It's that time of year again--the time of year when you need to wrack your brain for what to get those hard-to-buy-for friends and relatives. But this year we thought, “Our clients deserve cool things too.”
So this year’s list is dedicated to you. Our favorite people. We hope that these “gift” suggestions will help make your lives simpler, more joyful, and just…better.
You know I can’t resist giving shoutouts to our clients…
A massage from MYO: $95 for one hour, or buy a membership and save $25 every session
NinjaU membership to keep the kids occupied during holiday breaks: $28/month for 5 and under
Keep that car clean this winter or gift it to a friend! Starting at $20/month
BOGO every Tuesday at Sidecar from 7 AM-10 AM. Share with a friend or double up on caffeine
Portable turntable for holiday tunes: FREE from the CFPL Library of Things
*Please note that while the assignment was to choose three gift options, Tony basically had to sit on his hands to keep himself from the non-stop recommendations of products and services provided by our amazing clients, so we allowed him to recommend five. 😉
For this year’s gift guide, I’ve chosen to focus on things that help me as a designer, that are helpful and accessible to everyone no matter their industry.
Need help managing or creating social media or creating simple designs for your business? Canva is extremely powerful and simple to use. Their simple approach to the program allows anyone to pick it up and use it! At IFC we generate all of our client-editable designs in Canva, so if you're interested let us know!
I will always say, custom stock photography (especially done by Nate) is the way to go. We get it though, that is not always on the table. If you need photography for a blog header or social media post, check out Pexels. In my opinion, it is the best stock photo site that is available for commercial use and is totally free! They have photos for just about every scenario and like I said, it is free to use.
I have been using this for the past year and it has been incredibly helpful to plan and schedule my weeks. The notebook is very durable and a great place to keep tasks, general thoughts, and ideas as they happen throughout the week!
I’ve tried to make my 2023 recommendations things that are useful to me in my messaging work, but that I think would also be useful to you no matter what you do for work.
Yes, I recommended this last year as well. But it deserves to be mentioned again. If you need to write as part of your job but are not always sure where the commas are supposed to go, this is for you. If you’re never quite certain if you’re using active voice (good for marketing) or passive voice (better for fantasy novels)–it’s worth the investment.
There is a free version, a yearly subscription, or a lifetime option.
My Spotify subscription is a productivity game-changer for me. Need some chill vibes? Try the Mellow Mood playlist. Enjoy working to rain sounds like me? Rain sounds coming right up. Looking for great tips and new ideas about copywriting? The Copywriter Club Podcast is on there.
I’m sure you’d find exactly what you need to find your flow as well.
This was the first book I read in 2023. I’ve read more than 50 more since, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I wrote a whole blog post about it if you want to learn more–but in short–at a time when humans are so divided, I found it to be heartful, funny, accessible, and educational.
While we’re lighting up our Christmas trees let’s talk about lighting our video interviews: specifically 3-point lighting for interviews. Many of you would like to be able to do more of this yourselves, but hiring a videographer to do as much as you want is hard to schedule or cost-prohibitive. Here are some of my recommendations to make sure you have a great setup even when I’m not around.
I recommend shopping from Aputure. I’ve used their products my whole career and think they’re a great investment. The lights I use are no longer available due to the ever-evolving nature of LED technology, but Aputure’s lineup has only improved. I recommend a single source light that can provide lots of light. Pair it with a softbox or an umbrella for soft, flattering shadows.
Again from Aputure, get a small panel to add a kiss of light to your subject’s hair, cheek, or shoulder. Doing so will help define their edge and make them pop from the background. I like to put an orange gel on mine to add a hint of warmth.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. Place this white foam core board opposite the 120d to reflect its light back onto your subject's face. The one I’ve linked to is from Hobby Lobby but you can get them at Michael’s, Walmart, Target, etc.
My suggestions for this year’s Gift Guide revolve around “things that help keep me sane.” I hope they help you too!
I love to keep my laptop closer than my coffee, and a laptop sleeve is a practical solution to keep my sidekick snug and secure. It doesn't just guard against scratches and spills, it adds a touch of personality to my daily hustle.
The Rocketbook is a unique notebook that is fun and functional. I love to take notes and make lists so it's a subtle way to get creative with everyday tasks. And it can be handed off to a kiddo looking for something interactive!
I love online learning - the flexibility to explore, and access knowledge and the interactivity that makes learning a joy. It has helped me enhance my own professional skills and indulge in my own curiosities.
I especially love hot yoga so a proper yoga mat and towel are essential for the heat. But having a mat at home is a simple way to bring a touch of calm to my day.
I have always loved to represent with a statement tee and the Cedar Falls Library shop does not disappoint! They are clever and comfy!