Tag Archives: Inspiration

Creative Chronicles: Magic Lessons Podcast

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Magic Lessons Podcast

I just learned about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast and I’m IN LOVE.

Normally, I’m not into listening to podcasts while I work. I like peace and quiet so I can really focus on what I’m doing. I feel like podcasts just distract me from tuning in fully to my creative process…and that needs my full attention.

Well, this weekend Gala texted me about this specific podcast. She even peppered it with, “I know you don’t usually listen to podcasts while you work, but….” and with that nudge, I clicked the link.

One episode led to 5 and 5 led to 10 which led to binge-listening to both seasons.

The thing that makes Magic Lessons really special (and why I think you’ll enjoy it) is that it focuses specifically on the creative process and how we overcome obstacles along the way.

Liz takes essays from real life creatives (writers, dancers, photographers, you name it) and partners up with a well-known person in their field that can give them very specific insights. It’s interesting hearing some of the creative greats (including Neil Gaiman) share their personal struggles with creating and a great reality check that nobody is immune from criticism or other roadblocks.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read any of Liz’s books but I LOVE her on this podcast. She’s kind, thoughtful and makes sure these creative folks pouring their hearts out to her leave in a better place than when they started.

If you’re looking for a new podcast to get inspired by, I think you’ll love Magic Lessons.

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

What’s inspiring you lately?

This year, I’m trying to be more mindful about setting aside time to explore my personal visual style. Instead of aimlessly grabbing images online and dragging them to my desktop, I’m paying more attention to visual cues.

What are the things I naturally gravitate towards?

How can those same things I love most play a part in my personal brand?

As you’ve probably noticed in the posts here this year, the visual style of Nubby Twiglet is continuing to evolve and it’s a purposeful move. 2016 marks my 15th year of blogging (that sounds so weird to say!) and for that milestone, I wanted to add a dash of gold to the branding and graphics.

Metallic gold has been a huge obsession of mine ever since I found a pair of Marc Jacobs sneaker wedges six months ago. Every time I laced them up, whether it was for a day in the office, a conference talk or exploring Florence, Italy (above), I noticed an extra pep in my step. That simple addition of metallic gold to my wardrobe started popping up in the design elements I was drawn to. Whether it was a gold sink in a kitchen or a metallic gold texture, I couldn’t get enough.

Inspiration Can Start With A Pair Of Metallic Gold Sneakers

Of course, all gold can feel a bit over-the-top and very Liberace. To balance it out, I started pulling in more organic, black and white patterns. Sometimes it was a marbleized pattern here on the blog, other times it was a hand-painted windowpane pattern on a jumpsuit. I started adding more hand-done fonts and illustrations to projects. Overall, that rough-hewn, looser look added a nice contrast to the gold.

Sometimes, it can feel like small shifts and changes aren’t worth talking about. Maybe they don’t feel grand enough to mention…but I want to change that here. Even the smallest elements you find yourself drawn to start to pile up. Pretty soon, the visual evolution you’ve been seeking, whether it’s in your brand, wardrobe or the way your room is decorated doesn’t feel so out of reach — it’s right there in front of you because you’ve taken notice along the way.

As I begin the redesign of this blog soon, I’m taking these organic black and white patterns and plenty of gold with me to explore.

Evolution feels great. Never be afraid of change — it’s what keeps things fresh, exciting, and makes life worth living.

Your turn: What are you noticing yourself being drawn to these days? Are there colors, styles, patterns, eras or something else that’s making you super excited?

Italy photo: Lisa Jane Photography.

Image sources: Radical Self Love Coven Almanac. Jonathan Adler brass ring holder. Marni shoes. Gold sink. Hand painted stripes. Lost My Mind graphic.

Domino Magazine Special Edition: Small Spaces!

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

Since Domino Magazine shuttered in 2009, there’s been a gaping hole in stylish, accessible decor magazines. I subscribed from the very first issue and though the overall aesthetic didn’t exactly mesh with that of my own, I appreciated the consistently seamless mix of high and low — it was so much more relatable than the other interior magazines I came across that only featured spreads of massive glass houses alongside modern furniture with minimum price tags of a few thousand dollars.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

During the years it was around, I read every issue from cover to cover but admittedly, the relevance didn’t quite sink in at the time. Since I hadn’t yet bought a house (and didn’t have a decorating budget for that matter!) it was a fun read but I sadly recycled all of my issues after I read them.

Thankfully, there’s now occasional special editions of Domino centered around specific themes. I shared outtakes from the Quick Fixes issue here and just picked up the newest release, Small Spaces which I find to be even better curated than the last.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

I like the overall premise behind the Small Spaces issue — making best of the limited space you currently have instead of seeking out a bigger place. After all, any space, no matter how small can be spruced up with fresh paint, a dash of patterns and a little organization.

Loaded with tons of applicable tips and tricks and organized by room, the photos are gorgeous and yes, the sources of the items are clearly listed. My favorite section in the issue by far is Organize Absolutely Everything (because I am obsessive about everything having its place) and the suggestions are super basic and applicable.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

I know there are those Domino diehards out there that lament that these limited issues “just aren’t the same” but I have a different mentality. Times change, I love the overall design aesthetic these issues have and I’m just glad to have a home decor “magazine” to pore over that’s not full of only outrageously expensive, unattainable things. Because while aspirational, what’s the point?

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

Besides Domino, two of my other go-to home decor / lifestyle magazines have long been shuttered as well. Remember NEST and Blueprint? Sigh. Do you have any other suggestions for other home decor and lifestyle mags out there that are hip yet relatable?

P.S. I picked up my issue at Barnes & Noble but you can also grab digital editions here.

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?

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.

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.

Computer Arts Collection: Photography

Computer Arts Branding

As you know, I am a huge fan of the Computer Arts Collection, a series of themed guides for creatives. The one reason I keep going back to these issues is that while they are beautifully designed and overflowing with amazing inspiration (much of which I’ve never seen online), there’s never a case of all style and no substance. They dig in deep and always manage to provide glimpses into current industry trends, studio tours, peeks inside real campaigns, suggestions for processes and even a talent directory in the back. In the age of Pinterest, I want more than just pretty pictures. I want to understand how those pretty pictures were created and that’s where Computer Arts delivers.

Computer Arts Branding

Today I wanted to give you a peek inside of Issue 5, which focuses completely on photography. Though I don’t consider myself to be a photographer (I know how to get what I want out of my basic DSLR but I’m very point-and-shoot in my process) I feel that it’s so important to be aware of what other industries are doing since there’s more crossover than ever these days. This weekend, we had a guest speaker at The Blogcademy named Lisa Devlin — she’s been a professional photographer for 20+ years and listening to her share her tips made me want to step up my game. Flipping through this issue, I’m now paying more attention to lighting and composition. Sometimes we just need that little push.

Computer Arts Branding

While I have loved all the issues I’ve managed to get ahold of, this release is perhaps the most visually stunning. With photography, it’s just easier to push boundaries sometimes. As I’ve mentioned before, these issues aren’t cheap but they’re so worth it — with very few ads, they’re less of a magazine and more along the lines of a softcover book. It feels good to learn about how folks outside of my industry take in the world through their cameras. I believe that we all have something to teach and in return, there’s always something new we can learn.

Computer Arts Branding

To get your hands on the Computer Arts Collection, go here for further information.