Art of Style

Ahead of the Curve: Solving Your Last-Minute Crises

Even the most organized among us end up with last-minute emergencies. Here’s how to fix them, fast.

BY April 3, 2015


"If you failed to plan, you planned to fail,” said your eighth-grade science teacher as she glowered at you from behind wire-rimmed glasses. And in that moment, maybe she was right—you did kind of leave your science fair project until the very last minute.

But in adulthood, things are different. Even the best-laid plans can go askew for reasons completely beyond your control: Your kid gets sick, your tire blows, your boss needs that thing he forgot to tell you about until this very moment.

When the unexpected strikes, the best thing is to keep calm and call in a professional. Resist the temptation to add one more item to your already overstuffed plate; even if it’s something you might normally handle on your own. By delegating it you make sure the “need it now” thing gets done without dropping any of the other many balls you invariably have in the air.

We asked two professional personal assistants where they go when they have rush jobs. Here’s their client-approved advice.


Problem: Your mother-in-law just called to tell you she’s coming—in an hour.

If you need to figure out dinner plans, call Wynn’s Market. Both Barbara Seyez—the president of the local Domestic Executive Managers Association chapter—and Judy Stevens—owner of Elite Personal Concierge—rave about Wynn’s. “They are absolutely fabulous to go to for a lot of things on the fly,” Seyez says. “They can do everything from a catered meal for a small gathering to last-minute lunches, and they’ll even deliver it.” The Capital Grille has also come through for Seyez, boxing up perfect steaks and sides for pickup with just an hour’s notice.

If your guest room (and the rest of the house) could use some tidying, call The Maids. While Southwest Florida has many different house cleaning options, The Maids is one of the few that does same-day appointments.


Problem: You’re speaking at a gala tomorrow and are having a wardrobe malfunction.

The good news is that several local tailors offer last-minute alterations. The bad news is that you’re going to pay for it. Judy Stevens recommends Creations by Alzira on Golden Gate Parkway for quick fixes. Barbara Seyez’s go-to is Verona’s Tailor Shop on Ninth Street South in Old Naples.

And that stain you just noticed? OXXO Care Cleaners, on Vanderbilt Beach Road, will have it erased by the evening if you drop off by 10 a.m. Plus, OXXO offers afterhours pickup if (or, let’s face it, when) you end up running late.

Spur-of-the-moment shoe repair, however, is trickier. While Silvio’s has been a Naples favorite for years, it’s often so busy that same-day repairs are impossible. Plaza Shoe Repair in Fort Myers can sometimes do same-day work, depending on the repair. It’s a similar story at E&J Shoe Repair in Naples. Some things, like heel replacement tips, can be done on the spot, but torn leather or damaged soles will likely take longer.

For jewelry, Barbara Seyez recommends William Phelps Custom Jeweler in Naples. “A colleague’s principal needed their watch fixed, like, that moment, and she took it in to William Phelps Custom Jeweler. Now I don’t know what the repair was, but she was out of there in less than an hour. Even her boss was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you got that done that fast,’” Seyez says.


Problem: You forgot your anniversary.

If you’ve got just eight hours until you check in for an extended stay in the doghouse, call 50Fifty Creative Services. Seyez says these floral designers can deliver everything from a single show-stopping bouquet to a formal dinner for two in your own dining room. “Matthew Huddleston [the owner and designer] is very, very creative, and if you need it, he’ll make it happen for you,” Seyez says. 

Or maybe you planned to whisk your darling away for a romantic vacation—then forgot to buy tickets. In that case, call Betty Maclean Travel. “We have relationships with hotels and tour companies, so sometimes we can get you in on last-minute tours or rooms because we have those contacts,” says Rory Ramsey, director of operations for the local travel agency. Though the group does have a visa- and passport-expediting service, the agents aren’t magicians—there will be some destinations you just can’t get visas for on a moment’s notice. Still, most domestic destinations are well within your grasp for a quick weekend getaway.


Problem: You dropped the ball big-time at work.

If you need a document delivered across town, Seyez recommends Coastal Courier Messenger Service. Rates start at just $8 for local Naples deliveries, and one-hour deliveries are an option. When your printer breaks minutes before your big meeting, Seyez recommends The Paper Merchant, in Naples, for quick copy services. “They also have great last-minute gifts, if you forgot to get something for someone,” she adds. When you’re running so behind on a project that you need extra hands, Labor Finders, based in Naples, can usually get temp office workers on just 24 hour’s notice. 


15-20: The percentage of people who describe themselves as chronic procrastinators; 95 percent say they procrastinate at least 


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