Wednesday, January 27, 2010


That is Emily's "Why'd you dump me in the bath?" face (Answer: Because she decided to take a roll in the mud).

I post it here because it is also her "Why must you leave me face?" And I am leaving her for a bit - off for some R&R in a warmer climate. Don't worry about Emily, though. She'll be in the trusted hands of my mom, who I think sometimes she likes more than she likes me.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Jersey Shore app!

There's going to be an app for that - the Jersey Shore iPhone app is coming! I just signed on to produce a Jersey Shore travel iPhone app that'll work on the iPhone and the iPod touch. We hope that it'll come out sometime in April, just in time for the new shore season.

The app, unlike my book, will cover the entire shore. I'll keep y'all posted as to when I get an exact date and title (of course).

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wait, Wait Wrap up

Whippee! Well, if you haven't heard the segment by now, I'm going to spoil it for you: I WON. Didn't catch it on the radio? You can listen to it here.

While we did banter for some time about the Jersey Shore, those witticisms were cut out for time. Ah, well.

If you have my cell phone number, don't call! They haven't recorded the voicemail yet.

This was the most nerve wracking experience of my life - more so than giving the commencement speech at my college graduation, and doing live TV (even live TV where I froze). The producer gave me a two hour window in which they'd call. I paced for three. Good thing I was "dressed for radio" (i.e. sweatpants and t-shirt) so it didn't matter if I sweat profusely.

I know it's a silly show, but this stuff is national. Any nerd friend I had was tuned in. I'm glad I didn't embarrass myself.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wait, Wait...

Exciting news! I'm a contestant on this Saturday's edition of NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

If you've never head the show, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me is a popular and silly NPR quiz show that pokes fun at the week's news. Some of the quiz questions are asked to a panel of rotating guests. The others are asked to call-in contestants. I play the limerick challenge.

I listen to podcasts of the show every Sunday on my long runs, so this was a big geek thrill.

We recorded the segment late Thursday night. Of course we talk about the Jersey Shore. They asked me what I do for a living. What else was I supposed to say?

It's a nation wide show, though air times are different according to where you live. Locally:

Philadelphia: WHYY on 90.9 FM at 4pm
Jersey Shore: NJN on 90.3 FM or 89.9 FM at noon
New York: WNYC on 93.9 FM or 820 AM at 11am
Baltimore: WYPR on 88.1 FM at 11am
Washington, DC: WAMU on 88.5 FM at 11am

If you're outside these areas, go to NPR's website and find your station's schedule (Marples, I'm not sure where in Mass. you are, but if you're near Boston, you can tune into WBUR 90.0 FM at 10am).

I'll post a link to the MP3 when it's available, too.

How'd I get on the show? I sent them an email. They can't chose you don't raise your hand...

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Rumor Control

Everyone calm down. The rumor that the crap MTV show is coming to Sea Isle this summer is FALSE. They won't be at the OD anytime soon (though I'm glad at the brush back and how many people point out that those morons wouldn't fit in at Sea Isle. It might be a party-ish town, but it's a cover band party town, not house music).

I'm surprised at how big this exploded, and when. I saw this rumor the end of last year. Some blogger didn't do his homework and mistook "Sea Isle" for "Seaside." As I do with most things related to that crap show, I ignored it.

Then another blog picked up on that mistake and reported it as true, and everything else linked back to the post with the original error. Even worse, websites for what are supposed to be reputable news sources started reporting on the rumor, saying in their headlines that it was true, without making any calls to confirm the rumor.

Citizen journalism at its worst? Possibly, but some mainstream media rushing to get the news out and get hits on their website is partly to blame, too.

That's why I didn't write about it earlier today. I didn't have the time to make the calls, so I was not going to push forward a rumor. This blog, as most of you know, is a volunteer effort, so paying work came first. That shouldn't be the case with newspapers and their websites.

In any case, it wouldn't make sense. Where would they go? There's no house music in Sea Isle. That crowd doesn't hang there. And if they're charging for personal appearances, who in Sea Isle is going to pay for it?

Yes, there are a lot of bars in Sea Isle, but they're mostly clustered in one point. The rest of Sea Isle is a quiet shore town.

Fortunately, the woman at the Star-Ledger who originally reported on the rumor got a statement from the mayor of Sea Isle.

So carry on, Sea Isle. I'll see you at La Costa this spring.

P.S. I love this Katie Dalrymple, Sea Isle spokesperson, quote from a Press of Atlantic City article: "My friend texted me that ‘Jersey Shore is coming. It’s on Facebook.’ Then I came in this morning and had about 10 e-mails and phone calls about it.”

People, come on. Just because it's on Facebook doesn't mean it's true. Same thing with Google. Some commentator on the original post said the rumor must be true because you can Google it. Egads, do people really believe that?

**UPDATE** Press of Atlantic City talked to MTV, who confirms that the rumor is untrue.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Jersey: The Movie - Coming soon!

New Jersey: The Movie, is done! If you didn't catch it in one of NJ's many film festivals, it'll be available on DVD soon.

I saw a preview copy over the Christmas holiday. HYSTERICAL. I'll let you know when you can get yours.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Five Year Mark

Hey, I'm celebrating an anniversary! Five years ago, I quit my full time editing job and became a freelance writer. I'd been freelancing in some form since 2002, but in 2005 I made that giant, scary leap. That picture you see at the left is my very first headshot, taken the spring of 2005. The second is my current headshot, which you see on this blog.

Five years ago, I worked from a one bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a big rambling house in Haddonfield. My desk was shoved into the corner of the living room, which also served as a dining room since the apartment only had a galley kitchen. I was not a runner. I didn't have a dog. The Jersey Shore was just a place I went to every summer. And I was scared out of my mind that I'd pulled the plug on a regular job and paycheck to try something new.

Freelancing's still scary. The Great Recession has not been kind to me, and sometimes I wonder why the heck I bought a house when I never know what my income will be from month to month.

But if I'd have to do it all over again, I would. No other job could have given me the experiences that freelancing has. Without it, I'd have never become a runner, which I started because of an assignment. I'd never have learned so much about the Jersey Shore. I'd never have known half the people I know today. I'd never have such a fine collection of sweatpants to wear to work - in a real office in its own room, one I painted royal blue the day I signed the mortgage papers to my house. The desk, though, is still the same.

So here are 10 highlights from the last five years:

1. First article as a full time freelancer: Profile of Kermit Roosevelt, author of In the Shadow of the Law, for Philadelphia Style magazine.
2. Oddest Moment: Pauly Shore grabbed my foot in the middle of an interview.
3. Magazine you never knew I wrote for: Hooters.
4. Biggest disappointment: A fantastic article I wrote for Wired never ran because my editor left, and his replacement sat on it until it became stale. DOH. I did get paid, though.
5. Coolest interviewee: John Loring, design director of Tiffany's.
6. Life changing moment: Helping Matt Katz propose to his now wife.
7. Longest continuous client: New Jersey Monthly, who was there from my first week, and who I still write for today.
8. Moment that made me cry: My first New York Times clip.
9. Coolest experience, short: Covering the World Series parade.
10. Coolest experience, long: Becoming Jersey Shore Jen. Really, folks. I never set out to do this, but it's been one helluva ride.

But I can't rest on my laurels! No freelancer can. I'll be announcing something fun and shore related soon, so stay tuned!

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Stopped stealing my content

I'm no stranger to having my content taken without permission. Usually it's done by someone who liked what I wrote and thought it was OK because the writing was already online. I tell them it's not, and they take it down.

This, though -- this site had taken the RSS feed for my blog, looped it into theirs, and used it as their "Jersey Shore" coverage. I have my name on a google alert, which is how I found out.

I don't mind when people link to my blog. That's how the internet works. Sometimes sites will take the first paragraph and run it on their site, but they link to this blog, so people have to come here to finish reading. That's fine. What really ticked me off this time? Not only were they using full text and photos from my blog, but they were selling ads around the content. They were making money by taking my work, and they did it without asking me.

As of this morning, that site no longer exists. I didn't set out to destroy it, but perhaps all the content was stolen, and they were spooked enough by my response that they took it down.

Here's what I did:

1. Find out who owns the site. There was no direct contact information (red flag). So I put the blog address into WhoIs, which tells you who bought the domain name. Now, remember how I said they were selling ads? I clicked on the Paypal link that they used to sell those ads, and found out who those ads dollars went to - the same company that registered the domain.

2. Tell them to stop. I sent a strongly worded email through their site's contact form, and to the email address registered on the blog site. Then I tweeted the CEO of the company and demanded their remove my site from their feed.

3. Embarrass them. I wrote this post, which as you can see, ended up on their site.

There's no way I can police everyone who lifts my work, and internet stealing is rampant. But If I could get one company to stop, which lead to the shut down of their site? That's a win for us little guys.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010


Regular readers, you can skip past this. Or read on. It might amuse you.

Hi there. This is Jen A. Miller, and I'm the author and owner of the blog.

If you are reading this on any site other than, YOU ARE READING STOLEN CONTENT.

A blog has decided to take my hard work - writing, photos, everything - and pass it off as their own, and they're selling ads around it.

So not only are they stealing from me, but they're making money off me in the process.

No, I'm not going to list the site. I don't want my regular readers to be tempted to click over. If you're reading this anywhere else other than my site, click away and never come back. Please.

Why am I posting this here? They're stealing the blog in its entirety, so this post will appear on their blog, outing them for STEALING MY CONTENT.

I have alerted the owners of that site that they are infringing on my copyright. If they don't stop STEALING MY CONTENT, I'll let you know if I need any help from you guys in bombarding them to get them to stop. I'd hate to take legal action, but trust me -- I will.

Am I angry? You bet. I work hard on this blog, and no one rips me off. As I once said in an interview that got me my first editorial job (Marples, cover your eyes), I don't take shit from anyone.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

OK, so don't dance

Saturday night's Lady Gaga Atlantic City benefit is cancelled -- the singer is sick. Sorry, folks.

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Matt McCulley

Tragic news: Matt McCulley, race director of Sea Isle City's Tri for our Veterans, died on Tuesday.

Matt was a stand out guy with a wonderful wife and three amazing daughters. He came to me when he started promotion for the Tri, which benefited Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and to Sea Isle's VFW Post 1963. Matt wasn't even a Vet, but he said he felt an intense need to help soldiers returning from war.

Matt was one of the first regular readers of this blog - at least one who raised his hand to say hello. In the time I knew him, I found out that he, too, had spent his childhood summers at Avalon Campground though we don't remember meeting each other. He'd ride his bike all the way from Route 9 to Sea Isle, where he worked at the OD (and where he met his wife, Heather). He told me how he'd taken that bike ride again recently and buzzed past the security guard to whip another time around the campground, and we debated the campground's decision to pave roads that had been dirt when we were kids. Whenever I knocked Sea Isle, where Matt and his family had a summer home, even if I did so lightly, he always came to its defense and reminded me of how much better it was than Wildwood.

I included his wife in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about restoring furniture, and stood on the beach during last year's triathalon where Matt roamed with a bullhorn, then bitched out a woman who tried to drive her car on the street that was part of the bike course. After the race, Bill, Matt and Heather and I had beers at the VFW hall and toasted a successful event. He kept bugging me to sign up for the 2010 race, even though I'm not allowed to swim competitively. But at that celebration, he had me at least thinking about it.

The last time I saw him was at the Captain Bill Gallagher 10 Mile Island run. I was coming out of the hall where runners registered and picked up race packets. I wasn't supposed to be there. I was scheduled to take a cooking class in Philadelphia but bailed because Bill had just decided to take the promotion in Minneapolis.

I don't remember exactly what was said, but I saw Matt as I was coming out of the hall, and he asked me what I was doing there because I swore I would never run that race.

The course has two loops, so I saw Matt pass by twice, ahead of me of course, because he was much faster runner. I remember him saying later that his time wasn't that great, and he'd been annoyed that some kid finished ahead of him.

I noticed that this blog was getting a lot of hits from searches for Matt's name. I figured they were looking for another guy, so I flipped over to Facebook to see what was up, maybe send Matt a jokey message about how these folks had found the wrong site. But I had a bad feeling when I saw his Facebook page was gone. Thank you to the person who told me what I feared was true. At least I know, and can tell people who know Matt, or read about him here, or knew about the Tri. I still couldn't believe it was true until I saw the death notice in today's paper.

The funeral mass will be at noon on Monday at Assumption of the Blessed Mary Virgin Church, 300 State Rd., West Grove, Pa. Friends and family may call after 9:30 a.m. Internment is private.

The family is requesting that, instead of flowers, contributings be made to the McCulley Family Scholarship Fund, Fordham University, c/o TD Bank. I'll post any sort of fundraising information if it becomes available. I'll also keep you updated about the Tri and what help they'll need to run it this year.

Please keep Matt's family in your prayers.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just Dance

Lady Gaga, along with DJ's Michael DeCero and Vito Fun, will be hosting a benefit at the Showboat's House of Blues in Atlantic City this Saturday night. Yes, THIS Saturday night. It's to raise money in support the LGBT civil rights movement, according to the notice I got today.

Tickets are a $20 minimum donation, and you can ONLY get them at the door. Doors of the Club Worship, which is the club inside the House of Blues where this is taking place, open at 10pm. I think there will be a line (duh). Also - must be 21 to get in.

Every penny of those donations at the door will benefit Empire State Pride Agenda, Equality Pennsylvania, Garden State Equality, and The Power.

Now, kids, this is labeled as a hosting event, NOT A CONCERT. I don't know if she's going to perform or not, but I'm sure she'll be wearing something fabulously out there.

**UPDATE** Lady Gaga is sick and has cancelled both her Borgata concerts and the benefit per doctor's orders. Sorry, folks.

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Wildwood in the New Yorker

Did anyone else notice this? Wildwood got a nice of a spotlight in the January 11, 2010 issue of the New Yorker. William Eggleston's "Untitled (Motel, Wildwood, New Jersey)" ran on page 18. You can see that picture here (I won't copy and put it on this page because that's stealing, yo).

The picture's on display at Cheim & Read in New York.

So, my Wildwood people, what motel is it? I know that the motels get a bad wrap for being old and creaky, but not all of them, and they were quite an innovation at their time. And this motel looks beautiful in the picture.

**UPDATE** Wow, that was fast. As you can see in the comments, Patrick Whipkey IDed it as the Singapore Motel in Wildwood Crest. Thanks, Patrick!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

News from Around the South Jersey Shore

WHAT?! I don't check my google alerts for a week, and I miss THIS?! The guy who owns Jamaican me Crazy in Sea Isle was arrested of alleged arson. He plead not guilt.

Shakespeare in Cape May!

There's a fish council? And it has a chief? What does his chief hat look like?

More on the bizarre situation that unseated Wildwood's mayor.

Jay Gillian's running for mayor of Ocean City.

Antique's Road Show is coming back!

Dogs might be allowed off leash in Brigantine soon.

Wildwood Catholic is set to close -- and, I'm not surprised -- people are protesting. I'm not surprised. It's a state wide trend, which, yes, I wrote about. Plus, there are so many fewer year round residents at the shore that even public schools are having problems.

Why does the odd stuff happen in Sea Isle?

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Yesterday, I posted about my grandmother's New Jersey charm bracelet, and provided a link to the only other bracelet like it I've found. Lo and behold, that bracelet is now sold.

Anyone here buy it? I doubt that this blog has THAT much influence, but I've heard from three people who said they booked winter/spring shore deals based on this post from earlier in the month. So who knows?

Also, thank you to everyone who sent kind words about my grandmother's passing. It meant a lot to me.

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Monday, January 11, 2010


My grandmother, who passed away on Wednesday, had a lot of jewelry. At the viewing, my mom out the jewelry that had not been given to my mom or aunts and let grandmom's daughters-in-law and then granddaughters pick something.

You can imagine why this caught my eye.

It's a sterling silver bracelet featuring charms about historic sites and figures of New Jersey: Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Alva Edison, Woodrow Wilson and, my favorites, the outline of the state, Barnegat Light and a vial of beach sand.

My mom had never seen the bracelet before she sorted through my grandmother's things. She knows nothing about it except she thinks it was a commemorative piece for some New Jersey anniversary. Carol of Strathmere's Dandelion Vintage says she's never seen it before, either. I found one other such bracelet online, but it has different and fewer charms.

I'm determined to find out more about the bracelet and am going to stop in to Robert Jay's in Collingswood to see if he knows anything.

Know anything or where I could find more information?

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dress Me

I don't usually buy spring clothes as soon as they come out. But I ran around Target on Thursday morning to buy a funeral dress and came across two items so cute that I had to have them (Emotional shopping? Probably. But at least it was at Target and not Sak's, and I'm returning half the stuff anyway. I don't want my Thrive account to scream at me).

First up, this Mossimo dress. How shall I put this...hmmm. It looks more filled out when worn by a woman who does not have the proportions of a flat chested teenager. It ties in the back to. Very pretty, and very comfy. And pockets! I can see wearing that to a lot of places this summer, and it's a steal, I think, for $19.99.

Second, a little number by Xhilaration. According to the website, this is supposed to be a beach coverup? Whatever -- works as a dress on me. Those are little tiny anchors. Again, the price was right: $17.99

Both dresses are perfect matches to the vintage shades I picked up late last year, and if this arctic blast finally loosens up and Florida warms up again (I'm so worried about the Plant City strawberry crop - I really am), I'll take them with me to St. Pete.

That might be it for summer shopping. Most of my dresses from the last few summers will be in heavy rotation. I'm not a huge shopper, and that trip to Target, plus a run through the clearance racks of Anthropologie and Six for more winter clothes are as much as I can handle right now. Anything special you're looking to pick up?

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Thursday, January 7, 2010


As mentioned briefly in the post below, my grandmother, Elizabeth Verzella, passed away yesterday. It wasn't sudden, and it wasn't a surprise, but I'm still a mess. So the blog is on hiatus for a while. Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers for my family. I'm so sad to lose her, but I also feel like I lost my grandfather all over again.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nail this Sale

If you plan to make a spring trip to Cape May, Cape Resorts is running a heck of a deal for January 7 to April 8 visits. But you can only book it on January 7, starting at 12:01 am.

Here are the deals:

The Virginia: $82 Sunday through Thursday, $109 Friday and Saturday
Congress Hall: $78 Sunday through Thursday, $99 Friday and Saturday
The Star: $71 Sunday through Thursday, $89 Friday and Saturday

Promo code is 24H.

To give you an idea to the scale of the sale: If you went online right now to book a stay at the Virginia for the weekend of April 16, you're going to pay $269 a night.

So mark your calendar for this one, folks, if a spring shore stay is on your mind.

**NOTE: I checked pricing for Ocean Drive Marathon weekend, and Congress Hall is requiring a two-night stay that weekend. FAIL.

UPDATE: It's 12:05am. I tried to book a room for March 27 at the Star Inn, and I'm getting this message: "We apologize. Your requested rate is not available on the dates you selected." I just tried it again for Congress Hall on March 12. Same thing. Did these rooms really sell out in FIVE MINUTES? What the heck? The only reason I'm up this late is because my grandmother died today, and I'm catching up on the emails I missed. I got an email sent at 12:04 reminding me of the sale, so I figured I should check that off my to-do list. Sorry if your kids are watching, but WTF?

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Monday, January 4, 2010


If you can't tell by the hearts dripping from every counter of every store (Really?! didn't we JUST do Christmas?), it's never too early to think about Valentine's Day.


Harrah's at least is trying to do SOMETHING for all of us, and have planned what looks to be a knock out event with HeartAC on February 12-14. Events include a burlesque show, Jacques Torres champagne, spirits and chocolate tasting, Air Supply, the Fab Faux, and a speed dating event held by Steve and Joann Ward of VH1's Tough Love.

My story about Steve Ward: Back in ye olden days of the early part of this century, I was the editor of SJ Magazine. One of my responsibilities was to book models, and the guy we picked for our fall fashion shoot was...Steve Ward. He was a male model for a Philadelphia agency, and did his best to look tall, dark and handsome in the hottest fall trends.

I scoured my office for that issue of the magazine so I could put the picture on the blog, but I can't find it. What I do remember, though, is that he was a nice guy but sort of a ham. He talked a lot about a shoot he did for some long forgotten book written by Bachelorette contestants. Even then he and his mom worked on the dating business.

I saw him around Atlantic City last summer, and he always looked at me a little longer than normal. I think he realized he knew me from somewhere, and couldn't quite place me (I don't blame him -- he met me when I was an overworked, overstressed editor trying to salvage a photo shoot that was rained out. In the times I met him last year, I was either in a bikini or a dress with a neckline that would not have been dad-approved).

I plan on going to at least one of these events. A good friend made a New Year's resolution to get out more, and this would certainly qualify. The entertainment value of speed dating would be worth the AC Expressway tolls alone.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010


On May 2, I'm running the New Jersey Marathon. Rather than driving to Long Branch the morning of the race, I decided to stay overnight so I can sleep in a little later and be refreshed.

Who am I kidding? I'm going to be a nervous wreck and probably stare at the ceiling most of the night.

Problem is, the obvious hotel options are sold out, and I didn't want to pay north of $250 a night with a two night minimum stay required.

I put Asbury Park into, which scours other travel websites for best prices, and it popped up options via I scored a night in a nice Ocean Grove B&B for $100, one night stay only (no, I'm not going to tell you where, stalker).

So if you're looking for a B&B stay, give this resource a shot. I did a search through Cape May via the site, and it was spot on with options, prices and details. It's a great resource.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fun on Sale

Like to do the ride thing in Wildwood? Then get your Moreys Piers tickets NOW -- they're on sale until January 8.

If you're in the market for some self R&R after the craziness of the holidays, Cape May Day Spa is running a few "Start the New Year on the Right Foot" specials, including On the Rocks hot stone massage, mani/pedi with complimentary hand and foot paraffin treatment (Monday-Thursday only) and a "New You" Cape Island detox body wrap. The specials are good through January.

The period between New Year's and Valentine's Day is a particularly slow season down the shore, so now's the time to grab some specials if you're in the area.

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