Checking in with Our Vintage Nest – Alicia Armstrong

This blog post is sponsored by Select Blinds. All opinions are my own and my experience with the brand and its products!

Hi everyone! My name is Alicia Armstrong and I’m the founder of Our Vintage Nest. About five years ago, I started my journey as an interior design blogger and social media influencer. I manage a blog, Instagram and Facebook account and partner with companies pertaining to home design.

Alicia of Our Vintage Nest

As an exclusive window coverings partner, I’ve been asked to share my partnership experience with Select Blinds! First, let me say, I’m beyond thankful for the opportunity to work with this company; it’s been my biggest accomplishment as an influencer. I’d like to start off by sharing a brief backstory about how we connected. 

It all began with an email to Mark Anderson, on August 28, 2017. He’s the Team Lead/Digital Marketing Specialist that handles all influencer marketing. With any email going out for a potential collaboration, I was nervous about the outcome, but was encouraged by a fellow blogger to reach out. After months of building rapport, gaining knowledge of the company and expressing my desire to work together, I was approved for my first collaboration! I truly believe good things come to those who wait!

In December 2017, my first order of woven wood shades was approved for our living room, breakfast nook and master bedroom. I was beyond excited because I’ve always wanted custom window coverings in our home and I couldn’t wait to share this company with my followers! Here’s a before and after of our living room and bedroom during Christmas. After all these years; I still can’t get over the difference! For more details and sources, please visit my website to read this blog post.

I love the warmth and texture they add and they’re super easy to install.  Here’s a video of an install tutorial I created in January 2018.

<insert video link here>

On January 24 (my birthday), 2018, I received a phone call from Mark that our first collaboration was a success! For anyone that knows me, it won’t surprise you to know that this brought tears to my eyes! I was so thrilled that our first collaboration was a success and would result in more opportunities with Select Blinds in the future! In February 2018, I was humbled to learn that the company had featured me as an inspiring decorator on their blog; more about that here.

Throughout 2018, I continued to feature Select Blinds on all my social channels and followers loved the change they were seeing in our home.

Now is the perfect time to go over some frequently asked questions I’ve received about my Select Blinds.

Q:  What color did you choose for your woven wood shades?

A: For the main areas of our home, I chose Jute Wheat from the Designer Series Woven Wood Shades. More details can be found on this blog post.

Q:  Are your blinds lined?

A:  The downstairs blinds are unlined because we back up to trees, providing plenty of privacy. The front two windows are the dining room and office; we like having the natural light come through. The upstairs windows are bedrooms, which include a privacy lining.

Q:  Were they easy to install?

A:  Yes, we have installed every window treatment from Select Blinds. They come with thorough instructions and everything you need to easily install. See the video tutorial mentioned above for details and suggestions!

Q:  There are so many options, how did you choose?

A:  Select Blinds makes it easy to choose your window coverings by sending free samples. They can be requested online and are mailed out the very next day! Here’s a mood board I created to give myself the visual I needed to design a room in our home.

Neutral mood board for new room design.

The addition of cafe shutters in 2018 and 2019 created a gorgeous combination with our existing woven wood shades. Below, you will see them in various rooms throughout our home and this blog post provides more details!

Cafe shutters and woven wood shades in a bathroom.
Half shutters and woven shades in a bedroom.
Plantation shutters and bamboo shades in a dining room.

In May 2019, I signed a one-year partnership contract with Select Blinds. This has provided so many opportunities for me as an influencer. It’s challenged me in ways I didn’t expect. In October 2019, I flew to Phoenix, AZ to meet the staff at Select Blinds in Tempe, AZ. Major butterflies came over me as I prepared for those days. I met and was interviewed by CMO and co-founder, Rick Steele. I thought I would be a nervous wreck, but Mark and the marketing team made me feel right at home. Rick is such a nice guy, full of energy and personality; I really enjoyed my time with them and so thankful for their hospitality. The interview with Rick can be viewed here on the Select Blinds YouTube channel!

After my interview with Rick Steele, I had the opportunity to meet a few other important faces at Select Blinds. So glad we had this picture taken together!

Alicia Armstrong and the Select Blinds team pose for a group photo.
From left to right: Al Silverberg (CEO), Ryan Hicks (VP of Operations), Mark Anderson (Team Lead, Digital Marketing Specialist), Alicia Armstrong (Blogger, Our Vintage Nest), Josie Sivigny (SEO Specialist) and Rick Steele (Founder & CMO)

After years of talking to Mark on the phone and exchanging emails, I finally got to meet him! I appreciate and respect the business relationship we have and am so thankful he took a chance on me in December 2017.

Alicia Armstrong of Our Vintage Nest and Mark Anderson from Select Blinds pose for a picture.

Josie and Mark treated me to some local seafood after my interview and office visit. It was so great to hang out with them outside the office and see the sights in Tempe.

Alicia Armstrong and friends from Select Blinds enjoy lunch at Angry Crab.

I want to thank Select Blinds for inviting me to guest post on their blog. I’m happy to announce I’ll be signing my second year contract and I can’t wait for what’s to come in 2020-21. We have some fun things planned this year and I hope you’ll follow along! In closing, I’d like to share my most recent projects and features with Select Blinds. My kids both received updated bedrooms earlier this year and with that came new roman shades, a beautiful product I was happy to receive and share! More details can be found here on this blog post.

White roman shades in a child's bedroom window.
Roman shades in a child's bedroom window.

To cap off my first year as a partner, I had my first Instagram takeover on the Select Blinds feed, taking you on a tour of my home town and a local air bnb, featuring Select Blinds throughout! Here’s a sneak peek of the home tour; more can be seen here on this blog post!

Cafe shutters and woven woods in a living room at an Airbnb.

This concludes my guest post and my partnership experience with Select Blinds! Thank you again for having me and I hope you’ll stay tuned for what’s to come with Our Vintage Nest!

Blessings,

Labor Day Sales Event Starts Now!

We’ve done all the work for you this Labor Day! All you have to do is sit back, relax and start clicking from the couch to save 50% on every custom window blind, shade, shutter and more during our 2020 Labor Day Sale! 

That includes extra savings on top of daily price slashes now through Labor Day, so you’ll save even more on many of our most popular products. To make sure you’re going to absolutely love your new custom window treatments, try out some FREE SAMPLES first. After you see how great they’ll look in your home, you’ll still get the same best Labor Day deals when you place an order within 30 days.* And you always get 100% FREE SHIPPING on any order!

Now through Labor Day get deep discounts and amazing deals on our best-selling cellular and honeycomb window coveringsbamboo and woven woodsromansrollerssolar shades for indoors and out, shuttersreal and faux wood blindsdesigner sheers, dazzling dual-roller zebra blinds, classic draperyall-aluminum minispanel tracks and verticals, even skylights and arches. Save, too, on remote control and motorized products that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on hard-to-reach and extra large windows.

And, of course, you always get our satisfaction and F.I.T. guarantees! So start shopping these super Labor Day 2020 deals now!

*See Samples Policy for details

Michael Pari Wins 2020 SelectBlinds.com Scholarship!

A big THANKS to everyone who participated in our scholarship contest this year!

With more than 600 entries for the 2020 SelectBlinds.com scholarship, you could easily say the competition was pretty stiff this year. And, with so many fantastic entries, it made choosing a single winner more than a little difficult. From light-emitting window coverings to original songs played on a ukelele, this year’s participants went above and beyond.

2020 SelectBlinds.com scholarship winner, Michael Pari.

Michael Pari, pictured above, was one of our favorites from the get-go. He stole the show with his unique concept of combining neutral density filters and polarized filters to create a high-tech window shade that blocks out light without distorting your view of the outside world. Check out his video submission for a complete, concise overview!

When asked what his goals were for his college career and beyond, he said:

My main goals in college are to continue my craft as a filmmaker working my way up in the business/filmmaking industry. Winning this scholarship will help me further my education by allowing me the opportunity to understand the background knowledge to the business side of my career. I would like to become an expert in constructing marketing strategies alongside my film work. This video has already helped my portfolio greatly. The project was one more stepping stone to me becoming a PA (production assistant) just recently at a video production company located in Deland Florida.

Michael Pari – 2020 SelectBlinds.com Scholarship Winner

2020 Back-to-College Essentials

General PPE and Cleaning Supplies

Colorful cloth masks on a wooden table.

While some supplies, like a thermometer, tissues and antibacterial soap, might be normal for college students, 2020 students will need a whole host of other fun PPE and cleaning supply necessities. From disinfecting wipes (or spray and paper towels since wipes still seem to be a hot commodity) to masks, buckets of hand sanitizer and maybe even gloves and face shields, the list is almost endless. Pick up a bit of what you’ve been using all summer as well as a few extra masks in case some go missing and you should be ready for anything college life throws at you.

Mini Freezer

Freezer full of ice and a single pint of ice cream.

Sure, your roommate’s mini-fridge might have a small freezer compartment big enough for maybe two pints of ice cream, but that’s about it. People might question your sanity when you say you’re bringing a mini-freezer, but guess who’ll have the last laugh when its finals week and the caf is closed at 2:00 A.M. and you’re in desperate need of some bagel bites? YOU! Also, if your college is anything like my old one, no one is allowed to eat anywhere but in their dorms until further notice, so stocking up on freezer-food is probably a good plan regardless of late-night study sessions.

Window Shades

White, light filtering temporary paper shades.
Redi Shades in White Light Filtering

While you probably won’t be allowed to drill holes in your dorm walls or window frames, that’s no reason to go without blinds or shades! Your room might come with some, or it might not. It all depends on your college or university. To be on the safe side, get some easy, affordable Redi Shades. Just use the adhesive to attach them to the top or outside of the window frame and that’s all it takes! You can even use them to block the underside of the upper bunk if your beds are in an “L” formation. Redi Shades are perfect for college life because they’re cheap, easy to use, and they come in blackout, which means you can sleep whenever you want without light bothering you.

Air Fresheners

Air freshener plugged into a wall outlet next to a painting of a shell.

You may not like to think about it much, but dorm rooms are SMALL and the smell of a single stinky shoe can take days to wear off. Make sure you’re prepared for odor battle with the air fresheners of your choice. Whether you go for a Glade Plugin (set to low to accommodate the general lack of space found in any dorm room), one of the new Febreze Small Spaces air fresheners, or even those weird gel cones that die after a week, make sure you’ve got enough stocked up to keep odors at bay.

A Better Trash Can

I know, it’s gross, but seriously the trash can your dorm may supply you with is small and doesn’t have a lid. While the fact that it’s small might be good for keeping down odors, the whole “no lid” thing kind of negates that. Invest in a small eight-gallon trashcan with a lid. It’s small enough that you won’t be hoarding garbage, plus the bags will be light enough that you can easily carry them to the dumpster, while the lid significantly diminishes the amount of garbage odor that might seep into your room. If you can, get a foot or sensor operated garbage can so you don’t even have to touch the lid. Some even have air filters to cut down on the smell.

Tips for Going Back to School from Home

Tools you need for learning from home include laptop, earphones, pens and pencils

For most of us, school is back in session and for many, remote learning is the new norm. Here are some things you can do to help set up your at-home students for success.

Reading, ‘Riting, Re-boots & Routine

  • Create a daily schedule to include class times and assignment deadlines; outdoor activity and lunch breaks; homework; social (distance) time with friends; and family time.
  • Get everyone up in time to eat breakfast and dress for school. (No pjs allowed.)
  • Before class starts, give them one simple chore to do (make the bed, take out the trash) to get them in the right mindset for completing the day’s online assignments.
  • Multiple learners at home? Check to ensure there’s enough internet bandwidth to handle multiple devices streaming at the same time. 

Personalized Learning Pods

  • A cool, personalized workspace helps with concentration. Get creative! Set up a desk in their bedroom, a card table in the living room, or separate spaces with a DIY cardboard ‘cubicle,’ blanket fort, or these very cool custom panel track window treatments to create individual spaces and classrooms.
Architect Panel-track-room-divider.jpg

Practical and pretty panel track blinds aren’t just for windows and patio doors. Hang them from the ceiling to create more privacy and separate spaces anywhere in your home.

  • Have all the necessary school supplies they need handy so no excuses for getting up and looking for something in the middle of class. 
  • Try to find a space that’s free of distractions, noise and clutter.
  • Make sure there’s easy access to a power source to keep tablets and laptops charged.
  • Proper lighting is important. Adjust blinds and shades throughout the day and position monitors away from windows to reduce glare and keep your child from turning into a shadow when on screen.

Student-at-home-desk-1024x685.png

Stay in Touch with Teachers

  • Watch for emails, check homework hotlines, and call or text if you have any questions about assignments.
  • Check state and local school district websites for updates and available assistance and resources to help you and your children while attending school from home. 

Keep Tabs on Progress

  • Familiarize yourself with the remote platform and course modules your child’s school are using.
  • Most remote learning platforms don’t allow outside email or instant messaging. If you’re working at home (or at the office), too, and want to check on your child’s progress during school time without interrupting a lesson, try an app such as FB for Kids or Slack so they can chat with you outside of their school account.

Female Asian student-at-desk.png

Safety First 

  • Check privacy and security settings so your child’s profiles are set to the strictest privacy setting, and check the safety and security settings on anything that’s newly downloaded. 
  • If using video-conferencing, think about what children, especially young teens, are wearing.
  • If available, apply settings to blur the background or enable a different background so you’re not “inviting” people into your child’s personal space.
  • If you or your child are uncomfortable using video, find out if they can get sufficient instruction via audio or chat. And if something coming into your home from school just feels wrong or inappropriate, contact the school and let them know. 

 

Blinds and Shades for Arched Windows

Arched windows can lend an extra level of beauty and sophistication to any space. The only problem? They’re not the easiest windows to cover…until now!

Grey honeycomb shades and arch coverings in a grey themed living room.
Premier Double Cell Blackout Arches in Riverstone

Whether you’re looking for a treatment for your standard arch, an elongated one or even a quarter arch, we’ve got you covered. And if you’ve got a window with a rounded top where the arch is part of the window, there’s a solution for that as well! Just check out this handy guide about floating head rails to learn if one might be right for your window.

Covering your naked arches doesn’t have to drain you of patience or money. Choose from inside or outside mount and simply follow the instructions found at the bottom of each arched product page in the tab titled “Measure & Install.”

BUT, before you do that, it might be a good idea to figure out which arched window covering would work best for your window.

Light Filtering vs Blackout:

Depending on the location and position of your arched window, you may want to go with either a light filtering or blackout covering. Arches in the bedroom? Blackout is probably your best bet there. Living room or entryway? Light filtering is a great choice for blocking glare without losing all that wonderful natural light. Either way, these fabulous honeycombs will have your windows dressed up and ready for a night (or day) on the town in no time.

Single Cell vs Double Cell:

Single vs double cell honeycomb shades is a topic that people tend to be less invested in than the heavily debated “light filtering vs blackout.” Nevertheless, it can be just as important. While double the cells mean extra noise blocking and insulation, single cell honeycombs are still a great option for trapping heat and reducing noise, just to a slightly lesser degree. Single celled treatments are also inherently lighter since they don’t have an extra layer of fabric, so for abnormally large windows, single is probably your best bet.

Honestly, once you narrow down which type of arch covering you want out of the options above, all that’s left to do is choose your color, measure your arch and get click-happy! And once your shades come in, install is a breeze with our easy to follow videos and instructions.

4 Easy Homemade Frozen Treats You MUST Try

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

One of my absolute favorite froze treats has got to be an ice cream cookie sandwich. Every summer when I was a kid, we’d visit my nana at her lake house in upstate New York. There was this massive multi-restaurant building, called the Charcoal Corral, that also had a mini-golf course, stage and drive-in theater. The ice cream parlor had these massive ice cream cookie sandwiches as big as my head! I stand by those being the best, but these delish Ben & Jerry’s ones are a fantastic second place – especially when you consider the slightly more normal portion size.

Homemade Sorbet

Four flavors of homemade sorbet on a black plate.

While I’m not here to discuss the differences between sorbet and sherbet (yes, there’s only ONE “r”), I can kickstart you on a magical journey of fruity deliciousness! Dump some frozen fruit, simple syrup and a bit of lemon or lime juice into a blender and you’ve got a fresh, magnificent summer treat anyone can enjoy. Follow this handy guide from The Flavor Bender to make it scoopable after a long-term freeze or, better yet, pour any extras into Zipsicles and make your very own freeze pops everyone will love!

Custom Popsicles

Homemade cherry and coconut popsicles.

Pretty much everyone knows how to make popsicles. Pour juice into a popsicle mold or ice cube tray, add the sticks (and some sort of wrapping if you’ve gone the ice cube tray route) and voila, custom popsicles in just a few hours. Take it a step further with one of these scrumptious adult popsicle recipes.

Slushies Galore

Red slushy in a clear plastic cup.

Everyone loves a good slushie, just as everyone loves a glass of refreshing Kool-Aid, or at least they probably did as kiddos. So, why not combine the two? Just combine ice, sugar and your favorite flavor packet in a blender and you’ll soon have a Kool-Aid slushie that’s perfect for kids from age 2 to 82.

What’s your favorite frozen summer treat? Did it make our list?

Best Cyber Monday in July Deals on Custom Blinds Are Here!

You’ve waited eight long months for it! Cyber Monday in July is finally here at Selectblinds.com, and we have all the best deals and best prices you’ve been waiting for!

Get up to 50% off every custom window blind, shade, shutter and more today only! Plus, you’ll get a free extended warranty upgrade on every product you purchase. And, of course, free shipping on every order.

You’ve got till midnight tonight to get deep discounts and amazing deals on our best-selling cellular and honeycomb window coveringsbamboo and woven woodsromansrollerssolar shades for indoors and out, shuttersreal and faux wood blindsdesigner sheers, dazzling dual-roller zebra blinds, classic draperyall-aluminum minispanel tracks and verticals, even skylights and arches. Save, too, on remote control and motorized products that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on hard-to-reach and extra large windows.

And, of course, you always get our satisfaction and F.I.T. guarantees! So start shopping these super Cyber Monday in July 2020 deals now!

It’s Happening Now! Black Friday in July Is Today!

Shop our Black Friday in July Sale on SelectBlinds.com!
It’s all about the deals! And we’ve got ’em! We’re making them super simple to find, too, because today you’ll save 30% PLUS an extra 25% OFF EVERYTHING on our site! No digging through fine print or endlessly scrolling for the “best buy.” Buy and save 55% on every one of our custom window treatments, including motorized and specialty treatments.

Saving money is always a good reason to celebrate. That’s why we have Black Friday in July. For which we actually have Jeff Bezos to thank and the marketing brains behind the first Amazon Prime Day just five short years ago in July 2015. Other major retailers were quick to jump on the bandwagon to compete with Prime Day, and hence, Black Friday in July officially became a thing. (Little known fact: Best Buy and Target actually used the phrase “Black Friday in July” to refer to summer sales as far back as 2012. Talk about ancient history. LOL.)

Just two short years later, in 2017, Black Friday in July was extensively covered by the media, thus solidifying it as an official shopping holiday. And where, might you ask, did the term “Black Friday” itself come from? Historians believe the name started in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s when bus drivers and police used it to describe the heavy traffic that clogged city streets the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers headed to stores. (Interested in other fun facts and stats about Black Friday in July? Here’s a brief history.)

Fast forward to the Select Blinds 2020 Black Friday in July sales event. No need to worry about traffic or crowded stores, particularly in this time of social distancing, or wearing a mask to shop online. But before we get into all the great deals, here are a few tips for shopping with us this weekend.

  • Check the estimated ship date. Look for banners on product images and the shipping icon at the top of each product page. We keep this information updated daily, so you’ll know when you can expect your order to be shipped from our manufacturing facility.

Ready to shop? You’ve got till midnight tonight to get deep discounts and amazing deals on our best-selling cellular and honeycomb window coveringsbamboo and woven woodsromansrollerssolar shades for indoors and out,shuttersreal and faux wood blindsdesigner sheers, dazzling dual-roller zebra blinds, classic draperyall-aluminum minispanel tracks and verticals, even skylights and arches. Save, too, on remote control and motorized products that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on hard-to-reach and extra large windows.

And, of course, you always get FREE shipping on everything on SelectBlinds.com. Along with a FREE extended warranty on any product and our satisfaction and F.I.T. guarantees! So celebrate Black Friday in July 2020 right here, right now!