The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 30 - April 27, 2011


The Island Cabana has something for everyone

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Nancy Lee shows some of the handbags and beach bags
available at The Island Cabana on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria.

When you think of the Island lifestyle, you think about the beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters, soft white sand, surfboards and flip flops all wrapped up in a laid-back, I'll-think-about-it-tomorrow attitude.

But something else also comes to mind when I think about the Island: stripes. Stripes are all over, beach umbrellas, tote bags, awnings and T-shirts by the hundreds. Well, there's a new stripe on Anna Maria, and even though it's not directly on the beach, it's a detour not to be missed.

You'll recognize The Island Cabana, located in one of the new buildings on Pine Avenue, by its striped aqua logo as soon as you step on to the porch. Nancy Lee opened her shop at the end of November last year and has been going gangbusters ever since. After only a few months she doubled her retail space, which now is comprised of two storefronts in the Key West style buildings.

Originally from Tampa, Lee and her husband permanently relocated to Anna Maria two years ago and moved into their weekend beach house. With her daughters off at college, Lee decided to start an online store specializing in bedding and accessories primarily for college dorm rooms and sorority houses.

Paige's Painting The Roses Pink,, became so popular with college age girls and their mothers that she was encouraged to bring her merchandise into a retail space.

However, what evolved into The Island Cabana has something for everyone in both merchandise and price. Lee has stocked her large open shop with island-inspired items ranging from napkin holders to antique buoys. She still maintains a large supply of linens, ruffled shower curtains, laundry bags and cotton quilts from Australia.

There are what seems to be hundreds of different pillows, dishes and other table wear with seashells and starfish, candles, small furniture pieces, baby clothes and great gift ideas.

You'll also find a large collection of island-inspired jewelry featuring Silver Seasons using real flowers in their pieces and Susan Shaw. The Island Cabana is the exclusive Island dealer of S.T.A.M.P.S Watches with interchangeable faces and bands, probably the most fun you'll ever have watch shopping. And don't miss the straw hats perched around the shop or the beach cover ups and dresses.

Also exclusive to The Island Cabana are hand woven Bosom Buddy Bags in all sizes, shapes and embellishments displayed like fine pieces of art. And unique distressed canvas from Belgium turned into lampshades, tote bags, pillows and mirrors promote the vintage beachy feel of the shop.

Lee's talented eye for choosing interesting and unique pieces will be expanding into interior decorating services shortly, but in the meantime, if you're looking for gifts and décor to inspire the Island life, just stop by the shop with the stripes and inhale the scent of the beach.

The Island Cabana
403 C Pine Avenue
Anna Maria
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
All major credit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Presentism – how we feel influences our vision of future

Investment Corner

In my last column we reviewed how the stock market seemed to generally do well when there were things to worry about, but conversely, embark on declines when most investors are optimistic. It has always perplexed me that investors seem to get the most optimistic or pessimistic at the wrong times, but I recently read a book which has shed some light on the thought process that helps create this cycle.

Stumbling on Happiness by Harvard psychology professor Dr. Dan Gilbert is a great book if you would like to learn more about many aspects of the human thought process and how we interact with others. It does not focus on the realm of investments, but the topics covered have direct application to how we manage our financial affairs, particularly our investments.

Dr. Gilbert reminds us that humans are the only creatures on earth which can imagine the future. This seemingly wonderful gift comes from the evolutionary development of the front portion of our brain, a characteristic unique to our species. However, there's just one small problem.

Since the future hasn't happened yet, the vision we have of the future must be built in our minds using things we do know. Past experiences and, most importantly, our present outlook have great influence over how we envision our future, and even how we perceive what happened in the past. This concept is known as "presentism." I'm sure you can go through some easy exercises on your own to see how this works, but I'll share a few we all can probably relate to. In March of 2009 at the nadir of the financial crisis, there was no good news. We were close to the point where we doubted the ATMs would spit out cash when we put our debit cards in. At that point, our minds were using the very dark news of the moment to create a vision of the future which wasn't pretty.

Thoughts about another Great Depression, 20 percent unemployment, and the stock market going to zero predominated the headlines and cocktail party talk. No one wanted to invest in stocks at the time because our very human thought process was not painting a pretty picture of the future and it was hard to believe that stocks might rise in price again. But, of course, since that time, the level of the stock market has about doubled, illustrating how the pessimism created by presentism led a majority of investors to make a large mistake, in a pattern we've observed time and time again.

At the top of the real estate market in 2005 – 2006, the experience of recent rapid appreciation created a vision of even higher prices, and presentism led some to quit their day jobs to flip houses. It's easily identifiable as silly behavior in hindsight, but in the moment it is so real it is hard to overcome. Avoiding the financial traps created by presentism requires disciplined conscious thought to counteract the overly optimistic or pessimistic views of the time. The most successful investors of all time have done this and trained themselves to buy then others are panicking and to sell when others are buying too aggressively and paying prices too high to justify.

Most individuals don't want to work that hard at the process and I can't blame them. But even the average investor can use some easy tools and methods to help reduce the chance of falling prey to a vision of the future which is not probable to be reality when the future arrives.

Disciplined asset allocation targets in your investment portfolio should help you avoid accumulating too much in one particular type of investment and suffering a bad result when that type of investment goes from boom to bust. I've mentioned the process of "rebalancing" before and it basically involves selling some of what has done well and is now over-weight in the portfolio and buying more of what has done less well and is now under-weight. The procedure is possibly one of the most boring things you can imagine, but studies have shown it to be one of the most important risk control techniques around.

Another technique is to fight the urge to invest new savings as the market moves higher, and accumulate cash instead. Then, when the inevitable more significant market corrections occur, use that cash to buy investments now down to a fraction of their previous prices. You'll need to be able to overcome your fears because you'll be buying when few others want to. But after all, isn't it about buying low and selling high? Of course it is, but our wonderful human brains aren't quite wired to see it that way unless we work at it.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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