How Did I Live Without Lutron Shades?

Lutron Product Photography

I recently had Lutron motorized shades installed in my apartment and I don’t know how I lived without them before. Being able to raise my blinds without standing up is a small luxury that makes me feel like a millionaire living in a mansion.

I’ve also envisioned automatic shades as being incredibly noisy, but these are incredibly quiet and didn’t even require any wiring work, they run on batteries. The glare reduction I’ve seen on my television and computer monitor since having them installed has also surprised me. You don’t realize how often you’re fighting through a glare with your eyes until it’s gone.

As I’m a bit of a hippie I was also happy to learn that the blinds are created from sustainable materials, so while I’m raising my blinds to soak in the sun’s rays I’m also doing my small part to help the environment. Speaking of the sun’s rays, with Lutron shades I’m able to use a “summer cool” setting that optimizes the shades to block UV rays and keep my apartment cool.

I’ve been gushing about my new blinds for so long that I almost forgot about the best part of my experience, working with the experts at Budget Blinds. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what I was looking for when I first walked into their store. My mom recommended I use them because of a previous positive experience she had in their store and I can’t be happier that I finally listened to my mother for once. The staff at Budget Blinds was extremely courteous and listened to my thoughts before making their recommendations. I never felt like they were trying to sell me whatever was the most expensive, I felt like they listened to my wants/needs and provided the perfect solution to meet them.

While it’s not everyday that you’re replacing the window treatments in your home, when the time comes I can’t endorse Budget Blinds any more than I already have. You’d be remiss if you went to any other store.

Contact Budget Blinds Today:

The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

I have always wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Its one of those things you see in so many movies and hear about all of your life. The Statue of Liberty was a gift given to the United States of America by France. Considering France has been our allies dating back to the Revolutionary War, I can see why it was given.

Lady Liberty isn’t just a huge hunk of stone, but a monument to the people who wanted to migrate into the U.S. It was the first thing they saw as they arrived on their boats to Ellis Island. I can imagine the great feeling immigrants had when they first saw her approaching them on the horizon. It was a new beginning and chance to live a free life for millions of people.

View from the Statue of Liberty Crown

Sometimes looking through another person’s eyes and hearing them talk about the importance of actually seeing the Statue of Liberty makes you appreciate the surrounding area a lot more. It becomes something equivalent to sacredness in a way. The very land you step on brings forth the energy of the people who had walked there many years ago.

To get there I took a ferry that leaves from Battery Park every half an hour or so.  The ride was smooth and not rough at all. I was glad because I’ve had my fair share of run ins with seasickness in the past.

I first stopped at Liberty Island. The ticket gives you access to the pedestal, a viewing platform half way up the grand monument. There is also an opportunity to go all the way up to the crown. It was clean and the people around me were pleasant. It was a little tiring walking up all those stairs (maybe I’m out of shape?). There were SO many steps, but in the end it was worth it. The view from the pedestal was stunning, I can’t even put it into words.


I hopped back on the boat and my next destination was Ellis Island. This Island was the bridge that many millions of immigrants had to pass through in order to be allowed on the main land. I learned about how some people were not allowed in so they created other ways to get into the U.S. The Station is now a museum where you can learn about the different types of people who traveled to NY to become citizens of the United States.

After my trip I was very satisfied with my experience and glad I had decided to take the trip. It was definitely a journey of discovery, and I’ve become a lot more appreciative of what it took for the millions of people wanting to become an American Citizen to actually achieve their dream, and in turn have a chance to achieve the American dream.

Mold! Moldy Moldy Moldy!

Mold! My apartment had mold!

When I first heard about it (via an email to all the residents of my building) all I could think in my head was “Mold…moldy moldy moldy” a la Austin Powers.

Once I stopped singing the realization hit me that I may have been breathing in mold for weeks! So what do you do when you think you’re sick? If you’re anything like me you run straight to WebMD and scare yourself into thinking you have every disease in the book. I was CONVINCED I was about to begin throwing up and bleeding from my nose at any second.

Of course the situation was not that severe and my building did an excellent job at getting it cleaned up quickly by hiring a great company to handle the cleanup. That’s why I’m writing this blog today (fortunately it’s not to say my last goodbyes), to highlight Up-Rite Plus. They came into our building and quickly identified and eliminated the mold. Being a bit too friendly to be considered a “real” New Yorker I spoke to some of the employees while they were working and they were very knowledgable. I felt very secure that my mold issue would be a thing of the past once they were finished.


Typically Up-Rite Plus work their jobs on Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk county, but they extended their work area a bit for my building and I’m grateful they did. The mold removal process was painless and it’s not returned since they finished up the project. If you need help with mold removal, fire remediation, flood remediation, or anything else Up-Rite Plus handles I’d strongly recommend them.

Here’s a more in-depth overview of their mold removal services for anyone interested:

Now that I’ve given them the respect I feel they deserve I can go back to singing my mold song. Moldy moldy moldy…

My First Expedition: Central Park

There’s nothing quite like being awestruck by the sheer beauty of the huge buildings towering over you in NYC. The city itself is grand, but for my first expedition I wanted to visit something a little more natural, Central Park.

The first thing I did after arriving was buy a delicious hot dog from a small food court located near the entrances of the park. I began to explore as I chowed down on my treat and noticed some kids playing around this beautiful statue. As I got closer I was surprised to find out the statue was Alice from the book (and later movie) “Alice in Wonderland”. I read that book as a child and it was nice to see this statue greeting me as I explored Central Park. I did some research on the statue and it turns out a man named George Delacorte commissioned it after his wife passed away. She use to love reading the book to their children.


I continued to walk and walk (I couldn’t help myself!), admiring the beauty around me. I really liked the park, and felt a lot more connected to the city by visiting. It was nice to experience some natural beauty in a city full of man-made wonders.  

Eventually I found my next destination, the zoo! Central Park Zoo was really nice. I really liked the Rain forest and all it’s different tropical birds from places like Madagascar and the Victoria Crowned Pigeons of New Guinea. I enjoyed taking a look at the frogs, snakes, toads, and lizards. There was so much variety in this zoo considering its relatively small size.

As I left the zoo I wondered what else there might be to do. I wandered around and it soon became apparent that there was still plenty more to discover in the park. I stumbled upon the Belvedere Castle and was not only amazed by the impressive old architecture but also impressed with the surrounding area itself. I enjoyed views of the Delacorte Theater, the Great Lawn, and the Turtle Pond.  Inside the Castle, I found Henry Luce Nature Observatory. There were telescopes and a pretty nice little field pack that contains binoculars and a good amount of reference materials.

Along Central Park’s southwestern edge is an impressive 15-acre field called the Sheep Meadow, where people relaxed and ate lunch with one another. It was a Quiet Zone and had strong rules to keep it quiet. Most pets are prohibited from the area and audible music is strictly forbidden. Because of the quietness of the area, it’s very popular amongst a lot of people in the city as a way to “get away” from all of the noise of New York City. It was nice to sit down on the grass and enjoy a nice relaxing rest before I continued on my journey.

Next I came across a few people playing instruments and singing. They were actually quite good and had a tip box out so they could make some money for their time. I always found it admirable that people could open themselves and their art up for public consumption. I can barely give a speech in front of a group of people at my job, but these musicians were brave enough to play in front of people they’ve never even met.

I continued on and visited the historic Central Park Carousel. The original park carousel opened in 1871 and was kept moving by a blind mule and a horse, who walked on a treadmill in an underground pit.  It has become one of the park’s most popular attractions and judging from all the people that were gathered around, it’s still pretty popular.

Overall I really enjoyed my visit to Central Park. I can see why it’s become such an iconic part of the city. It provides a getaway to nature without ever leaving NYC! I’ll absolutely be visiting Central Park much more in the coming weeks and can see it becoming a regular stop during my weekend routine.