The Week In Pictures: 4.5.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Portland really turned on the charm this last week! Bright and early Saturday morning, The Blogcademy babes and I grabbed our overnight bags and headed downtown. We’d booked the Ace Hotel’s event space, The Cleaners for our Portland workshop and when we arrived, we felt an immediate affinity for the space.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Bright light streamed through the windows that reached the celling. Terrariums, wooden folding chairs and a driftwood coffee table filled the space.

Though the official workshop photos will be coming along later, I wanted to share a few of my own snapshots to give you an idea of what the Portland Ace is like if you’ve never been!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Day one of the workshop sped by thanks to our enthusiastic students (along with a caffeine fix from Stumptown and a sugar rush from Voodoo Doughnut).

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

After saying goodbye to our students, Kat, Gala and I excitedly headed up to our hotel room. Since I live in Portland, I’ve never had a good excuse to stay at the Ace (though I’ve loitered in their beautiful lobby a million times!) until now so I was curious to check out our digs.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

We all fell in love with our room right away. It was cozy, welcoming and I loved all the little touches including live plants, a record player (alongside a stack of hip records), a custom Pendleton blanket and lots of branded ephemera.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

A queen bed and a full-size couch gave us ample room to spread out and get comfy. It’s a bit hard to see but in the left photo, you can get a glimpse of our “wallpaper” which was composed from vintage book pages.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I love it when hotels bypass the usual credit card-style key for something a little more special. Our room key felt very military-issue and industrial chic.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Once we’d dropped off our luggage, we headed down to Clyde Common for one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Seriously. Portland is known for its great food but this was off the hook. We agreed that hit of the night was the truffle popcorn.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I never get to spend much time downtown — it always seems like I’m passing through on my way to somewhere else. It was a nice change of pace to walk the girls past some of my favorite stores and hangouts and show them around the area surrounding the Ace. I’m a big fan of Kenny & Zuke’s color-filled window.

This last week was filled with a lot of exploring and making new friends but best of all, I was reminded of why I love this city so much. Now I’m sitting in LA — I spent yesterday hitting Disneyland with Kat and Gala and now we’re gearing up for tomorrow’s Blogcademy. It’s going to be a busy weekend but I love it. Have a great one!

Link Love: 4.4.13

link love

Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel

• Do you suffer from online myopia? One of the most noticeable symptoms is overtly seeking online validation while disregarding real world experiences. As bloggers, I feel like it’s so easy to slip into this.

• Here are three paths towards a more creative life.

• I love how this restaurant has incorporated Pantone swatches into their menu!

• Attending a design nerd’s birthday party? Why not bring along an ampersand piñata?

• Check out this gallery of zoo animals decked out in their finest attire!

• This floral headboard sure is gorgeous! I love the idea of dressing up your basic furniture and to keep it practical, adding just a few would still look great.

• I enjoyed reading Elsie & Emma’s tips about working from home. I always learn something new when I read about other people’s routines.

• If you have trouble saying no to projects, learn how to do it tactfully!

• 3 ways to wrap a flower: so simple and chic!

• If you’re struggling to get started with your blog, stop making excuses because you’ll be waiting forever.

• What if you decided to pass on the perfect, curated image of yourself and instead started only posting self-proclaimed ugly self-portraits?

• If you’re curious, these are the 25 least visited countries in the world!

• If you’re a wedding photographer and have to miss a wedding you booked, how do you handle the situation?

View more Link Love columns right here.

Blog Log #7: Balancing Blogging, Advertising and Ethics

Blog Log

Blog Log Tools Of The Trade


I have always felt that as bloggers, we deserve to be fairly compensated for our work just like any other profession.

Chances are that after you’ve been blogging for awhile, when you check your inbox in the morning, half of your emails are pitches from PR companies and text link inquiries. In the beginning, this can be incredibly flattering. After all, a lot of us put a huge chunk of time and effort into creating original content for our blogs and it feels great to finally receive some recognition.

But, it starts to become tricky when we sit down and actually sift through these offers. What’s legit and what’s garbage? How much of this content is actually a good fit for our blogs?

Here’s where I stand on advertising that’s not as straightforward as a banner ad (because there are a lot of other ways to collaborate with companies in exchange for payment these days):

Text Links

At this time, I turn down all text link offers. A text link is composed of words in an article that links to another page, usually that of a business. The business will usually pay you a flat rate to insert text links into articles they deem SEO-friendly. So for instance, if I’ve posted an article about how I keep my clothing organized, a closet organization company might approach me after the article has gone live and offer $50.00 to link to their business in the body copy.

My personal feelings regarding text links is that if you aren’t a fan of the site you’re linking to and are just doing it for the money, it’s misleading for your readers to click on those links. If I don’t believe in a product or service, I sure don’t want my readers to think I do. It’s not worth trading in your ethics for a quick 50 bucks.

The one time I did do a text link deal was about four years ago and I felt okay at that time because I was able to try out the product I was recommending beforehand. Basically, I reviewed a straightening iron and felt that it was fantastic quality and ran a sponsored post along with a link to a new page on my site that advertised the straightening iron. These days, I wouldn’t put a subpage on my site but at the time, it felt fine since I knew that what I was promoting was a quality product.

As a sidenote, if you’re running text links that are clearly labeled in your sidebar as advertising, while they aren’t pretty, this is a lot more straightforward.

Affiliate Links

I do believe in using affiliate links. With affiliate links, you place code into the product link within your blog post that allows you to earn a commission on items you recommend. And most importantly, it doesn’t cost the person clicking on the link any extra money. I use these links to share products I already own or would like to own. I occasionally recommend books that I’ve read and loved, camera equipment I own and clothing that I’m wearing in my posts. Simple as that. I try to use affiliate links sparingly because there’s nothing worse than overdoing it and feeling spammy.

Sponsored Posts

These days, sponsored posts seem to be more prevalent than standard banner advertising when it comes to big name bloggers. When done right, sponsored posts can be tasteful, creative and bring together bloggers with brands they believe in. I am a fan of sponsored posts when they feel like a natural expansion of a blogger’s brand.

My most successful sponsored post collaboration to date has been working with Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape. This relationship worked well for me because I already use the product in home remodeling projects and I’d also been interested in producing original DIY projects for my readers. This collaboration was particularly exciting because I was given free reign to think up any project I wanted with the only stipulation being that I used the tape. My two outcomes from this partnership included a custom skateboard deck and Christmas ornaments.

My advice in these situations is to only agree to partnerships that allow some creative freedom and also allow you to produce your own body copy. Chances are, your readers will be turned off by a cut-and-paste PR statement so really dig in and add your personal spin.


Who doesn’t love free merchandise?! When I first started blogging seriously in 2007, I was a full-time college student balancing both a full-time job along with an internship. I didn’t have a whole lot of money and it was always flattering when companies offered to send clothing my way to include in outfit posts. It was a simple exchange: If I receive an item that I loved, I’d link to their site in a style post. I wanted new clothes I couldn’t afford otherwise, they wanted traffic and we both walked away happy.

But these days, things are a little bit different. When I am approached with an offer, I always remember what Kat of Rock n Roll Bride says: “A free handbag doesn’t pay my mortgage.” And, she’s right. I consider these partnerships a lot more carefully now and though I very occasionally accept products in exchange for a blog post, I only do so if it’s an item I feel strongly enough about that I would purchase it anyway. Which is at most, a few times per year.

It’s the law to disclose when an item was gifted so I’m very clear in my description when an item was provided for review by adding a ℅ (care of).

Brand Collaborations

If you have a solid following but aren’t being approached by the brands you’re interested in collaborating with, why not approach them? To date, all of my brand collaborations have happened by being approached by other companies but I am hearing of more bloggers writing up their own pitches these days. If you want more information on the subject, the best article I’ve seen to date on this topic is by Bri of Designlovefest.

Blog Log Tools Of The Trade


Shifting Perceptions

While it’s always flattering to get noticed by companies, my most basic advice is that if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. It’s never worth compromising your brand in exchange for payment. Money comes and goes but regaining your footing after a bad deal is an uphill battle.

In the beginning, some of you may include paid text links in articles or work out special deals with brands and that’s okay if you feel good about it — you have to weigh the pros and cons and work out what’s best for you. But at the same time, it’s okay to change your mind as your ethics and business principles shift. As our awareness increases, a deal that felt like a good fit just a few years earlier may feel completely wrong now.

If you’re not at the point where you’re being approached for advertising and promotions yet, that’s okay too. I always say to myself that, “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s always better to take your time and build a blog that you and your readers believe in versus rushing it and making bad business decisions.

It’s good to be aware of opportunities but at the same time, be razor sharp about what you’re delivering in return. Never sell yourself or your readers short.

Now, it’s your turn: What kinds of offers have you taken in exchange for payment and promotion? Are there some offers that you accepted and later regretted?

View more of the Blog Log series here.

Latest & Greatest #17: Woven Bracelets

Latest and Greatest

Latest & Greatest: Woven Bracelets

Over the weekend, I was showing Kat and Gala around Hawthorne, a street in S.E. Portland jam-packed with locally owned boutiques, restaurants and vintage stores. We popped in The Gold Door, a store that is filled with the smell of incense and brightly colored religious paraphernalia, skulls, imported decor and jewelry. I’ve always thought of it as a shop that’s perfect for picking up a unique gift for the eccentric and adventurous globe trotter in your life.

I spotted these handwoven plastic bracelets grouped on a table and picked up a handful. Gala thought they reminded her of Dries van Noten and I laughed at the designer reference, noting that the price was a whole four dollars each!

Latest & Greatest: Woven Bracelets

I left with these three and paired them the next day with my black flowered dress. I have a lot of upcoming travel and sometimes a handful of accessories are just what’s needed to spice up those wardrobe basics. These days, it’s the really small things that get me excited, including these plastic bracelets.

Have you picked up anything new to spice up your wardrobe lately?

Paris In Winter: A Style Shoot with Juliane Berry

Paris by Juliane Berry

Paris is that one place in the world that I’m completely obsessed with. I’m drawn to the beauty, the typography, the slower pace of life and all the distinct ways it’s the polar opposite of the U.S. Because it’s a place I’m not super familiar with (I’ve only been there twice, for a few days at a time) and because of the language barrier, it offers me a fresh perspective and a glimpse into a way of life that feels slightly mysterious.

Paris by Juliane Berry

The day after we arrived in Paris, photographer Juliane Berry met us in the 1st arrondissement for a photoshoot.

Paris by Juliane Berry

Juliane is wonderful because she’s originally from LA so there’s no language barrier and since she’s primarily a wedding photographer, she always has the best locations scoped out. I first met Juliane back in 2010 and she later became one of my clients (I’m so happy with how her branding came together).

Paris by Juliane Berry

Because it was the dead of winter, overcast and raining, when we arrived at the Louvre, it was completely deserted. Considering that it’s the world’s most visited museum (8 million visitors pass through its halls every year) it was quite unexpected and made our shoot a cinch. And I loved the glass pyramids by architect I. M. Pei.

Paris by Juliane Berry

When Juliane led us into the Palais-Royal, it took me a few seconds to adjust. Striped columns in varying heights covered the courtyard. It felt like I’d entered a new, twisted universe that had only previously existed in my imagination. Once again, it was nearly deserted as we wove our way through the columns.

Paris by Juliane Berry

Paris is the city of romance so it only made sense to dance my way through with Gala. Of course, our routines were hideous and made no sense but hey, we were having a good time!

Paris by Juliane Berry

As much as I love to travel and I have no fear of hopping on a plane and zipping across the world, when I arrive somewhere I want to meet up with friends. I’m not a fan of eating out by myself or staying in hotels alone. Though I’ve done both, I dread it! I want share the experience with someone that sees what I see, that gets excited and loves to document our newly discovered environment through photos, tweets and blog posts. I’m incredibly lucky that Kat and Gala share the same love of traveling that I do and along with that, common interests that allow us to navigate a new city with similar goals in mind.

Paris by Juliane Berry

I won’t lie, though the constant travel looks like pure glamour and nonstop fun from the outside, Instagrams and tweets don’t tell the full story. I tend to like a fair amount of quiet time by myself to think, work on client projects and recharge. That’s actually one benefit of traveling as part of a threesome though because I can easily slip away (while Kat and Gala go on a shopping rampage) and there’s still that extra person to venture out with.

Paris by Juliane Berry

What’s the one place you’ve traveled to that still holds the magic for you?

I Wore: Sonia Rykiel dress and All Saint boots
Photos: Juliane Berry Photography
Locations: The Louvre and Palais-Royal
Co-conspirators: Gala Darling and Kat Williams

The Week In Pictures: 3.29.13

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Wowza, what a week!!! It’s been a little quiet around these parts because Kat and Gala landed in my fair city Tuesday night and since then, it’s been completely, totally nonstop. We’ve been running around like madwomen from 9 am till 11 pm every day, picking up sponsor items from the post office, spilling coffee, visiting the finest establishments of Portland’s underbelly, revamping our workshop presentation with even more fresh content, shopping our way through Portland’s most eccentric vintage stores and of course, hanging out with my quite entertaining family. Our favorite photographer trio Made U Look arrives from LA today and then we will be in full-on workshop mode all weekend at The Ace. Exciting times around here!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Tuesday was a big day for us. We did a live stream event for The Blogcademy and had a great time answering viewer questions about both business and blogging. I’m not a big fan of video but sometimes you just have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and go with the flow. We blew bubbles (Gala’s idea, of course!), somehow Gene Simmons came up in the conversation and before we knew it, an hour and a half had passed! Honestly, once you’ve done one live video, it feels a whole lot less intimidating and I can’t wait to do it again.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

There’s nothing like showing company around your city — it really forces you to adjust your eyesight and notice all the details you overlook on a daily basis. I spent yesterday taking the girls around S.E. Portland and they loved all the kooky colored houses, adorable independent restaurants and of course, the ridiculously cheap vintage shopping. I told them Portland was good!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I’ve walked past this mural dozens of times and never stopped. Like I said, having visitors helps to open your eyes!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Last night, we joined my family at the Kennedy School. It seemed quite fitting having drinks in the Detention Room of the converted grade school! Kat and Gala got to meet my grandparents, who they immediately fell in love with. The feeling was mutual – my grandparents, who live up in the mountains, loved Kat and Gala’s eccentric accents.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

This has been the perfect week to show my friends around down, since Spring has sprung. Everything is in bloom and the weather has been beautiful (you know how rare clear skies are around these parts!)

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

And with that, I’m out — report cards and graduation certificates have been filled out, goodie bags are packed and our presentation polished. We’re packing our bags now for the fun times that await.

Have a great weekend, everyone! And, if you want to keep up with even more snippets and snapshots, feel free to follow along on Twitter and Instagram.

Link Love: 3.28.13

link love

Peggy Moffitt modeling Rudi Gernreich by William Claxton

• Four ways to overcome the fear of starting your business.

• Typographica rounds up its favorite typefaces of 2012 and best of all, you can click through and buy on the spot!

• I had to read the opening paragraph of this 58 year old male shopaholic’s story twice: In the last few years, he’s bought eighty-one leather jackets (including a $22,000 coat). And much, much more. Over half a million dollars worth!

• As a designer, should you ever participate in crowdsourcing? My thoughts are included!

• Having an open mind and a willingness to take chances will take you far.

• Looking for ways to organize your wardrobe? Here’s a roundup of visual inspiration.

• I’m fascinated by these geometric monograms that were created by French Goldsmith and Stylist Jean Puiforcat.

• 10 ways to get the most out of workshops and events.

• If you own a company, maybe you need one of these stamps by your side!

• This interview with blogger Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay is super duper inspiring.

• I love Kathleen’s new column, Weekend Reading, a link roundup of intriguing, thought-provoking content.

• What does success really look like?

View more Link Love columns right here.