Weeeird New Jersey

Jersey is strange...or I guess the proper adjective would be "weird". Being that this is the birthplace of the fantastic magazine and books titled: "Weird New Jersey". Which then spawned a "Weird" book for nearly every state in the nation and they may have even published some European editions I believe, like "Weird London". But yeah....saying that Jersey is strange or weird is a gigantic understatement. In this case though, I'm calling Jersey weird based only on the wacky weather we've been seeing. We seem to have skipped that little season known as Spring. For weeks and weeks it's been cold, windy, rainy, gray...and then we wake up this Saturday morning to temperatures peaking above the mid 80's. It's like we go from March straight on into July! We slept with the AC on last night and probably will do so again tonight. Hopefully, this is just some weather anomaly and not the future of the seasons. Aaron says that Hemingway has a great chapter about "false Springs" in his book "A Moveable Feast"...but Spring is actually late to arrive this year. Maybe this is a "false Summer"....I sure hope so. I NEED Spring. The cool nights and sunny, breezy, comfortable, front porchy days. The weatherman says that this heat is gonna break by Wednesday...fingers crossed.
But, lets see...The 85 degree temps were not totally unwelcome. We wish it was a tiny bit cooler but at least the novelty of the drastic temperature leap got us out of the house for an hour or two on Saturday. My sister Missy, who is also my next door neighbor, gave us a call around noon and said, "Interlaken is having a townwide yardsale. I have an hour break at one o'clock. Put down your paint brushes and we'll hit as many yardsales as we can in one hour." Interlaken is the name of the gorgeous town directly next to ours. When I say "next to"...I mean it's within yelling distance. That's how our little area is down here at the shore. We've got a cluster of beautiful tiny towns all within walking distance. The town directly to our south is so small that it's technically called a "village" and it occupies only about four blocks in total. I promise to soon take photos of the neighborhood and give you guys a great little travel guide to my neck o' the woods. The streets and homes and trees and bodies of water in the vicinity of our little apartment are worthy of the most heartfelt, relaxing, and pleasant SIGH. We are so very thankful for the sheer beauty and calm of our surroundings.

So...Saturday we went out and hit the Interlaken townwide yardsale. Whoever planned it did a fab job. Each participating house was marked with a hot pink metallic helium balloon. So you could drive the streets and at a quick glance you could see how many houses had yardsales....the balloons were visible from at least 4 blocks away. This made it easy to see which blocks were worth going down... and since we only had an hour we had to be selective. Interlaken is a fairly wealthy town...not quite mansions...but very nice homes under grand old trees with sprawling lawns etc... And I know that 1:00 is late to hit yardsales but I do believe that we've had much better finds at yardsales in much less affluent neighborhoods. Maybe it's just our specific tastes...but upper income homes don't have good junk for sale. Though I did score a sweet shadow box which I plan to make into a project...and I also got a great old, peely paint, oval mirror with beveled glass. Missy got a box of classic car hubcaps, a brand new paraffin wax hand spa, some earrings, and other miscellany. No real treasures were to be had and with 15 minutes left before Missy had to return to work we took a quick drive over to the previously blogged about Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe for an assortment of amazing cupcakes!....red velvet, strawberry, and ....pistachio!!! One of my all time favorite cakes! Growing up, my mom baked a pistachio bundt cake, with pistachio pudding in it. It tasted so good that no frosting was required. Just a faint dusting of powdered sugar.
And speaking of cakes and cupcakes....the warm weather has brought back our nightly, calorie burning walks. Actually just got back from one now. I have to admit, we're all out of shape... including the dog....Carlos actually stopped at the halfway point and requested to be carried for a few blocks! Last summer he was leading us full speed ahead at six plus miles! Which is big time for a Chihuahua.

Alright, I have to jump to this... I simply can't rave enough about the package that my friend Holly sent..."Just Cuz". It just goes without saying that Holly is a girl after my own heart. I really just opened the box and as I revealed each treasure it seriously felt like I had packed the box myself. Not one single item was even a micro-millimeter off the mark. She just KNEW that I'd adore the pair of vintage children's tap shoes. I never talked to Holly about tap shoes. She just knew that I would treasure them and see them as the charming little instant keepsake that they are. And the rolls of vintage wallpaper are beyond generous. Me and Aar were instantly planning a new painting around one of the patterns. And when a paper mache rabbit like the one Holly included shows up...it's like he's finally arrived at HOME...this is where he belongs. And the tiny bouquet of vintage millenary flowers... I treasure those so much that I'm seriously shocked to see anyone gives those up. I hold onto 'em for dear life! I can't thank Holly enough...wow. The box arrived on a pretty stressful day and upon opening it, the day took a 360 degree turn. I couldn't dare frown for the duration of the day.

I was soooo excited to read all the great feedback on my last post about our new vintage menu board paintings on black. So thrilled that so many of you are on the same page. We just love mixing in black...the juxtaposition of black with pretty pastel frosted cakes. We have a couple new paintings in that series. We've reworked some of our old paintings and gave them a new venue. Petit fours are just so sweet and they are perfect against the black backdrop being that Paris patisserie menu boards were one of the primary inspirations for this series of paintings. And "cupcakes for all occasions" uses our classic, cherry topped cupcakes in a brand new way. We have a couple more black paintings in the works but at present we have them on pause because we've got so much work to do... so much catching up. We simply can't afford the luxury of doing all new paintings. When we finally do get caught up, that's our dream...new paintings like every other day!

And speaking of....we now have a chocolate brown version of our Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake print. Available as a ready to frame print and as an 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 wooden plaque...though the plaques aren't yet listed...if you're interested just shoot me an email and I can set up a custom listing. The chocolate brown looks just like a Hershey bar, or rich chocolate frosting.... a wonderful color to just stare at. We've got the pink one hanging in our home but we're thinking of switching to the chocolate...it's definitely a new fave.

I'm so looking forward to the break in this weather. I'm sitting here in my livingroom and I'm on the verge of breaking out in a full-on sweat! We've yet to install the AC in this room and Aaron doesn't really feel like doing it tonight and I don't blame him...since it's gonna be 30 degrees cooler within 24 hours! Weird New Jersey... oh, which reminds me...I've got a typical Jersey experience to relate. A few days ago I took the trip with Aaron to the post office. I regularly don't go because the car is usually so full of boxes that there's no room left for me. But on this occasion I managed to squeeze in there with all our packages because I wanted to get out for some air, grab a bite to eat, and take a ride to Borders Books to see if I could find one of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books that I loved so much in my childhood. I got to reminiscing with a few friends on Facebook about how much I loved those books and I wondered why the heck they don't make them anymore. I LOVED those books... ie: "...If you want to go down the stairs into the dark and creepy basement then turn to page 84.... If you want to leave the haunted house and walk to the cemetery then turn to page 120..." it was so fun... once you chose your fate you'd read along and wonder what might've been if you chose otherwise. Anyway, somebody told me that they are making the Choose Your Own Adventure books again and that they're in the "independent reader" section of Borders. So we cruised over to our Borders...I waited in the car while Aaron went in to find the books. Well it turns out that the CYOA books at Borders are for VERY young readers and there are more pictures than words...and overall, Aar said the story lines seemed pretty lame...so no CYOA for me. : ( I WISH somebody would write CYOA books for adults....and they don't have to be Literature...I'd be fine with a Mystery or even Sci Fi maybe. I'm sure there's a market for it. I can't be the only one who's nostalgic for those. But this isn't the point of the story anyway. Here's the point... While Aar was in Borders, a car parks in front of me and a guy gets out. I get a look at him for a brief second and he looks just like Bruce Springsteen. Then a car drives past and totally blocks my view so I can't confirm it. So then Aar comes out, no books, but he's got a brownie and a scone. I tell him about my possible Bruce sighting and say that we can't leave til Bruce or the imaginary Bruce comes out. Aar pulls our car to a better vantage point so that we're parked directly across from Bruce's car. At this point, both of us are almost hoping that it's not Bruce because it would be hilarious to see that it's a guy that really doesn't look like him at all, or is like a bad stunt double version! So we're eating our sweets and then the man comes walking out of Borders. He's nearly hobbling...he's got the stiffest, slowest, limping strut...like a guy who played in the NFL for 20 years. And YES...IT IS BRUCE. Man...rock n' roll took it's toll on his legs...he really did walk so slow and so hobbled! Can't believe it's the same guy who pulled off the camera crashing knee slide at the Super Bowl! So Bruce gets to his car...he's right in front of us...he's dressed so so raggedly. Every article of clothing has multiple tears and holes and frays. So he hops in his car and as he pulls out he stares right at me and Aar and waves to us... a wave like he knows us... like a super casual, "hey what's up" style wave. We cracked up. Aaron happened to be on the cell phone with his mom right then and he gave her the play by play. After Bruce drove away Aaron said how it would've been cool to get out and ask Bruce to say hi to his mom on the cell phone. But we didn't want to go step on his toes. A wave was good enough. Aaron has this big hard bound book of Bruce's lyrics...he got it for his birthday one year...well he's thinking of keeping it in the car from now on so he can get it signed if we run into Bruce again. It's not a crazy notion. In our area Bruce sightings aren't rare at all. Aar has run into him in the record store twice. And his drummer, Max Weinberg, actually came into our handpainted furniture store. And the best part about the Max meeting was Max's outfit. He must've come straight from the gym because he had on very short shorts...and they we shorts that used to be red maybe ten years ago...but now they're faded and PINK. It was quite a sight...I said right to him when he walked in our door " Whoaaaaahhh Maaaaaax!" ...he was definitely taken aback. He asked us the price of a couple things...he said his wife sent him. We told him the prices...he thanked us... and then he left. I think I scared him off. So yeah, if you live in our little section of Jersey, you've got a good chance of running into Bruce Springsteen AND the E Street Band! or Bon Jovi...or Kevin Smith...or Queen Latifa....Aaron ran into her in Whole Foods.

Wow...I'm a bit verbose today! I'm almost done...I just want to say how much FUN Facebook has been! And I want to say hi and welcome to my blog all my new friends from Facebook and Twitter!! If you're not part of the Facebook fun yet...please, I beg you, SIGN UP. We work from home, as you well know, and the work we do often requires drying time. Paint, Mod Podge, varnish, etc... So Facebook is just such a great device to pass the idle time. And me and Aar really barely get out...we have an embarrassing social life...I mean: lack thereof! So Facebook partially makes up for it. And everybody on there seems like they're on there for the same reason...just simple, no strings attached socializing.
But you know what?...I think I'm oversimplifying.... it's so totally NOT just socializing.... it's networking...but it's like NETWORKING on performance enhancing drugs! It puts you directly in touch with all the people you want to be in touch with...in an instant. There just simply is not enough time in the day to click through the thousand blogs or websites I'd like to click through. And the same goes for leaving comments on my favorite blogs. I wish I could find the time to leave comments. I treasure every comment that you guys leave me here. Me and Aaron both read them all...either side by side or separately... and we beam from ear to ear. You really spoil us with well wishes and compliments. And more than that...it just rules to know that we're all on the same page about so much stuff! Blog comments make the blogosphere spin. But like I said...it's hard for me to keep up so that's where Facebook comes in. It's a definite "world shrinker".... You can link up with a thousand peeps like yourself...drop them a line about a sale your having in your store...pass on a recipe...blurb a little review of a new bath product you picked up and let everybody know where to find it on Etsy. I mean, a couple weeks ago I asked my Facebook contacts which art supply they prefer: Mod Podge or Gel Medium? There were about a million passionate responses! (and I think it was pretty much a tie!....we like Mod Podge...but we need to start using Gel Medium in new ways to really get a handle on it's capabilities.) And just yesterday me and Aar & Carlos went for one of our night time walks and a bat flew up right in front of us...sending us scurrying into the street. When I got back from the walk I mentioned the bat and my lifelong fear of bats on Facebook and immediately I'm getting all sorts of pro-bat comments from my friends. I think the bat debate is capable of rivaling the mod podge/gel medium one.
Also....I LOVE the TOP 5 lists that go around on Facebook. I think the one that impacted me most was the top 5 cereals. Me and Aaron barely ever stock up on cereal. We pretty much get Frosted Mini Wheats and an occasional box of Raisin Bran. Then the top 5 list goes around and I'm seeing all these names: Lucky Charms, Cookie Crisp, Cap n' Crunch! Next thing you know...we've got ten boxes of cereal on our kitchen counter!! And I'm sure a million other people went out and did the same. Talk of food on Facebook is ubiquitous and infectious. You know how in college you'll gain the famous "freshman fifteen" pounds. Well add to that the "Facebook fifteen"! Somebody posts a recipe...mentions a meal. Next thing you know, life's imitating art. You're at the grocery store with a list that you jotted down from somebody's Facebook raves about the perfect cookie recipe! Along with the "Facebook fifteen" I also coined The "Twitter twenty". But that's a whole other can o' worms. It's way too late at night and this post is already resembling Tolstoy...for me to bring up the topic of Twitter! Basically, it's the short, one or two sentence version of Facebook. Get on there too...Tweet away....become one of my Tweeps! But seriously, I can't keep you here any longer. You guys have lives to live and I've taken enough of your time already! That's why you need to get on Facebook and Twitter if you're not already....we can talk everyday, all day, easy as pie! Thanks so so much again for stopping by! There's a sweet breeze coming through my windows and I can feel the temperature dropping by the minute...I'm thrilled. Bring on the Spring! xoxo Jenny


  1. Well little missie,you bring back good Jersey memories for me. Right after we moved to Middletown, I ventured out (being clueless about the area) to an estate sale in Interlaken. It was incredible! I bought some wonderful things that I even have displayed in my house now in Virginia. The house was so incredible, the interior was straight out of a 1940's movie. I took my husband back the next day just to see the house!
    My Bruce sighting was a funny one too! My oldest daughter was taking tennis lessons in Little Silver on Sunday mornings and Bruce's boys were too. I usually just dropped her off and picked her up, but this beautiful spring day I came back early and was just hanging in the car with the windows open. While I'm sitting there this really scruffy lookin' guy comes out of the building with kids and walks right past my car window. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention because he actually was looking kinda gnarly. This guy and his kids got into their black mercedes suv and left. I didn't think much about it cause LOTS of people in that area of Jersey drive expensive cars. (I was in my subaru at the time! I think I was the only Subaru owner in my neighborhood!) A few minutes later my daughter comes out, all breathless, "did you see him!!" I was like, who? "Bruce Springsteen mom! His kids were on the court next to me and he was here the whole time and they just left!" So I had my Bruce sighting too, I just didn't know it!!!! xoxo, suzy

  2. I too have been brushed with stardom, I was at the Shrewsbury "Grove" and low and behold who do I walk past but Bon Jovi and his kids, he was a little shorter that I thought he would be...and in Doerbrook Park in Colts Neck a good friend of my ran into Queen Latifa, she spoke to her and she said that she was very nice and down to earth...well I gotta get going doing want to be late to work on the Garden State Parkway, you never know who you might see....Peace 2 "U" Marlene a fellow Jersey girl

  3. I read your post, and dont know quite where to jump in with a comment! youve packed it so full!
    I love your discription of the area you live in, it sounds so qauint. I would love to live on the shore. In a sense I guess I technically do, because Im just down the road from lake Ontario, which though its not the ocean, it is no little lake.. It is about 700 miles around I think. anyways.. I love my lake!
    you cracked me up with your whoa maxx! story. I'm not sure other then some football stars, if I've ever met or run into any "real" stars.. I know that while my son was in niagara falls this weekend tom cruise and three of his kids were there.. but he didnt see him! there are a few I'd like to run into though! I could make up quite a list!
    have a great week Jenn...

  4. OK I am seriously LOL'ing at "whoaaaa max!!" hahahahaha. I snorted, even.

    Love ya.

  5. Hello!
    I have found that the older established areas of wealth and the medium income who have not moved in YEARS and even more years have the best.
    Love your Keep calm piece!!!

  6. We have some of those old CYOA books and myhusband and son have been reading them thogether. I was very excited when I realized he had some stashed away as I was a big fan too. I will say reading them now they are a little dorky so an updated series would be great!

  7. What a fun outing you had even though you didn't score any books..food and the Boss is always a good combo..lol..Your cupcakes rock and hope you get time to do some new goodies!! Keep cool~

  8. I can't believe Interlaken had a townwide sale and I'm on vacation! THAT figures. :-) P.S. Avon-by-the-Sea's is May 9!

    And you had a Brrroooooceee moment! I still haven't had one, but I think they need to happen organically like that -- in the Borders' parking lot.

    Also...what happened to The Baker Boys?? I loved their cupcakes and they've packed up shop (in favor of the night club they opened in Asbury, I'm thinking). Also The Twisted Tree in Asbusy has the most ammmmmazing vegan cupcakes. Give a try if you haven't. :-)

  9. Wow I can't believe he waved to you! I used to be a huge Bruce fan in high school. My son bought a cd of his just the other day and I was surprised that I remembered every word to Spirit in the Night. :)
    His "Code of Silence" partner, Joe Grushecky, lives in our neck of the woods and we go and see him often.
    Thanks for sharing...I love facebook too...and Lost!


  10. Oh my goodness, Bruce was my favorite heartthrob when I was in college. Borders of all places!! I've only been as close to him as ground-level seats at his concert.

    P.S. I still love him! :)

  11. Y'know here in the DC area we see no one unless they're buried under piles of secret service dudes ;)~~~XXOO, Beth

  12. I had so much fun in Interlaken on Saturday. I got alot of great things but had to cut the buying short at 10 am because my son had an orthodontist appt. Probably a good thing, I was running out of money.

    Isn't it a blast seeing those guys around? I saw Southside Johnny just last Friday at Collingswood flea market. Also sighted over the years Bon Jovi and Doretha at Target, his keyboardist David Bryan at Colts Neck HS's open house, Queen Latifa at Freehold Mall, Bruce at Jack's.

    And I know you love the Ocean Grove Bakery, but I still think the Macaroon Shop is better :o)

  13. Oh my gosh...I can't believe you saw Bruce Springsteen at Borders! I'd be haunting Borders every day after that. LOL I actually lived in New Jersey for a whole two weeks way back when!

  14. I love the black background behind those cupcakes,it really makes them pop!Makes me want a cupcake too! Sounds like a great yardsale! My favorite thing to do!

  15. Jenny, I used to LOVE Choose Your Own Adventure books!! And those are the only books Kevin ever read probably in his whole life...he's not a crazy reader like me, but who could turn down a CYOA?!
    That's too funny about Bruce! I always found it so odd running into celebrities when I lived in CA...they are always different than you imagine. The women are always so little.
    Anyway, thanks again for re-sending....I saw on flickr you liked that tiny box...I thought of you when I saw it!
    Have a great week, xo natalea

  16. Weird New Jersey? Sometimes its more like what isn't weird in NJ. When I had my antique store, the one you bought the table from, Bruce and Patty were regular customers. He is very, very nice. He does remember people too. We ran into the family at the Fair Haven fair and he actually said hello to me. (my husband almost fainted LOL). The Bon Jovi's went to our church for a while so I got to meet his wife a few times and his kids. The two older ones..daughter is clever and lovely, son is funny. My daughter just graduated with Weinbergs son. Basically just another day in weird NJ. Oh, and by the way, I miss your old store. I used to love to drive by and see that painting of the lilacs in the window.
    ♥, Susan

  17. Had to grab a cup of coffee to read your post....you get the prize for the lonnng posts (far between posts my dear, but when you post you POST!) Love the story about the Bruce sighting. My claim to fame was a Danny Elfman sighting (from Oingo Boingo...I know an obscure band). I asked him for his autograph on the only piece of paper I had with me - my brown paper lunchbag! Am I cool or what? You may have convinced me to do the facebook thing - just afraid of another life timesuck....

  18. OMG Jenn,
    Your Bruce sighting gave me goose bumps!
    Hubby and I are HUUUUUUUUUGE Bruce fans! We have not missed a Michigan concert since we started dateing!
    In fact our first date was a Springsteen concert!

    Loved your story..... Thanks for shareing!


    P.S. love the cupcakes on black....they really pop on the black background!

  19. Man, you put my itty bitty posts to shame. I'm more of a picture girl with a few words.
    That's a classic Bruce sighting. Being in S. California, I've seen a lot of celebrities out and about. They always look so worn down in public. Once, Farrah Faucet walked into my old shop for some gardenia candles, and was asking me all sorts of questions that didn't make sense. She looked pretty haggard and drugged out. So sad.

  20. Hi Jenny and Aaron!
    Thanks for taking the time to post on your blog. I love reading about your adventures on the Jersey Shore, can't wait for the pics of your neighbourhood.
    All the best!

  21. It always makes my day when you update your blog!
    I adore the CYOA series. I try to pick the books up at yard sales/thrift stores. I am trying to re-build my childhood collection for my two daughters. I'm also trying to collect all of the old school Encyclopedia Brown books. Remember those??
    I'm only a few hours away from New Jersey, but it always freaks me out to drive there. What is up with the jug handles? And not being able to pump your own gas???

  22. HI there, I just discovered you on FB and that's what brought me here. (yesterday I posted about having a dream about Bruce- I've had several- and he is always so nice. I suppose it's unusual to dream about him being so natural, sweet and helpful.(Especially when you come from a small logging town.) So, I had my siting- of sorts. I have met him, he's exactly as you say. Huge fan for years. I'll get back to other business and read more of your blog and work next. LOVE your artistic sensibility and style. Fresh, fun and comfortable- it's great!
    Best, Colette

  23. oh, my.
    and i thought I went on and on! LOL
    you and i could so be BFF's - you talk as much as i do....and it's because you want the person to feel like they were there, right??? LOL
    i read that entire post and enjoyed every moment of it!!

    i'm on facebook, too, but only get over there about every two weeks. i'm under jan vermillion thomason.
    and twitter???
    forget it! you will not talk me into yet another way for me to be drawn away from my work table! hahaha

    having a blog giveaway if you're interested.
    it's fabulous, of course:)

    xoxo, jan

  24. INew Jersey is very weird- I believe you can still find women that find big hair attractive! I went to universtity in Madison, and I grew up in Newtown, PA (Bucks County) so I know Jersey is weird, but it redems itself with places like the Shore and Bruce Springstten and my personal favorite, John Bon Jovi. And I couldn't care less about his music!

  25. Fun post! My best celebrity siting was here in downtown Mpls. I was working at Ritz camera in college and none other than PJ Harvey walked in! I just about died. I was going to her concert that night, so she was in town wandering about. I was literally speechless and knew that she'd be back for her developed film in an hour, so I had some time to gain my composure. She came back and I asked for a photo with her. I got out one of our polaroid cameras and took one with her and she asked me to take one of the her and the guy she was with. Later I was looking through a magazine and there was an article on her and a photo of her with the picture that I TOOK in the background. Too crazy!!!

  26. I love Bruce sightings---I have a few Bruce moments myself---One day I will blog my sightings and they include a wave too..........his appearance is amazing--completely different in person. I love him!!!!!!! As an Artist of course.

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