The Blogcademy Home School: Building Your Audience, Dealing With Negativity, Creating Awesome Still Lifes and Setting Your Rates!

The Blogcademy Home School Modules: Building Your Audience, Dealing With Negativity, Creating Awesome Still Lifes and Setting Your Rates!

Over at The Blogcademy, we’re launching four new Home School classes today! What I love most about Home School is that these modules make it possible for you to learn at your own pace — the videos can be watched as many times as you want and always include PDF worksheets to drive home the most important points. We filmed these four segments last month in London based around the subjects you asked us most about through email, in class and over social media.

Still Life 101

I’m really passionate about still lifes because they have the power to convey so much about us as individuals. These days, you’ll notice that photos of experiences tend to generate more interest than selfies or your latest purchase because the truth is, people want to see what you’re working on and what you’re inspired by! In this segment, I share the tips I personally use to compose all of my still lifes and include a visual example of each so you can see it in action. This is a great way to improve your still lifes whether you’re shooting photos for your blog or Instagram. Even better, if you’re feeling stuck on what to share in your still lifes, I’ve created a worksheet of prompts. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

How To Set Your Rates

When you’re starting a business, one of the first hurdles you’ll have is knowing how much to charge. In this segment, I chat with Kat about coming up with rates and sticking to them. We cover it from the perspective of both a blogger figuring out how much to charge for sponsored posts, advertising or collaborations, and as a creative using your blog to sell your services. This advice is practical and non-nonsense while shedding some light on what makes sense for your business!

Building Your Audience

Bloggers are always looking for new ways to engage readers and grow their audiences and we share the techniques we personally used when we started our blogs. To this day, we still implement most of them and have had great success. The advice Kat shares can be easily applied to all levels of blogging.

Dealing With Negativity

Have you ever received negative feedback online? Most of us have and that first time can really sting. The thing is, that negativity ends up holding a lot of people back from sharing their true selves online. Kat, Gala and I chat about how to cope with it, share some personal experiences and finally, have a candid conversation centered around if it ever gets easier. If you’re dealing with negativity, you’re not alone and I really hope this segment will help you feel more brave about putting yourself out there.


These four new modules build upon the original Home School topics including Blogging Basics (free!), Media Kits For Bloggers, Creating An About Me Page, Blog Brand Audit, Brands Working With Bloggers, PR & Marketing For Blogs, Advertising, Creating Killer Content, How To Work With Brands and Pinterest For Bloggers.

Each module is priced $20.00 and available in the shop. We promise to only give you real, actionable information you can put into use. Enjoy!

An Afternoon Of Beauty and Excess At Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” ―Charles Bukowski

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

On the hunt for a cool lunch spot in Amsterdam, I discovered a little gem called Bar Bukowski. The place is named after writer Charles Bukowski who had a not so subtle way with words and is best described as “breathing his love for alcohol, women and literature.” Bukowski once said, “There is always a reason to drink!” (and I dare not argue with the statements of a literary legend) but the food here is pretty good, too.

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

The music is loud, the walls are tiled and there are fresh flowers on every table. This is the ideal spot to grab a coffee, stay for lunch and then pick out a dessert. But if you’re a true Bukowski fanatic, polish it all off with a strong drink at Henry’s Bar next door. Indulge in some excess!

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

“An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” ―Charles Bukowski

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Nubby Twiglet | An Afternoon at Bar Bukowski in Amsterdam

Bar Bukowski has humor, style and great food — truly a winning combo.

“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.” ―Charles Bukowski

The Week In Pictures: 8.15.14

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

It’s been an interesting week getting settled back into home life, to say the least. Last Thursday night, I flew back to Portland from New York and was met with a new bundle of joy. More on that in a minute!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Since I got back, I’ve been in full-on cleaning mode. There’s nothing like a few weeks away to remind you of how little you truly need in this life to be happy. After a night of rest, I flung open my closets and piled up all the unworn clothes and shoes I could possibly muster letting go of. Next, I went through my desk and flat files, making another giant pile of donations. My office feels so much bigger and relaxed now.

I’m a big fan of the mentality of “out with the old and in with the new.” Get rid of what no longer serves or suits you and fill your life with less, but better made things. One of those new-ish, better made things I’m liking are a pair of Tieks — the perfect jolt of color for my mostly black and white wardrobe.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

A lot of you have been asking how Chubby is doing. If you’re wondering who this little guy is, you can read more about him right here. When Joey found him stuck in our furnace last Tuesday night, his eyes weren’t yet open and he could barely walk. A little over a week later, he’s holding onto the syringe of formula when we feed him, walking pretty well and of course, climbing like a champ. I’ll let you know how things progress.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

I was in Amsterdam a week and a half ago and when I got home, this Anthropologie catalog, shot entirely in Holland was waiting for me. The photos are gorgeous and remind me of those few magical days. If you’re curious, that’s a Crown and Glory crown hanging on the edge.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

At The Blogcademy in London, The Bathory blended these limited edition bath salts for us and our attendees. Isn’t the packaging cool? I’m exited to finally be home where I actually have a bath to try these out. ;)

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Speaking of The Blogcademy, it’s been a busy week behind the scenes as we put the finishing touches on four new Home School segments. I’m really excited about the topics we’re covering and will share more with you next Wednesday.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

I have the biggest design crush on Jonathan Adler — his mid-century modern aesthetic is right up my alley (and he did the interior of my favorite hotel, The Parker) so when this candle arrived from his assistant, I about lost my mind. Such a strange, bold piece and I can’t get enough of it. Ahhhhh!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures by Shauna Haider

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’ll be catching up on work, squirrel-sitting, and helping my aunt celebrate her 60th birthday (she’s like a second mom to me so it’s an espeically big deal). It feels so good to be home.

P.S. Thanks again for all your sweet, helpful comments and advice about Little Chub-Chub, I really appreciate it.

Link Love: 8.14.14

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

• When you overschedule yourself, there’s no time to think. How far are people going in our modern society to avoid introspection?

• To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its website, Microsoft recreated its original homepage from 1994. We’ve come a long way, baby.

• What I Instagrammed versus what was really happening. Or, my entire life is a lie.

• Feed your head + find your soul. “…the difference between people who are successful and not are that those who are successful seemed to know from the age of 7 or 8, maybe older, they’re very in tune with what they love.”

• Should unpaid internships be destroyed for good?

• Discover the saddest, most lonely tweets you ever tweeted.

• Wondering what Brooklyn looked like during the summer of 1974? Here you go.

• I don’t read many fashion blogs these days but the one I keep going back to for more is Micah Gianneli. This woman has a sense of style all her own. I love it.

• Kandee Johnson on what to do if you feel like a failure.

• The Instagram trend of the moment: statue selfies.

• Just what I need: a list of 5 hard to kill houseplants.

• When it comes to success, don’t forget to celebrate the little things.

• I’ve been obsessed with the Waffee branding (waffles + coffee = pure genius) since I spotted it in Melbourne last year. So good!

• I’d definitely go camping if there were handmade heart marshmallows involved.

• There’s a chart that catalogs hip hop artists with the largest vocabulary.

• If you’re not sure that blogging is a good fit for you, here’s a list of 35 alternatives.

• My favorite tribute yet: a few thoughts about Robin Williams.


Photo: Shauna Haider.
Check out more Link Love columns right here.

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!

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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.