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!

Inspiring Decorator: Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse

Picture perfect in Pennsylvania, Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse puts a modern spin on a vintage style by creating a home that’s a culmination of old and new. She is frequently writing her home’s story, expertly crafting the contents and chapters in “Pursuit of a Pretty Home in Pittsburgh”.

We recently collaborated with her for a huge window shades project, and were so interested in her designer style that we asked her to be our next Inspiring Decorator! So grab a sammich from Primanti Bro’s and read our interview with Autumn below!

Meet Autumn of Steel City Farmhouse!

1. How would you explain your style and aesthetic?

When designing our home, we wanted a retreat, a gathering point, and a space that inspired our passions. That has slowly unfolded into a timeless yet clean eclectic style as we design and decorate our newly built home.​ ​I love a blend of old and new, pieces that tell the story of time mixed against the backdrop of​ a newly constructed home. This, for me, is what has given our home some soul. ​​​​ 

2. Where/Who do you get your home inspiration from?

Most recently I was very inspired by rummaging through my grandmother’s attic. While she is no longer with us, I love incorporating meaningful treasures that remind me of her into our home. ​Think beautiful sea glass jugs, designer vintage rattan chairs, and intricately designed dishware. ​It has given a nice balance of old in a new home. 

​Traveling the world has also served as a huge point of inspiration ​for my designs ​and perhaps why my style is a bit eclectic.​ And this is why you’ll see a side of travel on my predominantly home blog

SelectBlinds.com's Roman Shades lend to the clean and sleek look!

3. What personal project are you proudest of and why? 

Right now, my head is still in the clouds on the completion of our custom built home. It was something we dreamed of doing, and it​ ​was such a special experience to be able to design our home and build top to bottom what works and serves our lifestyle best.​ 

Welcome to Autumn's custom home!

4. What’s your favorite trend right now? 

I love how color ​and pattern ​is making a bold, new come back. ​​For me, I want to be wrapped in a happy, cheerful space so I’ve been finding ways to pack a little punch throughout whether it’s the backsplash, wallpaper, rugs​ ​​or furniture.

Just as in our lives we are all multi-tasking and juggling all of life’s little demands, we need our homes to do the same. I love how more and more the expectation is for a space to flex and be multi-functioning. Doubling benches as storage, or transforming what would normally be a home office into a multi-purpose room all through the design and layout of furniture. This reflects a major shift in how people want usable spaces for their families.   

Bold colors and a subtle pattern make a great marriage.

5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about interior design/decorating?

Let’s learn together! ​By day and trade I work in Corporate America in business. ​Unlike others I can’t sit here and tell you I’ve been doing this for a decade. It’s something I stumbled upon and realized I loved after I got my first place. ​I guess my best advice is to experiment on your own home/space ​or take some pro bono projects to build your portfolio​ (queue mom and dad, or friends.) 

Barn door fit into many different kinds of decor!

Thanks so much for letting us take a closer look at your home, Autumn! We love learning a little more about all of our influencers and hope to work with you again in the future! If you love the window treatments in Steel City Farmhouse, here’s a couple links to the products in this post:

Classic Roman Shades in Simply White (Bedroom, Bathroom)

Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades in Perfect White (Living Room)

For more details on her custom window treatments, amazing DIY installation walk-through and even insider some tech tips, you won’t want to miss her Select Blinds blog post!

“It was top of my list to get a quote or two for blinds, and we knew it would be expensive but never did we think our quotes would come back between $12-15k for 22 windows. And then I found Select Blinds.”

-Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Your Blinds

Penny the husky playing in the vertical blinds!
Penny loves playing with the vanes of Vertical Blinds!

Dogs are our best friends. They don’t talk much, judge only with an inquisitive eye and cuddle better than any human could, but I’m willing to bet you a Milkbone that this isn’t the first time that you’ve Googled the many ways to contain your furry friends’ penchant for destruction. If you have a puppy problem with keeping your window coverings safe from the wrath of your doggies’ paws and jaws, we’re here to help!

Stress / Separation Anxiety

Believe it or not — and your Furbo or Petcube can confirm this — your dogs basically do what they normally do when you’re there even when you’re not. However, those with separation anxiety have an emotional challenge to overcome. Since their species evolved as pack animals, they crave companionship and attention. They need to be around other beings to feel truly at home and comfortable. If you and your family have a close relationship with your dog (not just being part of the Christmas photos) then it’s going to be harder for them to grasp where you are going, how long you’ll be gone and if you’re coming back. Understanding how your dog’s brain works in relation to your existence is essential to learning about their anxiety. Adding another dog, hiring a dog-sitter, or consulting your vet may be some things to consider to help manage your little buddy’s stress.

Pitbulls stare at camera in living room
Duke and Sarah might be up to something…

Excitement and Energy

Have you ever been so happy and squeezed your teeth together so hard that you gave your jaw muscles a charlie horse? Or bit your cheek because your food was so delicious that you didn’t care to differentiate it from your meal? You JUST CAN’T control yourself! That’s how your dogs feel. With a lack of opposable thumbs and a quadrupedal frame, their mouth is really the only way of ‘squeezing’ in excitement. Not to be confused with canine ADHD, their hyperactivity may just be because they missed you and are excited to have you home.

The Solution

No window shade is fully “dog-proof,” but here’s a few tricks and tips to help keep your dog chewing their toys and not your blinds:

Leave home quietly and return quietly so you don’t startle, spook, or heighten your pooch’s stress energy levels.

Exercise and playtime with other dogs lets your pup let off steam and learn how to build relationships with their own kind.

Better toys mean longer-lasting amusement, less money spent and create a connection between your canine and their favorite stuffed animal. Multipet has some of the highest-rated pet toys on Amazon, with prices to howl about.

Citronella dog collars are a much more humane deterrent than the dated shock collar typically used to prevent incessant barking. They can also help stop Fido from destroying your interiors.

Enroll your dog in a local training class so they can learn how to behave from a pro and be with other dogs who are learning as well.

Give them melatonin after exercise and a hearty meal to help get them on a regular relaxation and sleeping schedule.

While many of these also apply to children, let’s both hope your human kids aren’t gnawing on ANYTHING except their food. Keep everyone’s safety in mind with cordless blinds, free of dangling lift cords which can be a potential to hazard to children and pets alike.

The Replacements

Ever come home to this:

Dog destroyed wood window blinds
It’s always the cute ones…

We hope not. But if you had purchased your window treatments from us, you’d be in luck! SelectBlinds.com’s 5-Year Unlimited Warranty keeps you covered (literally) even if your dogs get so bored with their toys they take to the blinds. Just call us up, let us know your story (seriously, we love good stories) and get a warranty replacement in less than 10 days. Coupled with the above tips, that should keep your window treatments safe and sound!

If you’re handy, or if your warranty has expired, you can order replacement slats for your Venetian-style window coverings (horizontal wood, faux wood and aluminum minis). See how easy it is to DIY your way back to perfect window shades by watching this video on How to Change the Slats on Your Window Blinds.

If your hound has been harassing your blinds, call our self-help hotline (at 888-257-1840, via live chat, or email). One of our Window Treatment Therapists will be happy to help talk you through the steps of mending not just your blinds, but your relationship with your dog!

Happy Customer, Kim S., Recommends Select Blinds for the Office

Kim S. used our Classic Cordless Blackout Shades to cut down on glare and cool off the new office of CeramFab Inc. , a ceramic fibers company that sells products like blankets, bricks, paper sheets, etc., used in high temp furnaces and areas requiring high temp/flame resistant protection.

” We are very happy that we chose to go with SelectBlinds.com for our office window blinds. I was having a hard time finding blackout shades that would fit our windows because they’re a little outside standard measurements, but these were easy to order and the color selection was fantastic. We needed blackout shades that could keep the glare off of the computer screens in the offices and darken the conference room enough for a projector, and the Classic Cordless Blackout Shades (Wirecutter’s Top Pick for Blackout Shades in 2019) work great. We received our order in less than two weeks from the date of order. The shades were very easy to install. Two people put up 10 shades in about one hour. I would absolutely recommend these shades to anyone looking for window blinds.”

Office windows with brown honeycomb blackout blinds from SelectBlinds.com

Thanks for letting us hang out in the office, Kim! Enjoy the cooler temps and shady headquarters to relax in while you work!

Need something like this for your office? Check out our huge selection of window treatment styles at SelectBlinds.com!

Office Kitchen Window with Honeycomb Shade from SelectBlinds.com

Select Blinds Happy Customer Contest: A Winner on the Green

Each year we encourage our customers to send us photos of their newly self-installed window treatments from yours truly for a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card! We’ve been gifted with a large collection of wonderful photos from the happy homes of our most dedicated customers

We enjoyed seeing happy customer photos so much that we decided to run not one, but TWO Happy Customer Contests this year! That being said, we have a winner for the first half of the year, and that’s Karla H. from Sibley, Iowa! She used our Classic Light Filtering Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Shades and Classic Blackout Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Shades! Classic Blackout Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Shades in her home near a local golf course!

Top Down Bottom Up Cordless Shades from Select Blinds in Living Room
Karla shows off the Top Down Bottom Up feature on her new window shades!

Congrats, Karla! We hope that you enjoy the gift card. Don’t spend it all at the clubhouse!

Select Blinds top down bottom up cell shades
She can lower the top or raise the bottom to have total control of light!

Thank You to everyone who entered for the first half of the year! Here are some runner-up’s that almost won the prize!

Light Filtering Honeycomb Shades in Greige cover bay window
Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades in Greige from Courtnee S.
Two blinds in one window for Living Room Window in Snickerdoodle
Read our interview with Marilyn on her Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cell Shades
Select Blinds 5% C
Classic Sheer Weave 5% Solar Shades in Grey from Stephanie B.
White Cellular honeycomb shades in living room windows
Classic Light Filtering Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Shades from Toan T.

Don’t forget to submit your photos for a chance to win during the second half of 2019! #WhatsInYourWindow

2019 Select Blinds Scholarship Winner Claire King

Winner of 2019 $1000 SelectBlinds.com Scholarship
SelectBlinds.com 2019 Scholarship Winner, Claire King

After sifting through a handful of finalists for this year’s SelectBlinds.com $1000 Scholarship, the shimmering winner rose to the top of our list! Meet Claire King. Claire is currently attending The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., where she’ll graduate in 2023 with a degree in English Language and Literature.

This year, we put a slightly different spin on our scholarship, requiring entrants to use our window treatment samples to create an inspiration board for a room design that spoke to each individual’s style. Claire’s submission encompassed everything we expected from the winning entry, so we’re pleased to award her with $1000 toward taking her education to the next level. Here’s a little bit more about Claire, and be sure to check out her submission at the bottom of this post!

1. What inspired you to enter our Scholarship Program?

I love design and art, so it was refreshing to find a scholarship that allowed me to express myself with creativity but also with purpose. I also instantly knew what my idea would be, because I had thought about it before.


2. What influenced you to attend the Catholic University of America?

There are dozens of reasons why I love the school. I consider it my dream school. It’s located in Washington, D.C. (my favorite city), its association with Catholicism, and the honors program offers many different educational benefits. Also, the people there are really kind and welcoming because of the small size of the school.


3. What are some of your hobbies outside of school/work?

I love working with kids in the arts. I work at different centers in my community to work with kids at art camps. I also volunteer abroad teaching English to kids. I do art within the community, like mural painting and collaborations with other artists. I am going to continue this at Catholic U, because the school is in the center of the arts district of Washington, D.C. (another reason I love it).

Congrats, Claire! We hope that this scholarship helps you follow your passion! Click below to check out Claire’s entry and keep an eye out for your chance to win our 2020 college scholarship, opening up next month!

Marilyn C. Eats Up Our Snickerdoodle Shades!

Two in one window brown cellular shades from SelectBlinds.com

“I just love my new blackout shades! We ordered them in Snickerdoodle, and they’re just great! So much easier to operate than the vertical blinds we used to have, too. Great job, SelectBlinds! You rock!”

A huge “THANK YOU” to Marilyn C. of Pennsylvania for sending in photos of her new honeycomb shades! She replaced her old vertical blinds on this wide double window to make way for two of our beautiful Select Single Cell Blackout Shades in Snickerdoodle. No more broken, swaying vanes for this front yard view! Our Cordless Lift and Lock system is easy up / easy down for quick privacy and light blocking! MJ even had great things to say about our customer service agents who helped her with custom sizing so her new window treatments covered her windows perfectly!

SelectBlinds.com shades block morning light in living room

“Just to let you know, your salesman Charles Arrington was AWESOME. We didn’t even think we were capable of measuring for these shades and he was so helpful! He guaranteed me these would fit and they  do — to a ‘T’! Thanks again for your awesome product and believe me, we looked all over. Even saw shades over $800 that were nowhere near as nice as yours!”

Thanks again, MJ! We look forward to working together and hope to hear more stories from the East Coast (the birthplace of many of us here at SelectBlinds) in the near future!