It’s A Jungle Out There: Our Weekend Inside A Plant-Filled Room at The Blogcademy Berlin!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Oh, Berlin. I’d been dreaming of visiting Germany ever since my parents brought me home my first pair of lederhosen in 1983. In high school, four years of German language classes only left me wanting more. So when we booked a Blogcademy Berlin workshop, I jumped for joy. When we arrived, it was everything I could have hoped for — the old buildings, new street art and curiously international mix of food tempted me to throw caution to the wind and spend the entire summer there.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

We held our class at a very hip co-working space called Agora Collective. Tucked back on a stone walkway full of apple trees, the venue was full of dozens of oversized plants, whitewashed walls, huge windows and a very unique kitchen with rotating chefs. Germans are known for being industrious and our area featured a tree branch re-imagined as a floating coat rack. Basically, this building housed the coolest office on the planet.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

We kicked off our class with a very international mix of ladies from Germany, Canada, South Africa, Belgium and Switzerland!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The plant situation in Agora was completely out of control…and I loved it!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

One of the topics we repeatedly circle back around to is the myth of perfection. It has the potential to hold us back from what we really want to go after. We make a point of sharing how cringe-worthy our blogs were in the beginning because there’s nothing worse than thinking someone got from point A to point B overnight. It’s important to keep it real and provide you with a realistic outlook.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Sarah is so stylish! Her blog is fantastic, too — check it out!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Big smiles all around!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

As usual, our still life activity was my favorite part of the day — it’s so interesting to see what our ladies gather up and how their compositions all come out so differently from one another. If you’re in need of some tips, we also offer a Home School module on the subject!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Stay inspired, stay curious and keep an open mind. Go out and live your life…and then blog about it. If you’re sitting at your desk waiting for your next brilliant blog post to come, chances are slim that it’s ever going to happen!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The easiest way to become the teacher’s pet? Hand-deliver gourmet chocolates from Switzerland!

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

I was so sad to say goodbye to this class.

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

Thanks to our Berlin sponsors for the lovely goodie bag mix: Tattoo transfers by Hello Harriet, WordPress for Beginners books by Reeta Krishna, sparkly ears by Crown and Glory, branded pens by Go Promotional, tattoo transfers by Pepper Ink Vintage, paper decor by Strange Case, no-snag hair ties by Mane Message and notebooks by Veronica Dearly .

Nubby Twiglet | The Blogcademy Berlin

The rest of our 2014 classes are nearly sold out but don’t fret, 2015 dates will be launching soon! Thanks for coming along with me on this Berlin adventure. I’ve been preparing a little travel guide (with tons of photos!) for later this week — stay tuned!


Venue: Agora Collective.
Photographer: Shell de Mar.

The Week In Pictures: 10.10.14 | Hello from Palm Springs, Washington, D.C. and New York!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

It’s good to be back home with Joey, Rocky and Chubs….but a lot happened in the last week. The most exciting part was getting to visit Washington, D.C. for the first time but it wasn’t quite so easy getting there. When you have multiple places on opposite sides of the country to be in a very short period of time and planes, rental cars and trains are involved, things are bound to go wrong!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I left Palm Springs early Friday morning, bound for LA. As I was sitting at LAX, I noticed that my flight to Washington, D.C. was delayed by an hour…which was the exact layover I was supposed to have in the next city. There was no way I’d make it. In a panic, I booked a one-way ticket with a different airline right as my flight was boarding and raced over to that terminal. By the time I finally got to D.C. it was the middle of the night….and I had to teach at The Blogcademy the next day.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Lacking sleep, I was a little worried about how things would go but our class was so warm and welcoming. It couldn’t have gone any better — we had our youngest student ever (12 years old!) and a black pug named Harpo in attendance. The best!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Before class, our intern, Erica was extra gracious and showed us around Union Market and I couldn’t believe all the cool food booths and shops inside.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

We liked it so much that we went back another three times. A few personal favorites were Goshen for fresh juice, Peregrine Espresso for coffee and Salt & Sundry for a tightly curated selection of gifts.

I was bummed out that I didn’t have more time to explore D.C. but the small bits I did get to see left me wanting more. As soon as class ended, I boarded a train back to New York with Gala — another snag in my travel plans meant that I couldn’t fly straight home but I wasn’t going to argue with spending an extra day in my favorite city!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Ah. New York. I had just been in town the week before Palm Springs so it felt weird waking up there again. Unsure of what to do with the time, Gala and I just decided to go for it and spent the day without a real plan. I love that sense of spontaneity when traveling.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

We spent the morning walking around Soho and I really liked this facade for the new Stories store.

2014_nubbytwiglet_weekinpictures_18

Then, we walked along The Highline until we got to The Standard.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’d been to The Standard a bunch of times for On Top at Le Bain (a club night complete with a hot tub and disco ball on the dance floor) but never for lunch. Gala and I had tasty hibiscus-infused drinks and relaxed in the back patio area.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

After that, we headed over to the West Village and stopped into CuRious Candy, a mysterious and magnificent little sweets shop by designer Cynthia Rowley. I couldn’t get any clear photos so please do yourself a favor and click through to their website now. SO GOOD.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

No visit to New York is complete without a stop at Dean & DeLuca — I loved their fall-inspired displays.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

It’s always fun to discover new treats like this chocolate and also, raspberry lemonade.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

We also walked through the flower markets in Chelsea and I kind of fell hard for these faux lemons. After some time in Palm Springs, I was definitely tempted to buy a bundle!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

This last week was intense, exciting, nerve-wracking and full of new discoveries. I wouldn’t change a thing! But now it’s time to get back to reality and catch up on work. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Link Love: 10.9.14

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Philippe Salomon

• 10 tips for Instagram overachievers is full of helpful apps, lighting and composition recommendations!

• I loved scrolling through Victoria’s guide to LA. There’s so many great, well-designed spots in this roundup.

• If you’re on the fence about growing your business bigger and it’s not sitting right with you, that’s okay! Bigger isn’t always better…for you or your clients.

• Never underestimate the power of networking. It really does have the ability to change your career.

• If you’ve ever wondered how to take a full screenshot of a website, not just what’s showing on your screen, this post can help!

• Embrace your creativity and try new things, even if it leads to falling flat on your face.

• A place that’s still on my must-see list is Marfa, Texas. Such a beautiful, otherworldly town.

• What makeup should you probably throw away?

• Designers, Breanna Rose has some fantastic advice for streamlining your process.

• Ready to redesign your site? Review this article of the top hidden costs of webs projects!

• OMG. Finally, cooking with a sense of humor! Check out Thug Kitchen. Because, well, cooking is definitely more fun with F-Bombs.

• We shared a lot of different creative resources at Designer Vaca this year and Becky Murphy has kindly rounded them all up!

• Blogging means something different to each of us. Cassie of The Veda House shares what blogging means to her.

• Don’t work for free or even cheap for rich people.

• I wish I could have experienced this supermarket completely made up of vending machines!


Photo: Philippe Salomon.
Check out more Link Love columns right here.

Out & About #3: McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

All I have to say is….how did I not know about this place until a few weeks ago?! Most Portlanders have been to at least one McMenamins property to eat, drink or spend the night and I’ve checked dozens off my list but the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, tucked away in Hillsboro, had somehow escaped me.

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Summed up on its website as a “former farmstead wonderland,” this six-acre property has buildings dating to the 1850s. I couldn’t help but feel like I was transported back at least a hundred years as I walked along the paths lined in twinkling lights that surround the various houses, sheds, a brewery and dining hall. Besides the parking lot full of modern-era cars, everything else felt frozen in time.

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

After spending a solid half hour stopping into the bars, peeking into the barn and obsessing over the attention to detail McMenamins is widely known for, I stopped into Imbrie Hall for dinner and drinks. The second I walked in, I felt as though I was at a summer camp like I saw in 1980s movies — the hall was only just built in 2001 but because it was constructed of reclaimed lumber, it feels completely authentic and in line with the rest of the buildings on the property.

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Nubby Twiglet | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

I’d recommend visiting right before the sun sets — as you can see from these photos, there’s rows of picnic tables to sit at and take it all in. Since the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse is on the outskirts of the city, it’s a bit of a drive but so worth it. I’m already begging my dad to take me back!


Featured: McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.
Check out more Out & About columns right here.

Happy Branchiversary: One Year Of Running A Design Studio Plus 5 Tips For New Business Owners

Nubby Twiglet | Happy Branchiversary: One Year Of Running A Design Studio Plus 5 Tips For New Business Owners

During the week, I was holed up in Palm Springs for Designer Vaca, an annual retreat for female creatives. The buzz of nervousness and excitement was palpable — we’d traveled in from different states and even countries to network and learn from one another.

Designer Vaca isn’t just an annual getaway for me, though — it’s also an important marker in my life. It’s a reminder of how much can happen in just a year when you put your mind and every ounce of energy into something. A few days before Designer Vaca last year, I launched Branch so being there this year reminded me of that fundamental time.

A year ago, I took a chance and quit all outside design work to run Branch full time. I’d been freelancing and building my clientele for five years prior and I knew it was finally time to overcome my fears and lay everything on the line. Big life changes can be paralyzing but in a way, because my schedule was so packed at the time, I never had the chance to overthink things. The month before Branch launched, I’d been in Austin, Greece, London and New York with The Blogcademy. By the time I got home from all that traveling, I had less than 2 weeks to get all my content together, design my website and go live. The day we launched, I had to be in Malibu for a client meeting and two days after that, in Palm Springs for Designer Vaca. There was no wiggle room.

I always say that it’s best to launch and learn and we did just that. Things were far from perfect — I’d taken all the photos, written all the copy and Star pulled a few all nighters to push the site live. Even in its imperfect state, business was solid from day one. Within a week, we’d booked out for a month. Within one month, we were booked for three.

Running your own business is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Let’s be honest — there are a lot easier, less stressful ways to make a living. It’s true that a lot of businesses fail in the first year and I didn’t want Branch to be a casualty. A good way to avoid falling into that pit is to understand your business from the inside out so I told myself that in the first year, I was going to take on as much work as I possibly could and learn from it — I wanted to really figure out what we wanted more of and what we wanted less of. I’m a firm believer that as an owner, before you can delegate to others, you need to understand the ins and outs of your own business.

Nubby Twiglet | Happy Branchiversary: One Year Of Running A Design Studio Plus 5 Tips For New Business Owners

I want to share a few nuggets of wisdom that we’ve gathered over the last year to help you with your own creative business:

1. Launch and learn.

When you have very little time to get up and running like we did, your site might not be perfect. The point is that even if you sit on your idea and polish it to perfection, you’re losing valuable momentum. We launched with the best we could do at the time and built our clientele as quickly as possible. Now, it’s time to step back, reevaluate our online presence and rebuild our site and media kit. The thing to remember is that it’s not a great idea to invest too much upfront — even with all the market research in the world, you never know if a business idea will actually resonate. It’s better to work on a shoestring budget, figure out what works and then rework your offerings based on those learnings.

2. Attract now, repel later.

As a new business, in the beginning it’s a good idea to stay open to different kinds of clients. Learn from each and build a solid financial cushion before specializing. Once you’ve passed the year mark, step back, reevaluate and decide who you’d like to attract more of. Focusing in on a particular niche will help you to position yourself as an expert and when you specialize, you’ll be able to charge more for your services.

3. Geographical locations matter less now than ever.

Branch is based in Portland, Oregon but none of our clients are local. Like many U.S. cities, Portland is saturated with hundreds of design studios so we instead focused on the world. By employing this mindset, we’ve picked up clients in Seattle, London, San Francisco, Brisbane, Fargo, Perth and New York. The design industry is a lot more open these days — it’s totally possible to keep overhead low, run your business from a tiny town and still rule the world thanks to an internet connection.

4. Share every project you do, no matter how small.

Part of the growth of Branch this year can be attributed directly to social media. We shared projects the second they were finished across Dribbble, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and our blog. Not every project was a hit but there were a few that got picked up and repinned hundreds of times. The click-throughs from Pinterest especially helped build our client base. Dedicate as much time as you possibly can to social media — there’s nothing better than free marketing!

5. Raise your rates incrementally.

When Branch launched, we kept our rates fairly reasonable for a design studio. We wanted to make sure we were booked out and stayed busy. As inquiries piled up, we revamped our pricing. The key is to not do massive increases all at once — if you do this, you run the risk of stripping out your client base. Instead, be realistic with steady price increases. Instead of tacking on $1,000.00 to your most popular package all at once, it’s better to do four increases of $250.00 over the course of a year.

It’s been a great first year at Branch — we’ve been mentioned in Computer Arts, featured on The Dieline and asked to submit our projects to multiple design books. Hard work and dedication does pay off. If you want something bad enough, you just have to push fear aside and go for it, and see what happens. It may end up being a rollercoaster ride…but you’ll never know what’s possible unless you try. Thanks to Star, Cathy, Joey, Rocky and Carey for being there from the beginning and the clients who believed in us.


Your turn: I want to know — what do you have in the pipeline that scares you? What are your big dreams when it comes to running your own business?

The Week In Pictures: 10.4.14 | Palm Springs Fun and Sun!

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Hello from Washington, D.C.! After a very full week of fun in Palm Springs, I arrived here in the middle of the night, getting a quickie tour of our national monuments from the freeway thanks to a very sweet cab driver.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

I was in Palm Springs for Designer Vaca, an annual retreat for female creatives. Palm Springs is my happy place and the retreat is the ideal environment to unwind and make new friends — it’s the only workshop / conference I go to and I truly look forward to it every year.

I roomed with Star at the Ace and when I wasn’t in breakout sessions, I lounged by the pool till the wee hours, used and abused the photo booth, visited a rad tiki bar and made multiple stops at The Parker. Here’s my photo diary of the week with a dedicated post of more Palm Springs scenery coming soon!

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Have an amazing weekend, everyone!