Tag Archives: Blogging

The Biggest Blogcademy Birthday Sale EVER! 24 Hours Only!

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Today, my BFF Kat turns 32 and to celebrate, we’re offering the sweet deal of Blogcademy Online for just $200.00 for the next 24 hours! That’s nearly 60% off the usual price! This is the biggest discount deal we’ve EVER DONE on this course so if you’re interested in stepping up your blogging game, listen up!

For those of you who are new around here, The Blogcademy is a blogging and business workshop that I co-founded with Kat Williams and Gala Darling in 2012.

After teaching in-person classes for three years solid, in 2015 we decided to create an online version. The idea was that if anyone couldn’t travel to an in-person class, or just preferred to learn at their own pace, at home, then we could still help them. While we don’t have any plans for any more in-person classes at the moment, the online class is still going strong and we’d love for you to take part. You can read all about that topics that we cover on our website.

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The course usually costs $497 but if you buy TODAY ONLY with the discount code woohoothirtytwo then you’ll get it at less than half price!

With your purchase, you will receive:

• Over six hours of video lessons, broken down into bite-sized modules that are packed with actionable information that you can watch whenever and wherever you’d like!

• A 300 page transcript of the entire class. (Think of this as an enormous how-to-blog bible!)

• 24 pages of action-packed worksheets and activities, to help you implement everything you’ve learned.

• A huge list of resources which includes every single book, tool, website and professional we personally recommend. This is priceless! Every online resource we mention in class is hyperlinked in the back of the workbook — just click and go!

• Life-time access, baby! The course is yours to keep. You can login, watch, and re-watch the lessons as many times as you like!

• An absolutely insane amount of know-how and encouragement. With over 30 years of collective blogging experience, we really have done it all. As a blogcadette, you get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes… And our successes, too!

• Access to our private Facebook community. There are nearly 600 Blogcadettes in the group, and it’s growing every single day. The forum is full of helpful, supportive bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s the ideal place to ask for advice and to be among people who ‘get it’!

We want you to get the very best out of your Blogcademy experience, so as a bonus, we’ve also added:

• A pre-course worksheet for you to fill in before you start the lessons. You’ll receive this immediately, and it will help you assess where your blog and business are now. Clocking in at 14 pages, this will allow you to get a firm fix on where you are, and where you can improve.

• An exclusive 22 page Blogging Business Plan! You can use this as a roadmap to chart exactly where you want to go, and how to get there!

• A pack of inspirational wallpapers: perfect for printing out and hanging by your desk, or for using as your computer or phone background.

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To get the discount, simply use the code woohoothirtytwo at the checkout.

Note that the discount code is valid until 8am GMT on April 8th and will make the course $200 instead of the usual $497. The code does not work if you opt to pay via installments. The discount is not retroactive against past purchases. If you have any questions before you book, feel free to send us a tweet!

Looking Back: My 25 Favorite Posts of 2015

Looking Back: My 25 Favorite Posts of 2015

As the year comes to an end, it’s always nice to take a look back. I know that personally, I get so caught up in the day-to-day of running this blog along with my businesses that I’ll forget about what I even wrote about the month before. It’s good to take stock of what you accomplished because what you did this year provides a solid base for an even better next.

When it came to putting together the list of posts, I didn’t compile them based on views or comments — instead, I scrolled through the entire last year of content, picking and choosing my favorite moments around the posts that I felt were the most helpful to you. Next, I added in a few personal stories with teachable moments and finally, rounded out the mix with a handful that I felt were the most aesthetically pleasing.

All in all, 2015 was a great year. Thanks for closing it out with me and taking this walk down memory lane. Your comments, emails and yes, even snail mail mean the world to me. Let’s continue sharing and growing together. Cheers! -Shauna

CREATIVE INSIGHTS

1. My Biggest Takeaways During A Decade Of Graphic Design

2. 5 Tips To Fight Fear In Your Freelance Career

3. Why I Chose Community College For My Design Education

4. 6 Must-Have Documents To Automate Your Creative Process

5. 15 Must-Have Items For Running A Design Studio

6. 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Media Kit

7. My Top 5 Portfolio Tips

8. Dealing With Negative Feedback

9. 15 Tips To Rock Your Stay At Designer Vaca

INTERIORS

10. My New Office Tour

11. My Black, White and Green After-Hours Hangout

FASHION + STYLE

12. The Cape Dress In Los Angeles

13. Venice Beach Goth

14. A Neon Day In Sydney

15. Black and White Layers in Portland

BLOGGING

16. Live Your Life First, Then Blog

17. Cheers To 8 Years Of Blogging

18. Blogging Completely Changed My Life

PERSONAL STORIES

19. Give Yourself Permission

20. My Wedding Anniversary Letterpress Invites

21. You Have To Dream Before Your Dreams Can Come True

22. Keep Your Goals Fun and Attainable

23. We All Have To Start Somewhere

24. Your Squirrel Questions Answered!

25. There Are No Shortcuts To Greatness

Live Your Life First, Then Blog

Nubby Twiglet | Live Your Life First, Then Blog

Inspiration doesn’t strike when you’re sitting at your desk, staring at your computer screen. It happens outside of your office, plain and simple.

It seems like such a basic premise but I lived on the other side for far too many years. Back in 2007 when I got serious about blogging, I didn’t see anything wrong with sitting down to write, even when my well of inspiration felt completely dry. While my drive always carried me through, more often than not, I forced a completely unrealistic blogging schedule on myself because I felt I had little choice.

Walking the tightrope between blogging, a retail job, an internship and a full-time school schedule at the time, the balance was precarious at best. The truth was, I just didn’t have time to go out and live my life, then sit down to blog. After I turned my assignments in and finished my job for the day, all I had time left for was blogging.

This summer, eight years after starting this blog, I finally got my perspective in check. With the beautiful weather setting in earlier than expected in Portland and new clients booking into Branch at a record rate, I blogged a lot less and created and lived a lot more.

At first, it was a little scary to give up my fine-tuned regimen. After all, I’m a creature of habit — I depend on routines to get through days of working for myself and when that goes out the window, I feel out of sorts.

That uneasiness eventually settled and after awhile, something unexpected happened. Blogging less didn’t feel weird — it felt great. I only shared content I felt awesome about. No filler, no apologies.

Over the summer months, travel took me from London to Marrakech to Rome to Florence to San Francisco to Orlando to New York to Los Angeles and finally, to Palm Springs in rapid succession. Many planned posts never happened because right as I was beginning to settle in and write, I was already back on another plane.

Between traveling and big opportunities, blogging consistently fell by the wayside but it was on my mind the whole time. It’s something that never really leaves me because it’s occupied nearly 15 years of my life (oh Live Journal, how I miss thee). I get to share new ideas, discoveries and connect with you. Honestly? That personal creative outlet is EVERYTHING.

At the same time, everything goes through ebbs and flows. Life happens, good and bad. New opportunities can take up a lot of our time that blogging once commandeered. That’s okay. Having a life outside of the internet is so, so important because that’s what fuels our souls.

Nubby Twiglet | Live Your Life First, Then Blog

The creative spark needed to create original, meaningful content doesn’t strike when you’re shackled to your computer. It strikes when you’re out exploring, meeting new people and observing the world around you from a fresh perspective. When you do that and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens.

When you live your life to the fullest and then sit down to blog, the inspiration flows. Instead of wracking your brain trying to figure out what to write, you have a mental list of ten posts you can’t wait to start on. Instead of cobbling together images from Pinterest for your latest posts, you have a camera full of photos you took yourself. It feels so good.

Inspiration is lurking outside of your office, right this second. There are only so many hours in a day and there’s a whole lot of living to do. Explore the world, even if it’s the new coffee shop down the street. I just spent all week sitting in a hot tub under the stars in Palm Springs until the wee hours, chatting with creative souls. It was so much more inspiring than hitting refresh, hoping that inspiration would strike. Now, I’m feeling energized and ready to produce new content. The break was sorely needed.

You have permission to take a break. Live your life first. And, I can’t wait to see what you sit down to write when you finally have time to blog about it!


Photo: Taken in Marrakech by David McNeil.

Blogging Changed My Life. Really.

Nubby Twiglet | Blogging Changed My Life. Really.

This week, as I wrapped up two sets of taxes, interviewed a potential intern and made my way through emails that seemed to reappear faster than I could respond and file them away, blogging felt very far away. These weeks happen where little things pile up in quick succession and it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are — carving out the free time to blog becomes nonexistent.

And while I’ve been purposely blogging less this year to focus more time towards new business ventures and client projects, as the days slipped by, it still felt weird to be parked in front of my computer but unable to post fresh content.

This unplanned break turned into a blessing in disguise; it was the perfect opportunity to think about what blogging means to me and why I do it. Just yesterday, I found myself idly staring out my office window and in a flash, I had a moment of clarity:

Blogging is important to me because it literally changed my life. And perhaps blogging has changed yours, too.

Here’s the backstory….

In 2001, I was 20 years old and living at my dad’s house in the suburbs outside of Portland. I didn’t have the money for the art school I wanted to attend so I went to a community college down the street. I hadn’t done much traveling so my social circle carried over from high school. Oh, and I had a lot of free time on my hands because I only worked during my summer breaks (damn, those were the days). When one of my friends told me about a free blogging platform called Live Journal, I figured why not?

Within the first year of blogging, I had a whole new social circle. I met people on the other side of the world — which at that time, felt very new and exciting when compared with my boring suburban existence. In quick succession, I met Star, Anna, Gala, Laurel, Bianca, Amy (and so many others who no longer have sites). Thanks to blogging, when I traveled to a new city, I already had a built-in network of friends. To this day, when I’m in New York, I sleep on Bianca’s couch. Star now develops websites for Branch. And Gala? We run a business together with our fellow blogging obsessed friend, Kat.

Besides friends, blogging opened doors to job opportunities I’d only dreamed about. During my interview for a design internship at Nemo, I told them about my blog. It just happened that Dave Allen (formerly of Gang Of Four) worked there and was just as obsessed with blogging as I was. Looking back, my design work was just okay but my blog is what helped seal the deal.

After switching from Live Journal to WordPress in 2007, I got even more consistent with sharing which included posting every good, bad and ugly design project. Within a year, companies like Forever 21 and Virgin Records were contacting me. For a 26 year old just breaking into the industry, this was completely life changing. It became immediately apparent that these huge companies only knew who I was because I blogged. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that this free marketing opportunity with a low barrier of entry was landing me freelance jobs at a few thousand dollars a piece while I was still in community college (design students, get thee a blog and online portfolio ASAP!)

In 2012, my dream job became a reality when I got hired on the spot to join the Cinco Design brand team. The calling card that got me an offer? My blog.

A little over a decade into blogging, I began to feel the itch — there had to be something more. I wasn’t ready to give it up but I WAS read for an evolution. And then, it fell into my lap during a Vegas vacation (because naturally, all the best things happen in Vegas). Five days in the desert turned my blogging for fun into a business opportunity. That August, The Blogcademy launched and by October, we were teaching a sold-out class in New York City. This strategy-based blogging course soon allowed me to quit outside work, travel the world and later, release an online version.

With a crazy travel schedule that made my former life at agencies impossible, I needed to carve out a way to produce design that fit in with this new normal. Branch was born. A day after our website launched, three clients had booked in. And, you guessed it! They found us through this blog.

Nubby Twiglet | Blogging Changed My Life. Really.

Okay, this post is getting long and the point isn’t to just share my personal blogging anecdotes (though I could easily talk about blogging all damn day). My goal is to demonstrate that while blogging isn’t a one-size-fits-all, linear path, if you stick with it, great things can happen.

These days, too many people look at blogging as a way to gain quick fame and fortune and it’s warped because when they don’t get what they want in fast succession, they give up. If this is the only reason you’re starting a blog, walk away now. You have to feel truly passionate about what you’re posting…and if you don’t, there are at least 35 other things you can do instead.

I know what you’re still thinking so I’ll just say it now. Yes, there are a million other things you can now do with your time online. So, why blog? My quickie response:

Blogging forges meaningful connections, builds career opportunities and gives you a place to go as deep as you’d like, whether you’re sharing new artwork or the gut-wrenching story of how you hit rock bottom. It’s all fair game.

So, what about you? Have you blogged in the past? Do you currently have one? How has it impacted you? If you have a blog, please leave a link in the comments so we can check it out!


Photos: Made U Look Photography.

Blog Log #13: The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

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Nubby Twiglet | The Key To Building an Engaged Audience Plus 30 Ideas For Fresh Content

The quickest way to grow your blog doesn’t hinge on implementing the latest SEO techniques or posting a lot of pretty images. If you want an audience that’s engaged and keeps coming back for more, create genuinely helpful content.

If you poke around the internet, you’ll notice that a majority of the most popular blogs are heavy on content that teaches you something. Whether it’s how to live a better life, how to tie a scarf or how to whip up something new in the kitchen, people are always searching for opportunities to learn something new, even if it’s ridiculously simple.

Think about it this way. When you sit down to google something, would you key in:

Popular lipstick shades or how to pick flattering lipstick shades?
Graphic design portfolio or how to build a print portfolio?
Cute hairstyles or how to style short hair?
Chunky sweater styles or how to style chunky sweaters?

Audiences want applicable advice that is helpful and benefits their lives in some way. The concept of being helpful can feel a bit daunting at first. After all, not all of us are gourmet chefs, DIY masterminds or decorating geniuses. But, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. When it comes to being helpful, we each have a unique set of talents and life experiences. We just tend to assume that everyone else knows how to do what we do. You’d be surprised at how popular some of your tried and true skills can be when turned into a series of blog posts.

To be genuinely helpful, the key is to think of little ways to add a twist to what you already enjoy doing.


Here are some ideas to get you going:

1. Bake your way through a stash of favorite family recipes and photograph the results.

2. Review the books that have had the biggest impact on your life.

3. Break down your favorite makeup and skincare routines along with the products you recommend and why.

4. Document before and after shots of your home renovations with how-to guides.

5. Are you a green thumb? Create guides around what grows best in which climates.

6. Tour your city’s food carts and let us know your top picks!

7. If movies are your passion, create guides of must-see films broken up by genre.

8. Did you bypass college and follow a self-taught path to the career of your dreams? Tell us how you did it!

9. Share styling tips on how to get creative with a very limited wardrobe.

10. If you’re a master at smoothies, create a series around your favorite recipes.

11. Do you have a knack for hairstyles? Let us know the best ones for long, short, updos and more!

12. Create a series of helpful email templates related to your industry.

13. Share your tried-and-true social media tips and tricks for each platform.

14. Develop a series of paint swatch combos for the color challenged.

15. If organizing is your thing, share before and after shots alongside your sources for supplies.

16. Do you have a talent for modifying the mundane? Share your best IKEA hacks!

17. Are you a web designer? Let us know your favorite web font combos.

18. If you’re a thrifting champ, create guides for cities you’ve visited.

19. Is bartending your specialty? Share recipes and photograph your best drink concoctions!

20. Review your favorite restaurants in town and come up with your own rating system.

21. If you’re a shoe obsessive, create guides for the best shoes from working out to going out.

22. Is traveling your passion? Create guides for each locale you visit including transportation, dining and hotels!

23. Create a series of style posts centered around a favorite wardrobe staple.

24. Do you have a specific way of shooting and processing your photos? Show us how you do it.

25. Have you mastered how to clean your house without using harsh chemicals? Teach us your tricks!

26. If you’re a creative that’s burnt out on “pinspiration” posts, inspire us through real life mood boards.

27. Run your own business? Create an advice column centered around what you’ve learned.

28. Have you pulled off a career change into a completely different industry? Break down how you did it!

29. Are you a fitness junkie? Share routines for busy, on-the-go types.

30. Is event planning your passion? Teach us how to make gatherings and parties run more smoothly.


When it comes to building an engaged audience, be genuine, be helpful and share what you know.

Your turn: What are some recent helpful posts you did that were a big hit?


Image: Alexa Loy Photography.

My 25 Favorite Blog Posts of 2013

2013 Blog Post Recap | Nubby Twiglet

This has been a huge year for me with more twists and turns than I could have possibly imagined. But yesterday on Christmas Day, everything slowed down and I spent the day reading Everything I Know cover-to-cover, watching terrible movies, flipping through issues of Elle that had piled up and taking a walk through a new neighborhood with Joey and Rocky while trying to warm up with a soy chai latte.

For Christmas Eve, we made our annual pilgrimage up to my grandparents’ cabin (check out my grandpa’s sweater!) and then ripped through our pile of presents as soon as we got home. Joey surprised me with this dress which I’d been wanting for a long time. It felt very Christmas appropriate so I wore it out and about yesterday. I hope you had a relaxing holiday as well!

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to share my favorite posts of 2013 with you. Thanks for following along over these last seven years, it means the world to me. My life has changed, yours has changed and the world of blogging has also changed by leaps and bounds. But most days, I’m still as excited by it as when I first started and can’t wait to see what the new year holds.


Design, Marketing and Business

1. In The Beginning: My First Design Project

2. 5 Tips For Managing Multiple Businesses

3. Branch: An Inside Look At Starting a Creative Business

4. A Personal Journey in Careers and Confidence: My Experience at Designer Vaca

5. Should You Ever Work For Free?

6. A Call To Creatives: Follow Your Unique Path

Blogging

7. Why Are You Blogging?

8. How Often Should You Post?

9. Is Your About Page Living Up To Its Purpose?

10. How Can I Share More Of Myself On My Blog?

11. Are Comparisons The Root Of All Evil?

12. 8 Keys to Making Lasting Online Connections

13. The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Blogging

Lifestyle

14. It’s Time To Get Organized!

15. Coffee At Home: My New Routine

16. The Mecca of Custom Lipsticks: Bite Lip Lab

Personal

17. My Feature in Computer Arts Magazine

18. Announcing Branch, A Boutique Design Studio!

19. Adventures In Koala Cuddling

20. Is Community College The Right Choice For You?

Travels

21. Greecetopia: My Cheat Sheet on What To Pack, Where To Stay and Where To Eat in Santorini and Mykonos!

22. The Happiest Place On Earth: A Day At Disneyland

23. Cannon Beach and Bigfoot

24. Paris In Winter: A Style Shoot

25. A Midcentury Modern Dream in Surfers Paradise: QT Gold Coast

2013 Blog Post Recap | Nubby Twiglet

Thanks again for making this year very special. Enjoy some quiet time and I’ll see you back here on the 31st for a year-end recap! -Shauna

Join The Blogcademy Live From New York for a Q&A Session!

The Blogcademy Livestream

With two east coast Blogcademy workshops quickly approaching in New York this weekend and Minneapolis next, we decided it was high time to do another livestream event for those of you who can’t make it!

We’ll be broadcasting live from Gala Darling HQ in New York City on:

Monday, June 24th
10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm GMT

During the hour-long session, Kat, Gala and myself will be talking about changes we’ve implemented with our own blogs, things we’ve learned since launching our blogging workshop last August and last but not least, we will be answering as many of your questions as possible!

If you’d like to join us, tickets are $7.00 and if you aren’t able to tune in at the designated time, don’t fret! The video can be watched at any time. If you have a question to submit, you can tweet us (@theblogcademy) or email us (headmistresses @ theblogcademy.com) with it beforehand.

You can snap up a ticket right here.

See you (virtually) next week!