Category Archives: Personal

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

Top 25 Posts of 2016

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

2016 has been a year of extremes – the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

As another year comes to a close, I like to look back at it in two parts: the first is a collection of my favorite blog posts. Some got lost in the mix and deserve to be dusted off, while others have helpful advice I think you’ll enjoy…or are just fun to look at.

While this blog has always had an underlying creative focus with a special love of design, one subject doesn’t make up an entire person (or audience) so I’ve included a variety of posts below, from creative insights to personal stories to style to travel.

Let’s get started!

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

CREATIVE INSIGHTS

1. Do It For The Love
Not everything needs to be done for monetary gain or fame. Whatever happened to doing something purely because you love it?

2. External Validation and Remembering That You’re Good Enough
With so much time spent online these days, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking external validation, which is a bottomless pit.

3. Show Up and Do the Work
There is no quick fix…the one way to get what you want out of life is to do the work.

4. Being Different Is Good
You’ll never stand out by following the crowd.

5. Give Yourself Time To Just…Be.
It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out. The truth? Nobody really does.

6. 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio
Portfolios are never really done — here are some ideas to freshen yours up.

7. 5 Tips For Getting Comfortable With Staying No
Saying no is something I still struggle with! How about you?

8. Overcoming The Pull Between Creativity and Criticism
Criticism can make us feel small and stop sharing. Don’t give into the negativity.

9. What’s Your Story?
Tell your audience who you are and exactly what you stand for. They’ll respect you even more.

10. An Inside Look at the First 3 Years Of Running a Creative Business
When I decided to build my own design studio from scratch, I had no idea what I was in for.

11. The Benefit of Longer Term Self-initiated Projects
Show potential clients what you’re capable of.

12. 10 Tips to Land Your Ideal Job
The perfect job doesn’t usually land in your lap but with some effort, you can make it happen.

13. 5 things To Share On Your Instagram Account
When you’re feeling stumped over what to share, these tips will get you going.

14. Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
People avoid doing all sorts of things because they feel too old. The truth is, your age is an asset.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

PERSONAL STORIES

15. Cheers To 9 Years!
Blogging changed my life for the better. 9 years in, I’m still going!

16. Thoughts on Friendship
Friendship as an adult is harder than I remember it as a child. Here’s how I feel about the subject.

17. My Palm Springs Vow Renewal
Joey and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in our favorite home away from home!

18. Fear and The Mountain
My irrational fear is heights. Sometimes, you just have to climb the damn mountain.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

TRAVEL

19. The Mini Guide to Marrakech
This Summer, I visited Marrakech for six wonderful days. Here’s a guide of what to see and do.

20. Out & About: Bar Luce
Wes Anderson designed this 50s-inspired pastel colored cafe in Milan. So magical!

21. What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs
My ultimate Palm Springs travel guide (and probably the most popular post this year).

22. New York City Guide: 20 Things To Do
Need some quick and easy ideas for your next visit to the Big Apple? I’ve got you covered!

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

FASHION & PERSONAL STYLE

23. Style Direction: Desert Rose
A rose-covered departure from my usual monochromatic style, shot in the middle of the Nevada desert.

24. What I Wore: Big Hats, Smokey Eyes and Leopard Print
An early Summer adventure with Made U Look (and my favorite style shoot of the year).

25. A Tattooed Dress In The Desert
Ah, the glorious beauty of Joshua Tree! I love that desert light.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

Enjoy — and I’ll be back later with a look back at the year.

Lots of love,
Shauna

The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

Since I returned from vacation a few weeks ago, I’ve been struggling to find a sense of balance with my daily routine. It’s been a busier season at work than usual and yesterday morning, I got to the studio early, sat down at my desk and was ready to write a post about my friend Sian’s new magazine, The Unmistakable Effect.

Then, my phone rang. It was my grandma, calling to tell me my cousin had an aneurysm and was in the hospital. Badly shaken, I closed the screen and texted my cousin a get well message I hoped he’d wake up to.

When things happen like this, it’s a huge reality check. Life is fragile and short. To spend it in a way that makes you unhappy just isn’t worth it. I was just watching a Vanilla Ice interview and he said, “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery” and that’s the truth.

So, that brings me back to The Unmistakable Effect. If you’ve ever broken out of your comfort zone to try something unexpected and uncharted, there can be an uneasiness that’s nearly impossible to bear. Everyone around you tends to say, “You have it good. Things are fine. Why do you need to shake up what you have?”

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

These conversations often come from a place of love but can also come from a place of fear depending on the person because they aren’t brave enough to take the leap themselves. No matter where the sentiments come from, taking a chance and embracing that mystery that comes with it is a tough road.

That’s why I admire what Sian is doing. She has a very distinct design style that has inspired me for years but instead of playing it safe with client work, she decided to experiment with her love of editorial design to create a digital magazine that she’s both designing and producing the content for.

The Unmistakable Effect is about doing your thing, unapologetically. If you’re like me, you’re sick of perfectly curated Instagram moments and blog posts where life looks like one flowing, beautifully shot fashion magazine. There’s no grit, there’s no failure and there’s no depth. I don’t know a single person with a life like that, myself included. There’s a mix of ups and downs, good and bad.

When the bad happens (this is life — and it inevitably does), we all have moments of wondering if we’re cut out for this creative path because there’s no rule book. The only way of knowing is by doing. By doing, you’re learning and figuring things out.

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

During this season of change in my own business, I’ve been questioning everything. Our society tells us that bigger is better and having more, more, more is what we should strive for. That doesn’t sit well with me. The Unmistakable Effect is confirming what I’m feeling — that you have to stop trying to win at everyone else’s game, and start trying to win at your own.

When I worked at larger companies, I was always at my unhappiest. I always felt lost in the shuffle and unsure of where I fit in. When I worked at smaller companies, there was a family atmosphere that made me want to stick around. So in this time of transition and deciding if it’s time to grow bigger, I’m pushing back. I’m listening to what I want instead of what society tells me the dream is. I’m keeping things personalized. I’m deciding it’s worth it to stay hyper-creative and connected.

In your own career and life, you will hit many crossroads where you have to decide whether to stay on the safe road of the least resistance or choose your own adventure. Of course, most people will encourage you to play it safe — you have bills to pay, and people you don’t want to let down. But, if you play it too safe, you might end up pleasing everyone on the surface while letting down the one person that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle: yourself.

In issue 2 of the Unmistakable Effect, I have an interview about staying in the game with an inside look at the drive and commitment it takes to get to where you want to be. You can check it out here.

I hope it inspires you to do the work, ignore the outside noise and make yourself happy.

You deserve it.

Cheers To 9 Years!

Nubby Twiglet | Cheers To 9 Years!

Nine years ago this month, I pushed my first blog post live in this space. NINE YEARS! How is that even possible?!

I remember that time well: I was 25 years old and had just started a graphic design program at my local community college a few semesters earlier. Blogging was still pretty new but I was hooked from the beginning — it was a way to instantaneously share ideas, stories and photos with a worldwide audience and I figured that I needed a place to share my design work (ahem, school projects) so why not?

I dove in headfirst, somehow managing to post almost daily between a full-time school schedule, work schedule and internship but it quickly paid off. Soon, readers were hiring me for design work. I had no idea that those early seedlings would allow me to grow my freelance business enough to launch Branch.

Most of the opportunities I now have can be traced directly back to blogging. Friendships, collaborations and business opportunities all came about through sharing in this space.

Since those early days, things have shifted dramatically. Blogging is no longer the only way to reach an audience — there are famous YouTubers, Instagram stars and social media personalities around every corner. Blogging doesn’t have the same juice it once did, just because it’s not the new, exciting kid on the block anymore.

I used to subscribe to hundreds of blogs and now, I read maybe 5. We have shorter attention spans. There are more ways to get information out there. I feel content overload all the time and I’m sure you do, too.

Over nearly a decade of blogging, a natural evolution happens, too. I’m no longer footloose and fancy-free. I own a home that is still being remodeled. I’m happily married to Joey. We have two wonderful pets, Rocky and Chubs. I have multiple businesses. And, I don’t know how it’s possible…but I’ll be 35 in less than a month!

With everything going on, I can’t blog as much as I used to. And truthfully, I also sometimes draw a blank on what to say. Because, after a few thousand posts, the ideas don’t flow as easily. Sometimes I’m so exhausted after a day of working on client projects, I feel like I have nothing left to give.

But, that’s not to say I don’t love it. The reason I still show up and share is because it’s a part of who I am. We all need hobbies and creative outlets to express ourselves and blogging is one of mine.

I love Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter but on their own, they’re not enough. Having a digital home of my own is good. Blogging still feels right.

Before this gets too long-winded, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for joining me, whether it’s your first time today or whether you’ve been here since the beginning. Thank you for taking the time to comment, share my posts and meet me for coffee over the years.

Even if I sometimes only have time to post once a week, having the chance to connect with you is always a highlight. After all, we’re in this creative journey together and more importantly, this thing called life.

Here’s to another year! -Shauna