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The Month + Links: July 2017

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

How’s your summer going so far?

I just flew home from New York last week and enjoyed a quiet 4th of July around the house and it feels like the right time to jump back into blogging.

You know that famous quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans?” Well, I feel like this year has been one wild roller-coaster of unpredictability for most of the people I know, from family to friends to clients, myself included. I think the unease with the current political climate has trickled into general unease everywhere else — things around us are changing faster than ever, and not always for the better.

Life is good, though and I have so much to be thankful for. When I did feel negativity creeping in due to a few setbacks over the last few months, I took a legit break for some much-needed reflection. In 16 years of blogging (and nearly 10 years in this space! What?!) I’ve never taken this long of a break and for those of you who sent me personal messages, I appreciate your kindness so much.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

Here’s the thing — back in the day, especially in my 20s, when something knocked me down, I pushed through it to keep a routine and momentum. At 35, I know better. Instead of phoning in half-baked content and faking authenticity, I’d rather take time, think things through and come back with my best work.

I won’t half-ass a project when I’m working with clients and I won’t do it here. Life is too short to put things out that you don’t feel 100% awesome about.

So, here’s what happened — sit tight, this is going to be a long post!

THE MONTH (OR, AHEM, LAST FEW MONTHS)

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

1. A DREAM DELAYED

For the past two years, Joey and I have been prepping to buy a condo in Palm Springs to escape Portland winters. Back in April, we put in an offer on what seemed like the perfect place. Here’s a photo from the back yard, complete with a big, fat palm tree. Look at Rocky’s smile!

The process began fairly smoothly, but in the midst of the excitement, there were a few big red flags I should have noticed. We went with a local lender who knew the intricacies of the area well (many properties are on land leases). As the closing date crept up, I got an uneasy feeling that I couldn’t seem shake (always, ALWAYS trust your gut!) which felt weird since I’d wanted this for so long.

As we reviewed the final paperwork, I noticed some hidden charges. Then, there were demands for a larger down payment right before closing. I’ve bought before so I knew what to expect and this process was….way off. The lack of honesty made me question what else was hidden and after weighing the pros and cons for a few more days, we called it off. Within a few days though, the cloud of disappointment lifted and gave way to a sense of relief.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because sometimes, in a fit of excitement, we ignore the signs right in front of us. Whether it’s a relationship, freelance project or buying a house, if you’ve given the situation everything you’ve got and it still isn’t working, take a step back and re-evaluate it. Is the timing right? Does it align with your goals? And most importantly, does it feel right? Don’t force it — there should be a natural flow.

The good news: we learned a lot of valuable lessons are back to searching for a place to buy before the year is over. We’re now more clear on what to expect and there’s no rush because I know the right fit for us is out there.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

2. GROWING PAINS

Right as our mortgage process was dragging on, I took on a big project that wasn’t an ideal fit (once again, always, always trust your gut.) Together, these two things were a perfect storm of stress.

Earlier this year, I had an inquiry from a potential client but after a short conversation, the project wasn’t quite right — plus we were booked out a few months. Then, a few months later, they followed up again and our project load had slowed down so we did a call and it went well. Things started out good but scope creep and tightened deadlines soon took over — and the proposal no longer resembled the project, which had nearly doubled in size. After one too many 3 am nights at the office and unmanageable expectations, we parted ways.

I deeply value my client relationships and as a business owner, it’s really important to me to deliver what’s promised so this was a situation I took really hard — and the main reason I needed a time out to regroup. A decade into being a designer and 400 projects down, I learned that there’s still a first time for everything. Bad things will happen. Learn from those mistakes, hold onto those lessons, move forward with grace and let go of any bad mojo.

95% of the time, projects run smoothly. But, the handful of times I’ve chosen to not listen to my gut, it hasn’t worked out.

As a reminder, value your unique talents, never, ever break your creative process (it’s there for a reason), be honest with expectations and set clear boundaries. To deliver the best possible outcome, you have to take care of yourself.

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

3. THE BREAK

After what felt like 2 months of nonstop stress, creative block and no time to blog (let alone sleep!), I took a time out and flew to New York to recharge. It was exactly what I needed.

I spent 5 solid days with Gala talking, laughing, eating, shopping, cleaning out 10 garbage bags of stuff from her apartment (organizing is my therapy, weirdly enough) and hanging out on The Wing rooftop eating scoops of Boys Beware ice cream (can you spot me?!)

Besides one work meeting (I have the best clients ever — they surprised me with a bag of fresh-baked cookies!) I focused on one simple goal: having fun. We took tons of goofy photo booth strips, walked through Times Square at midnight to shop at Forever 21, ordered multiple desserts just because, sipped on something called The Pink Drink and wore platform boots and big sunglasses everywhere.

Technically, I flew home even more exhausted than when I’d left for vacation (LOL), but also feeling more balanced, connected and focused than I had in a long time. I’m already planning another summer vacation for next month. Working hard is good but playing harder is better. 😉

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

4. FOCUSING ON THE GOOD

Now that summer is here, I want to make the most of it and focus on all the good things! Here’s my current happy list:

1. Chubs is almost 3 years old and thriving!

2. Joey just finished building our back yard tiki bar and it is AMAZING.

3. I paid off my last super ancient student loan. WOOHOO!

4. My designer Sam is a godsend — she comes up with the best creative solutions and always finds the coolest fonts.

5. Joey and I are having plenty of dates at Babydoll now that we know they have vegan pizza!

6. I just got a rubber plant at Portland Nursery.

7. Trader Joe’s just started selling the best smelling grapefruit-scented soy candles.

8. I helped Gala clean out her makeup and am enjoying experimenting with new colors and formulas from her cast-off pile. 😉

9. My favorite summer pastime is sipping homemade margaritas on our new deck as the sun sets.

10. I just discovered the coolest photo booth ever (appears to be from the 1950s?) at Dig A Pony.

11. Rocky is 10 and still has the energy of a puppy! Awwww.

12. I re-signed my office lease for another year.

13. August marks this blog’s 10 year anniversary!

I hope you guys are having a great summer and I appreciate you hanging out with me here, even after all these years.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.
What’s new with you?
What are you super excited about?
Any summer vacation plans?

P.S. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a link round-up but there’s so much good stuff below! Enjoy!

xoxoxo
Shauna

Nubby Twiglet | Month + Links: July 2017

THE LINKS

• How is this year feeling for you? Alex has 10 questions for your mid-year reflection.

• My newest podcast obsession is Missing Richard Simmons. I’ve been so intrigued with his disappearance from public life 3 years ago and as Dan Taberski starts digging, the story gets weirder and weirder.

• Such a good, timely reminder: growth doesn’t always mean bigger, better, or faster.

• So funny…and so true. Don’t light my expensive candles. EVER. “When I go to a friend’s house and she casually has a Diptyque burning unchecked in the bathroom, I think, My God, I have fancy friends…because who has $65 to burn?”

• I love the How To Do Anything series of posts! Always so clever.

• I’ve always wondered about the origins of the popular 80s “Memphis” design aesthetic (think bold color combos and squiggly lines) and here’s the story behind it!

• The secret to small talk.

• You can now do job searches on Google.

• This George Michael print is the best thing ever.

• This is both fascinating and freaky: human engineered organisms.

• Accidental Wes Anderson locations made me laugh!

• If you’re going to be in San Francisco over the summer, check out the Summer Of Love Illuminate installation!

• I love Paul Jarvis’ simple, no bullshit advice so much: Do what you say you’re going to do!

• If you or someone you know are struggling with student loan debt, you’re not alone. Listen to this. And then to this.

• Here’s how to retain your sanity when you work alone.

• Not every creative outlet needs to turn a profit — just enjoy it!

• I loved this story about the squatters of the Lower East Side in the 1980s.

• When I want to understand both sides of a political issue in a level-headed way, I listen to Joshua Johnson’s 1A podcast.

• You know, sometimes you have those days where you chat with Paris Hilton, hang with Kanye, eat Kim Kardashian’s banana pudding and walk over to Drake’s house to play basketball. Totally normal.

• If you’re an art history buff, you’ll LOVE Alexey Kondakov’s series of people from classical paintings inserted into modern photos.

10 Random Facts

Nubby Twiglet | 10 Random Facts

Awhile back, I shared a list of 10 random things I was into at the moment and I thought it would be fun to do a follow-up with 10 random facts about me. Of course, this is way more fun when you get involved — leave a random fact about yourself in the comments!

Here are mine:

1. Even though I’m left-handed, while growing up I was taught to use a mouse with my right so when I’m designing, you’d never know!

2. I was a total tomboy when I was younger and mostly bypassed Barbies for a Mr. T doll. I was so in love with Mr. T that I wore overalls like his character on the A-Team and even had a beach towel with his likeness on it! To this day, when I really like something, I go all in.

3. In middle school, I played the clarinet (of course, I picked the instrument that was all black). I was good, too! During band try-outs in the 6th grade, I got first chair but quickly down-voted myself over the course of the next few months to sit by my best friend in the trumpet section. 😉

4. I’m hyper-flexible and double-jointed! I’m also not very tall (5 ft. 3) so I probably would have made a good gymnast if I wasn’t so scared of heights.

5. I LOVE the German language. I took 4 years in high school and even a few college classes. Someday I’d like to go back to Germany for longer than a few days and brush up on my skills.

6. My first post-high school job was working in an office doing filing. When I say filing, I’m serious. There was a dedicated room in the warehouse full of rows of filing cabinets and the accounting department would let their invoices pile up for months at a time until I was on college break to whip it into shape. 8 hours a day of filing will drive anyone to the brink of madness!

7. When I was younger, I took Taekwondo and learned how to break boards! It was really fun until I got to middle school and decided I was too cool for it.

8. My musical guilty pleasure is Journey (yes, the band). My parents were obsessed with Journey and Steve Perry when I was a baby and listened to them on repeat. When I was in high school, my boyfriend worked at a record store and surprised me with a box of every single album (I still have them!) and needless to say, that won me over. 😉

9. I’ve always enjoyed being organized. As a child, I never had a messy room – everything had its place. To make up for that, my brother was the exact opposite! My mom noticed my skills early on and would pay me to organize her closet. My favorite part was lining up her shoes in color order.

10. Being a teenager was hard but I went goth and refused to conform. When I was 17, I met my idol, Marilyn Manson and that made the rest of high school a breeze. He made me feel like it was okay to be weird and never apologize for who I was.

Did anything on my list surprise you? Now, it’s your turn!


Photo: Made U Look.

Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

2016 was…intense.

While a year-end post has been on my mind for the last 2 weeks, I’ve had a hard time writing about it until today because I felt conflicted. When I get down to it, 2016 was a hugely positive year for me personally and I’m grateful for that…but it was also an incredibly difficult time for some of the people I’m closest with, not to mention an especially challenging time for the world.

Instead of doing the usual highlight-style recap, I’m switching it up with a mix of things I learned combined with changes I’m working on for the new year.

Let’s go!


1. AWARENESS

For me, 2016 was about awareness. It’s no longer okay to just hide in our little corners of the world. I found myself keeping better tabs of what was happening on a daily basis through the built-in news app on my iPhone, on Twitter, on the New York Times site and the Democracy Now! daily show. When I wasn’t doing that, I was watching history videos on Youtube and Amazon Prime and listening to stories on This American Life, which has years of archives. Public school glossed over a ton of subjects and I’m only now getting caught up on areas I missed. I’m looking forward to keeping this up in the new year.

2. CLEAN SLATE

Something I started this year and want to continue into 2017 is to clean out the clutter in my life. I’ve found that the more tidy my personal surroundings and digital digs are, the easier it is to concentrate. I’ve been using Unroll.me, a free service that makes it super easy to mass-unsubscribe from mailing lists and other items that clog my inbox. I also just deleted my Facebook Business page after being on the fence about it for ages. It feels so good to let go of things that no longer serve me.

3. REGULAR EXERCISE

I’m not as strong as I could be but exercising regularly has been something I’ve put off for years because all my clothes fit and I’ve never really struggled with my weight. Those two excuses have kept me from staying committed to anything and it’s a terrible mindset to have. At 35, it’s time to get myself on track. I’ve been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram and am joining her Sweat With Kayla app because 28 minute workouts are something that feels manageable. I’m ready.

4. SHARE MORE WORK

One area that suffered this year was taking the time to share my work. Graphic design fills up a big chunk of my day, yet I barely shared anything because I felt perpetually behind. Dozens of completed projects were simply delivered and then promptly dropped in the archives folder. That’s something I’m working on changing immediately and I’m back to blogging regularly on Branch, which I really enjoy doing.

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

5. KEEP IT LOCAL

While I’ve enjoyed traveling over the last 5 years, I definitely missed out on exploring all the great places in my hometown. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been making up for lost time by visiting NEVER Coffee Lab, the Russian tea service at The Heathman, Italian dinners at Pastini, baguettes and magazines at Oui Presse, drinks at Accanto, Chinese food at this amazingly decorated restaurant in Gresham, Mexican food at Nayar Taqueria….and probably a bunch more places I’m forgetting. 😉

6. ENCOURAGE CHANGE

This year, I was reminded of the obvious: the things I don’t agree with won’t just change on their own. Standing up is more important than ever and we can influence change through our daily interactions and decisions. I started donating to a few organizations I believe in and hope to continue to do so. I’m also getting better about speaking out when something doesn’t sit right with me. Going into 2017, I want to step it up and get more involved locally.

7. MORE ADVENTURES

Some of the best times I had this year were when I was traveling. I visited Palm Springs twice, Las Vegas twice, Miami once, New York three times, and London, Marrakech, Milan and the Amalfi Coast once. Those sometimes crazy adventures (all night pool parties, early morning walks along mountainside towns, windy boat rides) gave me the inspiration and drive to come home and work hard in-between. While I’m traveling less in 2017, the big trip I’m looking forward to includes a few weeks of exploring Italy and Morocco with my aunt Shannon. I’m excited to visit more museums and take things slower this time around.

8. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

My mantra is usually “work hard, play hard” but in 2017, I’m instead focusing on “quality over quantity” with everything I do. I’ve never felt good about rushing blog posts, client projects, conversations with friends or much of anything just to hit a so-called finish line. One of the first things I’m doing is going deeper in this space – less posts but more meaningful content. My Friday posts are condensing into a monthly review and longer link roundup. I want to use that time to instead share the content that’s been on my mind for ages that I never got round to. First up: a tour of my closet and how I keep it organized (which has only been on my list for a YEAR!)

9. MINDFUL PURCHASES

Did I need everything I bought this year? Not even close. Going forward, I want to work on buying less junk. I’ve been watching videos on minimalism and while that’s not exactly my lifestyle as a whole, I want to be more mindful about what I spend my money on. Over the holidays, I got a jump-start by spending Christmas with Joey cleaning out cupboards and closets, gathering bags of items for donations. That felt really good….and I want to keep the momentum.

Nubby Twiglet | Goodbye, 2016, Hello 2017!

Thanks for joining me in this space, whether you stop by regularly or occasionally. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to visit and wish you all the best for the new year. Let’s do this! —Shauna


Photos: Made U Look

Top 25 Posts of 2016

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

2016 has been a year of extremes – the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

As another year comes to a close, I like to look back at it in two parts: the first is a collection of my favorite blog posts. Some got lost in the mix and deserve to be dusted off, while others have helpful advice I think you’ll enjoy…or are just fun to look at.

While this blog has always had an underlying creative focus with a special love of design, one subject doesn’t make up an entire person (or audience) so I’ve included a variety of posts below, from creative insights to personal stories to style to travel.

Let’s get started!

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

CREATIVE INSIGHTS

1. Do It For The Love
Not everything needs to be done for monetary gain or fame. Whatever happened to doing something purely because you love it?

2. External Validation and Remembering That You’re Good Enough
With so much time spent online these days, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeking external validation, which is a bottomless pit.

3. Show Up and Do the Work
There is no quick fix…the one way to get what you want out of life is to do the work.

4. Being Different Is Good
You’ll never stand out by following the crowd.

5. Give Yourself Time To Just…Be.
It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out. The truth? Nobody really does.

6. 5 Tips to Update Your Design Portfolio
Portfolios are never really done — here are some ideas to freshen yours up.

7. 5 Tips For Getting Comfortable With Staying No
Saying no is something I still struggle with! How about you?

8. Overcoming The Pull Between Creativity and Criticism
Criticism can make us feel small and stop sharing. Don’t give into the negativity.

9. What’s Your Story?
Tell your audience who you are and exactly what you stand for. They’ll respect you even more.

10. An Inside Look at the First 3 Years Of Running a Creative Business
When I decided to build my own design studio from scratch, I had no idea what I was in for.

11. The Benefit of Longer Term Self-initiated Projects
Show potential clients what you’re capable of.

12. 10 Tips to Land Your Ideal Job
The perfect job doesn’t usually land in your lap but with some effort, you can make it happen.

13. 5 things To Share On Your Instagram Account
When you’re feeling stumped over what to share, these tips will get you going.

14. Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
People avoid doing all sorts of things because they feel too old. The truth is, your age is an asset.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

PERSONAL STORIES

15. Cheers To 9 Years!
Blogging changed my life for the better. 9 years in, I’m still going!

16. Thoughts on Friendship
Friendship as an adult is harder than I remember it as a child. Here’s how I feel about the subject.

17. My Palm Springs Vow Renewal
Joey and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in our favorite home away from home!

18. Fear and The Mountain
My irrational fear is heights. Sometimes, you just have to climb the damn mountain.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

TRAVEL

19. The Mini Guide to Marrakech
This Summer, I visited Marrakech for six wonderful days. Here’s a guide of what to see and do.

20. Out & About: Bar Luce
Wes Anderson designed this 50s-inspired pastel colored cafe in Milan. So magical!

21. What to See, Do and Eat in Palm Springs
My ultimate Palm Springs travel guide (and probably the most popular post this year).

22. New York City Guide: 20 Things To Do
Need some quick and easy ideas for your next visit to the Big Apple? I’ve got you covered!

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

FASHION & PERSONAL STYLE

23. Style Direction: Desert Rose
A rose-covered departure from my usual monochromatic style, shot in the middle of the Nevada desert.

24. What I Wore: Big Hats, Smokey Eyes and Leopard Print
An early Summer adventure with Made U Look (and my favorite style shoot of the year).

25. A Tattooed Dress In The Desert
Ah, the glorious beauty of Joshua Tree! I love that desert light.

Nubby Twiglet | Top 25 Posts of 2016

Enjoy — and I’ll be back later with a look back at the year.

Lots of love,
Shauna

The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

Since I returned from vacation a few weeks ago, I’ve been struggling to find a sense of balance with my daily routine. It’s been a busier season at work than usual and yesterday morning, I got to the studio early, sat down at my desk and was ready to write a post about my friend Sian’s new magazine, The Unmistakable Effect.

Then, my phone rang. It was my grandma, calling to tell me my cousin had an aneurysm and was in the hospital. Badly shaken, I closed the screen and texted my cousin a get well message I hoped he’d wake up to.

When things happen like this, it’s a huge reality check. Life is fragile and short. To spend it in a way that makes you unhappy just isn’t worth it. I was just watching a Vanilla Ice interview and he said, “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery” and that’s the truth.

So, that brings me back to The Unmistakable Effect. If you’ve ever broken out of your comfort zone to try something unexpected and uncharted, there can be an uneasiness that’s nearly impossible to bear. Everyone around you tends to say, “You have it good. Things are fine. Why do you need to shake up what you have?”

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

These conversations often come from a place of love but can also come from a place of fear depending on the person because they aren’t brave enough to take the leap themselves. No matter where the sentiments come from, taking a chance and embracing that mystery that comes with it is a tough road.

That’s why I admire what Sian is doing. She has a very distinct design style that has inspired me for years but instead of playing it safe with client work, she decided to experiment with her love of editorial design to create a digital magazine that she’s both designing and producing the content for.

The Unmistakable Effect is about doing your thing, unapologetically. If you’re like me, you’re sick of perfectly curated Instagram moments and blog posts where life looks like one flowing, beautifully shot fashion magazine. There’s no grit, there’s no failure and there’s no depth. I don’t know a single person with a life like that, myself included. There’s a mix of ups and downs, good and bad.

When the bad happens (this is life — and it inevitably does), we all have moments of wondering if we’re cut out for this creative path because there’s no rule book. The only way of knowing is by doing. By doing, you’re learning and figuring things out.

Nubby Twiglet | The Unmistakable Effect and An Ode To Doing Your Own Thing

During this season of change in my own business, I’ve been questioning everything. Our society tells us that bigger is better and having more, more, more is what we should strive for. That doesn’t sit well with me. The Unmistakable Effect is confirming what I’m feeling — that you have to stop trying to win at everyone else’s game, and start trying to win at your own.

When I worked at larger companies, I was always at my unhappiest. I always felt lost in the shuffle and unsure of where I fit in. When I worked at smaller companies, there was a family atmosphere that made me want to stick around. So in this time of transition and deciding if it’s time to grow bigger, I’m pushing back. I’m listening to what I want instead of what society tells me the dream is. I’m keeping things personalized. I’m deciding it’s worth it to stay hyper-creative and connected.

In your own career and life, you will hit many crossroads where you have to decide whether to stay on the safe road of the least resistance or choose your own adventure. Of course, most people will encourage you to play it safe — you have bills to pay, and people you don’t want to let down. But, if you play it too safe, you might end up pleasing everyone on the surface while letting down the one person that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle: yourself.

In issue 2 of the Unmistakable Effect, I have an interview about staying in the game with an inside look at the drive and commitment it takes to get to where you want to be. You can check it out here.

I hope it inspires you to do the work, ignore the outside noise and make yourself happy.

You deserve it.