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Features have been a focus of Jen’s writing career, from people profiles to design articles to service pieces for major magazines. Jen has also been a competitive distance runner since 2005, and writes regularly about the sport and about overall fitness topics.

Feel Like You’re Being Stalked?

Lindsey Aldrich Walsh said the onslaught started almost immediately after her husband’s obituary ran in the Houston Chronicle. Both she and her husband, Patrick Walsh, had come into their marriage owning homes, and they had been trying to sell his when he was diagnosed with brain cancer in June of last year; he died in November. That triggered an avalanche of contact from real estate investors wanting to buy one or both houses.

New York Times, July 19, 2019

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How to Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

While the holidays can leave you with a warm, fuzzy glow, they add a lot of things to the daily mix of your life that might not be good for your pets. Whether it’s your treats that upset their stomachs, a tree whose needles wind up in their mouths or well-meaning relatives who feed them off the table, the happiest time of the year can quickly become the most dangerous time for our four-legged friends.

New York Times, November 19, 2018

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A Brief Halloween History of Pets in Costumes

This year for Halloween, I will be dressing up my cattle dog mix called Annie Oakley Tater Tot as Captain America. Last year, I put her in a bandana and cowboy hat and said she was her namesake. My first dog, who passed away last year, had been a queen, a mermaid, a dinosaur, and Superman. She didn’t much like being dressed in costumes, but the pictures were cute, and got all those likes on Facebook and Instagram.

The Goods, October 26, 2018

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Winter is Coming. Is Your Home Ready for the First Deep Freeze?

When I moved into a 1920s stand-alone shotgun style house in southern New Jersey earlier this year, I suspected it would cost a lot more to cool and heat than the rowhouse I had previously owned, because the “charm” and “character” that come with old houses often mean they leak like a sieve.

So when fall arrived, I decided to take the necessary steps to winterize the house. The first: a home-energy audit, in which contractors and utility companies come into your house and tell you everything that’s wrong with it when it comes to energy efficiency.

New York Times, November 2, 2018

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Turning to Marijuana for a Runner’s High and More

The ultramarathoner Avery Collins, among the fastest in the world, is not shy about appearing in photographs holding a bong. The first time he tried running after using marijuana, he said, he realized “it allowed me to be very present and not to worry as much about overall times and what’s going on with the run.”

Mr. Collins, a 25-year-old from Colorado Springs, is one of a likely legion of athletes who use marijuana as part of their training — although he’s one of the few fast enough to get an endorsement deal from an edibles company.

The New York Times, April 20, 2018

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How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution

Are you making a resolution for 2018? Warning: More than half of all resolutions fail, but this year, they don’t have to be yours. Here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2017

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Should You Really Buy That Home?

Falling in love with a house is easy when it seems to have everything you want. But what if there is more to the house than your eye can see?

A cracked pipe underground, a litigious neighbor, a long list of code violations — these are the kinds of red flags that buyers should look out for to make sure that seemingly ideal house doesn’t turn out to be a money pit or some other type of real estate nightmare.

The New York Times, Oct. 20, 2017

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How to Avoid Stress While You’re Moving

One night last month, while I was in the midst of moving out of the house where I had lived for nearly a decade, I found myself trying to make dinner with two pans, one fork and one knife — the only things I had not yet packed that were useful.

To distract myself from this sorry state, I turned on an episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and saw a father and son suddenly thrown into moving mode. A house flipper had knocked on their door and offered them cash to get out ASAP. But they were shown calmly putting random items into boxes that didn’t look as if they had been salvaged from a grocery or liquor store — as were most of my boxes — after which they stopped to have a leisurely heart-to-heart talk.

“That’s not how this works,” I yelled at my iPad, which was on top of the TV tray where I would eat while sitting on a paint-splattered folding chair, since I had just sold my dining-room set on Craigslist.

New York Times, March 31, 2017

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Forty-five miles northwest of New York City, up near the tippy top of the state of New Jersey, off the Greenwood Lake Turnpike, take a turn at the sign advertising where to sell scrap metal, and you’ll find an empty four-lane highway leading to an archway entrance that looks like it’s made of two-story Lincoln Logs. Behind the giant timbers are padlocked gates, and beyond the gates, four more empty, rolling paved lanes.

On a recent August afternoon, Kathy Tynan sat in her Honda Accord just outside those gates, driver’s side door open. A mountain bike was strapped to the roof of her car. “Do you remember what it was like then?” Tynan asks me as she puts on her mountain biking shoes. “I do.”


The Magazine, August 28, 2014

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Why Sprinting May Be the Best Way to Strengthen Your Muscles

When it comes to running, the status symbol of late can be completed in less time than it takes to warm up. “The mile is a distance short enough that you can put yourself on the edge from the start and push what your body can do,” says Ben Bruce, 31, an Adidas athlete who can cover that span in four minutes flat.

Single-mile road races are gaining momentum among time-crunched would-be athletes who want to see significant fitness returns without slogging through months of training: Recent research found that men who did sprint intervals burned fat 75 percent faster than their non-sprinting brethren. It’s no surprise that the number of mile races nationwide, like this month’s prestigious Fifth Avenue Mile—where Bruce set his personal best—has doubled in the past decade, according to the organization Running USA.

Details, September 2014

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Going the Distance Grows Shorter for Many Runners

When 30,000 competitors considered what distance to run in this weekend’s Gasparilla Distance Classic, they had five choices: traditional or stroller-friendly 5-kilometer, an 8k, a 15k or a half marathon.

One option they didn’t have: a marathon.

It wasn’t always this way. From 2000 to 2010, a 26.2-mile run was also on menu of this Tampa, Fla., event, but the race never caught on. In the last few years before 2010’s Final Voyage, as it was called, the marathon scraped up barely 1,000 competitors.

New York Times, February 22, 2014

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Runners Who Love Beer

In a dark corner of the 2nd Street Brew House in South Philadelphia, where the food menus are laminated and the chalkboard draft list lit by white Christmas lights, David April stood on a bar stool and called for attention. After thanking the 70 or so runners for joining him that night, he lifted a full pint above his head and gave a hearty yell: “To the Professor!”

Mr. April is a co-founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, one in a long line of clubs that celebrate the joys of running and beer drinking. Others include the Hash House Harriers (started by British soldiers stationed in Malaysia in 1938, with many chapters now around the world) and the Beer Milers (four beers in four laps on the track — vomit and you’re penalized).

The New York Times, November 8, 2013

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Nostalgia: It Ain’t What it Used to Be

“The dances” happened every summer in Allenhurst, New Jersey. The floor of an ocean-side restaurant — just “the restaurant” — would be cleared, and chairs lined up on both sides of the dance floor. Boys wore suit jackets; girls were in dresses with white gloves. Boys were required to cross the dance floor and ask, formally, “May I have this dance?”

When Geoff DiMasi talks about his childhood summers in that speck of a town at the Jersey Shore, he recalls the beach, and the boardwalk in nearby Asbury Park. But those dances, gone now, invoke the strongest memories. “It was so weird and bizarre, but a tradition in Allenhurst,” he says: a blue-blood tradition in a working-class town.

He hasn’t been back since Hurricane Sandy, which burst through the windows of the restaurant and flooded the place, most recently called Mr. C’s, in October 2012. It’s too painful. “Sandy knocked that that restaurant out of generations of memories,” he says.

The Magazine, November 8, 2013

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How (and Why) to Build a Dune

A dune in the right place at the right time is a very powerful thing. More than just hills of sand, dunes can be a beach town’s first line of defense against storms and erosion. That’s why some coastal communities are encouraging their growth.

National Geographic, September 1, 2013

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Less is More at New Road Races

Newer, smaller events are popping up as antidotes to races that have gotten so big and popular that they’ve had to implement registration lotteries, charge higher fees and corral tens of thousands of runners in waves through the starting gate. The alternative events harken back to the days when race registration wasn’t in and of itself a competitive sport.

Running Times, September 2013

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Marathon Training, Minus the Long Run

Before runners cross the start line of the New Jersey Marathon, they hear two things: the bugle call to tell us to get to our post, followed by the ripping chords of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

When I got to the starting line earlier this month, I knew that my 18 weeks of training would come down to the next five hours. That training? Some would say unconventional, even controversial. I used “Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon.”

New York Times, May 16, 2013

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Four Ways to Enjoy Long Runs

Runners often have a love/hate relationship with the long run. We love the sense of accomplishment we feel when it’s over; we hate the anticipation of actually getting out there.

Yet it must be done: The long run is the keystone of any training—5-K to marathon.”The long run builds endurance and strength and teaches you how to deal with fatigue,” says Maria Simone, a USA Triathlon—certified coach and owner of No Limits Endurance Coaching in Absecon, New Jersey.

Runner's World, September 2013

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Extraordinary Unpublished Cape May Novel Found in Closet After 50 Years

The son of Dutch and Irish immigrants, Charles Whitecar Miskelly was a South Jersey shipbuilder who died in 1963 at age 83. He was also a writer, one who shut himself up in his home office and banged out stories on a typewriter he repaired with a fishing line. He wrote historical novels and short stories about the towns around him, as well as beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking poetry.

Philadelphia Magazine, May 2013

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Home Cooking: Will every household want — or need — a 3D printer?

Even though I know it’s not true, the MakerBot Replicator 2 seems to create items out of thin air. Busloads of school children, tourists, and senior citizens have stopped at the MakerBot retail store in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood to watch a nozzle lay down heated, biodegradable polymer polylactic acid, layer by layer per a CAD drawing, to make a bracelet, a house, a heart, or Doctor Who’s TARDIS.

The Magazine, March 14, 2013

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Perks of Running Solo or Social

As a runner you know that a program that incorporates various distances, paces, and surfaces helps you perform your best. What you may not realize is that the same holds true with the company you keep—or don’t keep—on the run. Whether you’d rather gab away the miles with pals or be alone in your own thoughts, runners who are strictly social butterflies or lone rangers are at a disadvantage.

Runner's World, March 2013

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Tech Time-Out

No watch? No tunes? Leave behind your gadgets and gain a new respect for your efforts.

Runner's World, May 2012

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Prescription Foods: What to Eat to Cure Your Ills

Forget pills—these 14 everyday ingredients can fix everything from puffy eyes to erectile dysfunction.

Details, May 2012

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Stop Bugging Me: How to deal with hecklers, crowded paths, foul smells, and other runner irritants.

As a runner with more on your mind than how fast and far you’re going, you want to get in your mileage without being irritated by a guy on a neighboring treadmill shouting on his iPhone or heckled by an immature driver. Here’s how to overcome common annoyances and get back in your blissed-out zone.

Runners World, August 2011

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Whole Lotta Love: With tangled plots and double lives, Jersey romance writers tug countless heartstrings.

Mary Bly had a secret. A Shakespearean scholar with degrees from Yale and Oxford, Bly was working toward tenure at Fordham University. But when she wasn’t teaching students the ways of the Bard, Bly slipped into her other skin, penning romance novels under the name Eloisa James.

New Jersey Monthly, May 2009

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Dream Kitchens 2010

Looking to spruce up your cooking space? We asked design experts what trends they’re seeing now and what they predict will stay popular beyond 2010.

Washingtonian, October 2010

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When the Diagnosis Is ‘Dead Butt Syndrome’

My butt, unfortunately, is dead.

“Dead butt syndrome,” the sports medicine doctor said to me after making me go through a series of circus-act contortions that involved swiveling my hip in all directions. His voice was very serious, his tone stern. I wondered if I should start making funeral arrangements for my rear, maybe a New Orleans-style blowout parade?

Hold the tuba. My butt’s not really dead. It can’t be revived with defibrillator paddles, but it can be fixed.

The New York Times, December 21, 2010

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I’m a Runner: Michael Palin

When did you start running?
In 1978, I had to look extremely tan and fit to play the ex-leper in Life of Brian, so I ran up and down the beaches in Tunisia where we were shooting. I got back to London and I thought I must try and make this a regular thing. I have made it a regular feature ever since. That’s really when it began.

Runner's World, April 2011

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