Category Archives: Personal

Right Here, Right Now: 10 Manageable Goals I’m Focused On in 2018

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

How’s the new year treating you so far? I wish I could say I did something fun and exciting over the holiday break but truthfully, December was one big blur of finishing a handful of large projects, cleaning up my books, shredding old paperwork and finishing up my revised portfolio. Not glamorous…but totally necessary.

I’ve been struggling with feeling behind on a bunch of important tasks for months now and that’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant using word “goals” in the typical sense. To me, the 10 things outlined below are more of a work-in-progress and a simple reminder of the changes I want to keep charging towards.

Pre-P.S. Do any of these resonate with you? If you have anything you’re working towards, I’d love to hear in the comments below – let’s keep each other accountable!


Goal #1: Live more in the moment.

In the past, I was guilty of dwelling too much on what was next and trying to plan my future in excruciating detail. But, we all know what happens when you micro-manage your life! The universe laughs in your face and throws you a curve ball. 😉

These days, I don’t have a five year plan, let alone a one year plan. Why? Because I have confidence that things will always work out and I know I’m on the right track, spending my days doing what I’m meant to do. I’d rather not chase after more, more, more and put myself on a nonstop treadmill of busy-ness (that was my entire last year — and it’s not fun or inspiring). Growth is good but also, I’m conscious that right now, right here, I do have enough.

Goal #2: Take more field trips.

Last year, I spent so much time sitting at my desk, being super regimented, mostly out of habit. It’s a weekday, therefore you must go into the office, sit at your desk and refresh email. NOT. Sure, there’s plenty to get done on a daily basis but there will always be more things getting tacked onto your to-do list. Taking an afternoon off to wander through the art museum will not kill you!

Goal #3: Take more photos.

One thing that made me sad in 2017 was glancing over at my camera as it sat around untouched for weeks at a time. I’m not a professional photographer but I’ve always enjoyed documenting the world around me as a creative outlet. What I realized is that hobbies like taking photos don’t always need to have a specific end goal – not every photo needs to be blogged or shared on social media. Do something because you enjoy it, pure and simple.

Goal #4: Make time for non-client projects.

As Branch continued growing in 2017, I felt the squeeze with keeping up on my own projects which led to me feeling like the cobbler who has holes in their shoes. The longer I put off my own work, the worse I felt. Ugh.

If you never allow yourself the whitespace to think through what you do, why you do it and explore new ideas, you’re only going to hurt yourself in the long run. I know it’s hard to find the time to add your own projects on top of everything else and there are nights I stay at the office till 3 am just to have the space to work through ideas, uninterrupted. It’s not ideal…but if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Goal #5: Hit inbox zero every week.

You know what stresses me out? Unanswered email lingering in my inbox. I feel immense mental clutter when I feel like someone is waiting on an answer, especially a client. If I can resolve something quickly right when I see it and get it off my plate, awesome.

With the longer, more in-depth emails, I try to batch tasks. For instance, if I get 5 inquiries for new projects, I’ll answer those all at once. For estimates, I’ll complete those all at once since a lot of the requests are very similar. Going forward, I’m going to try to wrap up whatever hasn’t gotten answered before 6 pm on Friday so I can start the weekend with a clean slate.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

Goal #6: Think before buying more stuff.

Over the last few months, I’ve gotten rid of so many things — clothes, objects, dishes, old food in the cupboards…you get the point. What I realized is that the more stuff I was surrounded by, the more foggy I felt. After a few long trips in 2017, I’d come home and think, “I forgot about all this stuff for 3 weeks. I lived without it. Why do I need it?

I’m not an anti-shopping saint. I still buy things but now, I think harder about them. Buy what you need, sprinkle in a few things that make you happy as you have the budget and then cut out all the mindless money wasters. It’s all about balance.

Goal #7: Move around more.

I have have always struggled to fit exercise into my schedule but I’ve found a fairly easy solution with the Sweat With Kayla app. The exercise routines are less than 30 minutes and the equipment is fairly basic, no gym membership needed.

I’m not super regimented because some days, I just don’t have the time but I try to get in 3 workouts in a week. Sure, it would be great to follow the exact schedule but my take is that you should do your best and making a regular effort is better than not trying at all.

Goal #8: Share more.

I’ve always enjoyed blogging and using social media but most days last year, there wasn’t room to make it happen. Over December, I mostly stayed offline and made a lot of progress – things are finally getting more balanced and ready to share more again.

Once again, sharing content is not about being glued to a specific schedule (that just creates more stress and resentment) but by simply alotting more time for creative exploration though blogging, podcasting, posting to social media, or whatever else that may be.

Goal #9: Spend more time offline.

This is a bit of a contraction to the point above (haha) but one thing I became really aware of last year was how much time I was spending online basically goofing off and how that affected what I was getting done.

I’ve recently gotten a lot better about not aimlessly surfing random sites — I get online, get what I need and get back off. I used to be afraid that not being as present online as much would affect my business but to my surprise, it hasn’t, probably because I’m spending more of my time doing the actual work versus obsessively checking up on what everyone else is doing.

Goal #10: Get better at saying no.

Why is saying no so hard?! Towards the end of the year, I had to say no to a bunch of things in rapid succession and each time, I dreaded it. Through a lot of tough situations, I’ve realized that we all have a limited amount of time and it should be spent doing what we enjoy as much as possible. Of course laundry needs to get done, bills need to get paid and work needs to get finished but the limited time we have left should be spent in enjoyable ways.

The more things you take on that you secretly dread, the more resentful you’ll be…and nobody wants to deal with that! ;).

When you do have to say no, be polite but firm, own it fully and most importantly, always offer a helpful alternative.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Manageable Goals in 2018

Wow, that was long! But all these things have been on my mind lately and what I’ve found is that the more clear you are about what you want to achieve and where your boundaries are, the sooner it will transpire.

What are some goals you’re working on this year, big and small?

Do you have any tips for staying accountable?

I’d love to hear!


Photos: Monica True
Creative Direction: Public Persona
Makeup: Rachel Lane

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?!

Meet Tiki!

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Tiki

Even when the experts say the odds are stacked against you, there’s still room to prove them wrong.

Exactly a week ago, Joey called me at the office and mentioned that he had just been at Trader Joe’s. There was nothing unusual about that but the next sentence caught me off-guard. He said that an employee who knew about Chubs (our rescue squirrel who is now healthy and 3 years old!) ran over to him and mentioned that he’d found a baby squirrel who had fallen the day before — it was in his garage in a box and not doing well. He didn’t know what to do with him.

From the way it sounded, the situation was life or death — this little guy didn’t have much longer to live unless he got food and medicine right away.

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Tiki

Joey met the guy on his lunch break and brought the baby squirrel home. He had pneumonia, was extremely dehydrated and malnourished. The little guy fit in the palm of his hand and his eyes weren’t yet fully open. He was barely moving.

We had some medicine and small syringes left in our fridge from when Rocky was sick awhile back and Joey picked up some puppy formula and Pedialyte, rotating between all 3 in an effort to save the little guy.

Once he was situated, Joey called a squirrel sanctuary for advice but their prognosis was grim — they said that 3 other squirrels who were about the same size had already died that week and since ours also had pneumonia, he wouldn’t make it through the night. Every breath he took had a clicking sound and he was wheezing badly.

As night rolled around, we sat on the couch preparing for the worst when we heard some shuffling in his box. His arm reached up like he was gasping for air and he began making panicked screeching sounds. We thought that was it.

I didn’t want him to die alone so Joey picked him up and we held him close. Blood started running from his nose and his lips began turning purple. It was gut-wrenchingly horrible but we tried to stay calm.

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Tiki

Holding him seemed to be causing him more distress so we sat him back down in a soft mound of t-shirts in his box to let him rest. A few hours passed and he was still clinging to life so we brought his box up and put it on our nightstand. He stayed curled up in his t-shirts (squirrels are used to nesting and babies get cold easily).

As 2 am rolled around, I was afraid to check on him, fearing I’d find the worst. Joey woke up and miraculously, he was still alive so he began feeding him the rotation of medicine, Pedialyte and formula once again. He was too weak to take in much.

When we woke up Wednesday morning, he was still with us. After seeing what bad shape he’d been in the night before, we couldn’t believe it. He was truly a miracle.

The next day, Joey kept up his routine and the squirrel baby went from being listless to having more movement. He began responding when we pet his belly but he was still too tiny and weak to crawl.

By the third day, we felt that he had a good chance of survival and it seemed like the right time to give him a name. Joey named him Tiki.

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Tiki

As of today, Tiki is still very tiny but is now able to eat 3 times more each feeding than when we found him and now, he can crawl. His eyes have fully opened and he’s very alert and playful.

Watching Tiki make such a strong comeback over the last week is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s literally beat all the odds and for once, I’m glad the experts were wrong. Tiki’s turnaround has been so swift that I’m taking daily photos just to remember how far he’s come.

We’re not sure where Tiki will live when he’s healthy but right now, I’m less worried about that. I just want him to get stronger, healthier and to a point where he’s able to eat and drink on his own.

This last week has been a total rollercoaster but I hope you’ll keep Tiki in your thoughts. He’s a reminder that little miracles are happening around us each day.

10 Random Facts

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Random Facts

Awhile back, I shared a list of 10 random things I was into at the moment and I thought it would be fun to do a follow-up with 10 random facts about me. Of course, this is way more fun when you get involved — leave a random fact about yourself in the comments!

Here are mine:

1. Even though I’m left-handed, while growing up I was taught to use a mouse with my right so when I’m designing, you’d never know!

2. I was a total tomboy when I was younger and mostly bypassed Barbies for a Mr. T doll. I was so in love with Mr. T that I wore overalls like his character on the A-Team and even had a beach towel with his likeness on it! To this day, when I really like something, I go all in.

3. In middle school, I played the clarinet (of course, I picked the instrument that was all black). I was good, too! During band try-outs in the 6th grade, I got first chair but quickly down-voted myself over the course of the next few months to sit by my best friend in the trumpet section. 😉

4. I’m hyper-flexible and double-jointed! I’m also not very tall (5 ft. 3) so I probably would have made a good gymnast if I wasn’t so scared of heights.

5. I LOVE the German language. I took 4 years in high school and even a few college classes. Someday I’d like to go back to Germany for longer than a few days and brush up on my skills.

6. My first post-high school job was working in an office doing filing. When I say filing, I’m serious. There was a dedicated room in the warehouse full of rows of filing cabinets and the accounting department would let their invoices pile up for months at a time until I was on college break to whip it into shape. 8 hours a day of filing will drive anyone to the brink of madness!

7. When I was younger, I took Taekwondo and learned how to break boards! It was really fun until I got to middle school and decided I was too cool for it.

8. My musical guilty pleasure is Journey (yes, the band). My parents were obsessed with Journey and Steve Perry when I was a baby and listened to them on repeat. When I was in high school, my boyfriend worked at a record store and surprised me with a box of every single album (I still have them!) and needless to say, that won me over. 😉

9. I’ve always enjoyed being organized. As a child, I never had a messy room – everything had its place. To make up for that, my brother was the exact opposite! My mom noticed my skills early on and would pay me to organize her closet. My favorite part was lining up her shoes in color order.

10. Being a teenager was hard but I went goth and refused to conform. When I was 17, I met my idol, Marilyn Manson and that made the rest of high school a breeze. He made me feel like it was okay to be weird and never apologize for who I was.

Did anything on my list surprise you? Now, it’s your turn!


Photo: Made U Look.

Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

2016 was…intense.

While a year-end post has been on my mind for the last 2 weeks, I’ve had a hard time writing about it until today because I felt conflicted. When I get down to it, 2016 was a hugely positive year for me personally and I’m grateful for that…but it was also an incredibly difficult time for some of the people I’m closest with, not to mention an especially challenging time for the world.

Instead of doing the usual highlight-style recap, I’m switching it up with a mix of things I learned combined with changes I’m working on for the new year.

Let’s go!


1. AWARENESS

For me, 2016 was about awareness. It’s no longer okay to just hide in our little corners of the world. I found myself keeping better tabs of what was happening on a daily basis through the built-in news app on my iPhone, on Twitter, on the New York Times site and the Democracy Now! daily show. When I wasn’t doing that, I was watching history videos on Youtube and Amazon Prime and listening to stories on This American Life, which has years of archives. Public school glossed over a ton of subjects and I’m only now getting caught up on areas I missed. I’m looking forward to keeping this up in the new year.

2. CLEAN SLATE

Something I started this year and want to continue into 2017 is to clean out the clutter in my life. I’ve found that the more tidy my personal surroundings and digital digs are, the easier it is to concentrate. I’ve been using Unroll.me, a free service that makes it super easy to mass-unsubscribe from mailing lists and other items that clog my inbox. I also just deleted my Facebook Business page after being on the fence about it for ages. It feels so good to let go of things that no longer serve me.

3. REGULAR EXERCISE

I’m not as strong as I could be but exercising regularly has been something I’ve put off for years because all my clothes fit and I’ve never really struggled with my weight. Those two excuses have kept me from staying committed to anything and it’s a terrible mindset to have. At 35, it’s time to get myself on track. I’ve been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram and am joining her Sweat With Kayla app because 28 minute workouts are something that feels manageable. I’m ready.

4. SHARE MORE WORK

One area that suffered this year was taking the time to share my work. Graphic design fills up a big chunk of my day, yet I barely shared anything because I felt perpetually behind. Dozens of completed projects were simply delivered and then promptly dropped in the archives folder. That’s something I’m working on changing immediately and I’m back to blogging regularly on Branch, which I really enjoy doing.

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

5. KEEP IT LOCAL

While I’ve enjoyed traveling over the last 5 years, I definitely missed out on exploring all the great places in my hometown. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making up for lost time by visiting NEVER Coffee Lab, the Russian tea service at The Heathman, Italian dinners at Pastini, baguettes and magazines at Oui Presse, drinks at Accanto, Chinese food at this amazingly decorated restaurant in Gresham, Mexican food at Nayar Taqueria….and probably a bunch more places I’m forgetting. 😉

6. ENCOURAGE CHANGE

This year, I was reminded of the obvious: the things I don’t agree with won’t just change on their own. Standing up is more important than ever and we can influence change through our daily interactions and decisions. I started donating to a few organizations I believe in and hope to continue to do so. I’m also getting better about speaking out when something doesn’t sit right with me. Going into 2017, I want to step it up and get more involved locally.

7. MORE ADVENTURES

Some of the best times I had this year were when I was traveling. I visited Palm Springs twice, Las Vegas twice, Miami once, New York three times, and London, Marrakech, Milan and the Amalfi Coast once. Those sometimes crazy adventures (all night pool parties, early morning walks along mountainside towns, windy boat rides) gave me the inspiration and drive to come home and work hard in-between. While I’m traveling less in 2017, the big trip I’m looking forward to includes a few weeks of exploring Italy and Morocco with my aunt Shannon. I’m excited to visit more museums and take things slower this time around.

8. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

My mantra is usually “work hard, play hard” but in 2017, I’m instead focusing on “quality over quantity” with everything I do. I’ve never felt good about rushing blog posts, client projects, conversations with friends or much of anything just to hit a so-called finish line. One of the first things I’m doing is going deeper in this space – less posts but more meaningful content. My Friday posts are condensing into a monthly review and longer link roundup. I want to use that time to instead share the content that’s been on my mind for ages that I never got round to. First up: a tour of my closet and how I keep it organized (which has only been on my list for a YEAR!)

9. MINDFUL PURCHASES

Did I need everything I bought this year? Not even close. Going forward, I want to work on buying less junk. I’ve been watching videos on minimalism and while that’s not exactly my lifestyle as a whole, I want to be more mindful about what I spend my money on. Over the holidays, I got a jump-start by spending Christmas with Joey cleaning out cupboards and closets, gathering bags of items for donations. That felt really good….and I want to keep the momentum.

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

Thanks for joining me in this space, whether you stop by regularly or occasionally. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to visit and wish you all the best for the new year. Let’s do this! —Shauna


Photos: Made U Look