Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

When In Vegas…

When you’re in full-on vacation mode and the rules of the rest of the world simply don’t apply (because in Vegas, you can do whatever you want whenever you want), you’re bound to make some questionable decisions and purchases along the way.

With five full days stretched out ahead of me and nothing more on my agenda than a David Copperfield show and Britney Spears concert, I began to stop into gift shops as I strolled through casino after casino. The mix of merchandise I discovered was random, hilarious and kitschy. It was the stuff dreams are made of (or, at least mine are) — a wild mix of the tacky and bizarre.

Without further ado, here are t he top 12 purchases of my trip along with their sources in case you find yourself pining for a Sigefried and Roy picture book or flamingo statue of your own.

1. Flamingo Statue (above)
Source: The Flamingo

This beauty sure was a pain to fit inside my carry-on luggage but it was definitely worth the bulk since it’s now basking in all its salmon-hued glory inside the Branch office. It adds a nice Miami Vice vibe, don’t you think?

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

2. Glittery Postcards
Source: Caesar’s Palace

When you’re shopping alongside the glitter queen herself, Kat Williams, you start taking extra special notice to everything that has a little extra sparkle. These are perfect for still lifes and once you’re done photographing them, you can scribble a little message on the backside to send home and let mom and dad know you haven’t gone bankrupt at the roulette table (yet).

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

3. Flamingo Mug
Source: The Flamingo

Your morning coffee will never be the same! It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when this gem is sitting on the corner of your desk. As you can tell from the tattooed arm, Kat is responsible for this purchase!

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

4. Siegfried and Roy Keychain
Source: Mirage

It’s nice to dress up the things you reach for every day — make the mundane extra special for a change! My car might be 14 years old and un-fancy but now I’ve got the keychain of champions holding the key.

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

5. Bedazzled Bling Hat
Source: Starlight Tattoo at Mirage

Kat was responsible for this questionable late-night purchase and it was a good choice — when you’re in Vegas, rhinestones and false eyelashes before noon are fair game so you might as well live it up.

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

6. Donny & Marie Necklace
Source: The Flamingo

What’s better than siblings who have enough of a tolerance of one another to work together after all these years?! Gotta admire a strong family bond. Since I live with my brother, this gives me hope — maybe we can still get along and not want to kill each other well into our 50s?

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

7. Las Vegas Sign Keychain
Source: Planet Hollywood

Vegas is full of kitschy keychains — every gift shop seems to be swirling in a slightly different mix. This 1959 sign is a reminder of the golden years. Sidenote: that confetti in the background is courtesy of the Britney concert.

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

8. White Tiger Figurine, 9. Postcard and 10. Siegfried and Roy Picture Book
Source: Mirage

I’m a bit obsessed with the self-proclaimed Masters Of The Impossible and it’s not hard to see why: they had the most visited show of all time on the Vegas Strip full of tigers, magic tricks and flamboyant costumes. Even though their show ended over a decade ago due to Roy’s accident, their sanctuary full of exotic animals is still going strong, as is the gift shop inside that bears their name.

Nubby Twiglet | Viva Las Vegas: 12 Questionable Gift Shop Purchases

11. Cubic Zirconia Ring and 12. Magnet
Source: Mirage

When you’re on your final morning in Vegas, what better way is there to commemorate the best vacation you’ve had in ages than an over-the-top piece of jewelry? This baby set me back around $20.00 and would make Liberace proud. Totally winning in my book. And I’ve got a major love of the original Mirage logo with its peppy palm trees — this magnet makes my fridge a much happier place.

So, there you go! Five days in Vegas can really warp your sense of what’s considered a good buy.

And now, it’s your turn: What’s the most fun / strangest / eccentric item you’ve ever purchased during a vacation? Tell all!

The Week In Pictures: 3.13.15

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Hi, Everyone! How was your week? Mine has been very low-key since I’m hanging out mostly at home with Chubs, on squirrel sitting duty while Joey is away in LA. It’s quite the contrast from last week when I was running around Vegas, going to shows and working on my video poker skills!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

On our last day in Vegas, Kat and I went ring shopping at the Mirage gift shop on a whim. Because, when in Vegas…do the unexpected! I’m not much of a jewelry person but I saw this crazy ring with multicolor enamel and was like, “Why not?” Since I wear mostly black at the office, it’s a nice little boost of color.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

My friends over at A-Made just sent over the coolest media kit I’ve ever seen. Mark, who did the branding was my creative director at the last studio I worked at and I love what he’s done with this brand. It’s such a great concept, focusing on selling American-made products to a worldwide audience. Check them out and show them some love!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Chubs is all grown up! It’s crazy to think that he’s 9 months old now. Remember when he was just a teeny tiny baby?

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’ve been slowly but surely easing back into office life after a few weeks away. Things at Branch haven’t slowed down enough for me to share any new work lately (which I’m thankful for!) but I’m hoping that changes soon — we have so much cool stuff that’s been recently completed.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

I’m signing off to spend some time with my mom (and visit our new favorite lunch spot, Sen Yai.) Other than that, I’ll be hanging out at home this weekend and chillin’ with Chubs. I’m one of those people who get addicted to being on the go, always wanting to explore and sometimes, I have to stop and remind myself that a quiet week around the house is okay.

It’s okay to take it easy and to be still once in awhile and to give yourself the time and space to think clearly, uninterrupted. On that note, I love this quote:

“It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones who win in the lifelong race.” —Robert W. Service

Have a great weekend!

Link Love: 3.12.15

Nubby Twiglet | Link Love: Chapter

• What if you’re not sure of what you want and all you see in your mind is a blank vision board of your future?

• 5 advanced techniques that you can use to make money on your blog.

• How would your behavior change if you knew that success was guaranteed?

• There’s a new (and free!) flower identification app.

• 3 reasons you shouldn’t care about SEO!

• What kind of texter are you?

• Sian shares her top 5 branding tips for business newbies.

• Facebook just unveiled a new venture that could save countless lives.

• What are your favorite apps and designer hacks?

• If you’re struggling with slowing down, read this post and remember that you know what’s best for you.

• 9 tips for better Instagram photos!

• The real subway map of Manhattan. Take a very close look at the captions!

• I’m loving these simple tips for success.


Image: Chapter.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

Little Lessons #11: Live The Impossible

Nubby Twiglet | Live The Impossible

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” —Audrey Hepburn

Last week, I flew into Vegas and hopped on over to Makeup Forever alongside Kat and Gala for a hefty dusting of glitter and some serious false eyelashes. We’d talked about seeing David Copperfield’s show for years and it was finally happening.

We arrived at the MGM Grand where Copperfield has his own theatre and took our seats in the front row. I’d seen many of his TV specials throughout the 90s and was expecting a handful of mind-blowing magic tricks but what I ended up with was something I didn’t expect at all: inspiration to keep following my dreams.

David’s show wasn’t just a traditional magic show. While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I appreciated the walk down memory lane, starting with a photo flashed up of him as a child, clutching a dinosaur skeleton, Frank. Copperfield was a lonely outcast as a child and Frank was his best friend. During the show, Copperfield told the audience to “Live the impossible” and by the end, Frank reappeared as a massive mechanical skeleton that took up most of the stage.

In real life, Copperfield managed to live out a seemingly impossible dream, going from the awkward kid who called a dinosaur skeleton his best friend to being the most successful solo entertainer in history with over 40 million tickets sold. Oh, and he owns a string of islands in The Bahamas. Not bad at all.

What does all of this have to do with you?

When you have big dreams and are trying to live the impossible, you’ll get shot down time and again by people who don’t get it. I want to remind you that just because someone else doesn’t think your dream is possible, you’ve got to keep believing. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


If life has thrown a major curveball at your dreams, here are three quick and easy suggestions to get back on track:

1. Write down an affirmation.

Words have power and an affirmation can be repeated when you’re feeling down as a way to cut through the negativity in an instant. Affirmations are simple reminders of how you want to live your life and the more often you repeat them, the more realistic they become. For instance, “Live the impossible” is a great reminder to follow your dreams, no matter how far-fetched and scary they may seem. I’ll sometimes write an affirmation on a sticky note and place it next to my computer.

If you want more information on creating great affirmations, you can read up here.

2. Make a vision board.

A vision board is a visual representation of your goals. This is your chance to go big and own your future. The formatting of vision boards can be open-ended so feel free to piece together your images in Photoshop and set the composition as your desktop wallpaper or buy a huge piece of tagboard, grab some scissors and glue and get to work!

I’ve recently read a few different accounts of how making vision boards produced fantastic results and there were too many particularities in each to simply be a coincidence. To get the most out of your vision board, you need to be very specific. For instance, if I wanted to live in Palm Springs, I’d place an image of the midcentury modern house of my dreams and the words “Palm Springs” on my board instead of just a gaggle of palm trees.

Once your board is finished, it’s important to set aside a few minutes to focus on it every single day. The goal is to firmly implant your ideal existence so deeply in your mind that you begin to believe there’s no other option than to make it a reality.

If you want more information on vision boards, click here.

3. Keep a gratitude journal.

We all have those days where it feels like we’re moving backwards. But if you focus in closely enough, you can find things to be grateful for. Maybe the bus driver waited an extra 5 seconds so you could hop on. Maybe the grocery store clerk scanned an extra coupon that saved you a few dollars. Maybe the Starbucks barista remade your drink free of charge when you accidentally dropped it while getting into your car. Gratitude doesn’t have to focus on massive, life altering events. It doesn’t have to feel like fireworks going off ever time your pen hits the paper. Gratitude can be simple — it’s lurking in everyday occurrences.

I’m new to the world of gratitude journals but my entry was unexpected — my studio, Branch designed one for the Olivine Happily Ever After course where writing in one is required for 28 days. I participated and it definitely shifted my perspective.

If you’re looking for more information about gratitude journals, click here.

I hope these tips help you move forward with living the impossible and remind you that no dream is too big if you truly believe in it.


For even more Little Lessons posts, click here.

Branded #4: Sparkling Waters By All Good

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

When I was in New Zealand recently, I noticed great branding literally everywhere. From grocery stores to cafes to shops to even pizza parlors, it became immediately apparent that kiwis aren’t afraid to take chances.

My take is that in America, when it comes to packaging and branding, more of an emphasis is put on sales, marketing and legibility. It all comes down to the bottom line. In contrast, New Zealanders put more of a focus on creative freedom. They’re not afraid to take some risks and that feeling definitely comes through in the All Good line of beverages.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

You may remember another All Good product I shared awhile back called Gingerella. Well today, I’m back to share Sparkling. When I spotted them at Farro, I loaded up the cart, bamboozled by their dazzling type treatments by Luke Lucas. Each flavor follows the same styling conventions but the drink name becomes the logo.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water

Each bottle packs a serious punch of organic juices, sparkling water and a dash of raw sugar. Like the rest of the All Good family, these products manage to mix stand-out branding with do-good ethics. It’s the best of both worlds.

Nubby Twiglet | Branded: All Good Sparkling Water


Photos: Shauna Haider.
For more Branded posts, click here.

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 | Hello From Las Vegas!

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

Welcome to The Week In Pictures! How was your week?! Kat, Gala and I landed in Vegas on Monday so mine was full of glitter, magic, margaritas and palm trees. There’s so much more to share with you about places to go and shows to see but for now, here’s a highlight reel:

Pure, ridiculous fun.

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

One of my biggest regrets is not going to see Siegfried and Roy live during my first trip to Vegas in 1998. I have their books and have read most of their interviews but that will never take the place of seeing them perform in person. Gotta love this bronze bust!

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

I went a little crazy with gift shop purchases. The ultimate buy? This two foot tall statue from The Flamingo. I bought it without thinking about how I’d actually get it home and had to ask for packing suggestions.

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

This time around, we stayed at the Encore and everything was on point including the floral arrangements. DAYAMN!

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

A highlight of the trip was seeing Britney live from the front row. Back in my high school days, I was too much of a teenage goth to engage in such delights. Seeing her now was totally worth the wait — that girl still has all the moves, not to mention a killer selection of rhinestone-encrusted catsuits.

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

The perfect place to sit down and rest after some shopping and gambling? On a ledge in front of this epic pegasus inside of Caesar’s Palace. Oh, the drama!

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

One of my favorite hangouts is the Mirage. It’s Polynesian-themed with ample palm trees, a volcano that erupts every half hour and is the former home of Siegfried and Roy. Need I say more?!

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

This was the first vacation in the last few years where I took a real break from client work and lived it up. Most people recommend that you never stay in Vegas for longer than three days but after five, Kat and I were wishing we had another week. There’s so much more to do than engaging in the the usual vices and I can’t wait to share the best finds with you! A few of you were asking where this dress was from — it’s by Nasty Gal.

The Week In Pictures: 3.7.15 Las Vegas

The real appeal of Vegas lies in the fantasy — it’s a place where anything goes. False eyelashes, a dash of sequins and a pull on the slot machine handle before noon? All good! Bigger is better, more is more and as Liberace would say, too much of a good thing is FABBBBULOUUUUS! When real life calls for a time out, Vegas is just a flight away, waiting to show you a good time.

I’m signing off for the weekend to spend some time with my family but I wanted to leave you with this quote as a reminder to stay true to who you are and live it up:

“Although they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, do not copy anyone – be yourself and the whole world will love you.” — Roy Horn

Link Love: 3.5.15

Nubby Twiglet | Lik Love: Studio Beau

• Danielle LaPorte’s advice is solid: It works better if you enjoy it.

• Here’s how to get top bloggers to share your content and boost your traffic.

• Jasmine Star explains how to get a potential client to respond….and book you!

• The CEO of Twitter is very candid about how trolls are costing the platform a lot of users.

• Here’s why Richard Branson is so successful.

• My go-to blog for awesome branding inspiration is Good Design Makes Me Happy.

• I love these tips on how to style a bookcase.

• Madonna, Annie Lennox and acting your age.

• Creative entrepreneurs, here are some tips to deal with uncertainty.

• French fashion blogger The Cherry Blossom Girl recently visited Palm Springs and I’m in love with all her styled shoots!

• 50 ways to have an adventure without leaving town!

• 5 psychological blocks that stop bloggers going from good to great.


Image: Studio Beau
Check out even more Link Love columns here.