Recipients of this note pad will never be without both pen and paper, thanks to the nifty carved-out pen slot. Price, $7.99 each for a minimum of 100, includes a one-color imprint. (858) 780-1100; brilliantmarketingideas.com
Send these "blank" cards to clients or employees for any occasion; recipients wet the accompanying brush and then "paint" their own images on the cards. The images vanish once the water dries, so they can be used over and over. The cards also come with a piece of rice paper for a personal note and a black envelope for mailing. A box of 30 costs $150, plus $15 shipping and handling. (604) 709-5667; buddhaboard.com
Silk on the Road
These organic lotion bars, made of olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax, soften skin without making a mess. As a bonus, they're solid, making them travel-friendly. Truly Life's bars cost $4.50 each; discounts and personalized messages are available on bulk orders. (703) 371-6802; truly-life.com
For a twist on a dinner with wine pairings, the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale (fourseasons.com/scottsdale) works with the local Four Peaks Brewery to put together a beer dinner. A seared-tuna appetizer pairs with a light, sweet ale; a short-ribs entree pairs with a stronger ale; and banana-walnut nougat is mated with a cloudy Bavarian Hefeweizen, which also is used in the dessert's sauce. Beer generally has less alcohol and is less expensive than wine, both pluses for business events.
It Glows to Show
These custom lamp shades were made by printing a logo on laminated film and attaching it to a shade on a 10-foot-tall lamp. Other inexpensive ways to get the same effect: Ask a sign company to print the logo on clear vinyl or to create a laser-cut decal. The lamps were displayed a recent event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch (stlouisarch.hyatt.com), produced by Heffernan Morgan Designs out of Chicago (hmdesigns.com).
These Feather Glass Slip Coasters are perhaps the most festive way to tell drinks apart. They come in eight colors and fit onto the bottom of a traditional wine or martini glass. Cost: $8 for four coasters, here. purpletango.com
Even well-known speakers could sometimes use help freshening up their speaking style. Pass along these tips, courtesy of Kristin Arnold, MBA, CSP, president of the National Speakers Association. For more, pick up her new book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Your Audience to Action. Cost: $17.12 at amazon.com
• When delivering a PowerPoint presentation, try leaving the light on. Modern projectors generally are strong enough to display the picture even in the light.
• Don't stand behind the lectern. It's much easier to engage with the audience when they can see your whole body.
• Get the audience involved. Poll them, ask them questions or ask them to help with the presentation. Just be sure to give them ample time to respond.
GoPicnic offers boxed meals that feed groups without hassle and for much less than lunch usually costs. The mini meals, with options such as hummus and crackers or salami and cheese, aren't flashy but can hit the spot on a tight budget. For orders of up to 1,056 meals, cost $3.25 each; up to 10,000 meals, $2.50 per meal; more than 10,000 meals, $2.40 each. Custom labeling is available. (773) 328-2490; gopicnic.com
All in the Wrist
Before the gala evening, hand out logoed cuff links as gifts. They display a logo front-and-center in a smart, stylish way -- and they might even become a collector's item. The cuff links cost $35 per pair for the minimum order of just 10 pairs, and $30 for orders of more than 25 pairs. (877) 283-3565; cufflinks.com
Peel and Enjoy
Bananagrams, a fast-paced new game reminiscent of Scrabble, works well as an icebreaker for groups of up to eight (multiple sets can be used for larger groups). Each player must form a network of connecting words from the letter tiles they get (number of tiles is based on number of players); the first person to run out of letters wins. To make things more fun, require that all words relate in some way to your company or industry. Afterward, give the games away to the winners. Bananagrams retails for $14.95 per set. (401) 781-9649; bananagrams-intl.com
The Nose Knows
Purell doesn't do much good when the virulent germs are in the air. For tight situations, such as an airplane or a sneezy meeting room, dab some Nozin Nasal Sanitizer inside the nostrils. It has a pleasant citrus scent and lasts up to eight hours. A bottle with 60 doses, plus 30 applicators, costs $12.99 here. nozin.com
If you're getting into a rut with passed hors d'oeuvres, take a look at the creations in these recipe books. Author Kim Hendrickson fits macaroni and cheese into a cherry tomato and an entire "Thanksgiving meal" onto the base of an endive leaf. A savvy caterer or hotel F&B department should be able to replicate these recipes for the masses. The books cost $18.95 each. salviapress.com