A Peek Inside My Holiday Party

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

It took 5 years to have an official gathering at my house but Friday night, it finally happened! As a perfectionist with annoyingly high standards, I’d put too much pressure on myself to have our house perfect before we had more than just close friends and family over and I now realize how silly that was.

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

Houses are meant to be lived in — not perfectly pinnable, artfully decorated masterpieces. And I have Joey to thank for kicking me in gear, setting the date and inviting all our friends and family before I had a chance to backtrack!

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

With a Spotify playlist of soft rock hits of the 70s playing and our Christmas tree twinkling, Rocky slipped into his holiday sweater, I threw on some sequins and Joey whipped up some (very intoxicating) punch. And with that, our guests flowed in.

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

After the party started, I barely took another photo — I just wanted to soak up everyone’s company. As usual, my grandparents, Betty and Sharky were the life of the party. No surprise there! I had more than one friend pull me aside, completely blown away that my grandpa was 86! For the record, his secret to a long life is chopping wood all day (in cowboy boots), crisp mountain air and the occasional cold beer. Nice and simple.

I spent part of the night having the best conversations with Alexandra about the merits of new Country music, Hawaii, David Duchovny, Marilyn Manson and cheese. Though, not quite in that order. I am so glad she’s in Portland!

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

I had pulled up some punch recipes on Pinterest but Joey rejected them for his own mix. One sip later and I was glad he did his own thing!

Me: “Would you like some punch?”
Grandma: “Is it spiked?”
Me: “Yes, with Everclear.”
Grandma: “I’ll take some!”

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

Nubby Twiglet | The Holiday Party

As all the guests filed out into the darkness, I glanced at our table and thanks to hostess gifts, counted a total of 15 bottles of wine…and I’m not a very big drinker. So, it’s time to plan another party! I’m on a total roll now. Happy holidays, everyone!

The Week In Pictures: 12.20.13

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

What a week! Ahhhh! Do you feel that year-end rush of holiday parties, last minute gift buying and wrapping up loose ends on work projects all hitting at once? I sure do! I feel like the last few weeks have been on fast forward and admittedly, I’m barely keeping up.

I expected the end of the year to be quiet (what was I thinking?!!) but things at Branch have been picking up steam much faster than expected. I can’t complain on that end — it makes me happy that things are shaping up quickly since we’ve only been around three months now. Bring on the busy!

In other news, we’ve been trying to get our house together for our party but of course, nothing ever quite goes as planned! While some rooms of our place tend to look picture perfect, there are a few I’ve never shown (and for good reason.) The worst by far is the bathroom on the main floor which probably hadn’t been upgraded since 1928. Cue leaky pipes, terribly wallpapered shelves and layers of peeling paint. Joey just demolished it yesterday and it’s a pretty shocking sight. Hearing a crowbar go through the wall directly below my office freaked me out! Rome wasn’t built in a day and for my dream bathroom to happen, it had to be taken down to the rafters. Thankfully for our party revelers, we have two more bathrooms. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures

Tonight, I’m looking forward to catching up with family and friends and being a legit gown-up for once. I’ve never been great at party planning or entertaining and it’s time to start changing that.

Have an awesome weekend, everyone. I’ll see you back here on Monday with party photos!

Link Love: 12.19.13

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Nubby Twiglet | Link Love

• A provocative piece addressing the so-called the death of blogging.

• The pro designer’s guide to working from home.

• Here’s how to charge more for your services without leaving your clients in the dust!

• This is one of the best free icon sets I’ve seen.

• When does the constant reassurance of “I deserve it” go astray?

• 50 DIY gift ideas.

• The 3 major flavors of writer’s block and how to get over them!

• Teenage girls, as imagined by an 8 year old in 1991.

• Do your parents keep guilting you about visiting for Christmas?

• 100 Photoshop tutorials to level up your skills.

• The Verge gathered up the the 50 most influential people of the moment.

• The golden era of spam comments has ended!

• I loved reading Kate’s post on love, marriage and second chances.

• If you need a cheat sheet for character codes on your keyboard, this website is for you.

• Who goes to work to have fun?


Image: Grazia Germany.
Check out even more Link Love columns here.

The Typofiles #130: Denizen Magazine

Nubby Twiglet | Denizen Magazine

When you’re traveling for weeks at a time with a just a small suitcase and carry-on in tow, space becomes sacred. Each little thing you buy could be the point of no return when it comes to zipping your suitcase closed. One of my vices when I travel are local magazines but as you know, they get heavy and bulky!

One afternoon, Gala’s parents took us to a cute little coffee shop in Wellington and I spotted Denizen. It was amazingly good — the styling, the fonts and the layouts were all pitch perfect. One flip through and I was asking Gala’s mom where the nearest newsagent was! It was one of only two magazines I hauled back.

Nubby Twiglet | Denizen Magazine

Launched in 2010, Denizen is an Auckland-based publication that focuses on the art of living well. It’s not just about a singular subject but more about a lifestyle filled with great food, beautiful spaces and a killer wardrobe. Learn more and subscribe here.


Featured: Denizen
All scans and photos: Shauna Haider
Check out more Typofiles columns here.

Tools of the Trade #14: Dribbble

Nubby Twiglet | Dribbble

Designers have been using Dribbble for a few years now to share snippets of their works in progress. Even though I’ve been a big fan of the platform for quite some time, I only joined very recently because like many of you, I didn’t think I could possibly take on another social media platform — managing another account on top of everything else stressed me out. But every time I clicked through and checked out the amazing work others were sharing, I felt the pull of wanting to be a part of the community and finally joined in the fun.

For creatives, one of the highlights of Dribbble is that it provides an environment to get constructive feedback on your in-progress projects — it reminds me of the absolute best parts of design school. Engaging in an immediate critique with your design peers is so valuable.

There are a few other benefits of Dribbble as well:

• They have a job board that employers have to pay to post on so the offerings are really high quality.

• It’s a great place to make connections. I’ve already engaged with so many designers I never knew existed before I joined. The community is a friendly, welcoming bunch.

• If you upgrade to a pro account, you can have an icon next to your name that shows you’re available for hire.

• Businesses looking for a reputable designer can search and see who’s active and shares a style that meshes with theirs.

• A lot of work that gets shared on Dribbble inevitably makes its way to Pinterest and opens up a much larger audience for the designer.

Are any of you on Dribbble? Let us know in the comments so we can check out your work!


Credits: 1. Branch, 2. J Fletcher Design, 3. Anthony Lane, 4. Emma Robertson, 5. Hendrick Rolandez, 6. Branch and 7. Mary Frances Foster.

A Piece of Heaven in Port Douglas: QT and Bazaar

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Once I’d set foot in the QT Gold Coast, that was it. I’d found my perfectly designed mecca. I had my run of the lemonade stand and cherry red espresso machine, not to mention a shower tiled in black and white stripes all to myself. I was satisfied and content to spend the rest of my trip tucked away in my version of paradise. But the next morning, the Tourism Queensland ladies let me know that we were heading to Port Douglas, a vacation hotspot which just happened to be home to another QT.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

I honestly didn’t expect much. I’d already seen the best…or so I thought. Then, I made three separate trips in as many days even though I wasn’t actually staying at the hotel. Take just one scroll through and you’ll understand why I couldn’t stay away!

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

The grounds and decor of the QT Port Douglas are impeccable but I soon learned that the real draw is Bazaar, easily the best restaurant I’ve ever dined at.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Best summed up by the QT as an “interactive marketplace,” it’s basically an all you can eat buffet for the jet set. As you stroll through, there’s literally something for everyone and it’s all freshly made that day in the open kitchen.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Salads, seafood, meats, cheeses and a dessert bar are all waiting. I wanted to try a little of everything.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Gala and I both ordered grilled fish and asparagus and it was the best dinner I’ve ever had, hands-down — it was literally made right in front of me and served on the spot.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

But, that was just the warm up! For dessert, we ordered a batch of churros and chocolate sauce. When you’re at Bazaar, you have to go all the way. Every time. Seriously, don’t eat the entire day before you show up because I guarantee you’ll want to eat three dinners (I did).

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

A big appeal of Bazaar are the chefs. Yes, they’re world class but they’re also incredibly charming. They’re more than willing to have their photo snapped and even better, will put on a bit of show on request. This one had a little too much fun shooting up some serious flames for our photographer, Janneke.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

One night of fine dining at QT wasn’t enough — I begged to go back again…and Kat and Gala knew better than to argue with me! So back we went for Halloween (!!!) and the restaurant was decked out in pumpkins hand-carved by our hilarious chefs. As we perused the dessert section, nothing really hit the spot so I asked the chef what he could whip up for us. 10 minutes later, a platter of sizzling hot apple crisps arrived on our table. My idea of heaven.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Whether you’re ordering dinner or dessert, if you want something that’s not displayed, they’ll make it! I think they actually enjoy the challenge.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Once we waddled out of Bazaar, we explored the rest of the grounds. The bar next door immediately drew me in with its lemon yellow accents.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

It was dead quiet in the late afternoon. This would have been the perfect place to take a meeting.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

I wish we’d had more time to lounge on the back patio….but we had to rush off to a sunset sailboat tour (I know, it was tough week).

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Gala loved the QT nearly as much as I did.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

I thought this bird in the gift shop was real at first…haha.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

No cheesy run-of-the-mill art here!

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

Best hotel sign ever.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

That pool! I know where I’m staying the next time I’m in Port Douglas.

Nubby Twiglet | QT Port Douglas

There’s nothing better than relaxing in style while enjoying a delicious meal. What I loved most about the QT is that it completely lacked stuffiness. Picture taking was not only allowed but encouraged. The staff engaged in friendly banter. The uniforms and decor were rad. Every detail was picture perfect. They have a good thing going and I can only hope that the chain eventually expands to the U.S.


Hotel: QT Port Douglas
Photos: Janneke Storm and Shauna Haider
Special thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for making this post possible.