Getting Organized For Instagram: UNUM App

Getting Organized For Instagram: The UNUM App

Have you ever posted an image to Instagram only to realize that it isn’t quite right? Maybe the coloring is off or it ends up shifting your feed into feeling different than you were expecting. I often posted photos only to quickly delete them because I had trouble visualizing what the flow would look like.

For the last year or so, I’ve also struggled with posting as consistently. I’ll travel or take tons of great photos around the office but then I settle back into a lengthy to-do list and deadlines, quickly forgetting about all those images.

And, as people continually lean more towards quality over quantity on Instagram, I don’t want to over-post and overwhelm my followers in a quest to get the content out there before it gets lost in the depths of my camera roll.

While I tend to post more off-the-cuff content on my personal account (@nubbytwiglet) in an attempt to keep it an authentic reflection of my life, my business account (@wearebranch) is much more polished and I’m often weighing different color stories and compositions before posting.

Like many of you, I’d heard of apps that could organize and pre-schedule my content but I never really found anything that meshed with my design style and quest for simplicity. That all changed last week when I discovered UNUM.

First off, UNUM has a really simple, minimal interface. You can pre-schedule images and captions but I tend to use it primarily as a content grid to visualize what I want my feed to look like.

Now, instead of waking up and digging through the thousands of images on my phone to figure out what to post, I already have a backlog 20 images with a nice mix of old favorites and new shots queued up and ready to go.

One other nice touch is that you’re able to toggle between multiple accounts so if you’re like me with business and personal profiles, you don’t need to log in and out.

This app has already saved so much time and I hope it does the same for you, too.

What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

Summer is in full swing and as things heat up, I’m gravitating towards clothing that is lighter and more breathable. One of my recent finds is this t-shirt dress and it’s been in constant rotation over the last month (see it here and here also).

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

What I love about this piece is that it’s affordable (under $50.00!) and super versatile — the pre-tied front adds visual interest and gives it shape. Wear it with sneaker wedges and minimal jewelry for a daytime look and add boots and a bold necklace to transition to nighttime.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

Little Rocky joined me for a few photos — I’ve known him since he was 3 and now, he’s 10! I don’t know where the time goes. To even get him to look at the camera, you have to promise him cheese! He knows all the tricks to get what he wants. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

I’ve always found summer clothing to be trickier than that of the colder months because I love the look of layers. Tanks, cut-offs and sandals aren’t my thing so this dress gives me some polish without holding in the heat.

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

I wore: Forever 21 straw boater hat, Urban Outfitters T-Shirt Dress, Zara boots (no longer available) and YSL “Y-Mail” bag (no longer available).

Nubby Twiglet | What I Wore: Black and Pompoms

P.S. Thanks for your comments on my previous post — it’s really good to be back! I’ve missed you guys a ton. xoxo

The Month + Links: July 2017

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

How’s your summer going so far?

I just flew home from New York last week and enjoyed a quiet 4th of July around the house and it feels like the right time to jump back into blogging.

You know that famous quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans?” Well, I feel like this year has been one wild roller-coaster of unpredictability for most of the people I know, from family to friends to clients, myself included. I think the unease with the current political climate has trickled into general unease everywhere else — things around us are changing faster than ever, and not always for the better.

Life is good, though and I have so much to be thankful for. When I did feel negativity creeping in due to a few setbacks over the last few months, I took a legit break for some much-needed reflection. In 16 years of blogging (and nearly 10 years in this space! What?!) I’ve never taken this long of a break and for those of you who sent me personal messages, I appreciate your kindness so much.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

Here’s the thing — back in the day, especially in my 20s, when something knocked me down, I pushed through it to keep a routine and momentum. At 35, I know better. Instead of phoning in half-baked content and faking authenticity, I’d rather take time, think things through and come back with my best work.

I won’t half-ass a project when I’m working with clients and I won’t do it here. Life is too short to put things out that you don’t feel 100% awesome about.

So, here’s what happened — sit tight, this is going to be a long post!

THE MONTH (OR, AHEM, LAST FEW MONTHS)

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

1. A DREAM DELAYED

For the past two years, Joey and I have been prepping to buy a condo in Palm Springs to escape Portland winters. Back in April, we put in an offer on what seemed like the perfect place. Here’s a photo from the back yard, complete with a big, fat palm tree. Look at Rocky’s smile!

The process began fairly smoothly, but in the midst of the excitement, there were a few big red flags I should have noticed. We went with a local lender who knew the intricacies of the area well (many properties are on land leases). As the closing date crept up, I got an uneasy feeling that I couldn’t seem shake (always, ALWAYS trust your gut!) which felt weird since I’d wanted this for so long.

As we reviewed the final paperwork, I noticed some hidden charges. Then, there were demands for a larger down payment right before closing. I’ve bought before so I knew what to expect and this process was….way off. The lack of honesty made me question what else was hidden and after weighing the pros and cons for a few more days, we called it off. Within a few days though, the cloud of disappointment lifted and gave way to a sense of relief.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because sometimes, in a fit of excitement, we ignore the signs right in front of us. Whether it’s a relationship, freelance project or buying a house, if you’ve given the situation everything you’ve got and it still isn’t working, take a step back and re-evaluate it. Is the timing right? Does it align with your goals? And most importantly, does it feel right? Don’t force it — there should be a natural flow.

The good news: we learned a lot of valuable lessons are back to searching for a place to buy before the year is over. We’re now more clear on what to expect and there’s no rush because I know the right fit for us is out there.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

2. GROWING PAINS

Right as our mortgage process was dragging on, I took on a big project that wasn’t an ideal fit (once again, always, always trust your gut.) Together, these two things were a perfect storm of stress.

Earlier this year, I had an inquiry from a potential client but after a short conversation, the project wasn’t quite right — plus we were booked out a few months. Then, a few months later, they followed up again and our project load had slowed down so we did a call and it went well. Things started out good but scope creep and tightened deadlines soon took over — and the proposal no longer resembled the project, which had nearly doubled in size. After one too many 3 am nights at the office and unmanageable expectations, we parted ways.

I deeply value my client relationships and as a business owner, it’s really important to me to deliver what’s promised so this was a situation I took really hard — and the main reason I needed a time out to regroup. A decade into being a designer and 400 projects down, I learned that there’s still a first time for everything. Bad things will happen. Learn from those mistakes, hold onto those lessons, move forward with grace and let go of any bad mojo.

95% of the time, projects run smoothly. But, the handful of times I’ve chosen to not listen to my gut, it hasn’t worked out.

As a reminder, value your unique talents, never, ever break your creative process (it’s there for a reason), be honest with expectations and set clear boundaries. To deliver the best possible outcome, you have to take care of yourself.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

3. THE BREAK

After what felt like 2 months of nonstop stress, creative block and no time to blog (let alone sleep!), I took a time out and flew to New York to recharge. It was exactly what I needed.

I spent 5 solid days with Gala talking, laughing, eating, shopping, cleaning out 10 garbage bags of stuff from her apartment (organizing is my therapy, weirdly enough) and hanging out on The Wing rooftop eating scoops of Boys Beware ice cream (can you spot me?!)

Besides one work meeting (I have the best clients ever — they surprised me with a bag of fresh-baked cookies!) I focused on one simple goal: having fun. We took tons of goofy photo booth strips, walked through Times Square at midnight to shop at Forever 21, ordered multiple desserts just because, sipped on something called The Pink Drink and wore platform boots and big sunglasses everywhere.

Technically, I flew home even more exhausted than when I’d left for vacation (LOL), but also feeling more balanced, connected and focused than I had in a long time. I’m already planning another summer vacation for next month. Working hard is good but playing harder is better. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

4. FOCUSING ON THE GOOD

Now that summer is here, I want to make the most of it and focus on all the good things! Here’s my current happy list:

1. Chubs is almost 3 years old and thriving!

2. Joey just finished building our back yard tiki bar and it is AMAZING.

3. I paid off my last super ancient student loan. WOOHOO!

4. My designer Sam is a godsend — she comes up with the best creative solutions and always finds the coolest fonts.

5. Joey and I are having plenty of dates at Babydoll now that we know they have vegan pizza!

6. I just got a rubber plant at Portland Nursery.

7. Trader Joe’s just started selling the best smelling grapefruit-scented soy candles.

8. I helped Gala clean out her makeup and am enjoying experimenting with new colors and formulas from her cast-off pile. 😉

9. My favorite summer pastime is sipping homemade margaritas on our new deck as the sun sets.

10. I just discovered the coolest photo booth ever (appears to be from the 1950s?) at Dig A Pony.

11. Rocky is 10 and still has the energy of a puppy! Awwww.

12. I re-signed my office lease for another year.

13. August marks this blog’s 10 year anniversary!

I hope you guys are having a great summer and I appreciate you hanging out with me here, even after all these years.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.
What’s new with you?
What are you super excited about?
Any summer vacation plans?

P.S. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a link round-up but there’s so much good stuff below! Enjoy!

xoxoxo
Shauna

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

THE LINKS

• How is this year feeling for you? Alex has 10 questions for your mid-year reflection.

• My newest podcast obsession is Missing Richard Simmons. I’ve been so intrigued with his disappearance from public life 3 years ago and as Dan Taberski starts digging, the story gets weirder and weirder.

• Such a good, timely reminder: growth doesn’t always mean bigger, better, or faster.

• So funny…and so true. Don’t light my expensive candles. EVER. “When I go to a friend’s house and she casually has a Diptyque burning unchecked in the bathroom, I think, My God, I have fancy friends…because who has $65 to burn?”

• I love the How To Do Anything series of posts! Always so clever.

• I’ve always wondered about the origins of the popular 80s “Memphis” design aesthetic (think bold color combos and squiggly lines) and here’s the story behind it!

• The secret to small talk.

• You can now do job searches on Google.

• This George Michael print is the best thing ever.

• This is both fascinating and freaky: human engineered organisms.

• Accidental Wes Anderson locations made me laugh!

• If you’re going to be in San Francisco over the summer, check out the Summer Of Love Illuminate installation!

• I love Paul Jarvis’ simple, no bullshit advice so much: Do what you say you’re going to do!

• If you or someone you know are struggling with student loan debt, you’re not alone. Listen to this. And then to this.

• Here’s how to retain your sanity when you work alone.

• Not every creative outlet needs to turn a profit — just enjoy it!

• I loved this story about the squatters of the Lower East Side in the 1980s.

• When I want to understand both sides of a political issue in a level-headed way, I listen to Joshua Johnson’s 1A podcast.

• You know, sometimes you have those days where you chat with Paris Hilton, hang with Kanye, eat Kim Kardashian’s banana pudding and walk over to Drake’s house to play basketball. Totally normal.

• If you’re an art history buff, you’ll LOVE Alexey Kondakov’s series of people from classical paintings inserted into modern photos.

Out & About: Tusk

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Tusk Portland

I often get asked for Portland-specific recommendations and if you’re going to be in town and are looking for a great place to grab brunch or dinner, Tusk is where it’s at. I’ve been thinking about their food ever since I dined there two weeks back (always a good sign!) because it’s a really special mix.

The overall menu theme is Middle Eastern and stocked with the basics you’d expect (start off with a large hummus) but it’s produced with Pacific Northwest sourced ingredients and plenty of surprises (the Pistachio Gooey Butter Cake and Za’atar Biscuit with orange blossom and honey butter are absolute musts). The dishes are meant to be communal so order a mix of items.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Tusk Portland

Because the ingredients are seasonal, I’m not seeing a few of the items I tried off the brunch menu but let me put it this way: my table of 4 ordered around 10 dishes total and we liked all of them from breakfast sandwiches to yogurt topped with edible flowers. I mean, just check out all of these beautiful ingredients and colors!

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Tusk Portland

Beyond the delicious food and drinks, the service is super friendly — they even surprised us with extra dishes on the house to try!

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Tusk Portland

And, let’s talk about the unavoidable centerpiece of the bright white, modern interior — that massive photo of Keith Richards in a swimming pool above the bar! The second you walk in, Keith is there to greet you. It’s a hilarious, unexpected touch that somehow works.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Tusk Portland

I could go on and on about Tusk and how they got every detail right from the food to the scent of the candles they burn to the service to the art but really, you just need to experience the place for yourself.

Creative Chronicles: Thoughts On Doing The Work

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing The Work

As much as I wish get rich quick schemes and programs promising endless short-cuts really had all the answers, nothing beats doing the work. The thing is, we’re always looking for that so-called shortcut because doing the work is HARD. And who can blame us for wanting to reach the finish line a little faster?

It’s so easy to fall into the procrastination trap when the work that needs to get done challenges you — but it’s a bit like climbing a mountain, in a way — going up is incredibly difficult but once you reach the peak, coming down is full of relief and a huge sense of accomplishment.

Prioritizing your own projects can be one of the most challenging areas because there’s always something more you can do for someone else instead (and see those immediate gains)! If you work for someone, maybe it comes down to taking on a few hours of overtime at your day job and collecting a bigger paycheck. If you work for yourself, taking on an extra client and getting a deposit provides a hit of instant gratification that your own projects just don’t have. The payoff is a bit more invisible.

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing the Work

One project I’ve really struggled with over the last year is the Branch media kit. I had so many excuses — I wanted to learn how to use my camera on manual settings so I could take better photos, I wanted to re-write my packages and bump up my rates (that comes with its own sense of fear) and finally, I wanted to make the page layouts more comprehensive, adding in more work examples (which meant doing plenty of mockups). Basically, there was no quick fix for getting this project done.

So, I did what many of you will relate to — I found every excuse possible to put it off. I blocked out the time on my calendar so I felt like I was moving forward but it was an empty promise. If a friend wanted to go out for drinks, I said yes. If my husband wanted to go vintage shopping, I said yes. If my phone rang, I’d basically say yes to anything to escape thew work. What was I really running away from?

You already know the answer: the work. Nobody likes to talk about actually doing the work because it sounds like they’re whining. “This is SO hard! I spent ALL DAY on this! I’m SO TIRED!” And really, there are a million other fun things to do. I’d rather spend the day on the couch reading fashion magazines.

The problem is, when nobody talks about doing the work but shows off the shiny, beautiful outcome, it looks effortless. And then, when we do the same thing and fall short (basically, it always takes 10 times longer), we think there’s something wrong. That internal voice kicks in and we think that comes down to a lack of knowledge, skill or talent. Really, it’s none of the above – it’s simply unrealistic expectations.

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing The Work

I wish I had some efficiency tips for you to get your own projects done but the truth is, it comes down to priorities and willpower. I ended up sitting in my office for a solid 15 hours over the weekend, slowly piecing together the 30 page document. It was slow, it was painful and I wanted to run from it. Trust me, I nearly did. But, I knew from experience where it would leave me so I powered through, finishing it late Sunday night.

It sucked. But it got done.

Instead of offering you inspirational mantras, I’m going to keep it real:

If you want to get something done bad enough, you’ll find a way.

Go after it with everything you’ve got and when the going gets tough and you feel frustrated, don’t give in.