Monthly Archives: November 2013

Giving Thanks

Nubby Twiglet | Giving Thanks

It’s been a hectic day as I put together last-minute client presentations and wrapped up some loose ends before taking some time off for the long holiday weekend. I’m looking forward to the annual tradition of heading up to my grandparents’ cabin tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving. My grandma already asked me what flavor of pie I wanted so I know it’s going to be a good day. 😉

I actually got to kick off the holiday spirit last Friday when my grandparents came down from the mountains and joined me for some bar-hopping around S.E. Portland. Neither use canes and both are as sharp as tacks. My friends are always blown away when they meet them! When my 85 year old grandpa showed up in this swanky vintage Pendleton jacket, I did a double-take. “Grandpa, do you know how hip and in style that jacket is?!” He was surprised, nonchalantly mentioning that it’s been hanging in the back of his closet for a few decades.

My grandpa, Sharkey is a special man. So quiet and sweet and sentimental, he offsets my fiery grandma, Betty. Over dinner, she entertained my brother and I with stories of bar brawls and the time she almost got kicked out of Mexico. It’s never a dull moment with those two and I am thankful for every time I get to see them.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year: family that I honestly look forward to being around, a husband who supports my wacky ideas and lets me blabber about business on our morning walks, my cuddle buddy Rocky, business partners I can spend three weeks straight with and still call BFFs, a new design studio that makes me excited to get out of bed every day for, the opportunity to spend a decent chunk of my time traveling the world and for YOU. Thank you for the constant encouragement, advice and support you’ve given me over the last six years. It means the world to me.

Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

My Favorite New Finds from Australia and New Zealand!

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

Spending close to a month split between Australia and New Zealand, I came across some really special finds and discovered a whole bunch of new (to me) brands that are way too good to keep to myself!

• Ruby: I found this striped knit sweatshirt (now sadly sold out) at Ruby that was love at first sight — I’m always skimping on wardrobe basics but those are what I end up reaching for the most often so I’m trying to step up my game! Though Ruby’s pricing can seem high at first compared to similar U.S. brands, I was blown away by the quality and attention to detail. Manufactured in New Zealand, this sweatshirt has a gold zipper up the back and a perfectly slim (but not tight) cut. The brand does streetwear right, managing to keep it modern yet feminine.

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

• Mi Goals: To be fair, I didn’t actually buy this awesome set of notebooks (Mi Goals was a Blogcademy sponsor) but if I’d come across it in a store, I would have! Mi Goals stationery has goal-oriented sections with prompts to help you plan out your life and I especially love the no-nonsense design of the Get Shit Done booklet.

• MT Tape: I have an embarrassingly large stash of washi tape in my office but that didn’t stop me from going crazy at the pop-up shop inside Melbourne Central. Hundreds of varieties of the tape alongside crafting tables lured me in — I’ve always bought my rolls of MT Tape online so experiencing the brand in person was really exciting.

• Leonard Street: I nearly walked right past this Melbourne shop, quickly dismissing it as not being my style. But I am so glad Kat and Gala convinced me to stop in! Full of stylish and contemporary basics, I unexpectedly spotted my ideal dress, something I’d been dreaming of for years. Resembling a twill apron, the Braces Mini Dress in black fulfills my uniform fetish and is a great utilitarian, everyday basic. I throw it on over a black tee and skinny jeans and I’m ready to go!

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

• Glassons: I have to stop myself from reaching for these pants every single day. They’re my absolute favorites and best of all, they cost less than $30.00! I am obsessed with the perfectly narrow cut and ankle zips — they remind me of J. Crew but without the sticker shock. Glassons is an affordably priced chain store across New Zealand and I was drawn in by the deep selection of on-trend basics. Though these pants seem to be sold out, they have a lot of other great options! Now, if only they’d ship to the U.S.

• Typo: Being obsessed with office supplies, it didn’t take me long to discover Typo. Full of the coolest stationery and decor around, this place is a treasure trove if you’re in the mood to dress up your desk. I grabbed a bundle of the Pencil Pens which come in a rainbow of colors.

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

Grown Alchemist: Never in my life have I spent $20.00 on hand lotion. But that all changed when I came across this vanilla and orange peel scented concoction. Tired of having dry skin from too much traveling, I gave it a go. All I have to say is that it’s worth every penny. I’ve since done some more research on the line and between the stylishly minimal packaging, bio active organic ingredients and the lack of harsh chemicals, animal products and parabens, I am a super fan. It’s now on my desk at all times.

I loved wandering the streets of Australia and New Zealand and not spotting the same old American chain stores! Are there any other brands I missed that you’d recommend checking out?

The Blogcademy Melbourne: Adventures in Hula Hooping and Interviews for the Nightly News!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Our Melbourne class was full of some firsts for me, namely hooping in front of a group of strangers and getting interviewed by ABC News. The whole day felt a bit like an out-of-body experience but I’ve learned that when opportunities present themselves, you just have to roll with them, push any fears out of the way and hope for the best.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

We’d found out a few days earlier that ABC wanted to film our Melbourne class for a news story on blogging and it was hard to stay tight-lipped about the whole thing — the best part was watching the ladies’ reactions as they streamed in that morning and spotted the crew and cameras!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I’d never done television before and could barely sleep the night before. Finally, I just convinced myself that the best way to handle an interview was to pretend I was chatting with a friend and that was the only thing that really helped. Everything went off without a hitch and it was all over before I could really process it. We raced home that night to eat thai takeout on the couch (how glamorous!)and watch the segment.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

We held our Melbourne classes at Lightdrop Studios — the brick walls and hardwood floors made everything feel super intimate and cozy.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

The ladies who attend our workshops always have the BEST style, Arienne included!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

During class activities, there’s always tons of frantic note taking and it’s fun to see the personal flourishes that make their way out.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Our breaks are mostly filled with one-on-one blog reviews for the attendees who want extra feedback — Kat was an especially busy bee in this class!

Hoop Lovers

The Blogcademy Melbourne

As if doing a segment for ABC News wasn’t exciting enough, we had professional hooper Deanne Love give us a lesson in what it takes to become a hoop star! I was slightly intimidated by the whole activity because I’d never hula hooped in my life. I was a total tomboy growing up and too busy building forts and riding bikes to learn the finer techniques of hooping!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Before I knew it, Kat, Gala and I were called into the center of the circle to put on a show! I couldn’t keep that hoop up to save my life but as you can tell from my reaction, I had a blast anyway!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

The rest of the girls were waaaay better than us, hooping like old pros!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I loved this activity because it forced all of us to get out of our shells and just roll with the good times. The ladies got to keep their hoops and I am imagining them practicing their moves in living rooms across Australia!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

More bonding happened in our Boothalicious photo booth. They even made a video of the day’s debauchery!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Before class, we went a little crazy picking out prizes at Typo. It’s true, Melbourne has some of the best shopping around. I so wanted that mint flip clock!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I took a mini break in the way cool lobby of our venue. It’s definitely inspired me to refinish all the hardwoods in my house but that’s a conversation for another day!

Continue reading

The Week In Pictures: 11.22.13





Good afternoon from freezing Portland! It’s been an interesting week trying to get back into the swing of deadlines, emails and client calls after nearly a month on the road. While I had the time of my life in Australia and New Zealand, I returned home Monday night with a stomach bug I haven’t been able to kick since. Those 10 flights caught up with me…traveling that much always does.

Getting back into a daily routine and posting on the blog has been tough this week because in a way, I’m feeling a post-vacation disconnect. Traveling to somewhere new means that there’s excitement around every corner, especially when your itinerary involves theme parks, beaches and rain forests. Posting about those experiences from your home office while wearing pajamas? Not so fun. Starting today, I gotta kick these blues — I’m just missing my friends, teaching and exploring new cities.


Wandering around Melbourne last Saturday, I was blown away by all the amazing branding I saw on small, independent boutiques. I’ve been slowly sharing some of my best finds on the Branch Instragram with more to come. I loved the combination of black penny tiles and minimal type treatment on this sign in particular.


One my favorite stops in Melbourne was Pickings & Parry. I loved this handsome mustached gnome…no surprise there!


…and this stylish espresso machine! Plus, the staff was amazingly friendly.


Even though the post-vacation blues hit me hard this week, I’m really looking forward to having the stretch of the next two months off. I have a lot of plans I’ve been mapping out across my businesses and it’s time to stop making excuses and get it all done. And I’m taking the time to organize my filthy office!

On another note, one promise I made myself when I started We Are Branch a few months ago was that I wanted to seek out more ways to give back. I had a lot of people help me out in the beginning of my career and it made a world of difference in my life at the time. This morning, I did a live video chat with a graphic design class taught by Danielle of No Plastic Sleeves, answering questions about design processes and how to carve out a successful career as a graphic designer. I’m hoping to do more design-related talks and portfolio reviews in the new year. If I can make it easier for one design student to find their way, I’ve done my job.

This post is starting to get long and mushy so I’m going to sign off now — have a great weekend and I hope you find time to do something that’s meaningful to you. For me, that means hitting the town tonight with my crazy family. I’m always the tame, well-behaved one of the bunch. 😉

Top scan: Polaroid by Janneke Storm, coaster from QT Hotel, Rocky necklace by Gabriella of Pixie and Pixier.

Link Love: 11.21.13


Nubby Twiglet | Twiggy

• The 5 reasons why blogging is not working for your business.

• A former employee admits that she never felt appreciated at her job but she still can’t let go.

• One of my favorite blogs to peruse for branding inspiration is Identity Designed.

• I use this tutorial all the time when I need to add an image to my e-signature in Gmail.

• What’s the secret to achieving success when it comes to running your business?

• 10 reasons why Kate Spade is the queen of digital marketing.

• These rainbow pencils are so cool!

• How do you travel and not fall apart health-wise?

• When put on the spot, R. Kelly can turn any topic, no matter how random into a song.

• Promise Tangeman shows us how to achieve the double ponytail in a quick and easy hair tutorial.

• 4 ways to know for sure whether your business idea has potential.

• I love Garance Doré’s list of things New Yorkers do.

• Frances MacLeod has created a daily gratitude list to celebrate all the things she’s thankful for and the best part is that the posts include a combination of illustration, photography and hand-lettering.

Image: Twiggy, 1967.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Petting Kangaroos and Cuddling Koalas: Just Another Day At Dreamworld

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

It’s no secret that I love theme parks. I’ve been to Disneyland and Disney World a combined total of 8 times and I would go even more often if I could. So when Kat, Gala and I found out that we had Dreamworld passes waiting for us during our first day in Australia, I couldn’t wait to see what the place had in store.

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Located on the Gold Coast of Australia, Dreamworld can best be summed up as a cross between Disneyland and Six Flags with a heavy dose of wildlife thrown in the mix!

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Our first stop in Dreamworld was an area containing a pack of kangaroos. I was surprised that there were no barriers — we got to walk right up and pet them. I’d never met a kangaroo in real life and had assumed that they’d be aggressive but they were a surprisingly friendly bunch. Just based on the kangaroo meeting, I was already sold on the place. I really didn’t think it could get much better than that…

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

But, it did. Our next stop included the famous koala cuddle. My face says it all — I was completely in love with Brandy from the first time I laid eyes on her!

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Still a baby, once she was handed over, her little claw rested on my shoulder. If I could have stood there all day holding my new koala baby, I would have.

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

After our soft and cuddly wildlife interactions, we were ready for some action — we started out small with some high-flying kid’s swings and built up our adrenaline from there.

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

I’m honestly not a huge thrill-seeking junkie and some of these rides were intense! I stuck to a few of the smaller roller coasters but skipped most of the ones that included getting thrown upside-down. That didn’t stop Kat, though!

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

The hangout area of Dreamworld reminded me a lot of Downtown Disney, just with bolder color schemes. I felt right at home in front of this modern house.

Nubby Twiglet | Dreamworld

Dreamworld seemed to have something for everyone — adults, kids and animal enthusiasts alike. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to where you can cuddle a koala and 10 minutes later, end up on the scariest roller coaster imaginable!

Special thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for making this post possible.
All photos by Janneke Storm.