Cyber Monday Sales: Design Edition!

Nubby Twiglet | Cyber Monday

I’m a little late posting today but hopefully you can still make the deadlines for some of these amazing design-related sales! So much good stuff at deep discounts:

• In need of business cards, stickers or postcards? Moo is offering 25% off their printed products including the awesome Luxe line!

• Fab is offering 30% off site wide and is the perfect one-stop-shop for those art and design lovers in your life.

• Spruce up your desk with new supplies from Poppin. Use the code CYBER30 to save 30% off any orders of 60 dollars or more.

• Overnight Prints is running their biggest sale of the year. Get in that order of promotional postcards quick!

• You Work For Them has hundreds of fonts on sale!

• Theme Trust is offering 30% off all of their WordPress themes. Just enter the code CYBER at checkout.

A Mid-century Modern Dream in Surfers Paradise: QT Gold Coast

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

I’ve done my fair share of traveling. I’ve stayed at Holiday Inns in the midwest and luxury resorts in the Greek Islands. I’ve slept at the high end, the low end and everywhere in-between. But hands-down, my favorite hotel experience of all time goes to the QT Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

If mid-century modern stylings with a heavy dose of color is your thing, look no further: you’ve found your mecca. But don’t be fooled — the QT isn’t all style and no substance. They have hospitality down to an art form. Warm and welcoming, the staff, dazzling in their custom retro-inspired uniforms make you feel right at home. And the lemonade stand that greets you at the entrance doesn’t hurt, either. If lemonade isn’t up your alley, that’s okay; a table of sweets in every color of the rainbow is wheeled out mid-afternoon.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

I could have sat in the lobby all day and been perfectly happy. After all, it’s spacious enough to have a few dozen friends along for the ride and still have enough seating.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

But best of all is the disc-covered corner which sports a cherry red espresso machine tucked inside a coffee bar on one side and a view of the pool on the other.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

I was already having a design-gasm just from the grand entrance. Nothing could come close to topping the experience. Or, so I thought.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

As I made my way up to my room, I cracked open the door to be met with a striped shower (!!!) in the bathroom. I felt like the QT had crawled inside my brain and secretly pulled all my favorite design elements together for my arrival. Everything was spot-on.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Kitschy barware and an in-room suite to concoct my own brew of lemonade was tucked alongside the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

The bathroom featured not one but two mirrors (the more the merrier, I say).

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Hung along the wall were netted beach-ready bags, perfect for shaking all the sand out of Surfers Paradise explorations.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

As I sat on the bed and flipped through the menus, I realized that all the print materials were just as immaculately designed as the rooms.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

A striped bedskirt?! Yes, please.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Pin-up girls covered the surfaces of menus, elevators and more. I kept this set of awesome postcards.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

As we exited the QT for a bike ride along Surfer’s Paradise (they’ve thought of everything and there are a gaggle of bikes in their lobby), we were met with this vintage car in a shade of Blogcademy turquoise. It couldn’t get much more perfect than that, I thought. Little did I know that we had another QT experience waiting for us a few days later in Port Douglas…

Nubby Twiglet | QT Gold Coast Surfers Paradise

Complimentary lemonade.
Service with a smile.
Style for days.
QT Gold Coast made a lifelong fan of me in one day flat.


Special thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for making this post possible.
Photos: Janneke Storm and Shauna Haider.

Giving Thanks

Nubby Twiglet | Giving Thanks

It’s been a hectic day as I put together last-minute client presentations and wrapped up some loose ends before taking some time off for the long holiday weekend. I’m looking forward to the annual tradition of heading up to my grandparents’ cabin tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving. My grandma already asked me what flavor of pie I wanted so I know it’s going to be a good day. ;)

I actually got to kick off the holiday spirit last Friday when my grandparents came down from the mountains and joined me for some bar-hopping around S.E. Portland. Neither use canes and both are as sharp as tacks. My friends are always blown away when they meet them! When my 85 year old grandpa showed up in this swanky vintage Pendleton jacket, I did a double-take. “Grandpa, do you know how hip and in style that jacket is?!” He was surprised, nonchalantly mentioning that it’s been hanging in the back of his closet for a few decades.

My grandpa, Sharkey is a special man. So quiet and sweet and sentimental, he offsets my fiery grandma, Betty. Over dinner, she entertained my brother and I with stories of bar brawls and the time she almost got kicked out of Mexico. It’s never a dull moment with those two and I am thankful for every time I get to see them.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year: family that I honestly look forward to being around, a husband who supports my wacky ideas and lets me blabber about business on our morning walks, my cuddle buddy Rocky, business partners I can spend three weeks straight with and still call BFFs, a new design studio that makes me excited to get out of bed every day for, the opportunity to spend a decent chunk of my time traveling the world and for YOU. Thank you for the constant encouragement, advice and support you’ve given me over the last six years. It means the world to me.

Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

My Favorite New Finds from Australia and New Zealand!

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

Spending close to a month split between Australia and New Zealand, I came across some really special finds and discovered a whole bunch of new (to me) brands that are way too good to keep to myself!

• Ruby: I found this striped knit sweatshirt (now sadly sold out) at Ruby that was love at first sight — I’m always skimping on wardrobe basics but those are what I end up reaching for the most often so I’m trying to step up my game! Though Ruby’s pricing can seem high at first compared to similar U.S. brands, I was blown away by the quality and attention to detail. Manufactured in New Zealand, this sweatshirt has a gold zipper up the back and a perfectly slim (but not tight) cut. The brand does streetwear right, managing to keep it modern yet feminine.

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

• Mi Goals: To be fair, I didn’t actually buy this awesome set of notebooks (Mi Goals was a Blogcademy sponsor) but if I’d come across it in a store, I would have! Mi Goals stationery has goal-oriented sections with prompts to help you plan out your life and I especially love the no-nonsense design of the Get Shit Done booklet.

• MT Tape: I have an embarrassingly large stash of washi tape in my office but that didn’t stop me from going crazy at the pop-up shop inside Melbourne Central. Hundreds of varieties of the tape alongside crafting tables lured me in — I’ve always bought my rolls of MT Tape online so experiencing the brand in person was really exciting.

• Leonard Street: I nearly walked right past this Melbourne shop, quickly dismissing it as not being my style. But I am so glad Kat and Gala convinced me to stop in! Full of stylish and contemporary basics, I unexpectedly spotted my ideal dress, something I’d been dreaming of for years. Resembling a twill apron, the Braces Mini Dress in black fulfills my uniform fetish and is a great utilitarian, everyday basic. I throw it on over a black tee and skinny jeans and I’m ready to go!

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

• Glassons: I have to stop myself from reaching for these pants every single day. They’re my absolute favorites and best of all, they cost less than $30.00! I am obsessed with the perfectly narrow cut and ankle zips — they remind me of J. Crew but without the sticker shock. Glassons is an affordably priced chain store across New Zealand and I was drawn in by the deep selection of on-trend basics. Though these pants seem to be sold out, they have a lot of other great options! Now, if only they’d ship to the U.S.

• Typo: Being obsessed with office supplies, it didn’t take me long to discover Typo. Full of the coolest stationery and decor around, this place is a treasure trove if you’re in the mood to dress up your desk. I grabbed a bundle of the Pencil Pens which come in a rainbow of colors.

Nubby Twiglet | Favorite Finds in New Zealand & Australia

Grown Alchemist: Never in my life have I spent $20.00 on hand lotion. But that all changed when I came across this vanilla and orange peel scented concoction. Tired of having dry skin from too much traveling, I gave it a go. All I have to say is that it’s worth every penny. I’ve since done some more research on the line and between the stylishly minimal packaging, bio active organic ingredients and the lack of harsh chemicals, animal products and parabens, I am a super fan. It’s now on my desk at all times.


I loved wandering the streets of Australia and New Zealand and not spotting the same old American chain stores! Are there any other brands I missed that you’d recommend checking out?

The Blogcademy Melbourne: Adventures in Hula Hooping and Interviews for the Nightly News!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Our Melbourne class was full of some firsts for me, namely hooping in front of a group of strangers and getting interviewed by ABC News. The whole day felt a bit like an out-of-body experience but I’ve learned that when opportunities present themselves, you just have to roll with them, push any fears out of the way and hope for the best.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

We’d found out a few days earlier that ABC wanted to film our Melbourne class for a news story on blogging and it was hard to stay tight-lipped about the whole thing — the best part was watching the ladies’ reactions as they streamed in that morning and spotted the crew and cameras!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I’d never done television before and could barely sleep the night before. Finally, I just convinced myself that the best way to handle an interview was to pretend I was chatting with a friend and that was the only thing that really helped. Everything went off without a hitch and it was all over before I could really process it. We raced home that night to eat thai takeout on the couch (how glamorous!)and watch the segment.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

We held our Melbourne classes at Lightdrop Studios — the brick walls and hardwood floors made everything feel super intimate and cozy.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

The ladies who attend our workshops always have the BEST style, Arienne included!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

During class activities, there’s always tons of frantic note taking and it’s fun to see the personal flourishes that make their way out.

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Our breaks are mostly filled with one-on-one blog reviews for the attendees who want extra feedback — Kat was an especially busy bee in this class!


Hoop Lovers

The Blogcademy Melbourne

As if doing a segment for ABC News wasn’t exciting enough, we had professional hooper Deanne Love give us a lesson in what it takes to become a hoop star! I was slightly intimidated by the whole activity because I’d never hula hooped in my life. I was a total tomboy growing up and too busy building forts and riding bikes to learn the finer techniques of hooping!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Before I knew it, Kat, Gala and I were called into the center of the circle to put on a show! I couldn’t keep that hoop up to save my life but as you can tell from my reaction, I had a blast anyway!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

The rest of the girls were waaaay better than us, hooping like old pros!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I loved this activity because it forced all of us to get out of our shells and just roll with the good times. The ladies got to keep their hoops and I am imagining them practicing their moves in living rooms across Australia!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

More bonding happened in our Boothalicious photo booth. They even made a video of the day’s debauchery!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

Before class, we went a little crazy picking out prizes at Typo. It’s true, Melbourne has some of the best shopping around. I so wanted that mint flip clock!

The Blogcademy Melbourne

I took a mini break in the way cool lobby of our venue. It’s definitely inspired me to refinish all the hardwoods in my house but that’s a conversation for another day!

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The Week In Pictures: 11.22.13

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Good afternoon from freezing Portland! It’s been an interesting week trying to get back into the swing of deadlines, emails and client calls after nearly a month on the road. While I had the time of my life in Australia and New Zealand, I returned home Monday night with a stomach bug I haven’t been able to kick since. Those 10 flights caught up with me…traveling that much always does.

Getting back into a daily routine and posting on the blog has been tough this week because in a way, I’m feeling a post-vacation disconnect. Traveling to somewhere new means that there’s excitement around every corner, especially when your itinerary involves theme parks, beaches and rain forests. Posting about those experiences from your home office while wearing pajamas? Not so fun. Starting today, I gotta kick these blues — I’m just missing my friends, teaching and exploring new cities.

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Wandering around Melbourne last Saturday, I was blown away by all the amazing branding I saw on small, independent boutiques. I’ve been slowly sharing some of my best finds on the Branch Instragram with more to come. I loved the combination of black penny tiles and minimal type treatment on this sign in particular.

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One my favorite stops in Melbourne was Pickings & Parry. I loved this handsome mustached gnome…no surprise there!

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…and this stylish espresso machine! Plus, the staff was amazingly friendly.

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Even though the post-vacation blues hit me hard this week, I’m really looking forward to having the stretch of the next two months off. I have a lot of plans I’ve been mapping out across my businesses and it’s time to stop making excuses and get it all done. And I’m taking the time to organize my filthy office!

On another note, one promise I made myself when I started We Are Branch a few months ago was that I wanted to seek out more ways to give back. I had a lot of people help me out in the beginning of my career and it made a world of difference in my life at the time. This morning, I did a live video chat with a graphic design class taught by Danielle of No Plastic Sleeves, answering questions about design processes and how to carve out a successful career as a graphic designer. I’m hoping to do more design-related talks and portfolio reviews in the new year. If I can make it easier for one design student to find their way, I’ve done my job.

This post is starting to get long and mushy so I’m going to sign off now — have a great weekend and I hope you find time to do something that’s meaningful to you. For me, that means hitting the town tonight with my crazy family. I’m always the tame, well-behaved one of the bunch. ;)


Top scan: Polaroid by Janneke Storm, coaster from QT Hotel, Rocky necklace by Gabriella of Pixie and Pixier.