Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Being a self-professed Paul Arden super fan, Whatever You Think Think the Opposite is a book that I’d been meaning to crack open but instead, it sat in my office untouched for a good six months. Truth be told, I was a little afraid of what his advice would be — sometimes I play it too safe in life and this book is all about breaking the rules. I value stability but at times, I overcompensate to hold onto that sense of familiarity instead of taking big chances that scare me to death. So I finally picked up this book and read it cover to cover in a day, all in the hopes that it would inspire us rule followers to loosen up a little and face those things that scare us head-on, for better or worse. It delivered.

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Arden’s trademark humor peppers the opener with “Let us start off on the right foot by making some wrong decisions.” In this day and age, we’re often afraid of being wrong, and this is especially so on the internet. At times, it feels like observers are standing by idly, waiting to jump on our mistakes but on the flip side, are slow to congratulate our triumphs. But we all make mistakes (and will continue to) because we’re human. And that’s how we learn. What mistakes have you made lately? In the end, did they actually benefit you in some way you hadn’t expected?

At The Blogcademy, I talked at length about the power of differentiation when it comes to branding. I love what Arden had to say of the subject. “Original ideas are created by original people, people who either through instinct or insight know the value of being different and recognize the commonplace as being a dangerous place to be.” Trying to look and act like everyone else will do little but leave you in the pile with everyone else. It’s clear that playing by the rules often leaves us feeling more trapped. Arden relays that if you’re feeling this way, “it’s not because you are making the wrong decisions, it’s because you are making the right ones…the problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else.”

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

For me, the most important point of the book was defining the difference between wishing and wanting. Whereas “I wish” equates to “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” and leaves us wishing our lives were different, “I want” demonstrates leadership. It boils down to the assertion of “If I want it enough, I will get it.” Successful people don’t take no for an answer. They work towards finding a way to make the life they want a reality.

But how do you get there? Arden says that “Getting what you want means making the decisions you need to make to get what you want.” What a mouthful! He goes on to say that “The unsafe decision causes you to think and respond in a way you hadn’t thought of.” Think about all those times were you were caught in a bind because the safe plans you’d made fell through. When you lost a client or a job or a living situation fell through, how did you react? How did you survive those times? Did you come up with some far-fetched, downright crazy idea that panned out even better in the end?

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

The more time we spend online observing versus going out into the world and doing, the more our imaginations take over. I’m guilty of getting caught up in a never-ending whirl of blogs, inspiration sites and social media time sucks. And what I’ve realized is that I never walk away feeling better about myself. All that time spent searching, observing and living vicariously through others’ lives keeps us from being truly productive. Arden made me think hard about this when he says, “Everyone wants an exciting life, but people are afraid to take the bull by the horns. So they take an easy option for an exciting life. They live their excitement through other people.

I’ve always been a big believer in putting plans into action and then fixing them as I go and Arden endorses this mindset as well. Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. The pursuit of perfection will have you waiting around forever. Instead, set deadlines and just launch already! This has always been my mindset with blogging. When I started, I was still in school for design. I was still figuring out the ins and outs of blogging. I was young, enthusiastic and made changes as I learned. In a way, being a bit naive and not over-thinking your plan will get you further faster because you’re less afraid of being wrong or taking those big chances.

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Arden says, “There is only one person who can determine the shape of your life. You. What are you going to be?” It’s up to you to simply change your life. And if your plan doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I got a good dose of perspective when I was reminded that “No one is going to cut off your right arm, take away your motorbike or put you in jail if you don’t succeed.” So just go for it. Follow the path less traveled; you might be pleasantly surprised where it takes you.

The Week In Pictures: 11.3.12

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

This week has felt weird, with Sandy battering the east coast a week after I returned from New York. Really feeling for so many of you that are struggling and without the basics — we’re all rooting for you to make a swift recovery. Halloween also came and went. I was happy to stay in with Rocky and take it easy. After The Blogcademy, I’ve been needing some time to just be still. Time to get caught up on boring everyday stuff. Time to read the occasional book and to go out to the occasional dinner and get back on track with routines.

The above still life of my desk is full of things I’m loving at the moment: my Fuji Instax camera, a postcard from an upcoming NY-based client, a special little surprise from long-time client Aroha Silhouettes (their logo is still one of my personal faves), my go-to wacky but dressy necklace from H&M, a tear from Lucky Magazine with a cool take-down of gathering inspirations and the most beautiful laser-cut thank you card from Blogcademy attendee Laura in the U.K.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Out and about on a rainy Thursday night along S.E. Belmont, on my way to the vegan-friendly Sweet Hereafter.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Our Blogcademy sponsors really delivered — I’m loving this heart tote from Alphabet Bags. It’s so sturdy and well-made…now I’m scoping out their phone cases and clutches.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

When we moved into Wolfgang Manor three years ago, there was a gazebo in our back yard on a cement slab which was of little use. This year, we finally got it framed in and sided but still have a long ways to go. Bummed that we didn’t get it finished but that’s how life is. Next year we hope to have it fully functioning as a cozy little backyard bar / cabin. Slowly but surely, we’ll get there.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Ah, rainy Portland. I’m off to downtown right now to finish up a project and hunt down a latte. Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay warm and safe. And to those of you who weathered Sandy, you’re in my thoughts. Sending lots of love your way.

The Blogcademy 01: New York City Recap

the blogcademy 01 new york city

Over the weekend of October 20th, Gala, Kat and I joined forces to teach the first edition of our workshop, The Blogcademy in New York. To say that it was a life-changing experience is a huge understatement…we’re still buzzing about it!

the blogcademy 01 new york city

“The Blogcademy was so much more than a blogging workshop. All weekend I was surrounded by my 30 classmates who all proved to me that no matter where you are headed in life with ambition, drive and a kick ass attitude you will end up where you want to be. As soon as I got off the elevator on the first day, I could just feel the positive energy radiating from the classroom.” —Liz Davis

the blogcademy 01 new york city

The nervous excitement we felt as we opened the door on the first day is something I’ll never forget.

The Backstory

Individually, Kat, Gala and I had each wanted to do workshops for the last few years. After meeting in Vegas back in February, we realized that we’d be stronger as a trio and in the months that followed, we got to work on building out our ideal blogging workshop. We’d each been to many blogging events but always left feeling like they could be more specialized and hands-on. We wanted The Blogcademy to feature solid strategy and insight focused on building compelling content while demonstrating what it really takes to create a successful blog from the ground up.

the blogcademy 01 new york city

Building out a workshop in a few short months wasn’t an easy task but it was worth every second of effort. You prepare for a new venture the very best you can but there are always those moments when life just happens. Behind the scenes, the goodie bags were bigger and heavier than we expected (thank god our cab driver helped us load and haul them in his trunk), the projector cord was missing an hour before show time and the couch quite suddenly collapsed…we sure got a good laugh afterwards! When that launch day arrives, you just have to go for it and realize that though things will never be perfect, what matters is that you give it your all.

the blogcademy 01 new york city

the blogcademy 01 new york city

My main focus at The Blogcademy was in branding: I shared two personal case studies as well as examples of documents I think every blogger and small business owner should consider. Thinking back to when I began blogging in 2001, I remember how long it took me to piece all this information together. I wanted the attendees to pick up all these insights that took me a decade to learn in a few short hours — I always say that knowledge is power and was important for me to take the secrecy out of what goes into building a successful blog.

the blogcademy 01 new york city

We invited along special guest Veronica Varlow for the fun. She is such an amazing, inspiring woman as well as a wonderful friend and client (her media kit is still a personal favorite of mine. Ooh la la!)

the blogcademy 01 new york city

Out of pure excitement, Gala and I couldn’t seem to keep our composure. Award-winning wedding photographer Lisa Devlin was along for the ride, snapping every moment.

Decor Sponsors

the blogcademy 01 new york city

• A huge thank you to Everly Lane for the turquoise tassels and Peach Blossom for the balloons, striped straws, fans and pom-poms. All these color-coordinated details really made the space come alive.

Goodie Bag Sponsors

the blogcademy 01 new york city

• The amazing letterpress graduation certificates were printed for us by A Fine Press!

• We couldn’t get enough of the wonderful Alphabet Bags who supplied tote bags to stash the goodies in.

• Crown & Glory provided sparkly hair bows which were a huge hit (and they gifted me with those amazing glitter bunny ears)!

• Lisa Devlin was not only a guest speaker but also gave away her awesome Devlin Photos CD of Photoshop actions.

• Finest Imaginary kindly sent along custom Moleskine notebooks & heart rings. So cute!

• Garden Apothecary shared awesome vanilla body scrubs. Love!

• Miss Anastasia provided amazing smelling perfume — I actually designed the logo and packaging which I will be sharing at a later date!

• Our dear friend Molly Crabapple provided super fun activity books — perfect for the plane ride home!

• Sugarpill sent along their trademark bright, highly-pigmented eye-shadows.

• Twinkie Chan totally outdid herself with the handmade Blogcademy coffee cozies!

Food & Drink Sponsors

the blogcademy 01 new york city

Thank you to Paige Wilcox of Blogads for providing valuable insights into what it’s like working with an ad network AND for providing the spread of food. With the busy days, it was nice to have snacks right at our fingertips.

And on day two, Jessica of Storyboard Wedding arrived with 10 bottles of bubbly for our after-party. Thank you, Jessica!

Attendee Reviews of The Blogcademy

1. The Fete Blog 2. Me and My Ego 3. Me and My Ego (part two!) 4. The Alchemy of Hustle 5. Condiments on a City Life 6. Little Bear in a Big World 7. Eldy’s Pocket 8. Burnett’s Boards 9. Danger Dame 10. Andrea Jaggs 10. Get Your Green On 11. Intertitles 12. Work Life Passion 13. Rubies & Ribbon 14. City Girls Knows 15. Reverie Time 16. 128 John St 17. The Girl Who Knows 18. Bitchless Bride.

the blogcademy 01 new york city

Gala got into the spirit of handing out pins and the fab letterpress certificates at the end of class.

“I learnt SO much. I can’t even begin to talk about it, because it’s all still churning round my mind, refusing to settle so I can decide where to begin applying those lessons. But even better than that, I had the most amazing time. Being surrounded by an international community of unbridled talent is where I want to be all.the.time.” —Hayley Judd

the blogcademy 01 new york city

In Closing

I want to extend a huge, heartfelt thank you to our 30 students who believed in us on this maiden voyage, our sponsors for delivering the best goodie bags I’ve ever seen and to Kat & Gala for joining me on this wild ride. I believe in the power of building a community and working as a team more than ever. It is possible to pull off those crazy ideas. The difference between dreams and reality comes down to setting goals and putting plans into motion with firm deadlines. If we can do it, so can you. If you’re interested in attending a future session of The Blogcademy, more dates will be announced on November 14th. And thanks again for following along with us on this crazy, magical adventure!

*All photos are by Devlin Photos. Thanks, Lisa!

Link Love: 11.1.12

link love

link love

Welcome to Link Love! Can you believe that it’s already November?!

• Have you seen Anna’s first-hand account of Hurricane Sandy? She lives in DUMBO and got some up-close and personal photos. Pretty devastating to see it unfold.

• Want a good laugh? Check out this list of Halloween missed connections. Inebriated Vampire searching for Ninja Turtle…

• 99 Life Hacks to make your life easier. So many awesome ideas!

Timehop is an app that lets you see your photos and updates from a particular day in history by gathering your content from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram and Flickr.

• I’ve never seen anything like these business cards featuring hologram edges. Stunning.

• Read through the worst passwords of 2012, make sure yours aren’t on the list and then laugh! Baseball? Dragon? Really?!

• How to let your purpose find you.

• 5 essential elements of a successful self-published book.

• Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess share how they plan their blog posts. Planning ahead does wonders.

Gala’s account of Hurricane Sandy seems even more surreal since Kat and I were staying just around the corner from her a little over a week ago! Feeling so sad just thinking of what so many of you on the east coast are going through.

• Breanna Rose offers up some great insights into what designers should consider when packaging files for development.

• Would our content on Instagram be more compelling without all the filters? A valid argument: “Like clothes, filters allow us to hide our insecurities.”

• For a lighter-hearted Hurricane Sandy article check out Garance Doré’s account of being woefully unprepared!

• 7 basic types of stories: Which one is your brand telling?

The Brand Audit

the brand audit

A is for audit.

In my case, I’ve been in need of a brand audit for quite awhile. The cool thing about being online regularly since 2000 is that I’ve built up a recognizable brand. The bad thing about being online that long is that there’s a lot of inconsistencies that have developed over time.

One issue I’ve been having is that my social media platforms just aren’t consistent and this is something I’ve been meaning to remedy as soon as I’ve had time. Remember when life was simple and all we had to worry about was Live Journal and Myspace (yes I’m dating myself!) My handles, avatars and bios need to be cleaned up and yes, I need to get to work on my Facebook business page (don’t lecture me — I’m already managing two Facebook accounts and just thinking about running a third gives me heart palpitations!)

What this all comes down to is taking a step back from the brand I’ve built and figuring out what’s working and what’s not so I can move forward more consistently in 2013.

The tricky part of my brand (and I know many of you also fall into this boat) is that I’m very intertwined with it, perhaps too closely at times. I’ve been sorting through handles on my profiles, trying to determine which I want to keep under my business name, Nubby Twiglet, and which I want to be under my name, Shauna.

This has become more of an issue this year in particular because I’ve been expanding beyond Nubby Twiglet with the launch of The Blogcademy and have another separate venture launching early next year. Since both of these are outside of Nubby Twiglet, I’ve been using my name much more prominently across key social media accounts in the spirit of being the recognizable link between these brands. In the future, Nubby Twiglet will be one of many businesses I have so I’m thinking about what makes sense going forward. This might sound a bit convoluted now but I promise, everything will reveal itself in time!

All of this probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to most of you, it’s just a fair warning that you may see some of my social media handles and content shifting over the next few weeks as I figure out what works best for me. Nubby Twiglet began at 18 when I pushed two of my nicknames together and eventually became the basis of my senior thesis for my marketing degree in 2005 (do you want to see it? I’ve never shown it online!) And, it will always remain the name of my blog (don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere!) Now at 31, I’m ready to expand into more varied areas so you’ll see me using my name, Shauna more visibly. It’s been a long, strange, intriguing journey watching how blogging and design has unfolded over the last decade and I’m more excited than ever for the future.

Once my brand audit is complete, I’ll be sharing more about the process and some tips for how you can make sure your brand is aligned consistently as well. Stay tuned!

*Photo by Lisa Devlin.

The Typofiles #118: Ruddy’s General Store

Ruddys 1930s General Store Museum

Ruddys 1930s General Store Museum

This week’s Typofiles is a little different; it’s a look way back at some amazing packaging. When I was in Palm Springs last month with Star, we noticed what appeared to be a store full of vintage goods from across the street.

Ruddys 1930s General Store Museum

Curious about its contents, we entered (a fee of 95 cents will get you in) and it became clear that nothing was for sale; this was a general store frozen in time.

Ruddys 1930s General Store Museum

Ruddy’s 1930s General Store Museum was completed in 1987 and donated to the city by James Ruddy, who had been building his collection of products for 35 years. The result is one of the largest and most complete displays of general merchandise in the U.S. Every detail in the store is authentic — unbelievably, more than 6,000 unused items line its walls.

Ruddys 1930s General Store Museum

The packaging and type treatments were so inspiring to take in, especially since so many of these brands no longer exist. If you’re a designer or just an antiques aficionado, you must make a point of visiting this museum at 221 South Palm Canyon Drive. I’m sure glad I did.

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

Latest & Greatest #11: Braniff International Airways

Latest and Greatest

Braniff Airways

I believe that as creatives, instead of getting sucked up in Pinterest or trying to determine what the “next big thing” is, occasionally we need to step back and look to the past for inspiration — a lot of trends that are happening now are deeply rooted in previous decades. I’ve always been drawn to vintage airlines for design inspiration because they had some of the most inspiring branding, collateral and yes, fashions. My favorite by far always defaults to Braniff International Airways.

Braniff Airways

Braniff was an American airline that operated from 1930 until 1982. Perhaps the most fashion forward airline in existence, at the height of its popularity it employed the dream team of architect and textile designer Alexander Girard, fashion designer Emilio Pucci (responsible for the infamous bubble helmets for air hostesses), and shoe designer Beth Levine in conjunction with its “End of the Plain Plane” campaign.

Braniff Airways

Beginning in the mid 60s, plane exteriors were painted in a single, bright color while the interiors were outfitted with 57 different variations of Herman Miller fabrics. Additionally, many of the color schemes were applied to gate lounges, ticket offices, and even the corporate headquarters.

Braniff filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and the colorful era of airline travel came to an abrupt end. Just thinking of Alexander Girard (have you seen the inspiring House Industries collaborations?), Pucci and Herman Miller all sharing the same employer seems too good to be true. These three designers were so far ahead of their time that these days, their work feels more relevant than ever.