I thought I’d fall in line with the pervasive Christmas atmosphere (Three Wise Men, Three French Hens, the three pounds I’m on my way to gain by December 31) to give you the gift of three good sources. Two are appropriate for both business operations and personal pursuits, and one is certain to provide emotional wellbeing and philanthropic satisfaction year-round.
01 | Custom Chocolate Bars
For me, a little chocolate goes a long way, but most of you out there probably can’t get enough. Chocri, a German maker of schokolade, is now offering customizable chocolate bars: you pick the ingredients as well as the name. Conveniently, it’s a three-step process: 1) Pick a base (milk, dark, white); 2) Select up to five extras (traditional ingredients like hazelnuts, bits of candy like gummi bears, and the unexpected like gold dust); and 3) Label your creation. I see the personal application as a unique giveaway at a wedding or family reunion and the business application as an appreciated corporate gift to reinforce your firm’s brand. FYI: The site is in German, so unless sprechen Sie Deutsches, you need to find a bilingual friend or use an online translator to get your fix.
02 | 20 Great Online Image Editors
Though drawings still reign supreme, more and more professionals are communicating with photographic images when working with contractors, builders, and vendors. And in this visual business, images have always been critical in connecting with prospective clients and potential employers. The prevalence of smaller, less expensive digital cameras and file storage has given us the ability to obtain the image, but now we have alternatives in which to refine the image. Most of us don’t need the extensive capabilities or want the significant expense of Adobe Photoshop. Fortunately for readers, Mashable Lead Features Writer Sean Aune recently listed 20 great online image editors that you can use just as often to improve project images for your website as you can use to clean up snapshots from your last vacation. Poke around, experiment a little, and find one that works for you and your business.
03 | Pet Adoption
A friend of mine recently found and adopted a Schnauzer mix “teenage” dog through Petfinder, a service that lists almost 300,000 pets from over 12,000 adoption groups around the U.S. He has been overjoyed not only with the canine companionship, but also with the human interaction that he experiences during daily walks and trips to the dog park. So if your familial relationships are strained and current friendships lackluster, consider giving yourself the gift of a little unconditional love while giving an abandoned animal the gift of a new home.
No matter what you are celebrating this season, I wish you safe travels, supreme cheer, and peace of mind and spirit.
Laura McDonald Stewart, ASID | IIDA
Interior Designer | Founder | Editor