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Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters

    DESIGN, Interior Design

    AERIN’s Effortless Style. Literally.

    I had the pleasure of attending a personal appearance by Aerin Lauder, founder of AERIN,  a global luxury lifestyle sub-brand of the esteemed Estee Lauder powerhouse, last week at Clive Daniel HOME, here in Naples.

    I must admit, on the drive there I was still crossing my fingers this appearance wouldn’t be some strange rendition of Avenue Q  – where someone’s hand is up Aerin’s derrière, making her lips move with all the right brand-speak, proving she is nothing more than a mere placard for a super brand trying to cash in on its heir.

    Aerin Lauder

    Immediate left:  Aerin Lauder, Founder of AERIN | Photo Courtesy of Clive Daniel HOME, via Zee Anna Photography

    In researching the World of AERIN’s design philosophy before attending, I became drunk with consuming in access all “effortless beautiful living” has to offer – stunning photographs of modelesque homes, men and women, $3,735 golden side tables, lavish musks, costume jewelry and eyewear – I could barely keep from slurring my words.

    As I kept drinking it all in, the veteran marketer in me started to step in, throw me in a cold shower and sober me up. As I surfed from page to page, I saw AERIN the brand in literal physical form, but where was Aerin the interior designer, fashion trend setter, entrepreneur, creator? That part of AERIN the brand and Aerin the founder, was – in all efforts – missing.

    I wanted to learn her thought processes when curating her furniture pieces, her inspirations when creating her different product lines, where she studied design, and the details of each furniture piece. There was nothing. There was no effort given in telling AERIN’s story as an artist, overall brand or history-rich heir.  To be a successful marketer, it’s all about storytelling – creating narrative around your products to give them life, appeal and status; AERIN’s strive for effortless living has indeed created an air of lack of effort.

    It was disappointing to me as a designer, marketer and consumer to realize I had had beer goggles on while falling in love with the World of AERIN.  Unfortunately, my disappointment grew worse.  As I viewed each product under Furnishings, I was astonished to discover there was no information listed about the origin, details or designer. How can AERIN expect consumers to pay in upwards of $10,000 for a single piece without knowing any sort of provenance?

    AERIN Home Furnishings

    AERIN showroom floor | Clive Daniel HOME, Naples, Florida

    What was even more disappointing you may ask? To hear her unable to answer the question, “Where is your furniture manufactured?” at the event.  Aerin, in true lack-of-effort style, had to refer to another AERIN executive next to her for the information. Heavy sigh.

    Don’t get me wrong, Aerin seemed lovely, gracious and kind; after my research and attendance, I simply lack respect for her position at AERIN. For me, especially as both a business owner and professor, do your homework, know your product, and at least pretend to be the driving force behind the company you allegedly founded.  Whether you are indeed the roll-up-your-sleeves, hands-on founder or mere 16-million-share-holder marionette – make the effort – be professional.

    Coastal Living, Interior Design

    Naples Best Dressed Fine Furniture: Plantation Shutters

    Naples Bay Shutters
    Gone with the Wind

    Left: Clarke Gable and Vivien Leigh’s “Gone with the Wind” (notice the shutters behind them!); Right: Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman’s  (and my favorite) “Went with the Wind”

    Shutters have forever had their origins associated with the rise of the Historic South, casting vivid images of old, magnificent cotton plantation homes, Georgian wrap-around front porches, and Gone with the Wind, of course I always tend to instantly flash to Carol Burnett’s Went with the Wind myself. While shutters were popular during that era, they actually date back to Ancient Greece.

    Shutters in Ancient Greece

    Ancient Greece Shutters

    Originally designed out of marble as a luxury for the Greek aristocracies, their function is the same as it is today, thousands of years later – provide light, sun and temperature control.  With the rise of the Roman Empire, window shutters began to spread into Western Europe as one of the first interior design trends.  King Louis XIV of France is rumored to have insisted on their presence in his domicile; shutters enabled the royal women to nap comfortably without shutting out air circulation and allowed the cooks to control the sunlight heating up the kitchen.

    As craftsmen improved design and function, paneled and louvered styles – similar to the modern interior shutter – emerged out of cosmopolitan areas such as Italy.  By the 18th and 19th centuries, shutters were being used in American homes, particularity in the South, where they acquired their new name, “Plantation Shutters.”  Known for their elegance, grandeur and practical use, shutters became an integral part of both interior and exterior design.

    Today, Plantation shutters are considered fine furniture and a mark of discerning style and sophistication.  Interior shutters still provide design, privacy, and light control as they have through history, but they also enhance the value of a home. Like any home investment, only products of exceptional quality will provide long-term value and increase appreciation.


    Naples Bay Shutters

    Naples Bay Shutters

    Naples Bay Shutters

    Naples Bay Shutters

    At Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters, we believe the best shutter is the result of meticulous management of each step in its creation.  Every step—research and development, product design, raw materials sourcing, handcrafting, quality control, and even packaging—are carried out with one goal, to bring you matchless quality, durability, and long-term value in your investment.  One of our salespeople will bring our full-line showcase of premium custom shutters. No matter what size, shape and color—we have you covered.


    Call 239.595.2243 or email Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters for a free in-home appointment today.


    DESIGN, Interior Design

    NAPLES BAY BLINDS & SHUTTERS: Leading the Way in Custom Window Treatments

    At Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters, LLC, we pride ourselves on providing the highest-quality window treatments with superior service, impeccable installation and complete client satisfaction.

    We offer top manufacturers including Norman, Hunter Douglas, A Better Blind, Horizons by B&W, and Unique for a wide variety of Plantation shutters, sunscreen shades, honeycomb shades, Roman shades, wooden blinds, verticals…and much, much more!

    We believe and are committed to:

    Exceptional Quality

    At Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters, we know the importance of providing the highest-quality shutters, blinds and shades. We only partner with the leading manufacturers to ensure our clients receive the best products possible on the market.

    Exemplary Service
    We believe our clients deserve the very best we can give. We pride ourselves in expertly delivering personalized service for each and every order. We are relentless in our goal in ensuring you are completely satisfied, have had an extraordinary experience and are delighted with your new Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters purchase.

    Experienced Installers 
    Prompt and courteous, each one of our professional installers has over 30 years experience leveling, drilling, balancing and fastening the full gamut of our product catalogue and fully-custom pieces – ensuring your order is impeccably delivered.

    Serving All of Southwest Florida 
    Whether you live in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers or on Marco Island, Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters brings the showroom to you!  We are ready to meet you in your home, at your convenience to expertly provide a solution that fits your style and needs.

    Company Overview

    Mr. Vertical

    Formerly Mr. Vertical / Florida Interiors of Naples

    Originally from Greenwich, Connecticut, Ann and Joe Arciere, Sr. began Mr. Vertical/Florida Interior of Naples in 1982. For over 25 years, the Arciere Family built a longstanding reputation for what is now Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters based upon trust, integrity and craftsmanship as the region’s leading authority in window treatment needs.

    Today, Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters is still based in Naples, Florida headed by the new president, Amy B. Perrault. A New England native named Western Massachusetts’ Top 25 Women to Watch and Hartford, Connecticut’s 40 Under Forty, Amy has over 20 years design, marketing and style experience, providing our clients a luxe concierge for their blind, shutter and shade needs with keen eye for detail, sophistication and passion for making their houses a home.

    From left, Ann Arciere, Amy B. Perrault, and Joe Arciere, Sr.

    From left, Ann Arciere, Amy B. Perrault, and Joe Arciere, Sr.

    Naples Bay Blinds & Shutters is still dedicated to its founding mission – the most important windows in Southwest Florida are yours.

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    IMAGINATION, Life of Josie M.

    Setting. Development. Resolution.

    Life of Josie M

    I could hear the inner wheels of Henry’s mind grinding as he lay silently next to me, both of us facing opposite directions with only the smalls of our backs touching.
    I sat up holding the comforter up to my chest as if to shield me from the vulnerability ahead. I turned and spoke to his back, “I knew this would happen the minute I saw the back of your head.”
    He picked up his head and rested his chin on his shoulder. “What?”
    “Well, actually… I knew this would happen when I first saw your back…in your fabulously sexy, dark-navy suit with the silver pinstripes…then I saw the back of your head. But, still, I knew.”
    Still confused, Henry now swiveled his body counter-clockwise to lie facing me on his side. “You knew what?…From what…my head? All I heard was you think I’m fabulously sexy,” he let the last word trail off slowly like he used to do while teaching, using sarcasm to get his point across, only this time, it was  seductive, luring me back down next to him.
    I let go of my death grip on the comforter and slid back down on my side  into his open arms and nestled up close to his chest. We were now looking into each other’s eyes.
    “When I walked into Albert Hall, while I was focused on finding Room Six, you were hunched over at the water bubbler. I couldn’t help but say to myself, ‘Wow. Who is this with the phenomenal taste? He’s a student here?’ You then stood up straight and walked into the next room. I only saw the back of you head. But, I knew. The salt-and-pepper hair was a dead giveaway.”
    As he kissed my forehead, he muttered, “I still have no idea what you are talking about. Are you calling me fabulously sexy again?”


    Eventually, we had to pull ourselves away from each other and the seclusion of my bedroom as it was Monday morning and we both had classes to teach.  As Henry showered, I got up and started the coffee.
    “Ugh. Rain again,” I muttered to myself as I opened the window blinds. Opening the blinds was painful, not because of the light hitting my un-ready pupils, but because I felt each one of those horizontal lines of light shattering the cocoon the weekend in bed had just built around me and Henry.
    Reality was rearing its’ ugly head with the possibility for sheer and utter disappointment when Henry leaves, as he had not responded to any of my feeble attempts to convey the true breadth and depth of my feelings. I had tried several times during the course of the past two days to gather the thoughts, feelings and emotions rushing through me for the past year into what needed to be the perfect combination of words to tell to this man, the most wonderful man I had ever met, I was in love with him.
    I could still hear the shower running. I started to prepare myself for the worst. I started running scenarios of our departure through my head.
    “Thanks for an amazing weekend. But…I’ve already told you…I’m happy in my current situation…”
    “East or west coast?”
    Henry startled me. While I was preparing myself for the dreaded “You’re a Great Friend” speech staring out the window, he had gotten out of the shower, gotten dressed and poured our coffee. He was standing at the edge of the kitchen holding in one hand my “I ‘heart’ LA” mug and in the other, my “I ‘heart’ New York” mug.
    “LA or New York,” he clarified.
    “Oh…New York, please. Thank you.”


    I stood frozen in anticipation as I watched Henry gather his belongings from around the apartment. I was still in my bathrobe, still gripping my “I ‘heart’ NY” mug and still unable to breathe.
    “Well…” Again, his words rolled off his tongue with great seduction.
    We were now walking towards each other. When Henry reached me, he took the mug out of my hand, placed it down and began kissing my neck.
    “Stunning, sexy, and irresistible,” he kept kissing me as he spoke.
    “What?” My mind was preoccupied with his lips, not conversation.
    “Turquoise, strappy high heels and your refute of Georg Hegel’s theory of the Absolute.”
    “What?” I repeated, still preoccupied.
    “That’s when I knew I had fallen in love with you.”



    IMAGINATION, Tips + Advice

    When life gives you lemons, grab tequila.

    When life gives you lemons, grab tequila.As Labor Day approaches, the looming clouds of family cookouts lay overhead.

    Ah, yes. A time when every single girl is reminded just how single one’s life may be.

    No. Really people, relatives no less, will leap out of lawn chairs to ask if you have “found anyone” yet.


    Me:  “No, but I cured cancer.”

    Auntie Insane:   “That’s nice, dear. You know, my coworker’s son is about your age. He still lives at home, but that just means he’s saving money.”

    Even the cure for cancer couldn’t save me from this annual scene – and, yeah, he’s “saving money.” Let me guess, his “apartment” is located in the basement?

    And, you thought of me for this loser. Gee. Thanks.


    Ah, yes. I have heard it all for the “finding someone” advice:

    • “Some Saturday, go and hang out in Home Depot for an hour or two. I bet you would find someone there.”When life gives you lemons...
    • “What about that guy Chris?” (PLEASE NOTE_I dated Chris in high school, SIXTEEN YEARS AGO.)
    • “So what if he is thirty-three and living at home. He’s saving money.”
    • “I REALLLLLY wish I knew someone single.” (PLEASE NOTE_ I am single, not terminal. Don’t call in Make-a-Wish yet.)
    • “He’s a Greek god. You’ll love him. He’s perfect for you.” (PLEASE NOTE_ Greek gods do not have uni-brows.)
    • “You should go on a single’s cruise. That’s how my friends met. You know, they had some ice breaker…he got ‘Frank’ and she got ‘beans.’ The rest is history.”

    Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. And, don’t forget to pack the tequila.


    IMAGINATION, Life of Josie M.

    “They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, ‘No, no, no.'”

    Amy Winehouse

    Hi. My name is Josie. And I am a douchebag addict.

    I have teetered on the edge of serial single and serial dating for years now. Thus, my blog.  However, this year both sides of the fence have culminated into a gigantic, festering vat of emotionally draining energy.

    I mean, things were to a point were Kaz and SlinkyChic insisted I audition for VH1’s Tough Love, a reality TV dating boot camp. Look, Slink even started filling out my application:

    Q:  Why do your friends think you are single?
    “I would say you are single because, well, you have not yet found THE ONE, but THE ONE has not  yet found you either. The potential future Mr. Josie has to GET YOU, and let you BE YOU.  You are Little*, but not LITTLE in your attitude. I would say that you have a certain type and when your friends show you a potential MAN, you may not consider him upon the first review after the 2 seconds you have reviewed him from head to toe….plus usually when we go out it is late at night and usually quite dark and libations may be involved.”

    And then she also added this in her email:
    “I think your criteria may be very selective and narrow, meaning that you HAVE to have a man that falls w/n a list of your requirements if he EVEN gets as far as to talk to you…

    Oh, and they LINGER….. they have to be long gone before you can move on!!! You have hanger-oners… that are always there or come back. I have trouble typing on this little laptop, maybe we need to have a conversation all of us and make a conclusion as a group. We need to make this GOOD.”

    Slink’s email was touching enough to make my eyes water and brutal enough to make my eyes water.

    I am particular. Not particular like, “narrow, meaning a man must fall within a list of requirements,” but particular like a hot-house orchid; I have certain conditions I want THE ONE, as Slink put it, to meet.

    These “hanger-oners” at one point did meet my “conditions,” but over time, fell out of favor for one reason or another – and stayed around. And, yes, some fell into the category of major douchebag – and stayed around.

    I didn’t care. I didn’t care these “hanger-oners” weren’t THE ONE, they were someone to go to dinner with, on a long-weekend with – let’s be honest, I wasn’t in love with any of them. Hell, there were a few I didn’t even really like, never mind love.  This leads me back to the culmination of a festering vat of emotionally draining energy… there were a few I did deeply care for (i.e., Ian) — and one I was insanely in love with (i.e., the secret crush). But, the deep feelings were never returned.

    Ian didn’t want to get married again, or live together, or spend lots of exorbitant time together, but he didn’t want to break up either. I thought I would be okay with his terms, I even called him, “Mr. Right Now” to his face. I guess, deep down, I thought he would eventually change his mind. Ah! Wait! I know what you are thinking! Let me add, Ian would also say things to make me believe his mind was changing. After a long weekend in Boston, I finally realized he never meant anything he said in terms of change – and was harshly reminded, leopards don’t change their spots.

    The secret crush I have been referring to in my junior-high-school manor since the creation of my blog, is no longer secret. I think. I think he knows about the depth of my feelings, but with men, ladies you know, they mostly lack the ability to connect the dots – no matter how many academic degrees. But, at this point, does it really matter if he knows? It’s been a cat and mouse game of flirtation, however, he decided to stick with his current situation. I am heart broken, and worse, I feel stupid. He made himself clear – even if he did dabble with the idea of me – and he did dabble – you do not not bring up your current situation for this long without dabbling! Plus, he talked a big game. He dangled the proverbial carrot of many super fantastic, incredible projects/jobs/etc. on a stick in front of me, yet, meant none of them. I don’t know which is worse – being the girl not chosen or realizing the guy of my dreams could actually fall into the category with all the rest — douchebag.

    Thus, I put myself into douchebag rehab.  (I must say, Kaz and Slink are extremely proud). No more accepting phone calls, emails or text messages. I have deleted all the “hanger-oners” out of my phone, email address book and social networks.

    I have emptied and cleaned my festering vat – with bleach.

    * * *

    *VH1 Tough Love, Season 2 casting was closed when I went to submit my application.
    *”Little” is a nickname.


    Opposites Attract. Seek Yours.

    opposites attract

    Rick Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova, Mary Matalin and James Carville, Mork and Mindy, Samantha and Durwood, Miss Piggy and Kermit, the old adage is true – opposites attract.  After all, complimentary opposites are by definition, natural.   Remember playing with batteries in sixth class science class – likes repel, opposites attract? Yup, all el natural.

    Opposites Attract.

    From Rick Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova to Mork and Mindy, the old adage is true – opposites attract.

    Single people have, do, and always will get inundated with dating advice (whether they want it or not) from every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Aunt Joan) which runs the full gamut spectrum of bad advice. From “You should join a bike club” (knowing I don’t own a bike and it’s in the middle of winter in New England) to “You should try that eHarmony because it matches every aspect of your beliefs, chakras, urine samples and hair highlights” (the site rejected me, yes, rejected me, actually saying it was unable to match me).

    The notion of finding the perfect man or woman who has the exact same interests as you falls right in the middle of the bad advice spectrum; single people are either being given short, curt advice by people unnerved by the unmarried (because single usually implies retardation, apparently) or by people who think finding someone is beyond easy (because after all, they found someone).

    In my dating experience, I have dated nothing but opposites. Because – they’re interesting! They’re different! They’re exciting! I have been shown different parts of the world, different perspectives, different cuisine and ultimately, different parts of myself.

    Singles should, need and must seek their opposites because ultimately, they are truly seeking their compliment counterpart – the ying to their yang. Now mind you, just as we learned on Wild Kingdom, opposites sometimes are just opposites (or on a date when the guy shows up with his lap dog in a sweater).  But, stay the course, don’t be afraid – seek your opposite!


    Originally posted on  formally, as “SWF:  Ying Seeks Her Yang,” December 2010.


    IMAGINATION, Life of Josie M.

    Rule no. 42: Destiny is not always destined.

    Life of Josie M.

    And then, there was Ian.

    Our introduction was kinetic. I still can feel the energy, the tingles, which ran from my hands down to my toes, of our first meeting years ago.

    He was thirteen years my senior, an Amherst College scholar, a brilliant writer, and his salt-and-pepper hair made his presence insatiable.

    Two years passed, enduring brief and intemittent meetings. And then, he emailed me. 

    Ian expressed he wanted to meet me out for coffee, he needed to speak to me. His email was short and to the point, making his message seem all the more urgent. The next day, we meet at a small, quintessential bookstore turned coffee house.

    As I sipped my coffee, the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me happened to me.  This man, whom I have been intoxicated with for the past two years by mere hair and wit, announced he was ending his unsuccessful marriage of ten years to feel alive again, feel companionship again, feel romance again – because he had met me.

    This was the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me because up until this point, we had never dated, never had unscrupulous, secret encounters (not counting the many in my mind). We had been friends. That’s it.

    Six years and one hell of a romance later, nothing makes you feel more like a toaster, than being told he was leaving for another woman.


    As kinetic as our meeting was, I was in denial of the looming end.
    Destiny is not always fate, but fate is often destiny.

    Yes, the impossible, the unbelievable, the never-happens-to-me happened to me
    with a man I was intoxicated with by mere hair and wit for years previous,
    however, I denied the fact intoxication evitably leads to a long, slow death by poisoning of the soul.

    His once insatiable presence is now mere memory.
    Our brief and intermittent meetings turned long, romantic weekends reading in bed, are now gone.


    Sex, drugs and nakedness. Did I mention I was with my parents?

    Hair the Musical

    Not living far from New York City, to celebrate my birthday, my parents announced we would take the train in and they would treat me to day of shopping, a matinee and dinner with close friends in the Big Apple.

    Being avid travelers, my parents always amaze me with their savvy and worldly knowledge.

    STEP DAD:     “You know…I think they have a bathroom on these trains.”
    MOM:               “We sit backwards?”

    After enduring a non-express Metro-North Line train ride into Grand Central, we then endured yet another non-express line – the ticket line in Times Square.

    For those of you who know – and for those of you who don’t know – there is a TKTS ticket booth in Times Square  where would-be show-goers can purchase matinee (and some night shows) at a discounted price. Since it was my birthday, my parents advised me to pick the show of my choice – they also advised me they wanted to see a musical.

    As the line dwindled and we neared the ticket window, so did our show options — we were down to Shrek, Mary Poppins and HAIR. Shrek – a singing, flatulent ogre…um, no thanks; Mary Poppins – been there, done that; so, that left….HAIR.  I faintly remember listening to my parents’ HAIR album (yes, 33LP record) growing up and knew the premise… how bad could HAIR be?

    Sex, drugs and nakedness. Yup.  Did I mention I was with my parents? Even as a full-grown adult, one never outgrows AWKWARD.

    I understand this play was a radical social commentary of the late 1960s, I get it. I understand the naked protest is just that – a protest. I get it. The cast was uber-talented. I am not debating that. I know this particular revival won the 2009 Tony Award for the Best Revival on Broadway that very week. I am not debating that either.

    What I am saying is, by intermission, I was ready to throw the Kumbaya towel in.  I am just not a flower child, thus, the 33 songs which comprise HAIR – and trust me, all 33 were performed – put me over the mother-loving, hallucinogenic, orgy edge. I am a child of the 1970s, by then, the hippies were fading and The Partridge Family was taking over the sit-ins. Donnie and Marie were stars – clean cut and as white bread as you can get. No LSD for them.

    The only thing close to HAIR when I was a teenager were – the glam rocker bands – POISON (who, incidentally, where at the Tony Awards that year as well, you know, when douchebag lead singer, Brett Michaels had a run in with the stage – in case you missed it —

    HAIR The Musical

    Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Stryper, etc. The hair was there, but the radical social commentary for these guys was showing off how many groupies they could fit backstage and they were burning hotel rooms down, not draft cards.

    At curtain’s close, my mother felt the same as she did close to forty years ago when seeing HAIR in London, “It’s still as radical now as it was back then;” my step father agreed and remembered seeing the play in New York shortly after its debut – and still likes the nudity *wink*, and I…I was glad to leave (sorry, HAIR) – with a new appreciation for the play, actors and, of course, our freedom.

    * * * * *

    HAIR:  The Musical
    2009 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical Revival
    I saw HAIR at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, New York, NY 10036

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