Our Favorite Things 2017

 

A short list of the books we read, the music we listened to, the podcasts we learned from and the products, services and apps we couldn't live without in 2017. 

 
 

Bodum Gold French Press

Because we can't get through a day without (very beautiful, meticulously brewed) coffee. You'll see this little gem in some of our styled pics from Penchant Styled... and always be offered a cup if you visit our office. Good coffee makes the world go round.

Fare Magazine

Things we love: print. travel. photography. Combine them all in one beautiful publication, and our wanderlust levels went off the charts. The first issue was all things Istanbul and let's just say that it was armchair travel at it's best. We're anxiously awaiting our shipment from across the pond of Issue 2: Helsinki.

Echo Show

This year we had our first interaction with a voice-activated assistant when we got an Echo Dot. We were skeptical but wanted in on the action - if we were telling our clients that voice was the next wave in search, then shouldn't we know how it works first hand? Truth be told, we sometimes have our moments with dear Alexa but she's not a part of the team and we've upgraded to an Echo Show. She turns our lights on, queues up our favorite music and reminds us never to miss a meeting. Love her or hate her, we're hooked.

Markon's Party Playlist

This summer we hosted an open house to show off our new downtown location, and while we spent a decent amount of time working on the appetizer line up and getting the best bottles of rose chilled, the secret sauce was really this playlist. Which we now just listen to on the regular because it features lots of our favorites and is good to work to.

Ruby Receptionists

You know when you encounter a service that you just feel really stupid for not signing up for sooner? Like, maybe you were a few years late to Netflix or it took you a hot minute to jump on the online grocery shopping bandwagon. For us, that service is Ruby Receptionists. Seriously life changing. Our team has been able to be more flexible with our working locations -- working from a cozy coffee shop when we needed a boost or from a client's location for the day to give them some 1:1 attention. When we are in the office trying to meet a project deadline, we know that Ruby will take care of cheerfully answering the calls so that we can stay on task. We feel like stealthy superheros and our client's know that a real human will always answer the phone when they call. 

Strandmon Wing Chair

When we moved to our new location earlier this year, we worked with an interior designer to help us get. things. just. right. After all, we know that decorating an interior space so that it feels cohesive to the brand's digital presence is super important. We joked with our designer that we felt like we were ready to graduate from an IKEA-everything-aesthetic. So imagine our surprise when she presented this beautiful chair, in our signature yellow shade, that was the perfect finishing touch to our new sitting area. We had to have it and props to IKEA because this is the chair that everyone fights over sitting in when we eschew desks in favor of a soft place to collaborate. 

Hillbilly Elegy

Let's face it, we live in evolving times. As communicators we are naturally curious about the conditions, including the livelihoods, of the people around us. As fate would have it, though we live and work in the Pacific Northwest, our office has deep personal connections to the East Coast, including locales much like those described in Hillbilly Elegy, which proved to be a page-turning, thought-provoking rumination on the human condition. 

The Misfist's Manifesto

When author Lidia Yuknavitch took the stage at Portland's Cre8con this fall, we had no idea what we were in for. We recommend that everyone check out the TED talk she gave on the same subject but then also immediately buy this book and get ready to dog-ear some pages like crazy. Never will you feel so proud to forge your own path, despite its crooked detours. If you have ever felt like an outsider, a rebel or a misfit - this book is for you. (And, TBH, isn't that all of us?!)

Hidden Brain Podcast

Mixing psychology, sociology, economics, neurology, and anthropology into one compelling podcast series is no easy feat, but Hidden Brain does that for us! Much like another item on this list, it's a fascinating look into the human condition that peels through all of the layers of our collective complexity. If you find yourself wondering why people do what they do, this series will provide some entertaining, and thought-provoking answers. 

Banking on Bitcoin

This documentary may be from 2016 but the buzzword of the year is BLOCKCHAIN, and we felt like we needed to be able to hold a conversation about what all of this means intelligently. What does it mean for design? What does it mean for business? What does it mean for banking? It's a lot to take in, but this film is an excellent primer.

Happier Podcast

We could all use a little more happiness in our lives and Gretchen Rubin is THE authority on the subject. She has a whole host of info on her site but we're fans of the podcast iteration, where we can get a instant happiness boost on days when we need it most. You've got to find some way to balance out the negativity that's on the news and in your social feed, and we think this is just the ticket!

Chef's Table

It should come as no surprise at this point that food is the fast way to win us over on pretty much anything. Even though honorable mentions go to our other fave Netflix series Abstract, Chef's Table reminds us that design inspiration can come in many forms; in this case, every beautiful plate of food and each chef's story behind it. Delicious! 

Planoly 

We almost hate to share our Instagram secret weapon but this one is too good to keep to ourselves. There are lots of apps out there that claim to do what Planoly does but they either don't do it well or don't do it as beautifully as Planoly does. We're suckers for a great user interface and the fact that we can plan Instagram content for ourselves and our clients in a desktop version is a true gift. When you spend as much time on social media as we do, it's so nice to have hashtag lists saved at the ready and be able to plan coordinated grids of content on a big screen. Best app ever.

Calm Tech

This is part book recommendation and part trend that we love. As the world gets noisier, the marketplace more crowded and our lives more burdened by gadgets, apps and notifications bubbles - calm technology principles are here to remind us that how we experience products and interfaces can and should be more simple. 

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