Live Inspired

Not Your Average Gift Shop

by Angeline · 10.15.2012

When I first walked into Shine, I thought I was visiting just another fun neighborhood boutique. A rack of our Positively Green greeting cards stood by the entrance. Jewelry and assorted trinkets lined the front counter display. My eyes were immediately drawn to a display of brightly colored scarves. And while I'd certainly take my girlfriends to shop here, this cozy shop also has an even deeper purpose.

Owned and operated by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Shine is a retail resource for people who are undergoing cancer treatment. Not only is the store stocked with gift products, but they also sell important items that cancer patients need, such as wigs, compression garments, prosthetics, and physical therapy goods. Shine even offers complimentary head shaves and wig trims in the lower portion of the store. All the proceeds go back to benefit patient family services.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Eileen Hood and Carrie L. Jacobsen, the wonderful managers behind Shine. They tell me that the store came from a true customer need. Patients approached them asking where they could find wigs and breast prosthetics. They also needed a private place to choose and purchase these things.

Shine has become a safe haven for its customers. Cancer is a disease that often leaves patients feeling scared and uncertain. Shine's space is warm and inviting. Customers are met by a supportive staff of volunteers. Eileen tells me, "The people who run the register are volunteers who give their time and support. Many of them are cancer survivors so they have a great kinship with people. They're beautiful smiling faces for people who are overwhelmed."

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month--a time to honor cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones. Each day, Shine serves as a resource and comfort for cancer patients--and that is truly inspirational.

For more information on Shine, go to:

» 1 Comment   Tags:



by Amelia · 10.03.2012

Once a year, the Compendium office transforms itself. We become Funpendium—a little crazier, a little zanier version of ourselves. What’s the reason? Spirit Week. It’s a few days we set aside to get to know each other better, connect, and, well, act silly.

As a relatively new member of the Compendium family, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. The week before, I was handed a Spirit Week Field Guide … We needed a manual for this thing? Why yes, yes we did. There were three fun-packed days to prepare for.

Day 1
Our first day consisted of wearing retro, vintage athletic gear, which was not only fun to dress in but also appropriate attire for that day’s activity: an über scavenger hunt. Full of smiles, we divided into four teams, were handed a set of clues, and told to go for it! We set off running (sometimes literally!) around the local neighborhoods solving riddles and documenting it all with photographs. Some teams preferred to skip:

Among other activities, we gathered and gave away smiles and gifts to strangers, the local food bank, and public servants. My personal favorite was writing an inspiring quote in chalk on the Burke-Gilman, a nearby trail that’s popular with bikers, walkers, and runners.

Day 2
Our second day was focused on celebrating our motto of living inspired. Wearing our favorite color—orange, of course—we were treated to a delicious lunch and a private tour on Ride the Ducks.

We also played get-to-know-you games, where we learned that a surprising number of folks in the office don’t like the sound of tearing paper—who knew? We also have quite a few hikers and ocean lovers among us—not surprising in our beautiful Pacific Northwest location!

Day 3
For our final day, Field Day, we had the opportunity to connect with our not-in-the-office colleagues: our hard-working, local warehouse coworkers—without whom none of our lovely products would get out the door!

Once again, we divided into four colorfully named teams: Envy Us, a green, 80s glam rock band; Uncorked, a red-wine inspired group; Bluevana, a 90s grunge team; and Relish and the Super Dogs, named after the electric yellow-green color of their shirts and fit with custom capes with hot dogs adorning the back.

We set off to GasWorks Park for an afternoon filled with activities, including a hot-dog speed-eating relay (of which I was a proud member), a water balloon toss, a three-legged race, and many others.

At the end of each day, my face hurt from smiling. At the end of the week, I was filled with happiness, knowing that I was part of an organization where hugs and laughter are not only appreciated, but expected. Needless to say, my newbie fears were quickly abated, and I’ll be more than ready for next year’s Spirit Week!

» 1 Comment   Tags:


A Campaign for Good

by Meredith · 10.01.2012

At a time when we're getting used to political signs and slogans everywhere we turn, the Brighter Day Project has a non-partisan campaign that really appeals. The idea? Post colorful, inspiring signs on street posts, in front yards, and on buildings around your neighborhood. Send a little ripple of goodness out into the world. And see what happens next!

The people behind the Brighter Day Project have made their designs available for download so you can print out your own signs for home, office, or public spaces. For a donation, they'll send you a more durable sign of your own. A campaign for unexpected happiness? We're inspired!

» 1 Comment   Tags:


To Bounce Gracefully

by Miriam · 09.19.2012

There's a carpet cleaning company that I pass every day on my way to work. Their office is in the middle of a heavily industrial area of town with warehouses on either side of the road and forklifts crossing the street and stopping traffic. The company has a large sign underneath their company name where they post inspirational quotes. It's such an unlikely place to find inspiration, but it works.

There was one quote that really rang true for me recently. My husband finished grad school this year and is looking for work. We also just had a baby.

(photo by Jessica Eskelsen)

Life has been full of changes for us, and with them come lots of frustrations. We would really like my husband to find a great job. And we would love to move out of our one-bedroom apartment to have more room for our growing daughter. But we just don't have those things yet.

As I was driving to work, I passed by this company's sign, which read: "It's not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce."

One day my husband will have a great job. One day we will have a bigger place for our growing family. In the meantime, we are learning to bounce gracefully.

» 2 Comment s   Tags:


Introducing: Frank & Funny

by Meredith · 08.24.2012

When you think of your favorite memories, the moments that have meant the most, and the times you'd love to return to, chances are there's one common thread: laughter. Laughter brings us together, lifts our spirits, and reduces stress. As Milton Berle says, "laughter is an instant vacation."

A while ago, we started thinking about creating a line of humorous greeting cards designed to help you share a laugh with the people you love. We enlisted comedian Dave Crowe to assist us in seeking out hilarious jokes from comedians all over North America. And we spent a lot of time in the conference room giggling and howling over the material we received.

Along the way, we've gotten press coverage from local TV stations, thumbs-up from comedy fans everywhere, and a chance to have a whole lot of fun.

And now, we're happy to introduce Frank & Funny--our latest greeting card line, and a great way to send a laugh to someone you love. Some of these cards are funny, some are silly, and some really take the gloves off. Whatever your sense of humor, you'll find more than a few to tickle your funny bone. We hope you'll check them out and, once you've finished chuckling, tell us what you think!

» Comments   Tags:


An Inspiration Round-Up

by Angeline · 07.20.2012

Inspiration happens everywhere. Here at Compendium, we're inspired by the ways people use our products to encourage and connect with others. We love hearing tales of fathers chasing their giggling families with a pair of fuzzy blue mitts, stories of friends who send a book to comfort a loved one, and reflections from readers who find hope in the pages of our books.

The stories below were too wonderful to keep to ourselves. We hope you enjoy reading these reviews, thoughts, and anecdoes that have come our way.

Shelley has a Tickle Monster living in her house.

Erin dreams and schemes for the next five years of her life.

Angela quiets her insecurities and focuses on the loved ones who believe in her.

Sofia's son learns to respect even the tiniest of creatures.

» 1 Comment   Tags:


Submit Your Tickle Monster Video!

by Meredith · 06.12.2012

Recently, we were lucky enough to come upon a wonderful YouTube video of a family reading aloud—and kids laughing out loud—as the Tickle Monster rolls into town from Planet Tickle. Before long, the whole office was smiling as each of us took a look. So it made us wonder: Are there more videos out there of families reading Tickle Monster that would also tickle our funny bone? Sure enough, there are! And so we were inspired to launch our Tickle Monster Video Contest—because giggles and laughter are contagious, and we’re hoping to spread yours around!

Just cuddle down or settle in to wherever you like to read, reach for your copy of Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett, and don the super-soft plush Tickle Monster Mitts that comes with the Tickle Monster Laughter Kit. Then press “record,” and get ready to laugh as your child (and you) are tickled pink.  (Though just plain giggles and grins are pretty wonderful, too.)

Upload your video to YouTube, “Like” Compendium on Facebook, then post the link to our Facebook page (or email the link to We’ll be looking at the videos on June 30th, so be sure to share them with us by then. We’ll announce our winners on July 6th, and though laughter might just be the best reward, $100 in Compendium products is pretty sweet, too!

» Comments   Tags:


Optimism is Good For You

by Meredith · 06.05.2012

Do you know someone who always sees a light where there is none? Someone whose life might be full of worries and uncertainties, and yet still seems upbeat? That someone you know knows something remarkable--the treasure of optimism. Because sometimes, just the act of believing that things will work out helps the world to work that way.

Optimists believe that good things will happen, and, when things go wrong, they see them as temporary setbacks--not roadblocks. They'll work the problem through until they've solved it, or until they've learned enough to try and try again, a little bit wiser and a little bit stronger.

And their persistence pays off: recent studies prove that optimism has a lifelong impact on our overall health and well-being. Research at the Mayo Clinic shows that, over 30 years, optimists live longer, and that their will to stay upbeat no matter what seems to become a dedication to get healthy, and love the life they've been given. (Click here for a New York Times article that tells more.)

If optimism doesn't come naturally to you, try to end your day on a positive note. Taking a few minutes to jot down three positives from the day can help--minutes that might turnaround tomorrow (or other tomorrows) in quiet but remarkable ways. A notebook by your bedside table can serve as a reminder that there's one last thing to do before sleep--cultivating a new habit of optimism.

» 1 Comment   Tags:


Group Gift-Giving

by Meredith · 05.25.2012

Are you ready? Between graduations, Father's Day, and summer weddings, the next few months are big ones when it comes to gift-giving. And if you're giving a gift from a group of people, whether it's an extended family, a group of co-workers, or several close friends, gift-giving can get complicated!

All of us at Compendium love simple solutions, and we love gifts that are meaningful long after the special day is over. That's why we've started a tradition here at the office--a tradition of signing a gift book from all of us. It's simple: We choose a book that's just right for the occasion, and send it around so everyone can write a note inside with well-wishes, kind words, and signatures. It ends up looking like this:

The possibilities are endless. Coordinate a classroom full of kids to write a note to their teacher in a copy of Gratitude. Or have an office full of co-workers write well-wishes to a new mother in Hello, World! You can turn the 5 book into a combination guestbook and graduation present at a graduation party, or turn Here's to You into a retirement gift that will be appreciated well after the party's over.

Meaningful, inspirational, and something the whole group can give? What better way to honor someone you appreciate!


» Comments   Tags:


Meet the Designer, Part Two

by Meredith · 05.03.2012

» Comments   Tags: