From centerpieces to confections, one of the biggest trends sweeping spring events is ombre, the slow gradation of one shade to another. Washington, D.C.-based Maggie Austin Cake (202-448-2920; maggieaustincake.com) does a beautiful lavender version with her Ombre Frill cake, while San Francisco-based floral designer Studio Choo (415-624-5981; studiochoo.com) arranges strawflowers by color for a low-key yet vibrant tablescape. (For tips on how to create a similar floral look, check out bit.ly/GAvwgR.)
Banner to Bag
Sparta, N.J.-based Mega Media Concepts (888-399-4949; megamediaconcepts.com) offers a 100 percent "recycle guarantee" on their graphics, signs, vinyl banners and other items. After events, the company turns the old signs into totes that can be used for future meetings. Contact the firm for pricing information. Thanks to Lori Hill of Takoma Park, Md.-based Lori Hill Event Productions (301-549-3249; lorihillevents.com) for the idea.
Pen to Paper
Moleskine, maker of understated, durable blank journals, can customize its notebooks using silk screening, embossing and other creative printing techniques. To mark the launch of Francis Ford Coppola Winery's new website, Moleskine created this whimsical, embossed notebook. Price given upon request. moleskine.com/custom_editions
Android, Blackberry, iPhone: They're all the same when it comes to the most feared enemy of mobile devices -- water. Behold, Liquipel, a water-resistant coating that will guard and protect PDAs and smartphones against pools, puddles and, dare we say it, toilet water. Pricing for the treatment varies depending on device and shipping service; iPhone 4, $59 and up. (855) 478-4735; liquipel.com
Sinless Low Calorie Cocktail Mixes, just five calories per serving and made with Stevia extract and other all-natural ingredients, are a nice change from most preservative-laden mixers. The mixes can be used for a variety of drinks, including margaritas, cosmopolitans, martinis, spritzers and more. Cost: $8.49 for 32 ounces; available in margarita, strawberry margarita and sour flavors. (770) 446-3565; sinlesscocktails.com
A clear in-box typically equals a clear mind. Get organized for spring by unsubscribing from extraneous e-newsletters through unroll.me, and kick off Earth Month by opting out of junk mail through paperkarma.com, an app that acts like a spam filter for snail mail. Both services are free.
Airplane seats feel about as soft as a wooden bench after several hours. On a recent long-haul trip, we tested Tempur-Pedic's seat cushion ($89; tempurpedic.com) and Magellan's Self-Inflating Seat Cushion ($39.99; brookstone.com). The former was super supportive, despite its hefty price tag; the latter was flexible enough to double as a back pillow.
Mophie's Juice Pack cases more than double the battery life of your beloved iPhone, all through a sleek hard shell case. Mophie also makes similar cases for iPod Touch and external portable batteries for iPads and Androids. Cost: From $79.95 for iPhone cases. (888) 866-7443; mophie.com
Designed to lie flat against your ear, comfy Bedphones allow you to doze in your seat, regardless of the noise and clatter around you. The free app even lowers and shuts off your music as you doze. Cost: $19.95. bedphones.com
On recent long-haul flights, we tested two popular sleep masks: The Bucky 40 Blinks sleep mask ($12.95), which stood out for its lightweight fabric and funky prints, and the Sweet Dreams contoured sleep mask from Dream Essentials (about $9), which blocked out any trace of light (and came in a handy pouch with ear plugs). (800) MY BUCKY; bucky.com
Restoration Hardware's Laguna concrete fire columns use an eco-friendly gel fuel (purchase separately at realflame.com/gel.cfm) that doesn't emit soot or smoke, making them usable for indoor or outdoor events. Cost: $129 to $169, available in two sizes and two finishes. restorationhardware.com
Find the magic date and time that works with everyone's schedule with Doodle.com, an online scheduling tool. Instead of sending out multiple e-mails or meeting invites with just one option, Doodle lets you propose several date/times. Recipients respond with their availability via a nifty online poll. The basic version is free; a more advanced premium version also is available (contact the company for pricing information). doodle.com