All Posts By:

Amy Arciere

    DESIGN, Graphic Design, STYLE Create your own fashion style, using personalized t-shirts

    Custom T shirts

    by Guest Blogger, Edward Montalvo,

    We have all been in the position of seeing someone else in a shirt that you own. Suddenly your favorite shirt doesn’t seem so special anymore. As much as you want to still like that shirt, it will never feel the same. Everyone would love to have a unique t-shirt. In the past, this was an expensive and difficult endeavor, limited to your location or know how. Now the internet has opened up many possibilities.

    There are many ways to show the world who you are by expressing your inner self. One of the best, least permanent ways is to design your own t-shirt. Personalized t-shirts are the perfect way to show off your inner talent or show your interests without the worry of having a cookie cutter design. Websites such as Idakoos, Cafepress, and Spreadshirt let you download your own design or image to put on a t-shirt. They also have a library of images you can choose from, or you can mix your own image or design with one of theirs to make something completely different. You can release your artistic side and create the fashion style you crave.

    Adding text to your image can bring your voice into style. Any words that you come up with are bound to be unique to your own shirt, even if its a known phrase, your font and color can make you stand apart.

    Other options in designing your own t-shirt include the array of quality and color in the t-shirt. You can choose thick quality shirts or lightweight summer shirts. With most shirts and colors, you can order as few as one shirt to make something completely unique. Different fashion styles can be achieved just by changing a neck line or color.

    The Style you create can be shared with as many or as few people as you choose. This is great for family reunions, vacations or picnics. Designing your own t-shirt can also be used for work, team building events, fundraising and races that are unique themselves. The more t-shirts you order, the price per shirt drops, making your own fashion design economical and fun.

    Personalized t-shirts are a great way to have a unique look while keeping within your own personality. Next time you see somebody in a shirt you had found special, remember you can design your own t-shirts and create your own fashion style with the click of a mouse.

    DESIGN, Graphic Design

    The Overhaul: A Designer’s All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

    New York Times

    For the past two years, one of the biggest news sites, The New York Times, has been working on a complete overhaul of their website architecture – finally. The pace of updating technology is relentless for any online platform, however, visiting the Times’ was like visiting Gramma in her wood-paneled living room.  The immediate need for remodeling was always glaringly apparent.

    The NYT 5 (an internal code-name) project released updated sections in staggered segments, but as with any design renovation updating the archaic into future tense, things got wonky.  Watching the Times dust off their CMS backend, update web standards, adapt to a plethora of mobile devices all the while keeping up with reader expectations over the past 24 months has provided an all-you-can-eat  buffet of form, function and construction reminders all designers, developers and web owners alike should completely binge ingest.

      • Always put reader engagement first.
        Readers take their online experience with your website personally – especially media outlets. The Times eliminated page breaks allowing readers to continuously scroll as well as formatting their backend architecture to be easily accessed on all mobile devices.  Small adjustments deepening engagement makes a huge impact on reader experience.
      • Think “back to the future” for architectural design.
        The flux capacitor of your site, both back and front end, should have technological trends, future user use and expectations for the next two to five years in mind. Main architectural framework should be created allowing future upgrades, renovations and restructuring to be done with easy, compatibility and logic.
      • Design and build around business goals rather than focus on backend data packaging. How does your reader consume your product? Structure design should evolve around how and why your reader uses your product, services and information, not what is easiest for behind-the-scenes templates, CSS and code.  The Times’ multimedia-rich publication of Snow Fall did just that. Snow Fall gave readers interactive maps, intense videos, personal portrait photographs and an immense story, all of which created an incredibly personal and exciting online experience with the real focus on the front of the house versus backend priorities.

    The Times’ NYT 5 Project is a milestone. Responsive design is imperative in creating architecture in today’s mass media data-infused future in order to respond to the ever-evolving reader habits and expectations.


    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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    80s Movie STAT!

    Every now and then, I need a break the proverbial hamster wheel of design, selling, blogging, teaching, never-ending dieting and answering emails from shirtless men holding fish claiming they are far younger than they clearly are, to recharge. I’m pretty sure I am in need of an immediate creativity defibrillation as I have felt over the past few weeks as if  the imagination and inspiration from the right-side of my brain has been oozing out my ears.

    How do I recharge, you ask? With an 80s movie, of course.
    Life always needs an 80s movie. I mean, I feel like I am a walking 80s movie most of the time.

    You know, the female lead, trying to break away from the pack to stand out and be different as constant wacky, slap-stick events keep tripping her up from her unacquainted love for the older, college all-star as high school’s nerdiest outcast keeps trying to make her regret ever turning him down … but that’s another story for another time.

    80s’ film  hold such classics as:
    Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
    Valley Girl (1983) — an ALL-TIME fav
    Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)  — another ALL-TIME fav, I mean it stars SJP. Need I say more?
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
    The Breakfast Club (1985)
    • The Lost Boys (1987) — the beginning of my Kiefer Sutherland obsession
    Pretty in Pink (1986)
    • Breakin‘ (1984)

    Growing up in the 80s, I have great fondness and severe nostalgia for such things as neon clothing and excessive accessorizing.
    Coincidently, Netflix delivered, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984), for this weekend’s viewing. PERFECT.

    I loved every minute. The stunning asymmetry of this past decade’s fashion made me gasp with elation.  I had forgotten about wearing one big earring in one ear and one small earring in the other, wearing one cuffed earring, wearing one glove – either  sequenced or lace, all while wearing one bandana tied around your ankle of choice. It was breathtaking.

    Everything back in the 80s was excessive – especially the accessories. Everyone sported multiple versions of the same accessory and wore them all at once. SWATCH watches (of which, I had three), hand-cuff toggle belts, different colored socks – tucked over the pants, of course. It all brought a tear to my eye.

    As the credits rolled, I felt the pulse of my creativity start to beat again. Although, faint, the 80s once again has revived my mojo.

    Now to resurrect my love life; i’s acute and in need of a full transfusion. An IV of foreign films, perhaps.
    In the meantime, I’m wishing for a Sixteen Candles (1984) type of 40th birthday, sharing my cake with my own Jake Ryan.
    Like, that would be pretty rad fur sure.

    Please enjoy watching Breakin’ (1984) in its entirety above.

    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.