Throwback: The Music Den’s Awesome Guitar Pick Business Card

Music Den Ledgewood Kinnelon NJI love unique business cards and one of the more distinct ones I’ve ever found was from The Music Den located in Ledgewood Mall and Kinnelon Mall New Jersey. I went to the Ledgewood location when I first moved out to Budd Lake so many years ago.

I was shopping for Christmas presents for my family and I knew my brother liked music & played guitar, so I decided to stop into The Music Den. I remember looking around, but I’m not sure if I bought anything from there.

The only thing I remember was grabbing their business card and thinking that it was cool that it looked like guitar picks. I realized later when organizing my cards that this card was thicker than usual and the business card contained 4 actual guitar picks in it.

Are they good guitar picks? I have no idea since I like keeping my business cards in as good of condition as possible & poking a guitar pick-sized big hole isn’t exactly the most productive way of doing so. That and the fact I can’t carry a tune if my life depended on it.

It’s actually an ingenious way to promote your company if you sell musical instruments & sheet music. Kind of think of it, I may have bought my brother sheet music for his guitar that day. I can’t recall though.

Business Card Count: 34,872

The Le Malt Experience: Classy Ambiance, Delicious Food

Le Malt Colonia NJ

One thing I love doing is going out to eat at different places. And Le Malt in Colonia, New Jersey has to be one of the more fancier places I’ve ever eaten at.

I was told by my partner that Le Malt was an experience I had to try. And so we did one night.

It looks so innocent in a strip mall, unexpectedly hiding a classy treasure inside. It looked like an old-school lounge with comfortable leather seating. I would find out later that it’s a James Beard House Featured Restaurant Lounge.

James Beard is a name I recognize from cooking shows like Top Chef, Chopped and [INSERT FOOD SHOW HERE]. So I knew I was in for a treat.

Ferrari Martini

MorimotoLe Malt Drinks

The first thing we ordered were drinks. I chose to get the above drink known as the Ferrari Martini and apparently, Le Malt partners with Ferrari in some capacity. This somehow inspired the martini I drank with mango rum, 100% pomegranate puree and an edible flower. It was smooth and delicious in every way, even the flower… though it didn’t remind me of a sports car.

My partner opted for The Morimoto. This Japanese-sounding drink contains Milagro silver tequila, agave nectar, lime, pineapple & yuzu juices and a shiso leaf. It was also pretty good (not as good as mine, but I’m not a huge tequila guy), but the highlight was the HUGE ice sphere used to cool the beverage.

Gourmet Cheese Plate

Kobe Beef SlidersLe Malt Food

As good as alcohol is, I enjoy food more. And one of my favorites is cheese, hence why ordering the Gourmet Cheese Plate was necessary. The manchego, gorgonzola, mango ginger & brie cheeses were all very tasty.

Another delight for the palate were the Kobe beef sliders. Even though there were just 2 of them, the 100% ground wagyu Japanese kobe with caramelized onion & brioche literally melted in my mouth. And the presentation on a slice of tree trunk made for a unique experience.

Last and least (not for a bad reason) were the fries that were tossed in a unique blend of the spices. Disappointingly, they ran out of truffle oil that day… otherwise, truffle fries or truffle popcorn would have been the side dish of choice.

There’s always next time… and there will definitely be one at Le Malt because of its atmosphere that inspires good conversation, romance and overall joy.

Business Card Count: 34,872

Moving Can Be a Bit More Complicated With U-Haul

Many say breaking up is hard to do. And it is. But so can moving.

Uhaul North Brunswick NJI hired movers for the last 2 moves I made since there was a delicate curio cabinet too large to be moved by myself & other people I could trust. Since that cabinet wasn’t mine (along with half the furniture moved at that time), I decided to rent a U-Haul.

I know it’s technically a moving truck, but nobody really calls it a Penske or a Budget, do they? A moving truck is always a U-Haul, like how a cotton swab is a Q-tip.

I wasn’t worried since I got the truck I wanted in advance. However, I was inconvenienced by U-Haul since I requested a pickup at the Manalapan or Marlboro location to drop off at the Edison NJ location… turns out they wanted me to go to North Brunswick.

That’s because the first location I booked was apparently my PREFERRED location. I had no idea that was a thing, but the reasoning I had to go out of my way to North Brunswick was because they didn’t have the truck to go one way.

They had the truck I wanted. But it had to come back to Manalapan, Marlboro or wherever I booked it. I don’t know how it works with certain trucks needing to be at certain places, but I guess I drew the un-preferred location card. However, I must say that General Manager Shari Osadacz at the North Brunswick location was more than helpful in getting my truck (which had VERY few miles on it) as quickly as possible.

Will this make me second guess using U-Haul for my next move? Perhaps, though I know it’s a high-class problem, but it would have been nice to have been notified the day before or maybe the website wouldn’t have let me pick that route before taking my money.

Business Card Count: 34,837

Divorced: How Steven J Kaplan Helped Me Through the Toughest Time of My Life

This is not how I pictured my life going. The fact that I’m officially divorced at 31 is very bittersweet.

My dream was to be married only once (since my parents got divorced when I was 12 or 13), have a family and grow old with my wife. It took a while, but I’ve mourned and accepted that loss for the sake of my happiness.

My Lawyer

Steven J KaplanSteven J Kaplan was recommended to me by a trusted source, so I went to meet with him. Right away, he gave me assurance that the divorce process would be simple and straightforward (legally of course, emotionally was much different).

With his over 25 years of experience, Kaplan talked me through the whole process step by step and how everything would work. He knew that I wanted as little emotional/financial damage as possible (that came into play of course), so he took that into consideration.

He made me feel so reassured by laying everything out. Him telling me “I’ve never seen ______ in my 25+ years of practicing law” a couple of times made me feel a lot better about the divorce.

From the retainer process through the final judgment, Steven took all of the legal stress away from me and that’s priceless. He told me I didn’t have to stay for getting the hardcopy of the paperwork, which was nice since I cried the whole drive home.

The Next Phase of My Life

With everything being over, I’m choosing to put the pain and bitterness behind me. I’m going to heed the advice of the judge and remember the good times. And I’m grateful to Beth for them and being there for me in my darkest hours when my Dad passed away suddenly & I got laid off twice.

The divorce also made it clear that I needed to work on other relationships in my life with family and friends. And work on finding myself more with my wrestling and other bucket list I want to pursue.

And I’m blessed enough to start the next chapter of my life alone, as I met Jess in 2016. She has been somebody I can lean on with all of the bad feelings I’ve had and share the good & bad times of life with.

We fell for each other really fast & hard… and I couldn’t be happier. I’m more than willing to walk through life by myself because I love who I am (and will become), but would prefer to have her by my side.

I’m taking the lessons learned from my marriage and applying them to all aspects of my life. The next phase of my life is just the beginning, but I highly doubt that I’ll ever get married again. I believe I can have a lifelong partnership and start a family without being bound by the legalities of marriage, seeing as how at least half of marriages end in divorce anyhow.

I ran a little off the rails of my lawyer Steven J Kaplan, but there are just things I wrote out that I needed to see the text of (not just in my head) that are here for you to read and others I released without publishing.

Business Card Count: 34,792

Whatever Happened to Quiznos? It’s So Much Better Than Subway

Quiznos Poughkeepsie NYA while back, I wrote a blog post about Subway and how it’s not worth the money. One submarine sandwich shop that’s worth the money is Quiznos.

I remember first experiencing Quiznos at their location in Poughkeepsie, New York that happened to be right across the street from my college campus (along with 2 pizzerias, a deli and more). It’s still there to this day, but I noticed that many locations closed.

So it made me wonder: whatever happened to Quiznos?

Turns out that they closed a bunch of locations during the recession and in 2014 when they filed for Chapter 11. It’s a real shame, but I can see how people would gravitate towards Subway because of its message of being healthier over Quiznos being more savory.

Though I don’t think the spongmonkeys ever had child porn like Jared did.

The food at Quiznos is so much better than Subway and Quiznos toasting their subs long before Subway did. I discovered it in college and enjoyed it while there, at home on break from college, on occasional trips to NYC and at rest stops. Alas, there are few and far between nowadays.

My favorite sub to get was the Chicken Carbonara (chicken, bacon, mozzarella & mushrooms with parmesan alfredo sauce) on wheat. I always got it with a large with some chips and raspberry lemonade. It was a go-to meal at least once a week for me because I loved the cheese flavor and the chicken/mushroom/alfredo/bacon combo.

I also got the Baja Chicken (chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese baja sauce and no onions & chipotle mayo) on occasion, but never enough for it to be my favorite. I’d love to eat at Quiznos again, but I’d have to find a location since they don’t have many… while Subway has one in like every town. I need that Chicken Carbonara, like yesterday.

Business Card Count: 34,464

It’s 2017 & Time For a Political Rant Like Everyone Else

Sean Patrick MaloneySocial media has run amok with political commentary due to the election of Donald Trump as US President. It’s not POTUS’s business card, but it’s a member sitting in the House of Representatives who could override any decision Donald Trump might want to veto.

I don’t have that high of security clearance. Well, my brother doesn’t… as he’s the one who got me this card on his trip to Washington DC. I can’t imagine the zoo Washington is like now.

Yes I can! Because I see it every day on social media. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen meme-worthy photos of Trump or people trying to defend The Donald and say how liberals don’t know the whole story. Suffering through 4 or 8 years of political ranting by everyone and their mother is hell.

Too Many Opinions on Social Media

There are some people who post a little bit about politics and might not seem as knowledgeable. Others post daily and there are those that post multiple times in a day, an hour even. No matter what, politics have taken over news feeds everywhere.

And it’s for the worse in my opinion. Yes, there are still photos of good times, inspirational quotes, videos, memes and people complaining about their lives. But, I feel like I’ve learned too much about politics, a subject I don’t care about, and I’m not even sure if the info is accurate. A lot of it is prejudicial against one side or the other, calling certain people idiots and such.

Ultimately, the people running the government don’t care about your individual opinion unless you’re an influencer… and I don’t mean just Joe Schmo and Jane Schmane on the Internet. Even the thoughts of many influencers get buried in the social media muck.

I Don’t Vote

That’s right: I’ve never voted. I’m not complaining about who is in office, just the constant opinions thrown about.

Freedom of speech… I get it and people can say whatever they want on their piece of the Internet. I’ll probably be on social media less and less over the next couple of years because of this. That or make the Unfollow option my best friend.

March and Protest Away

There are several (hopefully) peaceful protests slated for the big day. It’s not going to get Trump uninaugurated, but it could spark discussions of changing the electoral college system of old.

I think people should give President Trump the benefit of the doubt and see what happens. But people’s decisions have already been made and that’s sad.

Business Card Count: 34,400

Business Card Redesign: Peter’s Diner in Amityville NY

Peters Diner Amityville NYI’ve seen plenty of diners have business cards that showcases the classic diner look of the building’s outside. That was the case for Peter’s Diner in Amityville, New York (on Long Island, and yes from Amityville Horror).

Key word is was. I don’t recall when I got the original Peter’s Diner business card above, but I just recently got the new one over the holidays. I really like it when business cards stand out and seeing the actual exterior of a restaurant.

That’s why I was a bit miffed that they exchanged the classic look with the old-school font for a generic black business card with a knife, fork and plate. Not even a napkin, unless you count the Peter’s Diner banner across the middle.

Then, I took a look and realized that the addresses and phone numbers were different. I Googled to see if there was a fire in the old location or something, but nothing came up except for inconsistent online citations. I guess that explains the need for a redesign if the diner is now in a different building.

I definitely prefer the first card and would recommend that they take a picture of the new diner exterior and do it up like they used to. Unless the new diner building is uglier… in that case, I guess #2 is a-okay.

Please note I’ve never eaten here. This is strictly about the business card redesign.

Business Card Count: 34,305

Why Ian Bloom of UHB Law Group Was My Real Estate Attorney Twice

Ian BloomWhen buying the house, it was tough to find a real estate lawyer that was trustworthy. Especially since I’m not from this area at all. Luckily, the first realtor Margaret DiBella recommended Ian Bloom.

He’s a partner at Uniglicht, Hemlan and Bloom LLP (aka UHB Law Group, which is a name that rolls off the tongue a lot better). I guess law firms do the whole name roll call thing among the partners because each of them has a reputation in the community.

Or they’re egomaniacs that have to see their names in print. Or both. Lawls.

When dealing with Ian, there was no egomania whatsoever. In fact, he was nothing but helpful throughout the whole home buying and home selling processes. He answered emails in a timely fashion and stayed up the butt of the other attorneys he needed to.

He also answered any questions asked with no issue, even if they were repeated a couple of times over throughout both processes. I definitely felt like he was well worth the money spent.

And when I met him in person, he definitely did not look like I pictured at all. Kudos for him being able to pull off a bow tie.

Business Card Count: 34,275

My Thoughts on Stacy Prestigiacomo as My Realtor

Stacy PrestigiacomoIt’s very common to see real estate agents having their own business card and from different agencies as their careers progress or move laterally.

It’s not very common to see 2 or more to share the same business card, as is the case of my realtor Staci Prestigiacomo. My guess that would be because of the what ifs, such as the other person quitting or having a bad reputation. With that being said, this post is no reflection of Gloria Bernstein.

I wasn’t sure of Prestigiacomo’s rep going in. In fact, she wasn’t even my choice: she is the cousin of one of Beth’s friends. But I digress.

The first thing I want to note is that she was diligent in getting things done on her end. This was helpful since she spoke to Jerel Stewart to get the info we needed as soon as she got it. I also liked that that she was on top of things, but sometimes it was a little too much.

For example, I found her to be annoying on her multiple follow-up texts about issues we didn’t get information for. It’s not like it was a couple of days of a gap: it was the next day. I had to eventually be stern (or as stern as I could be via text) and say I’d let her know when there was an update.

I’m not sure if she’s used to clients who don’t talk to her often or what, but it was unappealing in my opinion. As was the fact that there were some township questions that she was unable to answer.

I don’t know why we switched realtors, but the house got sold relatively quickly and there were limited hiccups in the process thanks to the hard work of Staci Prestigiacomo.

Business Card Count: 34,235

How a Visit From Jerel Stewart Led to My House Sale

Jerel Stewart

Keller Williams Realty Monmouth/OceanIt’s funny when opportunity knocks on your door. It’s even more hilarious when it literally knocks like it did in mid-July.

When I opened the literal door, here stood Jerel Stewart: a man in a suit who I found out after a sentence that he was a real estate agent. He let me know that he had a buyer who was interested in moving into my townhouse complex.

You see on the flyer he handed me: “Our Buyer Wants to Move in NOW!” They had to wait though, but they got the house they were looking for: our house.

I never did find out why they decided to only want to move into Kingsley Square, but I can think of some reasons:

  • Proximity to Route 9 and the Freehold Mall
  • The $100 per month HOA fee
  • The fact that there’s a fenced-in backyard (albeit a small one)
  • The fact that they lived in Freehold before and wanted to stay close by

Regardless of the reasoning, that meant a highly motivated buyer, aka them staying pretty close to our asking price. And that they did, so a nice profit was made even when subtracting the closing costs out of the equation.

It took a little while to close since there were some things that needed to be fixed and taken care of (see my AA Electrical and Borough of Freehold blog posts). It was bittersweet given the circumstances of the house sale, which I’ll get into in a future blog post.

But I hope that Jerel Stewart (and other realtors reading this) learned that persistence pays off since him going out and knocking on everyone’s door got him a commission. I’m just glad it wasn’t some ruse to lure someone into hiring him as their realtor under the guise of saving half a percent of commission if both the buyer & seller used the same agent and then suddenly the buyer “mysteriously” isn’t interested.

I watch too much TV with zany plot twists. My next blog post will cover the thoughts I had working with our realtor.

Business Card Count: 34,235