Taking My 1st-Ever Painting Class at Wine & Design in Rahway NJ

Wine and Design Rahway NJI’ve never viewed myself as artistic. But my significant other recently found art as a passion of hers. She took in my passion of wrestling with open arms, so I decided to do the same with painting for her even though I was very intimidated by the aspect of putting the brush to the canvas.

I found a local paint studio near us called Wine & Design in Rahway, New Jersey and decided to book us in a class as a romantic date. And it worked like a charm since I bought a bottle of Dornfelder red wine to have between us as we painted.

Turns out the class was A LOT more intimate than I thought since it was only myself, my significant other, the teacher Stephanie and another girl Christine who painted often with her significant other who was at a bachelor party for the weekend.

The paintings at Wine & Design are traced out, so I felt a lot better about my lack of art skills. The wine helped also, as did having all of the colors right there and Stephanie’s slow & well-taught instruction.

Painting Class Rahway NJ

I chose this exact painting since it combined the look of Van Gogh’s Starry Night with our love of wine. I embellished some parts of the original artwork (and messed up others), so mine came out a bit different. I even added my signature on the napkin to make it look like I own something monogrammed like a classy person.

I’d definitely take another stab at doing an art project and I’ll definitely be less nervous going in next time. If you’re looking for a painting class in the Rahway NJ area, I’d recommend giving Wine & Design a try… especially if Stephanie is teaching.

Business Card Count: 36,109

The Used Car Shopping Experience at Enterprise in Iselin NJ

Anita Y PeeleI haven’t been used car shopping since my mother helped me find my 1999 Dodge Intrepid in college, which incidentally died right after I paid a toll on the Tappan Zee Bridge. But this experience was different since it was my significant other purchasing her next vehicle.

And the place she chose was the same one she got her last vehicle from: the Enterprise car sales location in Iselin, New Jersey. I’ve worked with car dealerships for a number of years through my full-time job, so I know how they operate and which vehicles were the safest choice & worth the money.

Enterprise is a little bit different since they have a no-haggle pricing policy, which means there’s no need (or room, depending on your point of view) to negotiate. I was honestly skeptical at first until I arrived at the dealership and met with our salesperson Anita Y. Peele.

The Enterprise Experience With Anita Y. Peele

Enterprise Iselin NJ

From the very beginning, Anita treated us very well and helped get the right SUV that met all driving needs & the budget. Between needing added space for 2 young kids, their respective booster/baby seats and other cargo, a 2015 Chevy Equinox they had in stock was the best bet.

Problem was that it was on Long Island instead of being in NJ. Luckily, Anita made some calls to the Huntington location to secure the vehicle and get it delivered quickly. To make sure that we liked the Equinox, we got to sit inside of a different model they had in stock with fewer miles & see the features the vehicle.

Once the Equinox arrived to our nearby Enterprise location, Anita called to let us know we can pick up the vehicle. That’s where the real challenge came in since we picked up the SUV with the kids as well. Luckily, the dealership was practically empty since it was really late.

Let me tell you: keeping kids entertained is not easy at a used car dealership, but somehow Anita got the job done between stickers, bubbles and a big box of snack food that I wound up wolfing down Rice Krispie Treats from. But that was only part of the goodness, as Anita kept making calls between the lenders, insurance companies and more to ensure that we drove home in the Chevy Equinox that night.

And we did. If you’re shopping for a used car in the Iselin NJ area, I’d definitely recommend going to Enterprise and asking for Anita Peele since she’ll go the extra mile with a smile on her face.

Business Card Count: 35,998

I Had a Sweet and Fun Stay at The Hotel Hershey

Hotel HersheyI recently went along with my partner on a business trip that she took to Hershey, Pennsylvania. The motivation was threefold: spending time with her & her brother, visiting Hershey Park and spending time with my friends who live in that area.

I did all of those things while staying at The Hotel Hershey. As soon as I pulled up, I knew I was in trouble since I didn’t realize how high class this place was and I forgot to pack nice clothes. Whoops.

The first place I went to in the hotel was the room. The hallway to the elevator was a strange walk on Floor 1 to Floor 5… that’s right, I walked from the 1st floor to the 5th floor while staying at the same elevation. I guess that’s because there are 2 towers to the Hotel Hershey.

While walking to my proper elevator, I walked past a majestic pool/hot tub setup and an entryway to some beautiful grounds overlooking mountains and trees. Then, I got to the room and laid in what had to be the most comfortable hotel bed I’ve ever slept on in the US. It was a beautiful room with a gorgeous bathroom, but the room did not have a microwave and that’s a flaw for wanting to heat up food.

Now to talk about the eateries available. First off was the Iberian Lounge that I went to on the night I arrived that had a rustic ambiance and served some good drinks. Second was The Circular where I had the breakfast buffet that cost $23 but was worth every penny. The greasy egg white omelet I got was outweighed by the other good food I had like the chocolate bread pudding, fruit and bacon. Lastly was the Cocoa Beanery coffee shop that was open all day, where I got a bagel and a tasty panini with 2 different types of cheese & bacon.

There were also some interesting shops that I took no part in since I decided to go to Hershey Park instead to spend some quality time with my partner’s brother. We rode everything in 4 hours and my stomach never felt more funky & I never felt more like an old man. I also saw my friends after I worked from the comfort of my hotel bed, so the whole trip was worth it. Especially if you’re able to afford the Hotel Hershey.

Business Card Count: 35,813

My Very First Meetup at Blu Alehouse in Woodbridge NJ

Blu Alehouse Woodbridge NJI wanted to write about this experience for a little while, but my 4-part trip to Orlando delayed this, as did my my timely horrific experience at H&R Block.

For a while, me and my girlfriend wanted to expand our social circle since we don’t have any local friends who are our “couple friends”. I get along with all of her friends and vice versa, but a lot of our friends either aren’t local or are quite busy/aren’t often available.

That’s why we decided to start a Meetup group to seek out other couples in our area who are looking for “couple friends”.

She previously had success meeting people through the Meetup networking site, so we decided to give it a whirl and we got a group of people… well, couples… who signed up for the group. By the time our initial meeting occurred, it was only us and one other couple.

Shannon Rose Woodbridge NJWe opted to have our first Meetup at Blu Alehouse in Woodbridge, New Jersey because we wanted to try it. The Shannon Rose Irish Pub used to be there, but they went out of business for some reason. It had a good old-timey pub and I certainly enjoyed their lamb shepherd’s pie.

But I digress. The Meetup was successful, as got to know another professional couple who just had a child not too long ago. I’m usually somewhat introverted upon first meeting people, so I did my best to open up about myself and have good conversation.

The food was also good, as I had a chilled asparagus salad with grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, goat cheese and candied pecans on a bed of baby arugula. The atmosphere was very modern, as you can tell by the business card above, which was clean but I enjoy the more old-timey look of The Shannon Rose.

Will we continue with this Meetup? Most definitely… we have some event ideas in our heads to apply for the summer. Will I eat at Blu Alehouse again? I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I’m not into beer & a lot of their menu/theme revolves around beer. Not to mention that there are other restaurants that provide similar food at a similar price point.

But it was more about the enjoyable company and conversation that day than the food.

Business Card Count: 35,582

My Visit to Hogan’s Beach Shop, Brother!: Orlando Part 2

Hogans Beach Shop Orlando FLThe big reason why I went to Orlando was because I was wrestling down there. And I knew that I had to do something wrestling related outside of my business while I was in town.

That’s where Hogan’s Beach Shop came in. They opened their Orlando location just in time for WrestleMania 33, which was on the Sunday after I left. And it took a couple of attempts to actually get into the store.

That’s because they were doing autograph signings as part of the grand opening with none other than Hulk Hogan himself. I didn’t have the urge to pay at least $100 (I heard $150) to meet the Hulkster and get his autograph. I was just curious to see what kind of things they sold at the Beach Shop.

And boy is there a lot of Hogan merchandise & memorabilia. The first thing that popped out at me was the custom Hulk Hogan Dodge Viper sitting in the middle of the store that was bright red and yellow. I just took a look and said to myself, “eh, I don’t drive stick.”

I moved onto seeing 3 life-sized Hogan figures (one in each corner not occupied by the cash register), as well as a NWO motorcycle, numerous signed pieces of unique/vintage merchandise, championship belts, old VHS tapes and even a random Van Halen backstage pass. The non-signed merch included T-shirts of all colors & sizes, action figures of himself & other WWE superstars, a Hulk Hogan Halloween costume kit, weight belts, protein shaker bottles, glasses & much more.

What was even more fascinating were the few non-Hulk items in the store that looked like you can just get them at any gift shop. I guess they sell them just because some people might be dragged to Hogan’s Beach Shop against their will during their trip to Orlando. I also enjoyed that they played Hogan-related wrestling clips and movies on the multiple TVs in the store. I found myself watching a bit of Mr. Nanny when visiting the store.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience even though I didn’t buy anything. It was a fun detour in the AC on an 85-and-sunny day.

Business Card Count: 35,102

KanJam: The Joys I’ve Had Even in Defeat

Kan JamMy wife Beth recently went to Toy Fair 2016 in NYC for one of her clients who flies drones. Now, I’ll admit that’s a lot more fun than my car dealership clients who don’t let me test drive or borrow new cars for free.

But, with every trade show she goes to… I always ask her to snag me some business cards. She disappointed greatly when she went to Las Vegas for CES, but Toy Fair did not! In fact, she got 2 business cards that intrigued me for a favorite game of mine: KanJam!

I honestly thought it was Kan Jam, but it’s a unique (not a board) game that’s a fairly simple concept. Here’s an informative video showing the game (and apparently some other versions I’ve never played but will have to!).

Like with many things in my life, I have lost more at KanJam than I’ve won. I’ve always played with my nephews, my brother and brother-in-law, along with some other people. I’m always the one who winds up falling on his ass trying to dive after the disc to either jam it or at the very least hit it into the can.

I have a long wing span and am very flexible (and durable) because of my wrestling endeavors, so I always try to jam even if there’s little chance of getting points. My disc throwing abilities are as subpar as my ability to jam, hence why I taste the agony of defeat more often than not. But still, the game is about fun and I have lots of fun playing it.

I’d love to hear about your experiences playing KanJam, so feel free to comment!

P.S. Beth told me that KanJam was at Toy Fair 2016 to show off some new ways to customize your cans with sports team logos, which I couldn’t care less about.

Business Card Count: 32,040

My Collection of Wood Business Cards

A majority of my business cards are made out of the same thickness of paper. Some have elevated font, some have letterpress (a term I learned thanks to my wedding invitations) and others feel like a picture. There are even some plastic ones.

I’d like to focus today on the business cards in my collection that are made of wood. They are quite rare, so I wanted to show off these cards.

Debbie ProvostDebbie Provost

My first wood business card was given to me by my brother after him & his wife (then girlfriend or fiancee, I can’t recall which) went to see her grandparents in New Hampshire. The use of wood makes sense because it’s clear that Debbie uses white birch in the crafts that she sells.

It’s one of my favorites because of the woodsy smell and how fragile it is. It was also my only wood business card for a while until I received one another from one of my wife’s coworkers.

Allistair LeeAllistair Lee

This wood business card was one of the many I received because they were old media contacts that the coworker must have elsewhere. I guess Pocket Insider wanted to make their business cards unique to other media, so it can stand out.

Mission accomplished. Wood material AND raised & indented font does the trick for me.

B2 Bistro Red Bank NJB2 Bistro and Bar

Given to me via one of my wife’s coworkers, B2 Bistro and Bar is a restaurant in Red Bank NJ by her job.

With an interesting list of cocktails, an assortment of cheese choices and plenty of potentially good meal options, I’d love to try it sometime. I’d definitely be curious to see if the wood on the business card goes with the restaurant’s design theme.

Business Card Count: 31,110

A Business Card For a Cause: Team Denise Filera-Miksza

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I just so happened to grab this business card recently. It’s actually the first one I’ve ever seen of its kind: a card dedicated to a team of someone who passed away from breast cancer: Denise Filera-Miksza.

The back of the card tells Denise’s story and why Darlene & Patrick Cornell decided to honor their friend. This is essentially equivalent to a business’s About Us section of their website and is perhaps something other businesses should keep in mind when printing their business cards.

Susan G Komen 3 Day Walker

Team Denise Filera MikszaIt’s always a sad story to see disease take anybody away at a young age. I don’t know any of these people personally or know anybody who passed because of breast cancer (although I have friends who do), but it’s always good to donate money to a good cause.

I know that there’s controversy about the Susan G. Komen Foundation (the 3-Day Walk creator) that comes with every major charity (i.e. where do most of the funds really go), but I’m not here to stir the pot. Not today at least.

Although I feel that it’s best to give money directly to a victim or their family if they’re deceased, I still think it’s quite honorable that Darlene & Patrick Cornell are doing this for their dear friend. Donating to this year’s walk is now closed, but I’m sure you can text 973-864-7368 if you still want to contribute in some way (especially if you stumble across this blog post after 2015).

If you know someone affected by breast cancer, my heart goes out to you since I’m lucky not to. There’s never a wrong time to donate money to a good cause, whether you do it through Susan G. Komen or through the people themselves.

Business Card Count: 31,029

My Wife Has Recruited a Company of Card Collectors

lotus823 BethMy wife has always been on my case about not featuring her more in my blog. I did dedicate an entire section to our wedding, which you can read all about here.

Well, she has enlisted her coworkers at lotus823 to collect business cards for me by simply letting them know about my habit. Many of them have been helping out and in turn, adds business cards to my collection that I wouldn’t get my hands on otherwise.

Not without teasing that I won’t get them first. It’s a cute little game she plays with me. I dislike it greatly.

They range from places around the Jersey Shore where their office is located & spots where they enjoy to old business cards of contacts who they no longer need to talk to. Don’t worry: I won’t call them. Or email them. Or show up to their job.

Thanks for feeding my habit ladies!

Oh, and this business card is wrong since Beth just got promoted at work (which I’m so proud of since she deserves it for all of her hard work). lotus823 needs to work on getting her a new one, stat. Not for accuracy of her new title, just so I can add 1 more card to my collection. Which she’ll bring home from work, coincidentally.

The business card is also not flawed: I also wiped out her mobile # from the card, so the few people (or one person) reading this without her phone # don’t bother her.

Business Card Count: 30,987

My Car Shopping Experience at Crestmont Toyota & Ramsey Nissan

Getting a new car is something I thought about for quite some time, but the old Versa was ticking away towards death. I put $1500 into it to hope it would last another year, but issues arose a month later & it was time to car shop for real.

Crestmont Toyota Paul AbrahamCrestmont Toyota

The car I was looking to get the most was the Toyota Prius. I wasn’t sure if I could afford it, so I went to the closest dealership on my route home from work: Crestmont Toyota in Pompton Plains NJ.

I spoke with Paul Abraham, a Product Specialist (fancy term for car salesman, eh?), and before I dive into it, I have a question: does anybody actually use QR codes? Aren’t those like ancient history or is that just me?

Anyhoo, I took a 2015 Toyota Prius C out for a test drive and it was way too small of a car. Nobody could sit behind me when I drive. Paul Abraham’s reaction? I’m tall, too and I don’t have my kids sit behind me. How absurd does that sound?

I test drove a regular-sized 2015 Toyota Prius a week later and that was a much more suitable fit. What it did not fit was my budget, even with the gas savings I’d get. I guess I can hybrid it up in my next car. Paul tried to get a ridiculous lease deal going on once I said I’d just get a Nissan if I couldn’t get the Prius, but it was too much time of paying off a car.

Ramsey Nissan David YedwabRamsey Nissan

I found more success when shopping at Ramsey Nissan in Upper Saddle River closer to my job. My Sales Consultant was David Yedwab and he seemed to be much less salesman-like than Paul was over at Crestmont Toyota.

I have no complaints about my experience, although I went in getting an extra feature or 2 that will benefit me in winter since it was so cheap to get. I opted for the 2015 Nissan Sentra SV with the Cold Weather Package (heated front seats & exterior mirrors) in Titanium (a metallic-looking gray).

Titanium 2015 Nissan Sentra SV with Cold Weather Package

Tell me about your car shopping experience with Crestmont Toyota or Ramsey Nissan, regardless of who your salesperson was, in the comments below or on Twitter @ChrisKeuling!

Business Card Count: 30,950