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5 Simple Ways to Use Your Planner for Self-Care This Year

by Compendium · 01.03.2019


A planner can be the keeper of many treasures—family gatherings, lunch dates with friends, kids’ birthday parties, work engagements. Each entry is a snapshot of the everyday moments of our lives and a small glimpse into our priorities too.

With a new year ahead of us, how will you fill your calendar? How can you use your time to create a life you love?

Making a commitment to self-care is a wonderful place to start. Life can pull us in many directions, but a few intentional moments of personal time can do so much. It may sound indulgent, but regularly setting aside time to dream, reflect, and unwind can have a meaningful effect on your physical and emotional well-being.

Here are a five simple and enjoyable ways to use your 2019 planner to promote new self-care routines this year:

1. Give yourself something to look forward to every week.
Whether it’s a night out dancing, a trip to your favorite bakery, or time curled up with a good book, a few planned pleasures can make the whole week a bit brighter. Pencil in at least one thing each week that is sure to make you smile. There’s always a way to make room for play!

2. Create a habit of gratitude.
Let your planner reflect your grateful heart. Take a minute each day to write down one thing you are thankful for in your calendar. By the end of the year, you’ll have a collection of your favorite memories and a record of the things that made this year so full of life.

3. Give yourself the gift of quiet time.
Slow things down by dedicating a weekly window to being unplugged. Perhaps you’d like to take a hike, attend a yoga class, or book a massage. Schedule in some regular quiet time and give your mind space to be restored.

4. Plan a trip, big or small.
An adventure begins the moment you put it on your calendar—the anticipation can bring joy before you’ve even left your home. Find a time to discover a new place or become a tourist in your own city. Add a trip to your agenda and let the fun begin. It can be to the other side of the world or simply the other end of a local bus line.

5. Build in time to connect with those around you.
Brightening someone else’s day can lift our spirits in unexpected ways. Is there someone you could delight with a handwritten note? A charity you’ve been meaning to get more involved with? A person you’ve been meaning to call? Set aside time to reach out and watch these little moments bring new energy to every day.

Let this year be one of intention. Create a calendar that is a celebration of the things that matter most to you!


» Comments   Tags: planner · inspirational products


Celebrate the Season!

by Compendium · 11.14.2018

It's the season of giving, sharing, and spending time with those who matter most. Our Holiday Gift Guide is here to help you find just the right gifts for everyone on your list—from loved ones to friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Spread joy, inspire hope, and celebrate the season today!

—Seasonal Gifts for Everyone—

Explore our full holiday collection here.

—Gifts for Kids—

Discover other creative gifts for kids here.

—Gift Collections for Everyday Inspiration—

Choose one of our stunning collections to create a heartfelt gift set here.

—Stocking Stuffers—

Discover these and more fun stocking stuffers here!

Happy holidays from Compendium! We're wishing you a beautiful season filled with inspiration and joy.

» Comments   Tags: holiday · gifts · gift guide · gift books · inspirational products


The Courage to Shine

by Cindy · 10.11.2018

On a sunny afternoon in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, I visited Shine , a local retail resource for those undergoing cancer treatments. I wanted to learn more—as a Compendium editor writing this story for Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is October, but also as a woman and a friend to several women who are breast cancer survivors.

Owned and operated by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), Shine is unique in that it brings together goods and services not typically found in one place and in a supportive, nonclinical setting. In addition to stylish gifts, essential products and services for cancer patients are available, including wigs, compression garments, prosthetics, and physical therapy goods, as well as complimentary wig trims and head shaves performed by licensed cosmetologists. Also open to anyone looking for a heartfelt gift, this friendly neighborhood retailer is a convenient spot to shop, and all proceeds benefit SCCA patient and family programs.

Comanagers Eileen Hood (left) and Carrie L. Jacobsen, both certified mastectomy and compression
fitters at Shine, which is owned and operated by Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

As I chatted with Eileen Hood, one of two hardworking store managers, I found myself feeling truly grateful for these compassionate women who guide patients and loved ones every day through unfamiliar and often frightening times. I left the store that day moved and inspired by both Shine and SCCA—bright beacons guiding many courageous women forward.

Compendium is honored to recognize patients, survivors, and caregivers this Breast Cancer Awareness month by donating 10% of our profits from any purchase during October to SCCA and Shine. We invite you to join us in giving the gift of hope today!

» Comments   Tags: compassion · caregivers · community · inspirational products · encouragement


One Storyteller Brings Inspiration to Many

by Compendium · 09.24.2018


Michael D. McCarty (middle row, yellow T-shirt) inspires others through storytelling workshops.
Michael D. McCarty (middle row, yellow T-shirt) inspires others through storytelling workshops.

How many people does it take to spark the imagination? To have a meaningful impact on the lives of others? One! And in the case of Michael D. McCarty, it’s someone who knows the joy of reading, understands the power of language, and believes in the art of storytelling to positively shape lives.

Inspired by his mother, Michael developed storytelling skills and an abiding love for reading at a young age. A multicultural storyteller, he’s been leading workshops professionally in the US and abroad since the early 1990s. In 2014, a fellow artist and friend working in California prisons through an Arts in Corrections program invited him to participate. Michael accepted and now teaches as part of a broader curriculum designed to give inmates the opportunity to develop self-awareness and express themselves therapeutically through a combination of visual, literary, and performing arts.

Michael’s workshop focuses on helping participants find, create, and tell their stories. One lesson involves giving our ThoughtFulls pop-open cards to inmates and inviting them to share an experience that relates to the quote on the inside of the card. The assignment is intended to give rise to story ideas that could be used to shape personal narratives the inmates are working on.

Once Michael started using ThoughtFulls as story prompts, momentum grew and something wonderful happened that both delighted and surprised him: inmates started swapping the ThoughtFulls cards with each other, copying down quotes they liked, or hanging them in their lockers and cells. Some felt moved to send ThoughtFulls to their children, wives, and other family members. What initially started as a workshop exercise became a heartfelt way for inmates to connect with each other and with loved ones too.

Michael, inspired by his students, now gives each workshop participant two additional cards to do with as they wish! But he doesn’t stop there:

"I also share the cards with the corrections officers, prison staff, hotel staff, and fellow artists. I often keep some in my car and in my pocket and give them to whoever methinks could use one. They are a big hit."

Thank you, Michael, for inspiring us with your story and for sharing your talents with the world!

And we invite you to make a difference in the lives of those around you with our ThoughtFulls today!

» 1 Comment   Tags: community · gratitude · window cards · inspirational products


Make Room for Fun with Play!

by Compendium · 07.16.2018

When you were little, a request to come out and play held a special kind of magic. It was an invitation to climb trees, build forts, and make mud pies! And it was the start of an adventure, where your imagination led the way. But at some point you grew up, trading playtime for pursuing a career, paying bills, and taking care of adult responsibilities. Well it’s time to bring back recess!

Our new activity book Play is an opportunity to reconnect with the freedom, joy, and spontaneity that you felt as a child. Growing research shows that play is not a childhood luxury but a necessary part of being a healthy adult. It’s essential for inspiring creativity, solving problems, managing stress, and building healthy relationships at work and at home.

Play is filled with activities, prompts, and ideas to build more fun into your world. And the best part is, childlike joy is right at your fingertips. With just a little effort, you can add something special to any day. Here are a few examples:

  • Find a cloud that looks like an animal.
  • Draw a self-portrait with your nondominant hand.
  • Blow bubbles in a public place.
  • Bring a box of Popsicles to your next meeting.
  • Put colored sprinkles on your toast.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt for everyday treasures.
  • Play a song to dance to every Thursday at four o’clock.
  • Make an amazing sound track for a chore you usually hate doing.

Play is here to give you permission to create your own recess—and experience all of its wonderful benefits!

In writing the book, author M.H. Clark found herself joyfully remembering her younger self and sought to create a space for readers to do the same. “I hope that Play serves as a gentle, bright-spirited reminder that play is a fundamental need to each of us, and that it’s easier than we might think to add playful elements to our days,” she says. “Just a little dash makes our work, our relationships, our daily tasks and projects feel more fun, more inspired, more possible. It feels good and it’s good for us! What’s not to love?”


» Comments   Tags: inspirational products


Discover the Creative Inspiration Behind Escapes

by Meredith · 12.18.2017

Vacations have a way of restoring us on every level—body, mind, and spirit. They remind us that the world is full of beauty and adventure. They give us a chance to discover what happens when we break with our daily routine and seek out the unexpected. And, most importantly, they reconnect us to ourselves.

Simply put, vacations reignite our spirits. And that’s exactly what we set out to do in creating Escapes. Escapes offers a series of tiny vacations with poetic and sensory writing about beautiful destinations and evocative watercolor images.

“Maybe someone doesn’t have the means or the time to travel,” says Sarah Forster, the artist behind Escapes, “but with this book, they can still be transported to the magic of a place no matter where they are.”

It was a particular moment in Paris that gave Sarah the idea for this book. “I stepped off the train,” she said, “and the sky had a softness to it. I could smell sweet blooms in the air. Pigeons cooed and the sounds of the city were like music.” Every time she thinks back to that moment, years later, she says it still brings her a feeling of bliss.

“I wanted to share that joy and inspiration with others,” Sarah says, and that’s where the idea for this book was born. Sarah’s impressionistic watercolors give a glimpse into other worlds, and leave room for you to imagine the rest. Paired with M.H. Clark’s writing, each page offers a chance to go somewhere, to experience something, and to bring a bit of your journey back with you.

To create each vignette, Sarah used very wet and loose watercolors, then added a pinch of salt for “unexpected flair.” “I love creating the paintings,” she reflects. “I tried to let the paint take on its own life on the paper and not control it so much… to just let the magic happen.”

In addition to the evocative images, Sarah used hand lettering on certain phrases, including the cover title, to highlight their importance while also offering an intimate, personal feel. “I wanted the look to feel calm and easy to read—providing the reader a space to breathe and take a moment.” Sarah also chose a cloth material for the cover, with foil-embossed lettering, to give readers a book that echoes the sensory, tactile nature of the exercises and images inside.

Wanting to evoke the sensations of travel—and the potential it offers—Clark intentionally chose places that would bring a rich, vivid experience to readers. “From snowy cedar forests to rocky coasts and desert scenes at sunset, Escapes is a chance to connect with a sense of stillness, calm, groundedness, and inspiration,” she says. “We feel so deeply alive when we notice and feel engaged with the world… it’s that sense of being truly, wonderfully present that I wanted to capture in these words.”

Whether you’re reading Escapes with a cup of coffee during a break in a busy afternoon, or finding a peaceful moment before bed, it’s our hope that this title, like any good vacation, becomes a way for you to connect to yourself, to rediscover a sense of beauty and adventure, and to restore yourself on every level along the way.

» 1 Comment   Tags: gift books · inspirational products


A Community Inspired: Ashley Mengoni

by Rochelle · 04.23.2014

I believe that one of the most important things to learn in life is that you can make a difference in your community, no matter where you live. I have seen so many good deeds – people helped, lives improved – because someone cared. ~Rosalynn Carter

Ashley Mengoni saw a need in her community and decided she wanted to help. Ashley is the manager of The Essential Baking Company in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, nestled five minutes north of downtown and three blocks from our Compendium office. 

Inspired by the caffe sospeso (“suspended coffee” in Italian) concept of a “pending” coffee paid for by one customer as an advance donation toward another needy customer, Ashley wanted to implement something similar at the café. She recruited her fiancé Jimmy, and together they went to the hardware store and bought some wooden rods. Jimmy sawed the rods into small rounds, creating 75 tokens that the couple then glazed and painted with hearts and coffee cups. The concept was simple: a charitable customer could purchase a $2.75 token and it would remain in a glass jar near the cash register for anyone in need to inconspicuously use as payment for a cup of coffee. 

Tokens at the Essential Baking Company

The 75 tokens sold out at the café in three days. The suspended coffee concept was so warmly received by the community that Ashley and her team decided to expand it to include bread. One token bought a cup of coffee and two tokens purchased a suspended loaf of freshly baked bread. 

Ashley and Jimmy have made hundreds more tokens in recent months. Impressed by the success of the tokens, The Essential Baking Company expanded the program to their other three cafés in the Seattle area. Ashley also regularly delivers tokens to Mary’s Place and Homeless in Seattle, neighborhood charities that work directly with the homeless.

It never ceases to amaze us the power that one individual has to affect the lives of others. Even if it’s a simple cup of hot coffee and slice of fresh bread, the kindness in the gesture is priceless.  

Ashley Mengoni

Image copyright Rex Hohlbein, Homeless in Seattle.



» 4 Comment s   Tags: compassion · community · inspirational products


A Letter-Writing Challenge

by Rochelle · 03.31.2014

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”
-Haruki Murakami 

There’s a special thrill that comes when you open your mailbox and, nestled amid the bills and ads, you find a letter addressed to you. The pretty postage stamp; the black time stamp marking the date and location of your sender’s locale—be it far-flung or close to home; the handwriting you instantly recognize as being that of a loved one or friend; the weight of the letter in your palm.

In an effort to promote literacy, creativity, and documenting history, the United States Postal Service has designated April as “National Card and Letter Writing Month.” At Compendium, we’re lucky to spend our days designing and writing greeting cards, books, and gifts that inspire and commemorate life’s important events—and this theme hits close to home for us in the very best way. 

Two companies, Hello!Lucky and Egg Press, are teaming up with a campaign to inspire folks to write 30 letters to 30 different people every day in April. We’re so excited about this idea that many of our employees are taking on the challenge, and we’d like to extend the challenge to you, too! 


Looking for ways to have a little fun and make the 30 days fly by successfully? Here are 10 writing ideas to spark your creativity:

1. Thank a teacher—past or present—for the value that education and their teaching has brought to your life (or the life of your child).

2. Write a letter to a senator or member of Congress.

3. Send a letter to a child or teenager who might not have familiarity with traditional mail. Include a self-addressed return envelope and encourage them to write back.

4. Surprise someone who lives with you by sending them a card or letter via post.

5. Recruit friends and mail a stack of cards to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Ask staff to give them to lonely seniors.

6. Honor the memory of someone who has passed away by sending a note of remembrance to their widow, widower, or child letting them know that person is always in your thoughts.

7. Leave a postcard of thanks for your postal carrier.

8. Photo cards are not just for the holidays. Print cards at a local drugstore with a current snapshot from your life. Surprise family members and friends with this personal memento!

9. If you’re unsure about what to say, practice your prettiest handwriting with a poem or quote and send it to someone special.

10. Join a pen pal site online and make a new friend in a country you’ve always been curious about. It could be a wonderful opportunity to practice a foreign language or learn about a new culture.

Will you participate in the 30-day challenge? We’d like to hear about it! Tell us your letter-writing ideas, successes, and stories in the comments below or on Facebook

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Start Something Good

by Meredith · 11.08.2013

When the people who work at Compendium think about what it means to do something good in the world--whether it's a kind word, a small favor, or a selfless act--we believe it creates a ripple. It's an image we're all familiar with--a stone dropped into a still pond that sends out ripples far and wide. But have you ever thought of yourself as the pebble? As the single point of impact that changes everything?

That's what we started thinking about last week when we read this wonderful article at the New York Times. It's all about the phenomenon of people "paying it forward" at coffee shops and fast-food restaurants--an example, one woman says, of "goodness gone viral." All over North America, people at drive-up windows are paying for the people behind them. And the most amazing part is that the recipients of that initial act of kindness often end up paying for the people behind them. Sometimes, a chain gets going that can last for hours. One string of cars lasted for over 200 people. 200. Can you imagine? Each of those people drove away knowing they had done something simple and kind and completely unexpected for a total stranger. That's at least 200 people whose days were made brighter and fuller, just because one person decided to start something good.

So today, or next week, or any time inspiration strikes, why not take this story as a little challenge? As a reminder to do something truly good and utterly out-of-the-blue for a perfect stranger? Then, come back here or join us on Facebook and tell us what happened. You'll feel good and someone else will feel good, but the best part? That's just the beginning!

» 4 Comment s   Tags: inspirational products · encouragement


ABC Menagerie

by Meredith · 12.09.2011

"Inspiration is everywhere" is something we say often at Compendium. It's a philosophy we live by. The thought always reminds me of children, for whom inspiration truly is everywhere. Children have a gift for finding opportunities wherever they go and special moments in ordinary days. They savor a single cookie, a bright rock, an unexpected feather. They find beauty wherever it lies.

When Compendium's CEO stumbled across artist Elena Targioni's studio while on vacation in Italy, her sculptures awakened in him a child's sense of wonder and delight. And when the rest of us saw her artwork, we had a similar reaction. Everyone wanted to hold Elena's soft and whimsical sculptures. And everyone was curious to know what was in store for these wonderful creatures.

After some long conversations, lots of writing, countless hours of design, and four days of photo shoots...

we created this:

our latest addition to the Compendium Kids line. ABC Menagerie is one of those books that's sure to enchant any child (and plenty of adults, too). Each animal is introduced with whimsical poetry, and pops off the page with personality and vivid texture thanks to the work of talented photographer Hank Drew and his assistant Genevieve Pierson.

Do you know someone who'd like to meet a new friend or two? Maybe a whole menagerie? Would you like to give someone a cheerful reminder of the sense of wonder we can take in the world around us? This book makes a beautiful gift for any child, or for anyone you know with a childlike heart. Ayo the aardvark, Brunhilde the bear, and Chione the camel tell us they can't wait to meet you!

» 4 Comment s   Tags: children's books · gift books · inspirational products