Back To Basics

Back To Basics

I find that the more immersed I become in creating visual identities for clients, the more I navigate towards the familiar for myself. I used to be one of those people that wondered why fashion designers sent fantastical creations down the runway every season but would then step out for the finale and take a bow in a simple jeans and t-shirt ensemble. Surely they could wear their otherworldly creations as well?

But now, I think I get it. When you dive into a sea of other people’s worlds and try to bring them to life, it’s nice to strip things down to the familiar when it comes to yourself. When you have a clean slate, you can create anything. Inspiration awaits around every corner.

When I’m focused on multiple projects, I find myself feeling the most comfortable being surrounded by things that are black and white. I love color but when all I can think about are other people’s colors day and night, I like to keep it simple for myself. My love affair with all things black and white continues.

Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Creatives, do you have a go-to “uniform” when work takes over?

The Week In Pictures: 12.7.12

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Welcome to The Week In Pictures! What’s new with you? I have to say that I’m still adjusting to the shorter days — there’s a lot less time to take great photos and I want to crawl into bed way earlier. I’ve also been going out a lot less but maybe that’s a good thing. I want to end the year on a high note and (am attempting to) wrap up a lot of lingering projects.

You can discover great things in your closet if you look! In an effort to find some visual inspiration for Joey (he’s working on a new series) I dug through my shelves of magazines and came across this issue of Look. I don’t even remember buying it! If it was never made into a poster, it needs to be. Agree?

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

It’s been so cold out…and dark…and overcast. I’m a native Portlander but damn, I can only take so much! How are you making do with these winter days? I just can’t seem to adjust this year. I’ve had this Topshop Unique sweater for a few years now — I remember spotting it in the Soho store and cringing at the price but it was one of those things I couldn’t get off my mind. I ordered it the second I got home and still reach for it often. A sartorial success!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Rocky is less than 10 pounds but don’t let his small stature fool you! He’s got some serious personality and is quite sensitive. Any time Joey leaves, he just sits on the bed, looking mopey and giving me the evil eye. What can I say? He’s set in his ways. I just put our Pia Wallen Cross blanket on the bed but Rocky occasionally scratches at it while trying to “build a nest.” Too bad, I love the way it looks in our room.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I get so bored sitting online at times — when that boredom hits, the one place I can always rely on is Rich’s Cigar Shop for the best periodical selection in Portland.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

The new J. Crew catalog showed up…and it never disappoints, of course. And I pulled out my faux glasses for the Zara photos over the weekend. Maybe I’m just secretly inspired by Anna & Mamma Biscuit.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Like I said last week, vintage shopping in Portland is such a trip! This white tiger is very Sigfried & Roy and must be the perfect Christmas gift for someone out there…right? RIGHT?!

And with that, I’m off to get an eggnog latte and get this morning started. Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m hoping to sneak out to the Portland Bazaar. I missed it last year and aam still kicking myself. Oh, and Joey & I are working on a fun ornament D.I.Y. for the blog together! Should be a fun one.

Link Love: 12.6.12

link love

link love

Coco Rocha in Flare

• Matt Haughey penned a great essay on why he loves Twitter and can barely tolerate Facebook and I agree:

“There’s no memory at Twitter: everything is fleeting. Though that concept may seem daunting to some (archivists, I feel your pain), it also means the content in my feed is an endless stream of new information, either comments on what is happening right now or thoughts about the future. One of the reasons I loved the Internet when I first discovered it in the mid-1990s was that it was a clean slate, a place that welcomed all regardless of your past as you wrote your new life story; where you’d only be judged on your words and your art and your photos going forward.”

• What’s the best way to correspond with clients?

• What are the 20 absolute worst places to wait in line at? Now you know.

• 2012 isn’t quite over yet but now you can relive it in photos.

• Kris Atomic just put together some really great winter-themed wallpapers. Download here!

• I can’t wait to check out the upcoming Portland Bazaar this weekend!

• Chalkboard lettering whiz Dana Tanamachi just launched Tanamachi Studio and even more of her beautiful work is showcased.

• I love this downloadable calendar for 2013 where you add your own inspiration for each month. I definitely want to do this — it would be a great way to look back and see how your interests changed throughout the year!

• Want to see a pretty amazing collection of commercial art from 1986? Here you go.

• Just in time for the holidays, make your own clay ornaments.

Advice #52: Does Blogging & Self-Promotion Make Me Vain?




Hello, I’m wondering if you ever struggle with vanity. To run a blog like your own calls for a great deal of what they call shameless self promotion and self preoccupation. I am basically very generous person and I have a thirst to serve others with my presentation skills and other solution-driven aspects of my personality. The biggest struggle I’m trying to get over is allowing my own brand to be the outlet of all my creative gifts. It’s so hard because it feels so vain to me. I was just wondering if you’ve ever struggled with this?

I used to feel this way as well, so strongly in fact that I was afraid to start a blog on my own domain. It tripped me up for a long time but one conversation changed all that.

From 2001 to 2007, I blogged on Live Journal. Around 2007, I became more aware of my friends (including Gala) making the leap from Live Journal to their own domains. I liked what I saw but I wasn’t sure that was a good move for me. I had the mindset that if I wanted to be taken seriously as a designer, my website should feature only my portfolio. If I shared the rest of who I was, including photos and insights into what I was wearing, were I lived and what I did outside of designing, it would deflect from my work.

But I naturally like to share. And I’m more than just my job — I have other interests. Why should you or I feel shame in sharing what we like?

My turning point came during the Summer of 2007 when I was on a trip to LA. I met up with Star and spilled my worries out at a Coffee Bean in Hollywood. She assured me that things were quickly changing — sure, the established designers didn’t need to blog, they were already established! But the up and comers could benefit from social media and I should just go for it. Trust me, I was still scared but I just did it. A month after that fateful talk, my blog went live.

The shift from that decision happened fast. Within my first year of blogging, I was being approached by clients including Forever 21 and receiving multiple freelance inquiries a week. Sometimes, I still felt unsure though. I’m a pretty humble, modest person and putting myself out there day in and day out felt tiring at times. There were definitely days when I just wanted to design and go about my business and not be bothered! But I knew that if I quit, rebuilding momentum would be incredibly hard. So I kept on and I’m so thankful I did.

Blogging isn’t easy. Designers by nature tend to lurk in the shadows. I’ve never wanted to dance, act, sing or be in the mainstream spotlight. I’ve just wanted to be the best designer and blogger I could be. And if putting myself out there helps to support my business but even more importantly helps me connect with other creatives, I’ll continue to do so.

With blogging, there’s occasionally some bad mixed in with the good but overall, I wouldn’t change a thing. The friends I’ve made, the places I’ve gotten to travel and the thoughts, images and insights I’ve gotten to share with you, the readers, are priceless in a way. Blogging has made my life much more full and given me much needed structure.

Think of your brand this way: if you don’t believe in it, nobody else will. People are always going to judge you no matter what, whether you choose to put yourself out there or not. It’s human nature. Remember that truly successful people are fearless and promote what they value and believe in, even if that’s their own brand. That’s your choice and yours alone.

The Typofiles #120: The Color Printer

The Typofiles: The Color Printer

The Typofiles: The Color Printer

I just came across this amazing printing book and had to share! Still considered to be one of the great guides for letterpress printers, The Color Printer was published in 1892 by John Franklin Earhart after five years of meticulous work. Earhart was an early developer of artistic printing (a movement that focused on incorporating decoration and ornamental type styles) and covers mixing ink colors, embossing techniques, and much, much more in great detail.

The Typofiles: The Color Printer

Best of all, you can view every single page of this amazing piece of history for free right here! It must be said: I love the internet and the ease that it allows us to access gems like this.

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

Latest & Greatest #14: New Zara Finds!

Latest and Greatest

New Zara Finds

I love all things avant garde but I also appreciate good quality basics. Because in a pinch, those are what I reach for most often. Even if I’m wearing a jacket with built-in hip panels, I’ve most likely paired it with sturdy wedges, a black t-shirt and a simple skirt or skinny jeans.

I was a little late to discover Zara in part because Portland doesn’t have a location and I relied on shopping in-person when I was in New York or ordering online (always difficult when you’re not super familiar with a brand’s fit). One of my first Zara pieces was over a year ago when Joey bought me a neon yellow sweater for my birthday which I wore literally a few times a week (and still wear all the time)!

Anyway, I feel like I’ve finally hit the holy grail of basics and I wanted to share. I placed an order a week ago for these boots and this shirt and they are both the bomb (can I say that without sounding very 90s?)

First of all, the wedge boots — they fit exactly to size, the quality is amazing and they are made in Spain (if I’m paying upwards of $200.00 for shoes, they better not be stamped Made In China). Let’s back up to abut five years ago — I’d spotted the perfect Jil Sander wedge boots with crepe soles on Ebay but they were WAY out my price range and I let them go. Well, that could only mean one thing. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I am STILL obsessed and thinking about those damn boots! So when I spotted these babies on the Zara site at a fraction of the Jil Sander price, crepe wedge soles and all, I made my move.

New Zara Finds

Onto the shirt. I have tons of skirts, jackets and dresses but seemingly no shirts! When I shop, I want fun! Excitement! Intrigue! But let’s get real, shirts are kind of important. I like mine simple and type-covered and this one delivers.

All in all, Zara has really impressed me in delivering good quality basics and accessible prices. No, this post isn’t sponsored — I just want to make more of an effort to share what I love when I feel it’s worthwhile!

So tell me, Where is your go-to place for basics? Because I am definitely in need of more.

While I’d like to imagine wearing sequins and fancy dresses down the street every day, it’s just not my reality.

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

When I was in New York in October, the pace was so hectic that I barely had a chance to see friends or shop, let alone step outdoors. Even after The Blogcademy wrapped, we still had to do a promo shoot and film video spots before I left town. I woke up on that Monday though, knowing that somehow, some way, I needed to see my friend Bianca Alexis.

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

I first met Bianca in 2002 — I was friends with her boyfriend (we’d all met on LiveJournal — that’s how you made internet friends with common interests at the time) and she came along to meet up at Yaffa Cafe while I was in town. We didn’t see much of each other after that but when I stayed in New York for a few month stretch during the Spring of 2005, we became fast friends and grew much closer, making the most of the goth clubs as they were on their last hurrah (I still miss The Batcave like crazy!)

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

During the decade since we first met, so much has changed but we’ve remained close and still chat online almost every single day. That’s dedication! And you should celebrate those kinds of friendships as much as possible! So it only made sense to call in celebrated wedding photographer Lisa Devlin, who I just happened to be rooming with.

This was very special for us because Bianca and I are rarely in front of the camera together — she’s a professional photographer and retoucher so usually she’s shooting me! This was our first legit shoot together and I am so happy that we were able to pull it off right before I had to catch my flight home.

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

Lisa shot us along the side streets of Soho — delivery trucks were speeding by as we posed, jumped and laughed.

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

Actually, I did most of the jumping and Bianca did most of the posing. She’s one of the most down to earth people I know but when she gets in front of the camera, seriously watch out! Her fierceness knows no bounds! Haha.

I Wore:

Dress, Helmut Lang (from Tokio 7)
TBA Sneakers, ℅ Solestruck
Tights, H&M
Mouse Ears, Disneyland

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

With less than two hours to catch up, we managed to squeeze in shopping, a sit-down lunch and this shoot. We don’t get to see each other all that much but boy, we sure know how to make up for lost time!

What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho

A special thank you to Lisa Devlin for capturing these special moments and to Bianca for being a friend that’s been there for me through thick and thin. Friends like these are truly priceless.