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!

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,