Dash through the Desert: Select Blinds Ironman 70.3 Arizona

SelectBlinds.com Ironman Arizona 70.3
The Select Blinds Ironman Medal, in all its glory. Photo by @inkedtriathlete

With 2020 being the harbinger of antisocial activities and social distancing pushing our society apart, we were more than thrilled to be part of an event that gets participants and fans together where we belong. After months of planning, we unleashed our first Ironman sponsorship with the Select Blinds Ironman 70.3 Arizona on October 18 here in our hometown of Tempe! An official Half Ironman event (the “70.3” refers to the total distance in miles covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run), it was such an exhilarating experience to see our brand all along the course, from fences to overpasses and, of course, on the finisher medals!

‘A Return to Racing’ indeed, this massive jaunt was Ironman’s first public event of 2020 and their team made sure laws and guidelines were followed so triathletes can get back to what they love!

TEMPE, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 18: A triathlete bikes during the Ironman 70.3 Arizona on October 18, 2020 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

We used the slogan “Exercise More Sleep” for this sponsorship because, as a window treatment company, we know the importance that sleep plays in having a somewhat normal life. In particular, it’s a vitally important part of any athlete’s training regime. If triathletes don’t have rest, they lack the energy they need to succeed! So we hope that message got across. Even if you’re not an Ironman, consider upgrading your regular window shades to blackout blinds to help you get your recommended 8 hours!

TEMPE, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 18: Jan Stepinski reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the Men’s Ironman 70.3 Arizona on October 18, 2020 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The race was a real family affair for Select Blinds. Our very own 13X-Ironman, company founder and CMO Rick Steele, rounded the lake, buildings and streets of Tempe in an attempt to crush his goal (-5 hours) and Personal Record (4:51) here in AZ! Knowing our leader’s determination and drive, it was no surprise that he finished with a time of 4:53:19, nearly missing his PR but he still swam; biked and ran to successfully beat his goal by nearly seven minutes. But the best feeling of all was undoubtedly to be awarded a finisher medal by his son, Ethan, at the end of an action packed day!

SelectBlinds founder and CMO, Rick Steele, meets his son Ethan at the finish line.

As we dash through finish line tape for this blog post, we’d like to remind triathletes that we’ll see you again soon! Select Blinds will be the title sponsor for a full-fledged Ironman race (140.6 miles!) in Maryland next year!

“We Are Crabbies”

Blinds Terms Explained!

If you’ve ever wondered if “drawing” the blinds means opening them or closing them or you have no idea what a “vane saver” is, you’re in luck! The paragraphs below are going to detail and explain some confusing or misunderstood terms in the world of window treatments. Buckle in for what may be the most enthralling ride since they closed Space Mountain!

Draw the Blinds

What, you want me to get some paper and a pen? NO! “Draw the blinds” can be just as confusing as state and local taxes but traditionally, it refers to the position of the blinds. If your blinds are up, they’re raised. If your blinds are down, they’re drawn. So keep that in mind, Drawn=Down.

Window Dressing vs. Dressing Your Shades

“Window dressing” is a more commonly used term across the pond for “window treatments”. While other monikers include window coverings, blinds, shades, shutters and do-hickeys; Europeans are more apt to address them as such. So don’t worry about cleaning Ranch or Caesar off the glass when “dressing your shades”; That usage simply means “straightening-up” or adjusting fabric window treatments, that consist of malleable fabrics, to look neat and tidy. But if anyone ever tells you they’re a “window dresser”, they could be arranging a display of goods in any shop window, not just a home accessories or bespoke (custom) blinds shop!

Dressing up for the Holidays at Melton’s Restaurant in York, England

Pelmets

You might have heard a a valance, fascia or cornice, but they all refer to the same thing; a detailed wood or metal covering which sheaths the headrail for a more decorative look to finish off the top of your window. Pelmets, however, are much more regal and, typically, include a top and sides which return all the way back to the wall. Also, they’re large enough to encase the blinds and your drapery, for a optimal window insulation, lowering heating/cooling costs year round.

Route Holes and Cloth Tape

This one is pretty self-explanatory, so it doesn’t leave much room for humorous description. Bummer! If you’re like me, the slightest tear of light from the black hole I like to sleep in can mean hours of tossing and turning. Route holes can be a source of said light. They allow the lift cords to cleanly pass through the slats of your wood, faux or aluminum blinds, rendering them operable. However, they compromise one of the main reasons for purchasing window treatments: light blocking!

2″ Artisan American Distressed Wood Blinds equipped with Cloth Tape

That’s where cloth tape comes into play! It adds a decorative fabric pop that can be correlated with bedding, nearby accessories, wicker baskets and more while maintaining the darkest, most comfortable atmosphere possible.

Pleat Stiffeners

You might grow old, but some words prevent you from growing up. Pun intended. These chuckle-worthy rods keep the bottom pleat of a roman shade rigid, for a finished look that prevents unsightly folds and wrinkles. They also create tension on the lower part of the shade, so that you can easily tug to activate the cordless lift mechanism within the headrail, too!

A pleat stiffener, standing at attention. What? Not what you were expecting?

Vane Savers

We saved the best for last, and will help to save your OCD sanity, vane savers are a must-have for those of us who have vertical blinds in our homes. Each hanging piece of PVC or Wood (depending on the style you have) is called a vane. Whereas, on a blind, they’re called slats. And, since we’re going there, on plantation shutters, they’re called louvers.

Now that you’re caught up, if you have vertical blinds, you’ve surely had one or two that were either ripped out by an excited pet or a stumbling-drunk family member, and now it just won’t stay locked in to the track above. A vane saver reinforces is the hole punched in the top of each slat, so that it may yet again stand among it’s brethren. Grab some from a nearby Walmart or Target for around $10/24pc. If you need some help installing, here’s a video. Piece of cake.

Metal Vane Saver (3rd vane from left) seals the crack through the vane’s hole punch

With that, we conclude our collection of interesting window treatment tidbits to file away for the sure win in a random, rousing game of Trivial Pursuit down the road. Until next time!

Get Primed for Primo Days!

Save 30% + Extra 20% on Everything Oct. 13-14

Coming out of the covid time warp we’ve all been in the last several months, it’s hard to believe the holiday season is right around the corner. So what better time to get your home primed and ready for those long-awaited family get-togethers than with these prime Primo Days deals! (Try saying that 10 times fast!)

Get a jump on the 2020 holiday shopping season with savings of up to 50% on EVERYTHING at SelectBlinds.com October 13-14. That means extra savings on top of the already low prices on our most popular products. AND, you’ll get a FREE upgraded extended warranty on every product you purchase, too!

So why wait until Black Friday to start saving on those holiday home improvement projects? You’ve been staring out of the same windows for months. Wouldn’t you love to change the view a bit with beautiful new custom window treatments? It’s just the boost you and your home need to get into the holiday spirit!

Family room with Lifestyle Painted Shutters
How would these gorgeous hardwood plantation shutters fit your lifestyle? Sample Lifestyle Painted Shutters here and find out!

Today and tomorrow only, save even more on the already low prices on all of our most popular products. Get deeper 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.

To make sure you’re going to absolutely love your new custom window coverings, try before you buy with FREE SAMPLES first. After you see how great they’ll look in your home, you’ll still get the same Primo Days deal when you place an order within 30 days.* Plus 100% FREE SHIPPING on any order! And, of course, our satisfaction and F.I.T. guarantees! So start shopping the best prime Primo Day 2020 deals now!

*See Samples Policy for details

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.