I live in New Jersey

Friday 5: In your head! In your head!

Happy Friday. Today was one of my Summer Fridays off from work AND it was sunny AND THINGS are mildly under control so for the first time this summer, I went to the beach.

A few years ago I went to Margate, NJ for the day on a whim and it was a beach gamechanger. Mostly because I don’t have to take the Garden State Parkway to get there. It takes me a whopping hour and 20 minutes to go from driveway to beach chair.


Because there is no boardwalk, it’s a lot less crowded than other South Jersey beaches. Ocean City will always have my heart, but it’s so crowded and people seem to be taking more and more space. Me? I travel with a beach bag and a chair. No beachspreading here.

Gah. It’s beautiful. I was there from 10:30 to 1:30, read some more of Console Wars, had a snack, and got some color. All without having people closer than 10 feet to me. I have one more Summer Friday in 2 weeks. If the sun shines, then you’ll know where to find me.

I also got to see my Favorite Kid today, which is always a highlight.

And now for the Friday 5. Today’s them is In Your Head, In Your Head and …



DAMMIT that’s just cruel, Scrivener. 😉

1. Which mythical monster would you most enjoy discovering (first- or second-hand) is real?

Definitely the Loch Ness Monster. Big, rare, sea-bound and far away from me. WM says Sasquatch.

2. When did you last exhibit monstrous behavior?

I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but I’ve been trying really, REALLY hard to be a pleasant person, so I don’t remember last time I really lashed out in anger. (I’ve defended myself, but that doesn’t count.) A couple years, maybe? The downside of that is if you’re typecast as a pleasant person, even the smallest negative gesture or even a raised voice will be interpreted as snapping at someone. Maybe I should be meaner?

3. What do you think of monster trucks?

I guess they’re okay. I saw some at a NJ raceway maybe 20 or so years ago and all I remember is being coated in a layer of dirt by the time we left. Relatedly, Monster Jam is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and Grave Digger is STILL a player.

4. If you like monster movies, what’s a monster movie you dislike? And if you dislike them, what’s a monster movie you like?

Not a fan of monster movies, but Sharktopus was an absolute delight. WM is a fan of monster movies, but dislikes the alien movie subgenre.

And also, Sharktopus had a great theme song!

5. What song about a monster (or with the word monster in the title) do you really like?

THIS was a struggle, but I’m going to go with One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater, and to try to cleanse my brain of the frigging CRANBERRIES THANK YOU FRIDAY 5 I’ll counter with the Chipmunks version.

Have a fantastic weekend!

NJ Renaissance Faire and my first zipline!

This weekend, WM and I headed north to Liberty Lake Day Camp in Bordentown to attend our third New Jersey Renaissance Faire.

This gorgeous and majestic creature is “Sir Angus.” And his horse.

If you live anywhere in NJ and have yet to visit the New Jersey Renaissance Faire, please go give it a try. And you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, Kim. We go to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire every year and it’s huge and amazing!” I know! It is! We go too.

But the NJ one only runs for 3 weekends a year, and it will charm the pants/kilts/pantaloons off of you. It’s smaller, but because of that it’s easier to see everything and catch more performances. It’s more immersive – there are dozens and dozens of costumed staff members along the pathways who will interact with you, if you’d like. It’s less commercial.

For those 3 weekends out of every year, Liberty Lake Camp is transformed into English village of Crossford. What makes Crossford different than your average Shire is that it’s located on some sort of time wormhole that brings different historical personalities there each year. This year Italy’s Borgias made a visit. Last year it was Brunhilde and Vikings, the year before it was Blackbeard, etc.

This gorgeous and majestic creature is Jacques Ze Whipper.

Two years ago we funded their Kickstarter to give them a permanent office and to make the Faire 3 weeks instead of 2. It was probably the best Kickstarter we supported.

We visit, we wander, we attend some performances, we usually watch a blacksmithing demo because BLACKSMITHING!, we buy something stupid, and we come home.

This majestic and gorgeous creature is my amazing husband.

But this year we saw a zip line. I have always wanted to try zip lining. So without much thought we coughed up $15 each and got to zip across Liberty Lake. Despite the woman in front of me’s tale of woe about being stuck on one in Mexico because she was too light (sigh) and someone slamming into her on the way down, I was clipped to the wire, took a tiny step of faith off of the platform and HAD A BLAST!

Video proof, shot by WM:

Ziplining at the NJ Ren Faire from Kimberly Russell on Vimeo.

I felt like I could fly! The straps were comfortable and I felt completely secure the whole way. I am so glad I took that chance. The best part was we got to zipline back across the lake so that we didn’t have to walk allllll the way back to get our stuff. Those were screams of joy, by the way.

This year’s stupid purchase was this tiny axe. I don’t know what to do with a tiny axe. It’s not even sharp.

It’s not sharp so I can’t toss it at things.

Next year, if you’re a proud New Jerseyan (or even a curious Philadelphian) go visit the New Jersey Renaissance Faire.

Beach bum necklace

The older I get, the more Jersey pride I have. Maybe I’m trying to compensate for our size, our reputation, or our Governor. (Whom I voted for. Twice. Yeah.) In any case, I love my little Garden State. I even have a NJ Pinterest board! Two weeks ago, WM and I were at the Collingswood Mayfair and I saw the most creative jewelry idea!

You might remember that I used to make jewelry as a hobby. I’ll get back to it someday, I suppose. But I’ve seen so many copycat products that I got a little jaded on jewelry booths at craft shows. But The Sassy Apple‘s booth allowed you to create your own bangle bracelets with beach tag charms!

Back to NJ: You have to pay to get onto many of our beaches. It kind of blows, but the money goes to fund the victims of the bad NY and PA drivers who plow through our state every Friday-Sunday with seventeen bicycles strapped to their roof beach replenishment and cleaning efforts. You can see what they look like here. You pin them to your beach bag or wear them on your swimsuit.

I already have a New Jersey seaglass-like charm that I wear on a necklace and when I saw these I knew I found the perfect accompaniment.

Beach tag charm on a chain.

She created charms for many of the NJ shore towns. I love how the little gold wire is bent to resemble the beach tag pin!

Fitting for me.

I couldn’t decide which shore town to go with, because Wildwood was my town we went to when I was a kid, Ocean City when I was older, and now I go to Margate because there is nothing there but beach. I think beach bum is perfect.

Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my first beach trip of the season. The weather has not played nicely with my free time so far.

I was not compensated for this writeup. I just love the charm.

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