Yearly Archives: 2017

The Month + Links: December 2017

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

Hello, December!

As the month kicks into high gear, I’m trying to set good habits and stick to routines while knocking out as much work before 2018 hits. Like a lot of you, this year has felt very off-kilter for me, mostly because of the state of the world and politics (honestly, this post pretty much summed up everything I’d been feeling during most of 2017) while my creativity, self-care and any sense of balance got thrown onto the back burner.

Finally, I’ve gotten some basics under control. Little things. Settling into being vegan. Committing to a new skincare routine. Researching new systems for Branch. Making sure to drink more water. What I’ve realized is that tiny shifts can start to add up and I’m feeling happier (and much less frazzled) because of them.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017


The last few months have looked like this:

• SAYING YES BUT ALSO SAYING NO: I freaked out a bit when a 3 week trip I’d committed to ages ago finally crept up. I was nowhere close to caught up with work but I packed my bags and got on the plane for 2 weeks in Italy and a week in Morocco. Did I have waves of panic when I realized how behind I was? Totally. But I still lived it up! Walking miles every way while bundled up in my favorite leather jacket and taking hundreds of photos? PURE HEAVEN.

I am really excited about some big changes in 2018. And to make room to facilitate those big changes I’m saying no to some things, even when it makes my stomach drop and I’m afraid of the outcome.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

• NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK: The thing I’m most excited about is the new Branch website, photos, media kit, client guides, processes, EVERYTHING. It’s been such a long time coming. This has been taking up most of my bandwidth when I’m not working on client projects or traveling which is why I’ve been quieter over here but finally, finally, things are coming together.

When I launched Branch over 4 years ago, getting a site live was a necessity and perfection was not. The studio grew fast, I moved into an office space and though I was never happy with the way the site looked, focusing on client work was my priority. Finally, I knew it was time to show my own brand some love. I did a shoot in Washington, D.C. over the summer, handed off our new site for development and on nights and weekends, I’ve been working on all the other bits and pieces. When we go live in January, I’ll do a post here about what I learned during the process.

• PARTING WITH TIKI: Did you see my post about Tiki, our newest rescue squirrel? That was a hard one to write and I still miss her all the time. It’s been a big adjustment to not have her running around the house but she seems really, really happy with her new family. Awww.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

• THE BIG RENOVATION: I feel like my entire life is a renovation right now! LOL! When we moved into our house 8 years ago, we didn’t have a budget for changes beyond the basics like paint so there was a lot that still needed some TLC. While I was away in Italy, my brother and Joey teamed up to begin remodeling our kitchen.

Goodbye 80s-era baby blue countertops, stained floral linoleum and non-functional trash compactor! Hello, floor-to-ceiling white subway tile, big gold faucet, new dishwasher, herringbone-tiled countertops, marbled flooring and non-broken cupboards! It’s so amazing to finally have a fully functional kitchen! I’ll take photos soon….but right now there are still tools, grout and boxes of tile everywhere. Haha.

• SETTING GOALS: Is anyone else as excited for 2018 as I am? I know that the new year, new start mentality is such a cliché but I can’t help it! The winding down of a year, spending holidays with family, wrapping up loose ends and setting fresh goals feels so good.

This year I fell short in a lot of ways but in others, threw out the pressure of expectations and just lived life. And that’s the truth — life isn’t a perfectly curated Instagram feed. It’s messy, unexpected, sometimes boring and up and down and everything in-between. There’s so much beauty in that.

Here’s to a wonderful December and I hope yours is off to a good start! —Shauna

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017


• Alex Franzen has such a magical way with words. One of my favorite posts she’s ever written is The Internet Pledge.

• In the 13 years since The New York Times Modern Love column began, over 80,000 submissions have rolled in. For a good laugh: My ex-boyfriend hangs from hooks!

• How do you feel about trading your services?

• Productivity is really about what you don’t do. I’m still learning this mindset (and failing all the time!)

• Wait, what?! Some people listen to podcasts at 3 times the regular speed.

• Getting ‘motivated’ does not equal doing the work.

• If you prefer that matchmaking apps help you find your next professional connection instead a one-night-stand, Bizz (by the founders of Bumble) is for you!

• Um, these pies are too beautiful to eat.

• The 8 types of friends you need to be happy in life.

• If you’ve heard about the fight for Net Neutrality but aren’t sure what it’s all about, The New York Times explains.

• I love the AfroArt photo series!

• The best books of 2017.

• What would it feel like to delete all your social media apps and give yourself permission to live without their constant pull?

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: December 2017

The Venice Hands

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

Venice is full of museums packed with amazing art including the Peggy Guggenheim but one of the most recognizable pieces is out in the open and impossible to miss from the vantage point of a water taxi.

Simply called Support, it is made up of two giant hands rising from the water to touch the walls of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. The sculpture was installed in time for the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Artist Lorenzo Quinn created Support as a visual statement of the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels have been an issue in Venice for a long time, where living on the water is a way of life.

Nubby Twiglet | Venice Hands Support Sculpture

I’m finishing up a longer post about my Venice experience but this sculpture deserves a spotlight of its own as scientists predict that if more isn’t done to reverse the effects of climate change, the city could be nearly submerged by 2100. And that would be tragic.

Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

You may remember Tiki from a few months back. Quite suddenly, after a text message, I found out that I was the proud mom of a baby squirrel who was very, very sick. Read the full story here.

After Tiki made it and began to get stronger, we weren’t sure he would bond with Chubs but I held out hope. Usually, squirrels are pretty territorial and after doing some reading, we knew the prospects weren’t great.

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Chubs is our pet squirrel (yeah, my family is weird) who literally fell down our chimney 3 years ago. The funny part is, our dog Rocky and Tiki bonded right away and spent many afternoons cuddling. There’s nothing cuter than coming home to see a little white dog and a baby squirrel waiting for you at the top of the stairs!

Anyway, as Tiki grew, bonding with Chubs seemed less and less likely but I didn’t want to deal with the thought of parting with him. After you have a baby animal nearly die in your hands and then miraculously pull through, giving them up is not something to take lightly and I was already super attached.

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Then, while I was in Italy a few weeks ago, Joey called and said the situation was getting much worse — Chubs was being territorial and super mean to little Tiki, who is only about a third of his size. I knew it wasn’t going to get better (we’d been fighting the situation for a few weeks by this point) so Joey found a new home for Tiki with some friends of friends who agreed that we could squirrel-sit on holidays (haha).

It’s been a hard adjustment not having Tiki around but then, this week he came for a visit and looked so happy and healthy. Tiki is absolutely thriving with his new mom and dad so that makes everything much easier.

BUT! As these things often go, there’s a serious plot twist I wasn’t expecting AT ALL. HE is actually a SHE! We just found out that Tiki is actually a girl! Luckily, Tiki is a pretty cute girl’s name, too. At least we think so. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | Tiki: The Squirrel Saga

Giving up Tiki was so hard but knowing she is so happy and thriving with her new family is what matters most. Even though Tiki doesn’t live with us anymore, I will always love her. And hey, is that a semi-smile I’m seeing?!

Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

After a few weeks of traveling, it’s so good to be back! I just spent two weeks in Italy and another in Morocco and though the backup of work and jetlag has been much harder to get over than I expected, it was completely worth it to get away from the daily grind and explore.

This visit to Italy was very different for me — I spent a lot more time in museums and of course, everything the Italians do is on another level. The sheer amount of art to take in can be absolutely overwhelming. When you’re faced with hundreds of busts and oil paintings in a single museum and then, oh, there’s a Michelangelo masterpiece in the next room over, it can be a visual overload.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

I lost count of the number of museums and churches and ruins we visited over the course of those 21 days away but one piece of art stands out most in my mind: the Colossus of Constantine.

Located right inside the Capitoline Museums in Rome, I was completely awestruck by its sheer size. It looks large in photos but in person? You really wonder how such a massive piece of art was even carved.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Constantine the Great (how’s that for a title?!) was a Roman emperor and as such, it was totally normal to have a 40 foot high statue of himself carved from white marble and bronze with a brick core.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

When I saw Constantine, I wondered how he ended up in pieces. The theory is that the most valuable bronze cast portions of his body were pillaged during the Late Antiquity era. The remaining marble fragments you see here weren’t rediscovered until the late 1400s.

Nubby Twiglet | Art Appreciation: Colossus of Constantine

Even in his imperfect state, Constantine still has a massive visual impact.

The Month + Links: September 2017

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017

Happy October!

While September is my favorite month of the year, it always feels like it flies by in the blink of an eye. Between my birthday, Joey’s birthday, our anniversary AND Branch’s anniversary, not to mention a bunch of close friends’ birthdays, there’s a lot to look forward to and celebrate.

I’m back in the office and getting settled after spending the last few days in Palm Springs on vacation. I’ll be honest, though — it was hard to focus on the beauty around me and the relaxation that usually comes with time spent away from the daily grind when I saw the Vegas tragedy pop up on my phone.

There’s so much darkness and pain swirling around these days between natural disasters and senseless tragedies. It’s hard to make sense of it all and go about things as normal when it feels like the world around us is being constantly turned upside down.

In more uplifting news, my friend Ellen just sent out a newsletter focused on the topic of kindness and my friend Alex just released a book called You’re Going To Survive, all about pulling through difficult times and it makes my heart full knowing that there’s so much goodness still out there — honest, well-meaning people willing to speak up and help others along the way.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017


Here’s a little roundup of what I’ve been up to over the last month….

1. Tiki the squirrel is thriving!

Remember my post about Tiki? Well, he is doing great. Really, so much better than we could have ever expected. He has a strong appetite and is still on formula but he’s moving onto solids slowly but surely. His favorite food of the moment is avocado. Seeing a squirrel munching on a slice of avocado IS pretty funny. Chubs is slowly coming around to having a baby brother but I wouldn’t call them buddies just yet. I’m hoping they eventually bond…but we’ll see!

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017

2. The Branch shoot was awesome!

2 weeks ago, I did a big studio shoot for Branch. As my four year business anniversary neared, I wanted to do something special and having a more cohesive visual image was at the top of my wish list. It was a big undertaking sourcing props, pulling together a succinct shot list and thinking about where the images would be used. It definitely forced me to get really clear on where I want my business to go and how I want it to be perceived. I’m hoping to roll out the new look by early next year along with sharing a backlog of 30+ unseen projects…*gulp*.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017

3. Palm Springs getaway!

Ah, Palm Springs. My happy place! After our condo deal fell through in the late Spring, I was feeling pretty down and it took a few months to regroup and decide what path we wanted to take. After doing a lot of searching and gaining some much needed clarity, we flew down this week to view some more places and found some solid options. Here’s hoping one finally works out! It’s tough judging places on their listing photos alone when you don’t live locally in the area you’re trying to buy in but I know things will work out as they should when the time is right.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017

4. Getting down to business.

Over the last few months, I’ve dramatically cut back on the amount of time I spend online and on social media. I realized I was slipping into spending a lot of time watching what other people were doing only to realize that my to-do list would be far from complete at the end of each day. It was frustrating and after paying more attention to my habits, I became more aware of the time I was spending procrastinating instead of doing the work…which is much harder! I sometimes feel a bit down about not sharing content as often but the trade-off is that I’m now getting more of my work done. How do you feel about this – are you good about getting work done or do you fall into the never-ending scroll / procrastination trap?

P.S. For all you pumpkin spice addicts, the Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte from Coffee Bean is AWESOME.

Nubby Twiglet | The Month + Links: September 2017

Photos: 1. My view yesterday in Palm Springs. Joey hates having his photo taken but funny enough, I caught him in the reflection. Haha! 2. When I’m feeling stressed or out of sorts, I make desktop flatlays. 3. This morning at Norma’s, my favorite breakfast place in Palm Springs. 4. Inside The Parker lobby. I’ve had this dress for ages and just rediscovered it. It’s so nice to wear some color for a change! 5. A photo from my weekend sipping coffee and flipping through magazines. 6. The nook off the back of our kitchen is one of my favorite spots in our house.


• Looking for ways to help the shooting victims in Vegas? Bustle has compiled a list.

• So many people are struggling right now, all around us. Some, very visibly. Some…not so vsibly. I read this post and it reminded me of how we often think that someone else has already reached out to a friend or loved one during a tough time. But often, they haven’t. Take the time to do it because frankly, you might be the only one.

• I love how obsessed Oprah is with her garden. YES!

• Looking for interview tips that are actually helpful? A former HR specialist spills the beans.

• I just learned that Spotify makes a Time Capsule playlist for each of its users with songs that take you back to your teenage years! Marilyn Manson, here I come.

• The evolution of women in stock photos is fascinating.

• Apartment Therapy put together a step-by-step guide on how to buy your first home.

• We know what you do for a living…but how do you define yourself within your business?

• I am obsessed with Linda Rodin’s style. She’s so chic and timeless.

• Made me smile: Brand logos drawn from memory by 150 people!

• Chromatin is an animated photo project which celebrates women’s hair styles in Nigeria. Super cool!

• Ready to read some good news for a change? Check out the Goodnewspaper!

• Feeling unprepared and paralyzed by perfectionist tendencies? Read this…and start exactly where you are with what you have. End of story.

• Book dedications can he heartfelt but also super random and hilarious. Here are 10 of the most creative!

• What happens when household items are purposely designed to be uncomfortable? This series by Katerina Kamprani will make you do a double-take.

• These 7 pieces of wisdom will change the way you work.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have an inspiring, productive October. Much love! xo -Shauna