Category Archives: Personal

In The Beginning: A Studio Space Is In The Works!

Nubby Twiglet |  In The Beginning: A Studio Space Is In The Works!

Maybe finding the perfect studio is the equivalent to finding yourself in a great relationship….the best ones come around when you’re not actively looking!

I’d always imagined Branch moving out of my home office and into a dedicated space but it felt a little risky — and it’s always smart to play it safe and keep overhead low in the first year of starting a new business.

Well, the time has come! The studio of my dreams quite literally fell into my lap with one chance meeting at a neighborhood party. Now, I’m making plans for Branch to move into its very own space in early November. It’s a space full of other makers and though our office isn’t quite finished (that’s the way it currently looks above — real talk!), in the next few weeks, it’s going to slowly transform.

I wanted to share this news with you in real time because you’re going to be coming along on this journey with me — from sourcing decor to making the space functional on a budget. This is the first real space outside of home I’ve ever had and it feels like a necessary big step forward after celebrating Branch’s one year anniversary a few weeks ago.

I’ve always said that when things are going good, you can never get too comfortable — it’s time to shake things up a bit. In the new year, there will be a lot more changes happening with Branch but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s get the space decorated first. ;)

More soon!

A Mini Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Hello from Palm Springs!

I just flew in from New York yesterday morning and have been getting a few days of relaxation in with Joey and Rocky before Designer VACA begins. My birthday, Joey’s birthday and our anniversary all happened within 10 days of each other so this is our belated all-in-one getaway. We’ve been driving all over the place documenting exotic plants, dreamy midcentury modern homes and much of the landscape which I’ll share with you soon. I hope you’re having an awesome week!

The Shift: Thoughts On Seasons, Birthdays And Seeking Out Change

Nubby Twiglet | The Shift

Last week, I started thinking about Fall and how these months are such a pivotal time for me. Maybe it’s because my birthday is on Sunday the 14th (I’ll be 33!) and I feel like I need to get as much accomplished as possible before I check off another year. Maybe it’s because I sense the feeling of heading “back to school” (even though that has long since passed for me) and I feel that collective sense of hustle and drive set in after a long summer of slowing down and exploring…I’m not really sure.

This year has felt really good though, unlike some of those in the not so distant past. I’m not a huge astrological buff but I do believe in Saturn Return. At the time it hit in my life, I actually didn’t even know what it was until I felt my ass getting collectively whooped all at once by the universe and my aunt offhandedly mentioned it in a conversation.

I also clearly remember that right as I was turning 30, I was freelancing at a great little design studio and making great money but something felt off. The week of my birthday, I had a mini breakdown one morning. It hit me hard because I was designing full time, my blog was going strong and technically on paper, I was living my dream. Perceptions aren’t everything, though. I wasn’t content. Even though I was designing professionally, it was mostly for sports brands. It was a great job…but it wasn’t my dream job. No matter how many times I sucked up those feelings and told myself to just be thankful for what I had, it didn’t change how I felt. I felt like I was living someone else’s life.

Around that time, I made a conscious decision: I was going to hustle as hard as I possibly could. I wasn’t getting any younger and if I didn’t create the life I wanted, it was my own damn fault.

I began taking on more freelance projects that felt good. Lifestyle and beauty brands like Shien Cosmetics, Rock n Roll Bride and Olivine Atelier were my sweet spot. I worked nights and weekends on client projects that I loved while showing up by day to put in the hours that guaranteed a sense of stability while I carved out my niche and style.

It wasn’t a sudden shift; I think it took about two years to see things come full circle. I got more comfortable with change as I moved onto an intensely inspiring agency that burned the candle at both ends (I still remember the first day I showed up — I didn’t walk back out to the parking lot until midnight!) and then, onto another agency that I’d been dreaming of working at for years. I kept learning, saving, taking on new clients and dreaming about that next step to stay motivated.

The more energy I put in, the more quickly things began to unfold. What I learned is that the universe will kick your ass when things aren’t right to help you shake them loose but it will also conspire to help you when you put your effort towards the right things. Towards the end of 2012, I’d co-founded The Blogcademy and we’d taught our first class in New York City. An 8 page feature followed a month later in Computer Arts. And then in 2013, I quit all outside work cold turkey to launch Branch. That cycle of uncertainty I’d began feeling right before 30 was completed and replaced with new things that felt like a better fit.

Birthdays come and go and there’s no way to turn back the clock. There’s so much opportunity out there and the biggest lesson I’ve learned that there’s never going to be a “right time” to go after it. Planning can only take you so far…and then it’s time to give your dream everything you’ve got.

Photo: Taken in Berlin by Shell De Mar.

Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Do you have just one day free to explore the city that never sleeps? Don’t fret! Instead of feeling daunted by your lack of time, here are some fun stops to help you make the most of it!

Faced with just twelve hours, Gala and I managed to hit 15 spots, from restaurants to landmarks to parties. Here’s what we did — and while some of it might not be your cup of tea, hopefully it will inspire you to have your own little adventure the next time you find yourself in New York City.

Gala made a little video of our day and I compiled a list with links and addresses of the places we visited below:

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

1. Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St.

Going strong since 2001, this Lower East Side restaurant is home to some of the best baked goods around. New York Magazine voted their blueberry pancakes the best in the city but I stuck with an egg white omelet which was equally delicious. Expect a wait.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

2. Henri Bendel
712 Fifth Avenue

The ultimate accessories mecca, this department store has been around since 1895 and is the height of sophistication. From bangles to handbags to ridiculous hats, Henri Bendel has you covered. Trust me, you’ll be tempted to try on 10 gaudy Elizabeth Taylor-inspired rings at once just because you can.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

3. Bergdorf Goodman
754 5th Ave.

Are you craving a stop at a luxury department store where the staff is remarkably down to earth, even if you’re not actually buying anything? Bergdorf’s is for you. I was blown away by how friendly everyone was and even better? This marbled behemoth is home to the world’s most expensive perfume. Really. The lady holding down the Clive Christian counter cornered us, told us the most exquisite story (all great perfumes need a good story, after all), let us sample the scent and even pulled out a black fan to dry my freshly doused wrist. The whole experience was over the top and ridiculously fabulous in a Liberace sort of way.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

4. Sephora
597 5th Ave.

When you’re exploring the city at the height of summer and your skin is feeling parched, Sephora is the ideal stop to sample some new, luxurious moisturizers that aren’t in your budget. And boy, did we lather up!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

5. J. Crew Collection
1035 Madison Ave.

I enjoyed stopping into this small yet immaculate J. Crew boutique and checking out the craftsmanship and materials of its higher end collection up-close. I loved their take on the classics, like a buttery soft biker jacket done up in navy blue. And, the design of their print materials at the register are always spot-on.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

6. Kate Spade Flagship
789 Madison Ave.

A four story townhouse on the Upper East Side, this place is pure fun. Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, the neon sign on the ground floor (which includes tongue-in-cheek clichés like “Uptown is the New Downtown,” “Only in Manhattan,” “Let’s Grab Cocktails” and more), uplifting sayings emblazoned on mirrors and wacky decor will inspire you to snap photo after photo.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

7. Solange Azagury-Partridge
809 Madison Ave.

Quite possibly the most innovative, creative jeweler out there, Solange knows no boundaries. I’ve been a fan of her Hotlips collection for ages and seeing her boutique in person, complete with the custom designed rainbow carpet (wowza!) made me an even bigger fan. She is a true artist.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

8. Central Park
14 East 60th St.

Every time I’ve visited Central Park, I’ve walked through a different entrance and had a completely different experience — and that’s the beauty of the place. At a mind-boggling 843 acres, there’s always something new to see depending on the path that you take. I love the variety of scenery within the park. From a castle to a zoo to a pond to a meadow, this place has it all.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!


9. The Plaza Food Hall
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South

One of the most opulent hotels in Manhattan, The Plaza is legendary. But the true gem is tucked away in the basement, way past the grand entrance. The food hall, which was opened in 2010, truly has something for everyone. There are counters with sweets, sandwiches, soups, juices, coffee and every culinary confection in between. Gala and I had soup, salad and fresh juice at Tartine and it was beyond delicious.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

10. Top Of The Rock Observation Deck
30 Rockefeller Plaza

I’ll admit that I thought this was going to be a total tourist trap — and for that reason, I’d avoided it at all costs during my previous trips to New York. But, on a whim, we gave it a go. And, honestly? It was worth the $29.00 ticket fee to see this 360 degree view of the city, 70 stories up. Do it at least once. You won’t regret it.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

11. The Smith Photo Booth
55 Third Ave.

The Smith has awesome food but I’ll be honest — my real draw to the place is that it has one of the city’s best photo booths in its basement. This isn’t a cheesy digital booth, either — it’s the old school black and white kind. And at just $3.00 a strip, you’re bound to get carried away with swiping your debit card (or, at least I did).

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

12. Big Gay Ice Cream
125 East 7th St.

A hot day in the city requires a mandatory ice cream stop. And there’s no doubt that Big Gay will have you rethinking soft-serve. I’d heard rave reviews about the Salty Pimp but ended up going with the Bea Arthur, which is hand-dipped in crushed Nilla wafers. Yum!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

13. Upper East Side Mansion Party
Fifth Ave.

When you receive an invite to view Ted Baker’s latest collection inside of a beautiful mansion, you say yes! What I love most about New York is that in the span of a day, anything is possible. This event featured a live jazz band, dancing flapper girls and piles of disco balls. Amazing.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

14. Grand Central Station
89 E. 42nd St.

This landmark is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world and has a mind boggling 44 platforms for rail travel. Even if you’re not grabbing a train though, there are tons of shops and restaurants across its two stories that are worth visiting. I love the astronomy-covered ceiling in the main concourse.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

15. Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse NYC
23 Vanderbilt Ave.

With tired feet and empty bellies, Gala and I circled around the Grand Central Terminal in search of a late dinner. We came upon this ex-NBA star’s restaurant, complete with sweeping views of the main concourse. Between the great view, spot-on service and a fantastic three-course meal, we were glad we made the stop, even though it was slightly unexpected.

So, there you go. New York City in a day! When I set out on an adventure with Gala at 10 am, I had no idea where the day would take me. I actually think those are the best kinds of days when you’re visiting a city, don’t you? Throw your plans out the window and just see what happens. Here’s to many more adventures!

Photos and video: Shauna Haider and Gala Darling.

The Unexpected House Guest: Chubby The Squirrel

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Chubby The Squirrel

It all started on Tuesday night while I was waiting in the customs line at JFK, fresh off a flight from London. My phone began buzzing at a rapid-fire pace with a series of frantic text messages.

Joey was at our home in Portland in his basement studio when he heard some faint squealing and rustling at the base of our furnace. We live in an old home with two chimneys — one is for the fireplace while the other is for the furnace and rarely gets used and the noise was coming from there.

“I have to pull off the metal duct and save it,” he said, still not knowing exactly what kind of animal was actually lurking in there. I responded with, “Sure, do whatever you have to do. I don’t want it to die.”

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Chubby The Squirrel

Ten minutes later, another text message popped up. He’d found a baby squirrel, covered in soot and barely clinging to life. It was still so young that its eyes hadn’t even opened yet. It fit into the palm of his hand and had a noticeably bulging belly. We decided to name it Chubby.

Poor little Chubby must have been living in a nest on our rooftop when he fell a solid 20 feet down the chimney. Joey washed him off in the sink, did a quick post to Facebook asking what he should do and after some Googling, he picked up some goat’s milk and Pedialyte (little Chubby was very dehydrated).

I was in New York for the next few days as more photos of Chubby came through. My friends couldn’t stop laughing. I had no idea that when I left home for a few weeks, I’d be returning to help raise a baby squirrel.

We haven’t been able to find Chubby’s mother so we’re raising him until we figure out what to do next. He’s moved onto drinking puppy milk replacement formula out of a syringe and is getting stronger by the day. Both of his eyes have since opened. Interestingly enough, Rocky, who once took great joy in chasing squirrels up trees now watches out for Chubby and licks his face as we’re feeding him.

Nubby Twiglet | Meet Chubby The Squirrel

During the day, Chubby hangs out on my desk in an oversized plastic bin while I’m working and nestles into a pile of old t-shirts. He’s still only a few weeks old but he’s getting more active and climbing up our arms as we feed him.

I keep saying to Joey, “Chubby chose the right chimney to fall down.” If Joey’s studio hadn’t been in the basement, his little squeals would have never been heard. More than anything, I am so thankful he’s okay.

So, there you have it. Chubby is the newest, though slightly unexpected member of our family. As he gets older, we’ll have to figure out what to do next.

Have you ever cared for a baby squirrel? Were you able to release it back into the wild? Any tips are very welcomed.

You Make My Dreams Come True: Adventures In Europe!

Nubby Twiglet | Charlotte Thomson Morley

The last three weeks of my life have been spent on an epic European adventure, hopping from London to Berlin to Amsterdam and then back to London again. Though I’m sad to see it all come to an end, this video is a great reminder of all the fun that was had in each city. Cheers to a good old summer adventure, cheers to BFFs and cheers to dancing like no one is watching. Enjoy!

Illustration: Charlotte Thomson-Morley.
Video: Gala Darling.

What’s Your Personal Mission Statement?

Nubby Twiglet | What’s Your Personal Mission Statement?

A mission statement is a company’s purpose for existing but I like the idea of individuals having them, too. Do you have one?

For the last year, my friend Joey has been working on a personal project where she takes a photo of a different person every day and then asks them a handful of questions. The excerpts go here and I’m always most intrigued by their personal mission statements. I feel like these few words can speak volumes about a person. Some are self improvement focused while others are focused on changing the world at large. Either way, they’re always inspiring and remind me that we each have goals, dreams and passions that hinge on changing ourselves and our surroundings for the better.

As I sat next to Joey a few weeks ago while she interviewed one of her subjects, I wondered aloud what my personal mission statement would be. It came to me pretty fast:

Work hard and play hard.

No matter what I’m doing, I give it my all. When I’m working, I’m focused on creating the best possible solution. I want to put work out into the world that that not only stands the test of time but makes my clients happy. The second I’m off the clock though, I want to play hard. I want to explore whichever city I’m in at that moment, snap photos with family and friends and hit a mix of the nicest restaurants and dive bars alike. I want to soak in as many experiences as possible.

What about you?

What’s your personal mission statement?
What does it say about you?
Do you feel that it keeps you on track and gives you direction?

Photo: Diane and Mike. Playing hard for me often requires confetti and jumping on beds. ;)