Tag Archives: personal

Forget About Complicated Affirmations. Can You Sum Up Your Focus For the New Year In One Word?

Nubby Twiglet | Forget About Complicated Affirmations. Can You Sum Up Your Focus For the New Year In One Word?

Create: 1. To cause to exist; bring into being. 2. To give rise to; produce. 3. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort.

Like many of you, I love the feeling of a fresh start that the new year holds. It’s the perfect time to file away what didn’t go so well while pushing forward with the promise of a clean slate. At the same time, I’m not a fan of big, blown-out plans and bucket lists. I like to keep it simple — the idea of having one word I can hold close feels refreshing because it’s much more manageable on a daily basis.

I did some soul searching a few weeks ago and my word for 2015 is create.

The goal: Remind myself daily to consume less and create more.

The backstory: It’s too easy to fall into the trap of consuming more and more content. On a daily basis, I find myself continuously checking Instagram feeds, stopping by blogs and scrolling through Pinterest and while these are fine in tiny doses, all that time I spend consuming adds up — it could instead be focused on creating.

When I think about feeling productive and satisfied, it really comes down to creating content that helps my clients and audience achieve their goals. In the new year, I’ll be making some shifts to create more which I’ll talk about in more detail soon.

For now, I want to hear: what is your word for the new year?


Hashtag necklace: Carrie Hammer

Giving Thanks

Nubby Twiglet | Giving Thanks

I’ve been in Sydney for the last few days so I won’t be sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year but I hope your day is filled with a chance to reflect with your family and friends. This year has been filled with a lot of growth (and change) and it’s so important to slow down, remember how much good is around us and to not take it for granted.

Things I’m Thankful For

I’m thankful for Joey and Rocky for being in my life for close to 5 years now. I met Joey at a particularly rough patch when I was feeling very unsure about who I was and where I was going and the structure I found with him gave me a lot of clarity.

I’m thankful for my mom who moved back to Portland this year and is now helping me with Branch. She often deals with the un-fun, behind the scenes things (like accounting) and is the glue that holds my business together.

I’m thankful for Chubs the squirrel who fell 30 feet down our chimney and miraculously survived. I’m am so happy that he’s grown into a very sweet, inquisitive little friend.

I’m thankful for my dad who always swings by my house and takes me to the coolest mix of places in town. We hit dive bars, trendy hotspots and no matter where we go, I appreciate his enthusiasm to keep an open mind and constantly explore.

I’m thankful for my grandparents, who have been in my life another year. Four years ago, my grandpa, who had never spent a day in the hospital in his life had an aneurysm and we nearly lost him. Now, each time I see them, I remind myself how special they are and that not everyone gets to hang out with a couple who’s been married for 65 years…and still gets along!

I’m thankful for The Blogcademy which has allowed me to travel the world and meet so many interesting women. Many have since become friends and inspire me to push through the hard times and keep going on a daily basis.

I’m thankful for my office landlords Jen & Mark who reached out me, even though I didn’t fit the mold of the traditional artisans that filled their space. I’m learned so much from spending my days with creative folks who aren’t graphic designers.

I am thankful for all of you, whether you’ve been here with me since the beginning seven years ago or are just stopping by for the first time today. Thank you for joining me, growing with me, for offering your friendship and giving me the motivation to keep going, even when life throws unexpected curveballs. This space wouldn’t exist without you so thank you.

There’s so much more that I’m thankful for…but I’m going to sign off for now, enjoy some time with friends and explore this awesome city.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In The Beginning: A Studio Space Is In The Works!

Nubby Twiglet |  In The Beginning: A Studio Space Is In The Works!

Maybe finding the perfect studio is the equivalent to finding yourself in a great relationship….the best ones come around when you’re not actively looking!

I’d always imagined Branch moving out of my home office and into a dedicated space but it felt a little risky — and it’s always smart to play it safe and keep overhead low in the first year of starting a new business.

Well, the time has come! The studio of my dreams quite literally fell into my lap with one chance meeting at a neighborhood party. Now, I’m making plans for Branch to move into its very own space in early November. It’s a space full of other makers and though our office isn’t quite finished (that’s the way it currently looks above — real talk!), in the next few weeks, it’s going to slowly transform.

I wanted to share this news with you in real time because you’re going to be coming along on this journey with me — from sourcing decor to making the space functional on a budget. This is the first real space outside of home I’ve ever had and it feels like a necessary big step forward after celebrating Branch’s one year anniversary a few weeks ago.

I’ve always said that when things are going good, you can never get too comfortable — it’s time to shake things up a bit. In the new year, there will be a lot more changes happening with Branch but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s get the space decorated first. ;)

More soon!

A Mini Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs Getaway

Hello from Palm Springs!

I just flew in from New York yesterday morning and have been getting a few days of relaxation in with Joey and Rocky before Designer VACA begins. My birthday, Joey’s birthday and our anniversary all happened within 10 days of each other so this is our belated all-in-one getaway. We’ve been driving all over the place documenting exotic plants, dreamy midcentury modern homes and much of the landscape which I’ll share with you soon. I hope you’re having an awesome week!

The Shift: Thoughts On Seasons, Birthdays And Seeking Out Change

Nubby Twiglet | The Shift

Last week, I started thinking about Fall and how these months are such a pivotal time for me. Maybe it’s because my birthday is on Sunday the 14th (I’ll be 33!) and I feel like I need to get as much accomplished as possible before I check off another year. Maybe it’s because I sense the feeling of heading “back to school” (even though that has long since passed for me) and I feel that collective sense of hustle and drive set in after a long summer of slowing down and exploring…I’m not really sure.

This year has felt really good though, unlike some of those in the not so distant past. I’m not a huge astrological buff but I do believe in Saturn Return. At the time it hit in my life, I actually didn’t even know what it was until I felt my ass getting collectively whooped all at once by the universe and my aunt offhandedly mentioned it in a conversation.

I also clearly remember that right as I was turning 30, I was freelancing at a great little design studio and making great money but something felt off. The week of my birthday, I had a mini breakdown one morning. It hit me hard because I was designing full time, my blog was going strong and technically on paper, I was living my dream. Perceptions aren’t everything, though. I wasn’t content. Even though I was designing professionally, it was mostly for sports brands. It was a great job…but it wasn’t my dream job. No matter how many times I sucked up those feelings and told myself to just be thankful for what I had, it didn’t change how I felt. I felt like I was living someone else’s life.

Around that time, I made a conscious decision: I was going to hustle as hard as I possibly could. I wasn’t getting any younger and if I didn’t create the life I wanted, it was my own damn fault.

I began taking on more freelance projects that felt good. Lifestyle and beauty brands like Shien Cosmetics, Rock n Roll Bride and Olivine Atelier were my sweet spot. I worked nights and weekends on client projects that I loved while showing up by day to put in the hours that guaranteed a sense of stability while I carved out my niche and style.

It wasn’t a sudden shift; I think it took about two years to see things come full circle. I got more comfortable with change as I moved onto an intensely inspiring agency that burned the candle at both ends (I still remember the first day I showed up — I didn’t walk back out to the parking lot until midnight!) and then, onto another agency that I’d been dreaming of working at for years. I kept learning, saving, taking on new clients and dreaming about that next step to stay motivated.

The more energy I put in, the more quickly things began to unfold. What I learned is that the universe will kick your ass when things aren’t right to help you shake them loose but it will also conspire to help you when you put your effort towards the right things. Towards the end of 2012, I’d co-founded The Blogcademy and we’d taught our first class in New York City. An 8 page feature followed a month later in Computer Arts. And then in 2013, I quit all outside work cold turkey to launch Branch. That cycle of uncertainty I’d began feeling right before 30 was completed and replaced with new things that felt like a better fit.

Birthdays come and go and there’s no way to turn back the clock. There’s so much opportunity out there and the biggest lesson I’ve learned that there’s never going to be a “right time” to go after it. Planning can only take you so far…and then it’s time to give your dream everything you’ve got.


Photo: Taken in Berlin by Shell De Mar.

Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Do you have just one day free to explore the city that never sleeps? Don’t fret! Instead of feeling daunted by your lack of time, here are some fun stops to help you make the most of it!

Faced with just twelve hours, Gala and I managed to hit 15 spots, from restaurants to landmarks to parties. Here’s what we did — and while some of it might not be your cup of tea, hopefully it will inspire you to have your own little adventure the next time you find yourself in New York City.

Gala made a little video of our day and I compiled a list with links and addresses of the places we visited below:

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

1. Clinton Street Baking Co.
4 Clinton St.

Going strong since 2001, this Lower East Side restaurant is home to some of the best baked goods around. New York Magazine voted their blueberry pancakes the best in the city but I stuck with an egg white omelet which was equally delicious. Expect a wait.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

2. Henri Bendel
712 Fifth Avenue

The ultimate accessories mecca, this department store has been around since 1895 and is the height of sophistication. From bangles to handbags to ridiculous hats, Henri Bendel has you covered. Trust me, you’ll be tempted to try on 10 gaudy Elizabeth Taylor-inspired rings at once just because you can.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

3. Bergdorf Goodman
754 5th Ave.

Are you craving a stop at a luxury department store where the staff is remarkably down to earth, even if you’re not actually buying anything? Bergdorf’s is for you. I was blown away by how friendly everyone was and even better? This marbled behemoth is home to the world’s most expensive perfume. Really. The lady holding down the Clive Christian counter cornered us, told us the most exquisite story (all great perfumes need a good story, after all), let us sample the scent and even pulled out a black fan to dry my freshly doused wrist. The whole experience was over the top and ridiculously fabulous in a Liberace sort of way.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

4. Sephora
597 5th Ave.

When you’re exploring the city at the height of summer and your skin is feeling parched, Sephora is the ideal stop to sample some new, luxurious moisturizers that aren’t in your budget. And boy, did we lather up!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

5. J. Crew Collection
1035 Madison Ave.

I enjoyed stopping into this small yet immaculate J. Crew boutique and checking out the craftsmanship and materials of its higher end collection up-close. I loved their take on the classics, like a buttery soft biker jacket done up in navy blue. And, the design of their print materials at the register are always spot-on.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

6. Kate Spade Flagship
789 Madison Ave.

A four story townhouse on the Upper East Side, this place is pure fun. Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, the neon sign on the ground floor (which includes tongue-in-cheek clichés like “Uptown is the New Downtown,” “Only in Manhattan,” “Let’s Grab Cocktails” and more), uplifting sayings emblazoned on mirrors and wacky decor will inspire you to snap photo after photo.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

7. Solange Azagury-Partridge
809 Madison Ave.

Quite possibly the most innovative, creative jeweler out there, Solange knows no boundaries. I’ve been a fan of her Hotlips collection for ages and seeing her boutique in person, complete with the custom designed rainbow carpet (wowza!) made me an even bigger fan. She is a true artist.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

8. Central Park
14 East 60th St.

Every time I’ve visited Central Park, I’ve walked through a different entrance and had a completely different experience — and that’s the beauty of the place. At a mind-boggling 843 acres, there’s always something new to see depending on the path that you take. I love the variety of scenery within the park. From a castle to a zoo to a pond to a meadow, this place has it all.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

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9. The Plaza Food Hall
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South

One of the most opulent hotels in Manhattan, The Plaza is legendary. But the true gem is tucked away in the basement, way past the grand entrance. The food hall, which was opened in 2010, truly has something for everyone. There are counters with sweets, sandwiches, soups, juices, coffee and every culinary confection in between. Gala and I had soup, salad and fresh juice at Tartine and it was beyond delicious.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

10. Top Of The Rock Observation Deck
30 Rockefeller Plaza

I’ll admit that I thought this was going to be a total tourist trap — and for that reason, I’d avoided it at all costs during my previous trips to New York. But, on a whim, we gave it a go. And, honestly? It was worth the $29.00 ticket fee to see this 360 degree view of the city, 70 stories up. Do it at least once. You won’t regret it.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

11. The Smith Photo Booth
55 Third Ave.

The Smith has awesome food but I’ll be honest — my real draw to the place is that it has one of the city’s best photo booths in its basement. This isn’t a cheesy digital booth, either — it’s the old school black and white kind. And at just $3.00 a strip, you’re bound to get carried away with swiping your debit card (or, at least I did).

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

12. Big Gay Ice Cream
125 East 7th St.

A hot day in the city requires a mandatory ice cream stop. And there’s no doubt that Big Gay will have you rethinking soft-serve. I’d heard rave reviews about the Salty Pimp but ended up going with the Bea Arthur, which is hand-dipped in crushed Nilla wafers. Yum!

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

13. Upper East Side Mansion Party
Fifth Ave.

When you receive an invite to view Ted Baker’s latest collection inside of a beautiful mansion, you say yes! What I love most about New York is that in the span of a day, anything is possible. This event featured a live jazz band, dancing flapper girls and piles of disco balls. Amazing.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

14. Grand Central Station
89 E. 42nd St.

This landmark is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world and has a mind boggling 44 platforms for rail travel. Even if you’re not grabbing a train though, there are tons of shops and restaurants across its two stories that are worth visiting. I love the astronomy-covered ceiling in the main concourse.

Nubby Twiglet | Do You Have Just One Day In New York City? Here Are 15 Things To Do!

15. Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse NYC
23 Vanderbilt Ave.

With tired feet and empty bellies, Gala and I circled around the Grand Central Terminal in search of a late dinner. We came upon this ex-NBA star’s restaurant, complete with sweeping views of the main concourse. Between the great view, spot-on service and a fantastic three-course meal, we were glad we made the stop, even though it was slightly unexpected.

So, there you go. New York City in a day! When I set out on an adventure with Gala at 10 am, I had no idea where the day would take me. I actually think those are the best kinds of days when you’re visiting a city, don’t you? Throw your plans out the window and just see what happens. Here’s to many more adventures!


Photos and video: Shauna Haider and Gala Darling.