Tag Archives: Travels

15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

Nubby Twiglet | 15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

Four years ago, an email landed in my inbox for a new retreat, Designer Vaca. Held annually in Palm Springs, the all female gathering for creatives quickly grew from a group of 25 to close to 200 attendees. Every year, though very different from the last, has held one central theme: openness. No matter how many ladies attend, a sense of friendliness and a willingness to share stories and ideas resonates and that’s what keeps me coming back.

I talk about Designer Vaca a lot because it really shifted my career by giving me the confidence to drop all outside gigs and trust that I could be my own boss. I went from being scared shitless the first year to having my own studio the second. Meeting other women doing the exact same thing made me feel less alone. It also provided me with a strong support network — ladies I’d only knew online became close friends and that makes all the difference when you’re working for yourself, unsure of what each day holds.

Showing up to Designer Vaca has taught me a lot and if you’re considering attending, I wanted to share some tips to make your time there as smooth as possible:

1. Register Fast

When tickets go on sale, things get crazy and they are usually completely sold out in 1 to 2 days. Even if you’re on the fence about attending, just buy the damn ticket! Worst case scenario is that you can always sell it to a friend or offer it up in the private Facebook group. Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to find out when registration re-opens.

2. Stay Late

The retreat flies by and it can be a little overwhelming networking when you’re still trying to get your bearings. Whenever I’ve left as soon as the retreat was over, I’ve regretted it big time. An extra day or two allows you to get to know more ladies on a deeper level without the set schedule — it’s the perfect time to hang out by the pool or go on group trips to Joshua Tree and Salvation Mountain. Your post-retreat time is sacred. It’s the ideal time to discover, explore and most importantly, relax!

3. Fly Into LA

Palm Springs has a teeny, tiny airport that’s quite expensive to fly into. The most cost efficient way to get to the retreat is to fly into LA and then drive to Palm Springs. Depending on traffic, it’s about two hours from LAX. And, there’s plenty of fun stuff to see on the way like the Cabazon Dinosaurs!

4. Carpool

Tons of the girls attending Designer Vaca are California natives and have extra room in their cars. If you can get to LAX, chances are that you can hitch a ride to the retreat! My friend Pam carpooled this year and had the time of her life with a group of ladies in a rented yellow Camaro. Once you register, you’ll automatically be added to the private Designer Vaca Facebook group and you can hook up with a carpool in there.

5. Pair Up With Roomies

Whether you’re trying to save some money or just want to make some new friends, partnering up with roommates is a great option. Between hitting the talks, dinners and pool, the time you spend in your room is so little, anyway! To find roommates, join the Facebook group.

6. Hot Tub After Hours

This is a big one! Everyone is always exhausted from traveling but the real magic happens at night in the hot tub. I always have the most memorable conversations (from Burning Man to weird celebrity trivia, all bases are covered) and though I’m tired the next day, it’s nothing a strong cup of coffee can’t cure.

7. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

With 100+ women to see and meet, it can be difficult to even scratch the surface. When our group was just 25 ladies, I walked away knowing everyone on a more personal level. But with the growth, it’s just impossible to meet everyone. Instead, I’ve started messaging ladies on Instagram that I really want to meet and then letting the rest of my interactions happen naturally. This year, I made so many new friends just by joining different groups and eating lunch by the Ace pool.

8. Pack Business Cards

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again: BUSINESS CARDS ARE NOT DEAD! Some of the interactions you’ll have are in packed, loud rooms. It’s impossible to understand your contact information when you’re shouting it out — save everyone the trouble and hand out cards. Since this is a design-focused retreat, it’s also the perfect opportunity to show off your skills. A lot of the girls Instagram the cards they’ve gotten afterwards so once again, it’s a great marketing opportunity. Based on the cards I gathered this year, most of us are using Moo Luxe.

9. Be Fearless

This year, I read so many Instagram updates from new ladies who were very open about how nervous they were to attend Designer Vaca. Whenever you attend something new, that’s totally normal! Nerves kick in, you wonder if you’re too old or too young, you wonder if your website looks good enough and if your outfits are cute enough. Seriously, throw all that out the window. I felt that exact same way the first year and within a day, I was over it. Don’t waste your time or energy second-guessing yourself. Instead, use that energy to go out of your way to make someone else feel welcome. If you see a lady standing by herself on opening night, say hello. This is not the time to be shy — everyone is there to network!

10. Use The Photo Booth

Every year, I drag all my friends into the Ace Hotel photo booth and every time, I’m so thankful that I have those memories. Swipe that card a few times — the photo strips are perfect for your inspiration board back home. Even better, scan the strip and email it to everyone in it. I did that the first year and it definitely made me more memorable to my new friends.

11. Rise Early

The sunrises in Palm Springs are some of the best in the world. There’s nothing quite like being in the desert…so don’t miss out! Also, the main restaurant at the Ace, King’s Highway, gets packed in the mornings before we head to the 10 a.m. talks. Getting food, let alone the check can take forever. Get a move on it and beat the crowds.

12. Keep It Casual

While it’s nice to dress up on opening night (the atmosphere is like a casual cocktail party), the rest of the time is super laid back. Most of our time is spent attending talks or lounging by the pool so keep it simple. Just don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, sunscreen and sunglasses!

13. Leave The Compound

While staying at the Ace is fun, Palm Springs is full of amazing hotels, restaurants and sights. My favorite places to eat are Las Casuelas for Mexican and Lulu’s California Bistro for a bit of everything — this is a total crowd pleaser, no matter what your dietary restrictions are. I also like The Avalon for poolside drinks, Birba for pizza and Cheeky’s for brunch.

14. Chill Out

Designer Vaca is fantastic for networking but at the end of the day, don’t forget to relax. There’s nothing worse than leaving a vacation feeling totally exhausted! The scheduling at the retreat is purposely minimal so you have time to hang out, get some sun and recharge. Let things happen naturally — there’s no race to the finish line!

Nubby Twiglet | 15 Tips To Rock Your Stay at Designer Vaca!

15. Be Yourself

There’s no reason to put on a show — everyone who’s new to the group feels just as self-conscious and as worried as you. Vulnerability is encouraged — the more open you are, the more likely you’ll draw in your ideal tribe of new friends. During Designer Vaca, I’ve seen tears shed and we’ve all confessed moments of complete failure. These are the stories that bring us together because we are all human. We all have ups and downs. If you want to connect on a deeper level, you have to be willing to open up. The support system I’ve gotten from these ladies is unreal.


I hope these tips help you have an amazing time at Designer Vaca. And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

The Week In Pictures: 10.11.15

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Hello from Palm Springs! I’ve missed all of you! This has been an action-packed week filled with an anniversary shoot with Joey and Rocky, Designer Vaca and plenty of reconnecting with creative friends old and new.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

Arriving in Palm Springs always feels like walking into a parallel life. It’s a life I love and dream about all the time full of relaxation, sunshine and friendly folks around every corner.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

I visit Palm Springs a few times each year but this time since I was in town for a full week, I wanted to mix things up even more. We drove out to the Salton Sea and on the way home, lounged under rows of date trees. There’s so much beauty to discover in the desert.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

This time, I played a bit of hotel musical chairs switching places every two days to keep the atmosphere fresh. Halfway through my stay, I moved over to the Ace which has one of the best pools in town. In between Designer Vaca talks, this was our home base, with plenty of late nights catching up in the hot tub.

Nubby Twiglet | Palm Springs

I’d been having serious withdrawals from Chubs so it made my day when my friend Jessica surprised me with a golden squirrel figurine. Best gift ever!

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5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

Visiting a city is always more fun when locals share personal recommendations about what to see, do and eat.

This time around, I put together a list based on suggestions from my Instagram followers and it made my stay in San Francisco the best one yet. If you’re visiting the city by the bay, these are the five things I enjoyed the most. I hope these suggestions help you have a wonderful stay, too!

1. Have a drink at the Tonga Room

When I asked folks on Instagram what I should do, The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar was by far the most recommended. And now, I can totally see why — after visiting, I’m convinced it’s one of the most magnificent hidden gems in the city.

First off, the tiki bar is hidden away in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel, a very classic, high end hotel full of marble surfaces. There are literally no signs and that’s what makes this adventure even more fun — you take an elevator down to the basement, walk down a nondescript hallway and then, quite dramatically, THERE YOU ARE. The place even has a live band that plays soft rock classics from the 60s and 70s on a boat that moves out towards seated patrons in the middle of a body of water, formerly the hotel’s pool. The whole experience is heavy on kitsch, completely over the top and yes, drinking out of a coconut is highly encouraged.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

2. Buy flowers and magazines at Birch SF

On my day off, I was walking through the very boutique-heavy Hayes Valley when I spotted an odd yet perfect hybrid of a shop at Birch SF. With pitch black walls full of one-of-a-kind floral arrangements and hard to find magazines, I was in heaven.

I asked owner Torryne Choate about the mix of offerings and she said she was passionate about flowers and magazines so she decided to open a place specializing in both. It’s as simple as that — and I admire anyone who follows their dream! Stop in this shop just for a jolt of pure visual inspiration — the still lifes she’s curated are off the hook.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

3. Pick out treats at Miette

Decorated in pastel hues and featuring a wall of glass candy jars, Miette is a sweets shop straight out of childhood dreams. Voted one of the top ten pastry shops in the world by Conde Nast, it’s easy to see why — there’s a massive selection of imported candies that are difficult to find anywhere else including chocolate bars wrapped in wallpaper-inspired prints from Vietnam.

Whatever your taste is, there’s a little something for everyone. Take a video tour of the shop right here.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

4. Eat Artisanal Toast at The Mill

Over the last year, I’d been reading articles about the artisanal toast trend and it seemed like a bit of a joke. $4.00 for a slice of toast? Really?! When I found myself staying down the road from The Mill, the epicenter of the trend, it was time to give in and find out what all the fuss was about.

Bright and early on a Saturday morning, I ordered a slice and dear lord. It was so good that I went back the next two mornings before leaving town. My top pick? Whole wheat sesame poppy bread with butter and homemade peach jam. Talk about comfort food! The process of getting the toast just right is very specific — there’s even a sign at the front counter telling you it’s going to take 6 minutes. Options change regularly but I promise, they’re all good.

Nubby Twiglet | 5 Fun, Easy Things To Do in San Francisco

5. Explore pottery and gifts at Heath Ceramics

Handmade in California since 1948, Heath Ceramics is legendary. Its San Francisco outpost has a tile factory and you can buy a selection of its pieces on-site.

What I loved about this location is that it’s also stocked with a ton of other beautiful American-made brands. From cookbooks to chocolates to kitchen gadgets, it’s the perfect place to shop for a housewarming gift for that special someone. Visiting Heath is a great reminder that quality never goes out of style.

Even with all the changes it’s currently undergoing, San Francisco is still loaded with charming, independent businesses and I hope these suggestions make your trip even more fun. Enjoy!

The Week In Pictures: 7.17.15 | Cannon Beach

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

On Monday night, I was sitting in my office chatting with a friend who’d had a hard day. An hour into catching up on life, I blurted out, “You know what I love most about you? How spontaneous you are. You’re always up for anything. Wouldn’t it be funny if we decided to get up tomorrow and drive to the beach?”

A moment of silence hit.

Then, she responded with, “This is really weird but I was just meeting with a mentor earlier today and she said that I should go to the beach or forest to clear my mind and take a long walk with someone I trust.” I took that as a sign and we wasted no time setting up an out-of-town adventure for the next day.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

Beach, pleeeeeease.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

I packed the bare basics and we were sitting in the sand by noon.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

We first visited Manzanita and then Cannon Beach, which was calm and serene mid-week. The most beautiful flowers lined the sides of the road.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

I love the weathered, quaint look of houses and businesses at the beach.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

After the long walk my friend’s mentor had recommended, we found a log along the edge of the beach and spent a few hours just chillin’. I still had some work to do via email but anyone that needed anything immediately was met with, “Sorry, I can’t work right now. My feet are in the sand.” Luckily, my clients are cool and laughed it off!

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

No stop to the beach is complete without some sweet indulgences. This candy shop is always a favorite.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

The one and only Haystack Rock.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

Every time I visit Cannon Beach, it’s a personal tradition to snap a photo of this place. So unbelievably cool.

Nubby Twiglet | The Week In Pictures: Cannon Beach

As we said goodbye, I was happy I made the time to get away, spend time with a good friend and ignore all the things that needed to get done, at least for a day. If you, a family member or friend is having a difficult time, I know how hard it can be to work through an issue when your mind is spinning and just a day out in the world exploring can provide you with some much needed clarity.

“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” –Napoleon Hill

Have a great weekend, friends. xo

The Week In Pictures: 6.22.15 | Marrakech

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

Hello, how have you been?! I’ve been traveling across Morocco and Italy for the past two weeks and for a big chunk of that time, I’ve taken a major break from being online — it’s been so amazing spending my days wandering through unfamiliar cities, taking hundreds of photos, sitting at cafes, window shopping and having plenty of time to catch up with two of my best friends.

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

I spent last week in Marrakech and wanted to share some of the scenery with you. Marrakech is the fourth largest city in Morocco which is located in northwest Africa. Founded in 1062 AD, the layers of history are apparent around every corner.

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

We stayed at El Fenn, which is owned by Richard Branson’s sister, Vanessa. A knack for hospitality and a sense of humor runs in the family — her attention to art and even the smallest details made it the perfect retreat after encountering the hustle and bustle of the winding medinas.

Nubby Twiglet | Marrakech, Morocco

These are some of my favorite moments from the last week…

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Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Less than an hour drive from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree is completely otherworldly and a must-see. Photos just don’t do the place justice. Named after the peculiar looking spiky trees that cover the landscape, the park is open year-round. It’s an absolutely massive place made up of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, covering a total of 794,000 acres.

Due to the heat, we made our way to Joshua Tree during the morning hours. The drive took us through rambling small desert towns full of trailers, shops and stands dotted alongside the dusty landscape.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Because the park is so large, if you’re unfamiliar with the place, I’d recommend pulling into the visitor center first. Next, as you make your way to the park, you’ll come upon an entrance where you’re charged $15.00 per car and the receipt is good for re-entrance for up to another week.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

From there, it takes a few miles to work your way deep inside the park. It’s easy to forget you’re in California — the place feels like another planet altogether with Joshua Trees stretching on as far as the eye can see. And, it’s quiet. So, so quiet. You might hear the occasional lizard scurry past your feet but that’s about it.

Besides animal footprints left behind in the soft, sandy ground, it’s easy to imagine the place staying nearly the same over the last 5,000 years, when the first inhabitants laid claim to the land.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #8: Joshua Tree National Park

2015_nubbytwiglet_joshua_tree_10

While we only stayed for an hour, if you have a little more time, there are plenty more things to do in the park, including camping.

Ready to plan your own trip? Visit the Joshua Tree site for everything you’ll need to prepare.


I Wore: Nasty Gal LA Woman Dress and Marc Jacobs sneaker wedges.
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Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

Every time I searched Pinterest for things to do in Palm Springs, I was greeted with a stream of photos of this glam baby pink door. Curious about its popularity, I googled pink door palm springs and quickly learned that it’s the most photographed residential door in the city.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

It’s not unusual for mid-century modern homes in Palm Springs to have brightly painted doors — in fact, it’s a trademark. But the predominant hues are yellow, orange and turquoise. Pink? It definitely makes a statement. I knew there had to be a story behind it.

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

Nubby Twiglet | Out & About #7: The Pink Door In Palm Springs

It turns out that this famous house is owned by interior designer Moises Esquenazi and perhaps not surprisingly, has been honored as one of the “Best Homes in America” in the 25th Anniversary edition of Metropolitan Home.

And, if you’re wondering what resides behind those fabulous pink doors (because I definitely was!), look no further. Moises has such amazing taste — this is one house I desperately wish was available on Airbnb! Gotta love someone who isn’t afraid to take chances with their home.



I wore: Topshop laser cut dress and Marc Jacobs sneaker wedges.
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