Tag Archives: Inspiration

Do The Common Things Uncommonly Well

Nubby Twiglet | Do The Common Things Uncommonly Well

This year, I’ve been thinking often about the famous Henry Heinz quote, “Do the common things uncommonly well.”

In a world where we’re pressured to do more and cram as much into each day as possible, what would happen if we pushed back and simplified?

Let’s instead choose to focus on accomplishing each task we already have on our plates to the best of our ability before piling on more. To me, that sounds refreshing for a change. -Shauna

Getting Organized For Instagram: UNUM App

Getting Organized For Instagram: The UNUM App

Have you ever posted an image to Instagram only to realize that it isn’t quite right? Maybe the coloring is off or it ends up shifting your feed into feeling different than you were expecting. I often posted photos only to quickly delete them because I had trouble visualizing what the flow would look like.

For the last year or so, I’ve also struggled with posting as consistently. I’ll travel or take tons of great photos around the office but then I settle back into a lengthy to-do list and deadlines, quickly forgetting about all those images.

And, as people continually lean more towards quality over quantity on Instagram, I don’t want to over-post and overwhelm my followers in a quest to get the content out there before it gets lost in the depths of my camera roll.

While I tend to post more off-the-cuff content on my personal account (@nubbytwiglet) in an attempt to keep it an authentic reflection of my life, my business account (@wearebranch) is much more polished and I’m often weighing different color stories and compositions before posting.

Like many of you, I’d heard of apps that could organize and pre-schedule my content but I never really found anything that meshed with my design style and quest for simplicity. That all changed last week when I discovered UNUM.

First off, UNUM has a really simple, minimal interface. You can pre-schedule images and captions but I tend to use it primarily as a content grid to visualize what I want my feed to look like.

Now, instead of waking up and digging through the thousands of images on my phone to figure out what to post, I already have a backlog 20 images with a nice mix of old favorites and new shots queued up and ready to go.

One other nice touch is that you’re able to toggle between multiple accounts so if you’re like me with business and personal profiles, you don’t need to log in and out.

This app has already saved so much time and I hope it does the same for you, too.

Our Stories Make Us Who We Are: The Moth

Nubby Twiglet | The Moth Radio Hour

I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to as I’m working and recently, I stumbled upon The Moth as I was tuning into the live stream on WNYC. I haven’t seen it mentioned on any podcast roundups I’ve recently read…so I had to tell you because I think you’ll enjoy it, too.

I tend to prefer podcasts that feel more off-the-cuff because the spontaneity feels more relatable. The Moth is special because it’s completely unscripted — people tell their personal stories live on stage in front of a room full of strangers.

As you can imagine, some of the stories are heartbreaking while others are hilarious. All are true.

Want a warm-up? Listen to Bible Salesmen, Ghosts and Strippers and just try to not get hooked!

After devouring a few dozen episodes, I landed on the ultimate goldmine: a library of a few hundred stories that play automatically when you click the “listen now” button.

After I listened to them all (really!), I started thinking about what the draw was. It was simpler than I realized: our life experiences are what make us each unique. Our stories help define who we are. They’re what people remember long after they’ve met us.

Your stories have power, whether you choose to share them in person, on a blog or on a podcast. Maybe The Moth will inspire you to share yours, whether it’s your first or hundredth time saying it out loud.

Vintage moth illustration via Swallowtail Garden Seeds.

The Wing: A Mini Tour

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

The Wing is a self-described home base for women on their way.

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when something stopped me in my tracks: a new women’s club called The Wing. I’d never seen anything like it. The branding, the messaging, the design of the space and the sense of community was so good. I wanted in. Only problem: I’m based in Portland and The Wing is in New York.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

I tagged my BFF Gala on one of their photos and she messaged back saying she’d just joined. YES! On Friday, I flew into New York and one of my first stops with Gala was The Wing (members can bring along guests). The place was just as gorgeous as the photo gallery made it out to be. I was smitten, picking up a pile of their on point merch for the women in my life.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

The Wing takes its inspiration from the women’s club movement that first gained momentum in the early 20th century and has completely modernized the concept.

The club serves multiple purposes in a single space. In its own words, you can “Consider The Wing your throne away from home; a sacred space where you can work, get to inbox zero, shower, get a blow-out, store your stuff, take a conference call, make a new friend, or even stage a small coup. All in one place.”

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

I love this idea because these days, so many of us are on the move and the space has a bunch of areas to get different things done: one spot has lockers; another has showers, a bathroom and a glam selection of toiletries; yet another is full of couches and a massive collection of color-coded books lining a wall; there’s a room with vanity-style desks and mirrors for doing your hair and makeup and finally, a built-in cafe with coffee, snacks and healthy lunch options. It’s genius.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Even in all its beauty, The Wing is super relaxed and welcoming. Whether you’re using the space as a makeshift office, touching up your makeup on the way to an event or just lounging and grabbing a snack in the cafe, it’s got you covered.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

I’ve heard that the launch was really successful so I can only hope that The Wing makes its way out to Portland someday. I love the Branch office but crave more social time and the chance to collaborate with like-minded women. Plus, there’s a magic that happens in person that just can’t be replicated online.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

By now, you’re probably wondering about the design (I sure was!) I did some digging and this Fast Company article has a lot of information about the process and the all-woman design team from Pentagram. Super cool.

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Learn more about The Wing here and don’t forget to check out their amazing selection of merch!

Nubby Twiglet | The Wing New York Women's Club

Interior photos: Shauna Haider. Product photos: The Wing.

10 Still Life and Flat Lay Tips

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

What’s one area you want to improve on this year? Mine is really simple and I talked about it last week: I want to get better at taking photos, especially still lifes and flat lays.

These compositions are a chance to tell a visual story. They’re an accessible way of sharing things I’m into while producing content for my blog and social accounts. Also, like many of you, I sit behind a computer all day so any chance I have to step away and get the creative juices flowing is an added bonus.

The thing is, my life is already packed with a lot of commitments and I am short on time for personal projects. But, instead of using that as an excuse, I started a project last year called Still Life Friday. Every Friday, I would set aside 15 minutes to share a new still life composition on Instagram, hashtagging it with #stilllifefriday.

Looking back, not every composition was amazing and I missed a week here and there. But overall, it accomplished the goal I had hoped for: to get better at working with what I already had around me, just for fun, without the pressure of client expectations.

What I’ve learned along the way is that when you keep goals bite-sized and focused, it’s more likely that you’ll follow through with them. There’s a reason why I set up Still Life Friday and not Still Life Daily: I wanted to give myself the highest possible chance for success.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

Today, we’re going to focus on 10 tips you can use to step up your still life compositions:

1. Pinpoint Your Style

It’s always easier to create an amazing composition if you can focus in on what you’re naturally drawn to. What gets you excited? If you need some ideas, follow some new accounts. I personally like MaeMae & Co., ban.do, Charli Burrowes, flatlays and flatlayforever. I’ve been collecting screenshots of ideas and keep them in a folder for when I’m feeling uninspired.

2. Get Consistent with Lighting and Surfaces

I take most of my photos during the morning to afternoon in my office, when the light is the brightest and least shadowy. I never use a flash, instead choosing a natural light source next to a window. For surfaces, I use my white glossy desktop or black or white tagboard when I need a larger area. You can pick this up at art supply and dollar stores.

3. Tell a Story

It’s always better if your still life has a focal point to build off of. What do you really want to share? Are you reading a book or magazine that’s inspiring you? Maybe you can add in glasses, a journal and your favorite pen. Did you just buy a new shade of lipstick? Add in a mirror, your compact and a fashion editorial with a makeup look you love. Did you just buy a rad pair of shoes? Lay them out alongside your ideal outfit.

4. Include a Natural Element

Still lifes feel more alive when you follow this tip. I tend to add plants like succulents or fresh cut flowers to most of my compositions. Crystals, sand, stones and leaves also work.

5. Add Some Shine

A little bling catches the eye. I am really big on brass accents right now for a subtle shine. I often use a brass pen, vases, scissors or clips to add warmth to my cool toned compositions. Mirrors, glitter paper, shiny gemstones and jewelry also work.

6. Focus on Color and Texture

One of the easiest ways to give your compositions a consistent appearance is to use objects in the same colors and textures. I focus on mostly black and white with plenty of dashes of green on my personal account. For texture, I stick with marble and brass. These create an on-brand look.

7. Keep It Simple

Less objects can actually be more compelling. Always place your favorite object first and build around it. White space allows the objects to breathe. I think of this step like a gallery wall. If you walk into a gallery and the walls are painted a dark color and crammed with artwork placed too close together, it’s visually overwhelming. If you instead walk into a space with artwork placed with plenty of distance between each piece on clean, white walls, there’s a better chance of you being able to focus on the details.

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Life and Flat Lay Tips

8. Include Items You Love

I buy very little for my office space but what I do invest in has to be really special and work double duty. I have a wire inspiration board with copper clips I use to pin up new ideas that also doubles as a backdrop. I have a Moroccan pompom covered basket I use in a lot of Branch photos that also holds my extra chargers and cords. I have a collection of Chad Wys prints that cover my walls and often make their way into compositions. Surrounding yourself with items that you enjoy means that you’ll have more to pull from when putting together a photo.

9. Shoot In Bulk

If I create a composition I really like, I’ll shoot it, switch out a few key items, shoot again and get a few variations. These batched images are great to roll out when I’m having a slow content day or need something to stand in with a quote or story I want to share. They save time and since they were shot in the same lighting and style, they’ll be more consistent.

10. Set it Up

Have tools on-hand that can step in and give you the best results. Sometimes I use colorful washi tape to secure photos while also adding a pop of color. Sticky tack is great for holding round objects in place like pens and lipstick. Antibacterial wipes are perfect for quickly wiping down a surface so you can avoid bits of dirt and dust. Also, decide whether you’re going to use your phone or a camera — I personally use the Samsung NX500 for every photo I take because it’s higher quality. After I’ve taken a photo, I use the built-in wifi to email the photo to myself and edit with a combination of Color Story and VSCO.

I hope these tips help you take better still lifes and flat lays. Let me know if you have any questions or tips to add in the comments!

P.S. I try to post at least one new still life per week — if you’d like to follow along, my account is here.