source: Maru Alvarez Colodrero for Pitocatalan / Otono.

• Design Sponge has compiled the ultimate guide of social media etiquette and at 7,000 words, there’s a lot to dig into!

• If you’re struggling to figure out your niche as a blogger, Breanna Rose has some advice!

• A new survey has found that most Facebook users have taken a self-prescribed break from the site. The comments here are great as well.

• If you’re a type lover, this decorative letter DIY will be right up your alley.

• When you come across a copycat, how do you react? Do you call that person out? Or, are you already 10 steps ahead with new and exciting work to let it get to you?

• What really goes inside of a corporate Twitter account with four million followers? So surprising.

• Windows of New York is a weekly illustration project by Jose Guizar that reminds us to look up and enjoy the architecture around us.

• If you want to add a Pinterest button to your WordPress blog, Joanna Waterfall has an easy tutorial.

• Have you seen the new app, Over that allows you to add typography to your instagram shots? I’m sensing a new addiction!

• This is a tricky one: How do you tell your clients that you’re raising your rates?

• The interviewee in The Billfold’s A Friendly Chat With a Rich Person comes across as both funny and relatable.

• I’m still warming up to Vine but here’s five ways to make it more fun!

• Andy Warhol was onto something with this statement.

Paris Photo Diary 01: An Afternoon At Our Apartment

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

After spending more than a week in London, it was time to climb aboard the Eurostar and head off to Paris. A little more than two hours later, we were cutting across the city, heading straight for the mighty Arc De Triomphe.

Our turn of the century apartment was right around the corner and our favorite part of the building soon became the glass-walled mini elevator that zoomed up alongside the twirling staircase (every time I climbed in, I felt like I was entering a time machine to another dimension).

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Instead of staying in a hotel, we switched things up for this leg of the trip and partnered with Go With Oh which is a company specializing in rentals in most major European cities. I always feel like staying in a hotel is very sterile and a little too perfect — it doesn’t really give you a true feel for the city. While my experience with other apartment rental services has been somewhat spotty, the apartment we found through Go With Oh was absolutely spotless, impeccably decorated and stocked with all the basics we could ever need including food, stacks of towels and yes…plenty of toilet paper. When you’re traveling for long stretches of time, those little details make all the difference. You don’t want to go out searching for them when you’re flat out exhausted!

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Paris is the most beautiful city I’ve ever traveled to, hands-down and I knew we wouldn’t be content actually lounging around — there was far too much to document! We invited along the dream team of Lisa Devlin, Shell de Mar and hair and makeup whiz Elbie van Eeden to capture all the details our amateur photo skills could not. While I can get a great snapshot, I’m well aware of my limitations and know when to call in the pros.

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

The entire apartment was awesome but I gravitated mostly to the quirky kitchen. Why I am I laughing? If you know me, it’s obvious that I can’t cook to save my life. At our house, Joey’s in charge of all the cooking (and he’s damn good at it!) So the whole time we were shooting, I was cracking up at what he’d think of the absurdity of it all.

But that kitchen! It was perfectly frozen in the late 50s with a brilliant red tiled backsplash and baby blue floors. If I called that apartment home, I wouldn’t change a thing. What I love about Paris is that there’s an emphasis on preserving the past. In America, we’re constantly after the next best thing, tearing everything down in our path. In my mind, this kitchen didn’t need any “updating,” it was already a masterpiece!

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

This outfit was actually a look I’d pieced together from Buffalo Exchange! I hate clutter and am constantly trading in my old clothes — over the last six months I picked up this vintage silk shift dress and sheer cross patterned blouse with my store credit. I love it when that happens! Pulling together a look doesn’t have to be expensive.

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Kat is never subtle, ever! While taking a seat between the floor length drapery, she wore a custom made pink ombre tutu from Ouma, a grey t-shirt from Whistles and a belt from H&M. She then changed things up with a black sequined sweater from Manoush. When we were out shopping, I approved of this purchase, telling her it reminded me of something Michael Jackson would wear (the highest complement!)

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

Gala was drawn to the large white double doors in our place which were so chic (why can’t places in the U.S. be this amazing?) She wore a tutu dress, also by Ouma and hopped around like a crazed ballerina (must’ve been the bags of sugary treats she was downing!)

Paris Diary 1 Lisa Devlin

In other news, I’m glad I left my hair this long for our trip (I was basically trying to channel my beauty icon, Priscilla Presley) but man, I need to get a haircut! BAD. I’m feeling more like Cousin It than sleek; this crazy mane needs to be shaped up!

Portlanders, where do you go for a great haircut?? Spill your secrets!

Photography: Lisa Devlin
Hair and Makeup: Elbie van Eeden
Apartment: Go With Oh

Blog Log #1: Features and Finding a Balance

Blog Log


Photo by Shell de Mar

Due in part to the launch of The Blogcademy, I’ve been getting a lot of blogging-specific questions lately and felt they deserved their own category and column! If you have a blogging question of your own, please send it my way at advice @ The following question just hit my inbox:

“What is the balance between topics/features that you like to keep to maintain reader interest (e.g. your lifestyle, thought leadership, career advice, reviews of stuff you come across) and was this balance different when you first started out?”

How to Find Your Balance

When you’re blogging professionally and looking for ways to grow your readership, inevitably the balance question pops up. It goes something like this: “How much should I blog about myself versus more general topics in my niche?” This is important to consider because not everyone who comes across your blog will be interested in your niche. For instance, I’m a graphic designer but if all I posted about was my latest design projects and spouted out design jargon, my following would be a lot smaller because honestly, not everyone gives a hoot about design. And, I would get incredibly bored just posting about one topic day in and day out. I know that not all of my readers care about my profession but some may be interested in personal style, business and career advice, life in Portland and cool links I’ve gathered for the week.

While it’s important to have a defined niche that your content revolves around, if you wind your blog too tightly around a singular subject, it can become very dry and insular. Always use your niche as a guide — think of it as a bull’s eye in the middle of a dart board. But then, throw some darts a little further outside of the center. How can you add more depth to your content? What else do you have to offer?

The general consensus I’ve heard time and again is that people first visit a blog because of the niche but stick around for the blogger. We click in because a post intrigues us. But, why do we keep returning? For the personality! And as bloggers, we’re not all one-dimensional. While a lot of us have careers we love, families we love and so on, there’s still more to life. We all have places we love to visit. Favorite restaurants. Idols who inspired us to become who we are. Books and movies that move us. Other bloggers we admire. Living spaces we’re constantly revamping. As bloggers, by sharing what we are passionate about, we become more relatable and way less one-dimensional.

Columns I Started and Why

Many of the columns you currently see on my blog week after week have been running for four years strong! Most started because I noticed a gap in my content or was inspired by what I saw other bloggers doing. If you get an idea from another blogger’s column, just remember to give it a unique name and add your own spin!

• I started The Typofiles because as a designer in college back in 2007, typography and editorial design were of particular interest to me and I saw an opportunity to share new things I’d come across with other aspiring creatives. To this day, I mostly scan and photograph the work myself so it has my own spin.

• Link Love began in 2007 because I wanted a space to compile all the rad links I’d come across on the internet that week — it was a chance to share the love and link back to fellow bloggers I admired (I actually became friends with quite a few of them through this column!)

• I started The Week In Pictures in 2008 because I’d been carrying a camera in my purse every day for years and always ended up with piles of awesome, unused photos. Having a place to curate my latest shots every week and share new discoveries meant that I could convey more of my personality on my blog.

• What I Wore launched in 2007 because I’ve always felt that our sartorial choices are just another form of art. And getting dressed should be elevated to just that — it’s a valid creative outlet.

• I started my Advice column in 2008 because other aspiring creatives were writing me, looking for insights into schooling and design and it was a way for me to give back. I was always very open about not being able to afford art school and instead enrolling in community college for my design education. It turned out to be the best educational decision I’ve made and I wanted to let people know that sometimes it’s okay to take the path less traveled when it comes to education and careers.

The Latest & Greatest launched in 2012 because I was constantly inspired by something new, whether it was a specific color or fashion trend and thought it would be cool to share that wavelength through simple visual curations.

I wanted to share this list to encourage you to think about drawing from your own interests for your columns. Don’t over think it — not every column needs to be groundbreaking. Some columns will develop naturally as you continue blogging while others may be created to fill a specific need. Listen to your readers — they’re not afraid to let you know what they want to see more of! But also, listen to your gut. Some columns may not be the most popular but maybe they’re a personal outlet that keep you inspired to keep on blogging. The key is to strike that balance!

Column Inspiration

If you’re looking for even more column inspiration, here are some of my favorite series I follow and love:

1. Gala Darling’s weekly gratitude list, Things I Love Thursday. 2. The super crafty Make It column by Design Love Fest. 3. Need Read Greed on Jane Reaction. 4. Friday Link Pack by Swiss Miss. 5. Be Free, Lance by Breanna Rose. 6. Door Sixteen’s Yeah, I Could Live There. 7. Launched! by Pugly Pixel. 8. Since You Asked by Cary Tennis.

And, if you’re thirsty for even more blogging-specific content, Gala just started a fantastic multi-part series!

It’s your turn!

What are some of your favorite columns?
Were some of your most popular columns a happy accident or did you develop them to fill a hole in your content?

View more of the Blog Log series here.

Latest & Greatest #15: Liz Taylor and Connecting the Dots

Latest and Greatest

Liz Taylor and Connecting the Dots

It’s interesting how the human mind connects the dots and draws parallels. I’ve been intrigued by the Gabbani Identity by Demian Conrad Design for quite a long time now and it’s obvious why: the graphic patterns, the simple color scheme and yes, the poster of Elizabeth Taylor hanging just so-so in the background of one of the shots is totally up my alley. This branding in particular kept churning in my head and I referred back to it often for inspiration because it felt so perfect to me.

But something kept lingering…it reminded me of something else but I couldn’t quite place it. Then I woke up yesterday morning and it hit me: the Topshop Unique Spring 2012 collection had also used graphic black and white patterns and Elizabeth Taylor. I always say that inspiration is everywhere and I love it when contrasting worlds cross over and inspire us in new, unique ways.

*Sources: and Demian Conrad Design.