Monthly Archives: October 2015

Live Your Life First, Then Blog

Nubby Twiglet | Live Your Life First, Then Blog

Inspiration doesn’t strike when you’re sitting at your desk, staring at your computer screen. It happens outside of your office, plain and simple.

It seems like such a basic premise but I lived on the other side for far too many years. Back in 2007 when I got serious about blogging, I didn’t see anything wrong with sitting down to write, even when my well of inspiration felt completely dry. While my drive always carried me through, more often than not, I forced a completely unrealistic blogging schedule on myself because I felt I had little choice.

Walking the tightrope between blogging, a retail job, an internship and a full-time school schedule at the time, the balance was precarious at best. The truth was, I just didn’t have time to go out and live my life, then sit down to blog. After I turned my assignments in and finished my job for the day, all I had time left for was blogging.

This summer, eight years after starting this blog, I finally got my perspective in check. With the beautiful weather setting in earlier than expected in Portland and new clients booking into Branch at a record rate, I blogged a lot less and created and lived a lot more.

At first, it was a little scary to give up my fine-tuned regimen. After all, I’m a creature of habit — I depend on routines to get through days of working for myself and when that goes out the window, I feel out of sorts.

That uneasiness eventually settled and after awhile, something unexpected happened. Blogging less didn’t feel weird — it felt great. I only shared content I felt awesome about. No filler, no apologies.

Over the summer months, travel took me from London to Marrakech to Rome to Florence to San Francisco to Orlando to New York to Los Angeles and finally, to Palm Springs in rapid succession. Many planned posts never happened because right as I was beginning to settle in and write, I was already back on another plane.

Between traveling and big opportunities, blogging consistently fell by the wayside but it was on my mind the whole time. It’s something that never really leaves me because it’s occupied nearly 15 years of my life (oh Live Journal, how I miss thee). I get to share new ideas, discoveries and connect with you. Honestly? That personal creative outlet is EVERYTHING.

At the same time, everything goes through ebbs and flows. Life happens, good and bad. New opportunities can take up a lot of our time that blogging once commandeered. That’s okay. Having a life outside of the internet is so, so important because that’s what fuels our souls.

Nubby Twiglet | Live Your Life First, Then Blog

The creative spark needed to create original, meaningful content doesn’t strike when you’re shackled to your computer. It strikes when you’re out exploring, meeting new people and observing the world around you from a fresh perspective. When you do that and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens.

When you live your life to the fullest and then sit down to blog, the inspiration flows. Instead of wracking your brain trying to figure out what to write, you have a mental list of ten posts you can’t wait to start on. Instead of cobbling together images from Pinterest for your latest posts, you have a camera full of photos you took yourself. It feels so good.

Inspiration is lurking outside of your office, right this second. There are only so many hours in a day and there’s a whole lot of living to do. Explore the world, even if it’s the new coffee shop down the street. I just spent all week sitting in a hot tub under the stars in Palm Springs until the wee hours, chatting with creative souls. It was so much more inspiring than hitting refresh, hoping that inspiration would strike. Now, I’m feeling energized and ready to produce new content. The break was sorely needed.

You have permission to take a break. Live your life first. And, I can’t wait to see what you sit down to write when you finally have time to blog about it!


Photo: Taken in Marrakech by David McNeil.

The Week In Pictures: 10.11.15

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Hello from Palm Springs! I’ve missed all of you! This has been an action-packed week filled with an anniversary shoot with Joey and Rocky, Designer Vaca and plenty of reconnecting with creative friends old and new.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Arriving in Palm Springs always feels like walking into a parallel life. It’s a life I love and dream about all the time full of relaxation, sunshine and friendly folks around every corner.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

I visit Palm Springs a few times each year but this time since I was in town for a full week, I wanted to mix things up even more. We drove out to the Salton Sea and on the way home, lounged under rows of date trees. There’s so much beauty to discover in the desert.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

This time, I played a bit of hotel musical chairs switching places every two days to keep the atmosphere fresh. Halfway through my stay, I moved over to the Ace which has one of the best pools in town. In between Designer Vaca talks, this was our home base, with plenty of late nights catching up in the hot tub.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

I’d been having serious withdrawals from Chubs so it made my day when my friend Jessica surprised me with a golden squirrel figurine. Best gift ever!

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Link Love: 10.07.15

Nubby Twiglet: Link Love

• Creative Bloq has gathered up the 100 best free fonts.

• What is your morning routine like?

• After reading Anna’s post, I really want to try out online printer Parabo Press. They do such amazing, unique items!

• It’s harder to be thin now than it was in the 80s.

10 ways freelancers can promote their designs.

• The life-changing magic of losing shit.

• This is how to eliminate procrastination.

• Remember the AIM away message?!

• Following a creative path is going to have plenty of obstacles and you may occasionally cry in art class but the trick is to just keep going.

• Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet.

• Behold nihilistic security questions! Haha.

• Oh, to be a college student living in Berlin.

• Here’s a history of eye charts.

• If you’re feeling stressed out, read this.


Image: Vulture Magazine.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Visiting a city is always more fun when locals share personal recommendations about what to see, do and eat.

This time around, I put together a list based on suggestions from my Instagram followers and it made my stay in San Francisco the best one yet. If you’re visiting the city by the bay, these are the five things I enjoyed the most. I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful stay, too!

1. Have a drink at the Tonga Room

When I asked folks on Instagram what I should do, The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar was by far the most recommended. And now, I can totally see why — after visiting, I’m convinced it’s one of the most magnificent hidden gems in the city.

First off, the tiki bar is hidden away in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel, a very classic, high end hotel full of marble surfaces. There are literally no signs and that’s what makes this adventure even more fun — you take an elevator down to the basement, walk down a nondescript hallway and then, quite dramatically, THERE YOU ARE. The place even has a live band that plays soft rock classics from the 60s and 70s on a boat that moves out towards seated patrons in the middle of a body of water, formerly the hotel’s pool. The whole experience is heavy on kitsch, completely over the top and yes, drinking out of a coconut is highly encouraged.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

2. Buy flowers and magazines at Birch SF

On my day off, I was walking through the very boutique-heavy Hayes Valley when I spotted an odd yet perfect hybrid of a shop at Birch SF. With pitch black walls full of one-of-a-kind floral arrangements and hard to find magazines, I was in heaven.

I asked owner Torryne Choate about the mix of offerings and she said she was passionate about flowers and magazines so she decided to open a place specializing in both. It’s as simple as that — and I admire anyone who follows their dream! Stop in this shop just for a jolt of pure visual inspiration — the still lifes she’s curated are off the hook.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

3. Pick out treats at Miette

Decorated in pastel hues and featuring a wall of glass candy jars, Miette is a sweets shop straight out of childhood dreams. Voted one of the top ten pastry shops in the world by Conde Nast, it’s easy to see why — there’s a massive selection of imported candies that are difficult to find anywhere else including chocolate bars wrapped in wallpaper-inspired prints from Vietnam.

Whatever your taste is, there’s a little something for everyone. Take a video tour of the shop right here.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

4. Eat Artisanal Toast at The Mill

Over the last year, I’d been reading articles about the artisanal toast trend and it seemed like a bit of a joke. $4.00 for a slice of toast? Really?! When I found myself staying down the road from The Mill, the epicenter of the trend, it was time to give in and find out what all the fuss was about.

Bright and early on a Saturday morning, I ordered a slice and dear lord. It was so good that I went back the next two mornings before leaving town. My top pick? Whole wheat sesame poppy bread with butter and homemade peach jam. Talk about comfort food! The process of getting the toast just right is very specific — there’s even a sign at the front counter telling you it’s going to take 6 minutes. Options change regularly but I promise, they’re all good.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

5. Explore pottery and gifts at Heath Ceramics

Handmade in California since 1948, Heath Ceramics is legendary. Its San Francisco outpost has a tile factory and you can buy a selection of its pieces on-site.

What I loved about this location is that it’s also stocked with a ton of other beautiful American-made brands. From cookbooks to chocolates to kitchen gadgets, it’s the perfect place to shop for a housewarming gift for that special someone. Visiting Heath is a great reminder that quality never goes out of style.

Even with all the changes it’s currently undergoing, San Francisco is still loaded with charming, independent businesses and I hope these suggestions make your trip even more fun. Enjoy!

The Week In Pictures: 10.02.15

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I hope your week was a good one. To be completely honest, I’m feeling a little low on energy and down — this week has been a tough one for a lot of people around me and I’m definitely feeling the after-effects. Also, the cooler Fall weather has just hit as well and it’s making me want to hibernate with a mug of hot apple cider and a good magazine.

In good news, the new Branch site launched yesterday and it’s such a relief to finally have it live after it simmered in the background for most of the Summer. Designers always seem to be the worst at updating their own portfolios and sites, myself included. It’s like the cobbler who has holes in his shoes! We know what it takes to get the job done but clients come first. I’m embarrassed that it took me two whole years to get the revamp in place but it feels so good to have a digital home I’m proud of. Star always comes through for me — she did the animation and development and nailed it!

Of course, as soon as one project gets crossed off, another is always waiting! Next up is this space. I’ve had the same theme since 2012 and while it’s held up well, I’ve been itching for change for a year now. I’m extra excited about this project because with the relaunch will come an online shop. I had one for years but it just became too dated. I have one-off art pieces, limited posters and t-shirts that have literally been in my closet for ages and it’s so important for me to offer unique, special items created from the heart in this space. After all, it was my first business and allowed me to grow as a designer and blogger with full-on creative freedom.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

In other news, Chubs and I have been spending a lot of quality time together lately. Isn’t he handsome?! Being a squirrel, he LOVES acorns so much. The tricky part is that we can’t just roll up to the grocery store and buy him a bag since humans don’t really eat them. All Summer, we collected acorns on our morning walks and even talked the neighbor kids into collecting them for him. Still, there’s never enough. He’s even holding one in this photo!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I still love coming home to this room, my old office. It’s now full of art books, magazines and shoes. Basically, it’s what dreams are made of. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

These are a few of my favorite things at the moment: a tote bag I swiped from Gala (hey, it was too good to ignore!), strong black and white editorial layouts, piles of photo booth strips with friends, an amazing new book from my friend and client Ellen and a variety of succulents from Trader Joe’s. Also, the Steve Madden boots I’m wearing deserve a total shout-out. I bought them on a whim a year ago in New York and they are still going strong! I have so many fancy shoes but for daily office wear, these are super practical and tough.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Late nights of walking through Portland produce cool discoveries. I have no idea what this building is used for but the plants are ace.

And with that, I’m signing off. Time to pack for Palm Springs and of course, Designer Vaca! It’s that time of year again and I’m so excited to meet up with friends both old and new.

Have a great weekend! xoxo