Creative Chronicles: Show Up and Do the Work

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Show Up and Do the Work

There are classes and courses that promise all sorts of things that will get you ahead but there is no shortcut for simply showing up and doing the work.

Over the weekend, I met a graphic designer named Calypso (best name ever!) for coffee. As we sipped our lattes, the conversation turned to careers.

“How did you get your start?” she said.

“I interned and that led to my first job” was my first response but that was too nice and neat. There’s always a story behind the story and it’s usually full of hard work and years of sacrifice.

The truth is, new skills can be learned by nearly anyone. There’s always going to be someone more skilled than you. So…how do you get ahead in your industry?

1. Arrive on time.

2. Show up and do the work.

3. Be a decent person.

4. Make the lives of the people around you easier.

5. Get the work done, even if you’re having a bad day.

6. Stay late if needed and don’t complain about it.

7. Have a sense of humor.

8. If your job is done, help someone else out.

9. Clean up after yourself.

10. Act like you want to be there.

Rinse and repeat.

I know this all sounds like common sense but it’s easy to forget these little things when you’re in the thick of it and stressed out with looming deadlines. I clearly remember that I was never “the best” at any of the jobs I worked at. Most of the designers around me had a lot more experience. The reason I was still able to get ahead was the exact list above.

I learned something early on: showing up and doing the work and being gracious while making the lives around you easier will take you further than any advanced degree in your industry (which I didn’t have).

The next time you see someone who you internalize as being more talented and skilled than you, remind yourself that’s not all that matters. That’s only part of the equation. Being the best possible version of yourself and showing up and doing the work is the other half. And once you realize that…things seem much easier.

This quote from Chuck Close drives the point home perfectly:

“In life you can be dealt a winning hand of cards and you can find a way to lose, and you can be dealt a losing hand and find a way to win. True in art and true in life: you pretty much make your own destiny. If you are by nature an optimistic person, which I am, that puts you in a better position to be lucky in life.”

Showing up and doing the work isn’t easy but if you’re driven and treat people with kindness along the way, there are so many doors waiting to open for you.

The Week + Links: 09.09.16

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THE WEEK

Last Friday, my flight landed in New York and I finally had the chance to catch up with my long-time friend, Bianca. I met her on a street corner 15 years ago and after all that time, we are still having a great time together. I’m thankful for having such a solid, caring friend like her in my life that happens to be as obsessive about personal style and design as I am (we drive each other crazy in the best possible way – ha!)

Bianca showed me a very fun-filled weekend of walking across the city, window shopping, taking silly photos, trying Puerto Rican food for the first time (LOVED IT!) and a very jet-lagged early morning coffee date. I got home late on Sunday thinking I could jump right back into a regular routine but that’s not been the case at all — it’s been rough adjusting to being back at work.

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That all came to a head when I woke up two mornings ago feeling like everything was just….wrong. I’m normally a really positive person so it threw me for a loop and I had to reset my outlook for the day in the shower, reminding myself I could turn it around. The thing is, I feel like I’m not the only one going through this and feeling a transition — I saw a few blog posts and Instagram updates throughout the week with people feeling out of sorts and lamenting over the same thing.

I took it easy in this space over the last few days, knowing that I needed some solitude and time to readjust because I do know that this time of year is all about transition. When the “back to school” rush kicks in and the weather changes, I feel myself re-focusing my energy on what I’m spending my time doing. Do I like what I’m working on and do I like all the projects I have on my plate? It’s a good idea to ask yourself that regularly, or else you end up on auto-pilot which does nobody any good.

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Instead of forcing anything, I sat in my office and worked through being stuck for a few days, knowing some clarity would come out of it and sure enough, a few doors closed and in their place, a new one with an even more exciting opportunity opened. It’s a reminder to me (and you!) to not be scared of change — because chances are, there’s something even better around the corner.

So, that’s where I’m at.

The reality is, some days I struggle to be creative and get things done and on others, everything just flows. When it doesn’t work, I’ve learned to go easier on myself. And I hope you’ll give yourself a break the next time you’re having one of those days/ weeks/ months, too.

Everything is cyclical. Feeling creatively stuck is uncomfortable….but it doesn’t last forever.

Have a good weekend, friends. xo

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THE LINKS

• My friend Sian just launched a digital magazine called The Unmistakable Effect packed with content to help you be more of yourself and win at your own game. If you’re a creative entrepreneur, this is for you. I just previewed the first copy and it is awesome!

• Why are millennial women so obsessed with that salmon-y, soft pink color that’s taken over the design, beauty and fashion worlds?

• Even Leonardo DaVinci had a to-do list and it’s much cooler than yours.

• I can’t stop thinking about this article. If you’re having a bad day, please read it because it definitely puts things in perspective.

• Jane just shared some of the essentials she swears by as she continues on her fitness journey.

• Kate and Andy Spade just started a new lifestyle brand called Frances Valentine and I love the photography, styling and fonts they’ve chosen. They obviously have a knack for it!

• If you’ve over-plucked your brows, there’s still hope.

Here’s a gift for the cheese lover who has everything!

• Danielle LaPorte shares 5 pointers for developing freedom-based creativity and work habits.

• It’s totally possible to travel cheaply for for an entire year with a few simple tips.

• Braid Creative shares the 7 ways designers can become creative experts.

• Yes! 50 keyboard shortcuts.

• The Tory Burch style is not usually my jam (too preppy) but there’s something about her athletic line I’m falling hard for. The clean lines and retro modern look make me want it all!

• It’s easy to forget how much eating out and grabbing drinks can really add up. Cut back…and treat yourself to a nice vacation with the savings, instead!

Out & About: 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

When I asked for recommendations on what to do in Milan a few weeks back, the answer was nearly unanimous: visit 10 Corso Como. So, that’s exactly what I did.

Before we dig into what this place is all about, let me just say that there’s no way to do it justice in a blog post. There’s just too much to take in and I didn’t have a ton of time (you’ll need a minimum of an hour to get through all the complexes). With this being my first visit, I was a bit overwhelmed at the scale and detail of it all but I hope this gives you a taste of the brand.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

10 Corso Como was founded by Carla Sozzani in 1990, an Italian gallerist and publisher. She started small with an art gallery and bookstore but the cult secret spread fast and the brand quickly grew to include a boutique, mini hotel, restaurant and rooftop garden a few years later.

Carla’s love of design is immediately evident in every detail, down to the printed materials. As you walk through, it becomes almost comical when you realize how many variations of cards, menus and sugar packets there are. Trust me, this wasn’t everything! There’s an on-brand design for everything you can imagine. Artist Kris Ruhs has truly created an alternate, pop-centric universe.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

The complex is a bit hard to spot as you stroll down Corso Como and I nearly missed it. The entrance is covered in greenery and the tiled sign is fairly high. The mystery is part of the fun, though because as you enter the courtyard, you can’t quite tell what you’re walking into.

Is it a clothing store? A restaurant? A hotel? As you start exploring, you realize it’s all of those things…and much, much more.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

My favorite part of 10 Corso Como is the boutique. It feels like a show of tightly curated art installations where everything happens to be wearable AND for sale. There’s the in-house line featuring hand-illustrated patterns covering everything from perfume and shirts to tarot cards and pins.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

Then, there’s a killer selection of avant garde men’s and women’s designers, an area dedicated to the best shoes and finally, jewelry and accessories sprinkled throughout. If you’re in Milan with a stack of cash to burn, this is obviously the place to do it.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

The attention to detail trickles down to the restaurant. I ordered a coffee….and it came out with a specially wrapped chocolate and a basket of branded sugar packets. There’s a fantastic selection of organic, healthy options on the menu, too which is nice when you’ve been traveling across Italy, gorging yourself on pasta all week. Oh come on, I can’t be the only one!

This is a place where the art crowd and who’s who in Milan gathers. Everyone that was seated around us was stylishly dressed and if people watching is your jam, you know where to find it.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

I had to take a selfie to remember that yes, I was really here and yes, this place is real.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Corso Como

In an age where everything can be ordered with a click of a mouse on Amazon, where everything feels rushed and lacking in imagination, it makes me happy to know that places like 10 Corso Como still exist.

Details do matter.

So does art, design and fashion.

I’m so glad there’s a home for it to all thrive.

The Week + Links: 9.4.16

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

I’m sitting at JFK, getting ready for the long flight back to Portland after a whirlwind few weeks away. Even though this had been the busiest summer I’ve ever had with work, I knew I needed to take a real break to avoid major burnout and took two weeks off to travel and enjoy life. It’s been awesome.

After a week in Italy, Kat, Gala and I flew to Marrakech for an extended stay at Dar Jaguar, a riad tucked away down a winding path in the medina. Between camel rides, hanging with locals, hiking 1,500 feet up a mountain to a waterfall, learning how to belly dance and stuffing my suitcase full of magical handmade treasures, it really forced me out of my comfort zone. The trip was fun, challenging, eye-opening and inspiring all at once…a combination which I think the best vacations usually have.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

During the Summer of 2013 before I quit my full-time job, I remember sitting in a dark office, watching the sun set every night and feeling an internal tug — a tug that I needed to get out and explore more. I wasn’t sure how to make it happen but I felt like I was missing out on the world going by beyond those four walls.

Then, the ultimate irony set in — once I was running my own business, I was afraid to take a chunk of time off. What if the work never picked back up? Every trip I took up until this one looked fine from the outside but the reality was that I had a lot of work crammed into the in-between moments. Unplugging felt impossible.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Getting away for two weeks for real has reminded me of what we all know but sometimes ignore at our own expense — life is for living and no matter what we have going on, taking time out to recharge and get re-inspired is necessary. Before you can take care of anyone else, you have to remember to take care of yourself and respect your limits.

Even though this time away has been much needed, I’m excited to have a few months at home as soon as my flight lands tonight and finally catch up on some of the content I’ve been wanting to share with you.

More soon! xo

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE LINKS

• 19 incredibly useful websites you wish you’d knew of sooner.

• The Oscar for the Best Supporting Weirdo goes to….

• 10 times delivery guys made you wish you’d picked up your package yourself. Ha!

• Find out what the most recognized and trustworthy fonts are!

• Introvert hangovers are a real thing.

• I love this idea! Picture This makes it possible for kids to design their own clothes.

• I’m excited to see a new money management category over on the RowanMade blog. This is something people don’t like to openly talk about but it’s so important to set realistic goals.

• This adorable elderly couple matches their outfits every day!

• I love this advice on getting started in a creative career.

Creative Chronicles: Being Boss Podcast Feature

Nubby Twiglet | Being Boss

Podcasts can be a valuable tool for entrepreneurs because through listening to other people’s stories, you can get an inside view of how they run their businesses, form lasting relationships and keep the creativity flowing along the way.

I link to Being Boss often in my Week + Links roundups because they always seem to cover the topics that are on my mind. If you’re new to Being Boss, it was founded by Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon and as they so eloquently say, “Being Boss in work and life, is being in it. It’s being who we are, doing the work, breaking some rules, and even though we each have to do it on our own – knowing we’re in it together.” Amen.

Nubby Twiglet | Being Boss

People look for that business partner relationship, but really you should just look for friends. —Gala

Basically, Being Boss rules at keeping it real. Emily and Kathleen aren’t afraid to dig in, ask the hard questions and get the real story behind the story which is why we’re all listening — we want the inside scoop. At the same time, there’s a robust community of support to back you up in the Being Boss Clubhouse.

And that’s why I find this podcast so valuable and unique — when you’re done listening, you’re not on your own. I believe that having a community to support you is one of the most important parts of growing and evolving a business.

Nubby Twiglet | Being Boss

A lot of businesses form from friendships, but you can’t force it. —Shauna

I’ve been a fan of this podcast for ages so when they asked me, along with my BFF Gala Darling to join them for an episode, I sad YES! This interview is unique because it covers how Gala and I have managed both a friendship and business relationship at the same time and kept the “friends first” mentality along the way.

I hope you’ll check out all the Being Boss episodes here. I know you’ll love them.

And, you can listen to my joint interview with Gala right here. Enjoy!


Photos: Made U Look Photography

The Week + Links: 8.27.16

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE WEEK

I hope you had a good week! I’ve been on an end-of-summer vacation for the past seven days, bouncing between the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Capri, Milan and now Marrakech before flying through London to spend a few days visiting friends in New York. Whew!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Visiting the Amalfi Coast for the first time, I had no idea what to expect but it is postcard beautiful. From the Amalfi Coast, we were able to easily take day trips to Positano and Capri. The experience was made even more memorable by our stay in a former convent turned hotel built into the side of a cliff.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

During our brief stay, we met a fossil hunter atop Capri after hiking up the side of the island, ate plenty of lemon shaved ice, overdressed every chance we got, ended up with tangled hair full of salt after an intense boat ride, washed down delicious dinners with shots of limoncello, drank the best espresso and finished off too many bread baskets to count. Italians have hospitality down to a fine art.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Next, we flew to Milan for a few days to take in some city adventures and mega window shopping including the ultimate in boutiques, 10 Corso Como (don’t worry, this place will get a whole post to itself). We also made time for Bar Luce, a metallic gold haunted house (seriously!) and lunch at the Armani Cafe.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

Milan treated us well until this morning when we hopped into a cab bound for the airport, not taking an important glance at our tickets. Turns out, there are THREE airports in the area and we arrived at the wrong one. A hundred Euro cab ride later with a very fast driver who could be mistaken for Mario Andretti got us to our departure gate just in time.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

We just arrived in Marrakech and it is going to be packed with plenty more adventures — camel rides, a visit to a waterfall and belly dancing lessons (OMG….wish me luck!) It’s going to be quite the contrast from our last week but I welcome the shift.

Traveling with friends and having someone alongside to share new experiences with, from the good (new cities, amazing food), to the bad (showing up at the wrong airport) to the scary (drivers on cell phones while driving up steep cliffs) makes the journey so much more meaningful.

I’ll be back to work soon enough so I’m doing my best to enjoy these last few days of vacation and make some more memories to last a lifetime.

Enjoy your last bit of summer!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week + Links

THE LINKS

• Are you good at editing down your content to the most important points?

• Photo retouching was an art long before Photoshop.

• When sleep is so important to our health and well-being, why do so many people avoid it?

• Amazon can now help you pick out your next car!

• Within the next 4 years, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers.

• This is the one word you should never say to guests in your home.

• Vacations always feel longer when you don’t over-plan them. Amen!

• Get perfect hard boiled eggs, every single time.

• Paul Jarvis shares how to set goals like a boss.

This collection of over 100 vintage Japanese record players is epic!

• 7 types of online workshops you can host.

Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Hello from Milan!

Before I arrived, I asked around about what to do during my visit and Bar Luce was at the top of everyone’s list. After stopping by this morning, I can see why.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Commissioned by Prada’s art foundation, the cafe was designed by Wes Anderson in an effort to recreate the atmosphere of a typical cafe that existed in the 50s and 60s in Milan. The baby pink juke box plays classic 50s tunes, the bow-tied waiters offer impeccable service and the coffees and tarts are out of this world.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Even though Anderson is famous for his meticulously detailed film sets, he wanted the space to feel like a functional real-life hangout. Of Bar Luce, he said, “While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.”

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

The tables have formica tops and the soft colors throughout mimic the same palettes that were popular during the time period. I walked in shortly after it opened at 9 am and the two other people that sat down were older locals who were reading the paper alongside their morning coffees. Surprisingly, the place wasn’t overrun by tourists at all.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About: Bar Luce

Even with all the design-focused details and a famous pedigree, Bar Luce feels cozy, functional and welcoming. If you’re going to Milan, this is a must-visit.