With a background in journalism, Meg has written articles for a number of publications, including New York Minute Magazine, The Sparta Independent, and The Township Journal with a variety of beats (nutrition, weddings, startup companies, charities, local politics, and local news and events). To read some of her published work in these magazines/newspapers, click through the links below.
Articles are organized by publication and date.
New York Minute Magazine is an online magazine, with a focus on unique, original content.
As the holiday binges teeter to a close, you may find yourself—hand in the cookie jar (not metaphorically speaking)—thinking that it’s time to get on the diet bandwagon and stop eating so many gosh darn cookies, cake, turkey, ham, potatoes, eggnog, fried eggs, caramel lattes, and the other various marvels that have soared down your gullet these past few weeks. Your skinny jeans, feeling a little bit too skinny, may suddenly feel like your personal vendetta: reason enough to ignore those free donuts in the break room, tempting as they may be.
Alas, as you select your self-imposed, trendy diet—hoping all the while that it will be over the moment you begin it so that you can go back to eating as you did before—you are already doing yourself a disfavor. I am here to tell you that diets don’t work.
At holiday gatherings, many of us often find ourselves inching closer to the food table, eyeing our various cheese-dipped, deep-fried, evenly-glazed prizes with elbows at the ready for any who dare come near as we pretend disinterest. We know, year after year, what to expect at these gatherings—the same ham feast, the same spiked drinks, and the same glorious mountain of desserts.
For some of us, the food is what keeps us coming back to this gathering of ravenous hyenas, intent on asking us if we are seeing anyone, how our job is (or if we have one), and (for the less fortunate) criticizing us for our life choices. For other people, the holidays are a joyous occasion—a time to gather with our loved ones in a single place, with good food being a happy byproduct.
Whether you are in the former group or the latter, I am here to tell you the unfortunate truth about those delicious, calorically-dense holiday favorites.
Click here to learn about these incriminating holiday favorites.
With tightening pants and an insensitive scale beneath our feet, many of us take drastic measures in the months of November and December to counter our holiday binges—from trendy diets, to calorie counting, to everything in between.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized perhaps people were misinformed on some of their dieting strategies—having seen one of my coworkers eating a handful of almonds (rather than her usual afternoon fruit) in order to lose weight.
Although nuts have a lot of great nutritional value (which I will get to), they—like many other foods—are sneakily high in calories.
Last week, on “Surprisingly High-Calorie Foods: Part 1,” we talked about five foods that are, well, surprisingly high in calories. This consisted of nut butters, avocados, coconuts, salad dressings, and cheese.
Around the holidays, many of us go on diet binges in hopes of trimming down a few pounds before the next gathering we attend. We may eliminate carbs from our diets, choose salad over a burger and fries when we meet up with friends, cut back on the amount of high-calorie meats we love to eat, or even go on a juicing diet. (God bless those of you in the latter group.) However you choose (or don’t choose) your calorie-cutting methods between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are a few things you may want to consider—especially the foods that are sneakily high in calories.
Click here to read about five foods you may want to consider portioning between now and your holiday festivities.
We have all heard those scary bedtime stories of what happens inside your body when you gain too much weight from a variety of different delicious foods. My personal favorite is potatoes with cheese. Any kind of potato will do, really. Other folks may be partial to the marvels of ice cream, or the savory allure of a fine slice of steak (or three slices of steak). Yet, other people may find their knees buckling at the thought of deep-fried foods: potatoes, Oreos, French toast, calamari—anything with that gold, crunchy cover that helps the food beneath it slide right down your gullet with ease. And, as we also know, the holidays are the best (and worst) for engendering massive consumption of all of our favorite calorically-dense foods.
Although many of us are aware of the “freshman 15”—college students gaining the notorious 15+ pounds in their first year away at school—the number of pounds that the typical American gains has not been quite so easily identified.
Click here to read more about holiday weight gain and ways to help prevent it.
When I think of Thanksgiving delicacies, the first foods that come to my mind are turkey (of course), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, Pillsbury croissant rolls, and corn—with the casseroles, jello, and stuffing filed to the “do not touch” folders in my mind. Basically, anything in the form of carbs, I strategically push to my end of the dinner table.
What about you? Are you guys ham (vs. turkey) fans? Or perhaps macaroni and cheese is your featured dish. (If so, I want to come over.) Even better—perhaps the food table is strictly a gathering location at your festivities, and keeping your glass full of something marvelous (wine, beer, pumpkin liqueur, or the like) is your deal.
Whatever your poison is, and wherever you end up this year on the day of thanks, remember that portions are key. Anything consumed too frequently or in too great of quantity can be harmful to you. And, as Thanksgiving is a national holiday that endorses you to be the guzzling, gorging, gobbling ruffian you are, here are a few tips to read (and forget on Thanksgiving).
Let’s face it: as a whole, we, as Americans, do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. The whole vegetable thing, to some extent, I can get. There are quite a number of vegetables that are about as appealing as chomping on an old shoe. But fruit?! It’s high in sugar—something most people are rather fond of. (Myself included.)
According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, men and women 19–30 years of age are supposed to consume 2 cups of fruit daily. Despite these rather straight-forward guidelines, three-quarters of Americans do not consume enough fruit, according to statistics reported on NBC News.
But there are so many marvelous fruits beyond the typical apples, oranges, and bananas, my friends. Let me tell you about three “super” fruits.
Click here to learn more about these three “super” fruits: pomegranates, blueberries, and açai berries.
Let’s talk about that two-inch, butterfly-shaped lump on your throat—also known as your thyroid.
Being a medical/technical writer (and a nerd at heart), I have had ample opportunity to delve into a variety of different medical conditions. Through these experiences, I have learned not only about the machinations behind these ailments, but the prominence of them.
According to the NIH, approximately 4.6% of people ages 12 and older have hypothyroidism in the U.S. On the other hand, the NIH reports that an approximate one percent of people overall in the U.S. have hyperthyroidism. In each of these conditions, the thyroid is impacted, which can affect a variety of functions of your body, such as your metabolism, brain development, and breathing.
Click here to learn more about hypo- and hyperthyroidism symptoms and causes, as well as proactive, nutritious steps you can take to help make you feel better.
By a show of comments, who out there has ever had a fingerstick test?
Before last week, I sure hadn’t. Being a young person, and one who exercises with frequency, my total cholesterol count, HDL cholesterol level, LDL cholesterol level, and triglycerides didn’t seem like something I needed to really think about for a few years. For others, however, you may be intimately acquainted with the concept of getting your finger stabbed, sucked for blood, and told never to eat cookies, cinnamon buns, or anything wonderful ever again.
I was reminded in that moment, when the small machine beeped and revealed my numbers, that everyone needs to be aware of their numbers—young, old, exercise junkies, and couch potatoes alike.
For those of you who are not aware, not only do I fancy reading nutrition textbooks in my free time, but I am also a runner and former basketball player. As I was running a half marathon over the weekend with my husband, I thought of last week’s article on three of the B vitamins, but riboflavin in particular.
As I followed up on some reading, I learned that people who exercise (particularly women) may need more riboflavin than others. What I also found fascinating was that tranquilizer use, hypothyroidism, and borate toxicity are related to a riboflavin deficiency. Furthermore—recalling our chat on acid reflux and GERD—people who take antacids are more likely to experience symptoms of riboflavin deficiency, as well as coffee and tea drinkers.
B-complex vitamins are a unique bundle of vitamins which are critical to a number of different functions in your body:
- The conversion of glucose into energy
- Metabolism of fats and proteins
- Normal function of the nervous system
- Maintenance of nerves
- Maintaining muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract
- The overall health of skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver
Needless to say these bad boys are essential to quite a lot of functions in the body.
What do you think when you hear the phrase “high cholesterol”?
Does a diet high in french-fry and burger intake automatically materialize in your mind? Or, perhaps, the associated conditions with high cholesterol comes to mind—like some prescribed package deal—such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Or, maybe, the believed end result is what your mind attributes to “high cholesterol:” heart attacks and strokes on account of a building up of cholesterol with the arteries hardening (unable to efficiently carry blood as is their daily routine).
However, I daresay that, as a society, we tend to incriminate and make sweeping declarations, often without considering the opposite end of the spectrum.
If you guys are anything like myself—frequenting the spicy Mexican food, experiencing a partiality to eat all of the chicken wings on your plate at places like Buffalo Wild Wings, and require two or more cups of caffeine a day to survive—then you may find yourself also experiencing symptoms of acid reflux.
During my experiences as a medical writer, I often came across the acronym “GERD,” which stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Despite what you may think, acid reflux and GERD are not the same thing.
Anemia, defined as a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, is a condition that many people face, particularly here in the states.
Here are a few fast facts about anemia:
- The most common cause of anemia is loss of blood.
- Anemia can be temporary or long term.
- Anemia can range from mild to severe.
- The most common symptoms of anemia are tiredness, weakness, or pallor. Other symptoms include a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness, among others.
- The most common types of anemia are iron deficiency anemia and vitamin B12deficiency.
- According to statistics, anemia affects one in 10 teen girls and women. It also develops in men and children and is linked to some illnesses.
When selecting foods at your local supermarket, it is often not enough to simply look at the identifying label (such as “cereal” or “soup”) to determine if a food is an optimal/healthy choice for consumption. These labels can often be misleading.
Marketers will often try to highlight the positive ingredients of their food to draw away from the strategically-hidden facts written on the nutrition labels.
Therefore, we, as consumers, need to be proactive in our understanding of the labeling of food so that we not only know what we are buying, but we know what we are eating as well.
Click here to learn more about nutritional facts, servings sizes, and more.
It is that time of year again. The time of homework and reports, of mothers with sharp elbows eager to get to the last of the three ring binders and book socks for her child first at the store, of flu shots and annual physical exams, and also the time of cafeterias (and its resultant food).
Whether you pack your own food (AKA, your parents pack it for you), are a cafeteria-food junkie, or eat at school only when there is nothing left in the refrigerator, school lunches offer a key source of nutrition for growing young people.
Click here for a few handy tips on packing lunches.
As summer trickles to an end, leaving in its wake deep-fried beach-goers and awkward tan lines, the last thing on any of our minds is probably vitamin D deficiency—your blood being currently inundated with a hearty dose of vitamin D from either natural or artificial rays (or both). However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one third of people in the United States do not have sufficient levels of vitamin D.
With a myriad of information floating around regarding which foods are the best for you, it can sometimes be overwhelming to enter the grocery store, basket in hand, with the intention of attacking (and conquering) the produce and health food aisles.
If you are interested in fueling your body with optimal sources of energy—healthy fats, a variety of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, etc.—then you may want to consider selecting what many have termed as “superfoods.”
The three superfood picks for this article are: coconut, avocado, and kale.
On the misty eve of Sunday, May 4th, an eclectic gathering of musicians, dancers, actors, and performers – all with a heart to serve – assembled at the Le Salon: Premiere in none other than our very own Brooklyn, NY, to witness a series of events, one of which was Artists Striving to End Poverty’s (ASTEP) International Music Video Launch.
Shown later in the evening at Le Salon: Premiere, ASTEP’s International Music Video was performed by ASTEP’s students from all over the world to Carole King’s song “Where You Lead.”
Offering suggestions for the various styles from which to choose from, “Bedazzle Your Noggin” inspires readers to embrace their style, while maintaining awareness of their personal budgets.
Geared toward the population enamored by all things sparkly, this article will surely amuse and inform.
“Favor Your Guests” endeavors to reveal a few of the economical options a bride has when choosing wedding favors.
To show your guests you are grateful for them not only taking the time to attend the wedding, but that you are also thankful for their gifts from your expansive registries and/or their investment in your fiancé and your lives, you bestow upon them a trinket of sorts. Meanwhile, you are praying each gift is only a few bucks.
On the bright side, it is rather intriguing how much a couple’s wedding theme and location of the wedding affects this.
When guests arrive at the reception – twelve hours after the ceremony itself – they are usually incoherent, ravenous, and resolute on locating the object of their expectation: the wedding escort cards.
In order to most succinctly guide your guests to their seats, you must choose how to arrange the wedding escort cards (and in the most aesthetically pleasing and economical manner).
There are countless ways to personalize the escort cards to fit you and your fiancé’s personality.
In need of some wedding budgeting advice or trying to plan some other large event that requires decoration? For “Pricey Plants” I have mustered up a few tips about selecting a florist.
My word of advice: do your homework in advance and never limit yourself!
With all of the prerequisites for a wedding, it can be difficult to know the ideal timing for different aspects in the planning process.
“Stationery Substitutes” not only covers the timeliness involved in sending out save-the-dates and wedding invitations, but also ways to save money on the glorified pieces of paper that wedding guests are apt to throw out shortly after receiving them.
Every so often, we get in a rut, and need a few tips to help us get through the cold and flu season. My motto is: when you eat well, you feel well!
The immune system essentials I mentioned are: antioxidants, beta-carotene and other carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.
Believing access to the arts is essential to academic and social success, Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) tailors its programs to the needs of underprivileged communities in order to best help their youth thrive and break out of the cycle of poverty through artistic achievement.
Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students formed ASTEP. They desired to transform lives through using the talents at their disposal – art. Through providing a chance for underprivileged children to delve into performing and visual arts, they hoped to promote imagination and foster critical thinking in the youth.
My column, also called “On a Budget,” covers not only ways to save money, but all of the hilarity involved in planning your big day and “panders to the nonessentials” – like purchasing your wedding dress immediately (or shortly after) getting engaged. I even included a few goofy, personal tales of my own.
“Brides on a Budget” was a weekly column for New York Minute that I had the lovely opportunity to write for several months.
This first article is an incorporation of both humor and practicality in this epitomized wedding industry, as well as hinting at a few of my own eccentric experiences as a bride-to-be. Covering the basics from wedding budgets, to choosing one’s bridal party, this article highlights the practicalities of planning one’s wedding.
Etsy, a company founded in 2005, became profitable in 2009 and today they have over 30 million members and 60 million monthly visitors from over 200 countries. In 2012 their total merchandise sales numbered $895 million.
But what exactly is Etsy, you might ask. Etsy is a handmade marketplace. Artisans from around the world make an account on Etsy to sell their products that they solicitously made by hand. Seeking to make commerce easier, fair, and more enjoyable, Etsy provides an outlet for authorship and creativity.
Oyster, a company started in NYC, applies the concept of Netflix to literature: providing readers access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month through their expansive app designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch – both online and offline.
The name of the company was coined from Shakespeare’s famous literary line, “the world’s mine oyster.”
The team “sits at the intersection of books and technology,” and both encourages and thrives within intellectual rigor and evolving conversations.
Shepherded by singer/songwriter and two-time cancer survivor Margo Rey and her fiancé, comedian Ron White, Brides Against Breast Cancer (BABC) contributes $1 million annually to aid children and adults who are impacted by cancer by appealing to the brides of the nation.
To achieve their goals, BABC hosts a campaign called “I Do,” which sponsors 100 bridals shows each year to provide brides-to-be with the opportunity to find their dream gown at a fraction of its original price. Approximately 100-300 guests attend each show, during which time an average of 20 gowns are sold. Gowns are donated by former brides for the cause, and in return they receive tax benefits.
Due to the frequent over consumption in the typical American diet – particularly around the holidays – many people create New Years resolutions and flood the gym as a result. However, soon thereafter, most stop going to the gym regularly and consequently do not fulfill their weight loss resolution.
Therefore, alternatives to gym attendance are necessary. Ten different startup companies have approached weight loss in a variety of ways – one of which may suit your needs.
Kickstarter, a company endorsing digital collaboration, offers a platform for artisans of many trades to receive funding for their work to then enable them to proceed with their artistic vision. Greatly resembling the concept of patronage, Kickstarter encourages collaboration in order to promote mutual benefit for all parties involved.
Many students graduate from college with little idea as to where their career path lay, or even where to start. There are a myriad of job search websites, but will that get you noticed by potential employers?
The Muse, a career discovery platform, was founded in 2011 by three women who were dissatisfied with the options currently offered, such as Monster. Offering not only a search engine for current job openings, but the Muse also offers career advice through their columns, classes on the hiring process through Muse University, and more.
On festive occasions, particularly Christmas, many of us get so ensnared by the expectations of the holidays, the excitement (or stress) of being with family, and the laundry list of things to do, that we forget about other families and people who are less fortunate than we.
On such occasions that are intended to be special for all, we have the opportunity to share life and happiness with others. Charities, such as Operation Christmas Child, The Family Giving Tree, and Alternate Gifts International, are an excellent way to do just that, and provide for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Malawi, a small country in southeast Africa bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, has a population of just below 15 million people, more than half of whom live below the poverty line.
Gifts of Hope, a campaign by the Presbyterian Church in New Providence, NJ, offers people the opportunity to purchase a gift for a family in Malawi – such a gift will change the lives of the receivers.
Seven gifts are available to select: a pig, a goat, two egg laying hens, a malaria net, food security for an HIV or AIDS victim, a sewing machine, and one year of vocational training.
Soko, a technology company run by women for women, seeks to push all notions of traditional entrepreneurism. Through creating equitable trade of goods, they are impacting the world of fashion by providing platforms for all artisans – particularly jewelry designers.
This social enterprise seeks to empower women entrepreneurs through the application of mobile technology and is dedicated to helping these artisans build their business.
Soko strives to allocate power to the hands of the artisans.
One of Straus News’ 14 newspapers, The Sparta Independent appeals to local views of the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania areas.
In April, the Sparta Public Library launched Hoopla Digital, an all-inclusive app that gives library cardholders access to thousands of movies, television shows, audiobooks, and music albums, advancing the library’s passage into the digital age.
Hoopla Digital is a digital platform from Midwest Tape, named “Netflix for libraries,” that enables library cardholders to immediately download content 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Currently, the app offers 17,000 movies and television shows, 250,000 music albums, 15,000 audiobooks and more.
Serving as the beginning of the year-round campaign “The Year of Women’s Health – 15 for Women,” the Newtown Medical Center Foundation announced plans for a new Center for Breast Health to be completed in mid-2015.
The center will include digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), as well as other methods of imaging, including breast ultrasound, interventional biopsies, and bone density.
According to a news release from the medical center, Sussex County does not have a comprehensive breast center. Once the project is completed, women in the community, particularly those above the age of 40, will no longer have to travel outside the area to receive these services.
I had the amazing honor of writing the “milestone” clip (as it is termed in The Sparta Independent) about my Great Grandmother turning 100!
A gathering of over 80 people assembled on Saturday, September 20, to celebrate this momentous occasion with an ice cream social: soda jerks, an ice cream cart, music, and all!
This hopping little lady even danced to the chicken dance on her 100 year-young birthday, and eagerly grabbed the microphone to sing one of her favorite silly songs.
Two ordinances were adopted at the Sparta Township Council meeting Tuesday, 7/22.
Ordinance 14-05, amounting to $1 million, will be put towards various capital improvement projects, including work to the Department of Public Works, the police and fire departments, road repairs, and the purchase of IT equipment.
Ordinance 14-06 is a bond ordinance, appropriating $598,500 towards improving water utility systems.
In 2007, Meredith Lydon wore her mother, Marguerite Mascola’s veil to her wedding at Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon. It was the very same veil that her mother had worn on her wedding day 42 years ago.
Now, Mascola’s son is engaged. He and his fiancé, Christy Walls, have an October wedding planned. Opening the box containing the preserved veil for Walls to wear at their October wedding, it was discovered the wrong veil had been given to them.
The family asks the community for help in their race against time to find the veil before the upcoming October wedding.
Having written since she was a child, in 2009 Sussex County resident and trial attorney Lauren Fraser endeavored to tell a story that had been mulling in her mind since she was a teenager after visiting Scotland for the first time with her husband.
The second novel, Queen Makers, in the The Trinity of Kirana series will be published this fall (2014). Many readers of Fraser’s first novel, Trinity, which was published in November 2012, await the Scottish-inspired fantasy.
It is hard to believe that the Sparta Public Library was founded in 1841. In the schemes of world history, that is a blink of an eye. Yet, innumerable changes have occurred over that time. In 1841 the library provided fourteen periodicals for its seventeen members, charged a fine of two cents per day, and had a budget of $36.50.
Today the shift has been to the digital realm. Unlike the previous shifts, the digital realm encourages growth and a betterment of products that we already have, such as 3D printers, the Cricket (which creates fabric letters and designs that stick on windows), the Ellison Letter Machine (which cuts paper into a chosen shape), the CD/DVD/video game cleaner, and “The Machine 150” or the Button Maker.
Gina Buono, former head teacher and director of Circle of Friends, has been implementing her vision at Blessed Beginnings Preschool and Kindergarten, a faith-based school and branch of the First Presbyterian Church of Sparta, since July 2013.
Having brought her son to attend the school in previous years when he was of age, Buono saw herself one day participating at Blessed Beginnings. A few short years and a phone call later, she is now the director of the school.
Each year, schools across America celebrate Dr. Seuss, the master rhymer and inventive wordsmith, on his birthday by hosting a Read Across America event.
Northern Hills Academy, a public school offering programs for students ages three to 21 with special needs, held an event on March 3. This even hosted the New Jersey Devils’ mascot NJ Devil and team dancer Brittany Sullivan, who visited the school and read to the students.
One of Straus News’ 14 newspapers, The Township Journal appeals to local views of the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania areas.
At the Oct. 21 Byram Township Council meeting, complimentary discussion spontaneously arose about the development and growing prominence of Waterloo Village.
The Friends of Waterloo Village had their Harvest Moon Festival at Waterloo a couple of weeks ago and raised about $25,000 for restorations and preservation of the village. In addition, the new concessionaire Jefferey Miller Catering (JAM) has recently acquired a liquor license, which allows them to serve alcohol at events such as weddings or other large gatherings.
Next, the Division of Parks and Forestry will be hosting a Trick or Treat event at Waterloo Village on Sunday, Oct. 26th, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Margaret Sedivy, the sweet little lady featured in the photo to the right, turned the big 1-0-0 this October!
When the Mayor asked her if she had any advice on longevity, she responded wryly, “Oh, sure! Be a good boy.”
Upon hearing this response, a smile spreading widely on Sedivy’s face, the crowd erupted in laughter.
From a chorus of laughter to a tearful tune, Brian Moreland was sworn-in to his position of sergeant in the police department – his young infant crying loudly in his mother’s arms as he made his proclamations, hand on the Bible.
At the Byram Township Council meeting Tuesday, September 16, a number of ongoing issues were addressed, including the lack of communication with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the next steps with the Economic Development Advisory Committee.
The council also discussed new topics, which included the prospect of creating a proclamation/recognition form and an allocation of funding of the Highlands Grant.
Byram Mayor James Oscovitch and the Township Council wrote a follow up letter to the N.J. Department of Transportation regarding what they termed as the “multiple failures” of the Route 206 project.
The initial letter was written on July 2, two months prior to when the follow up letter was sent.
The secondary letter addressed a number of concerns, including cracked pavement in turning lanes, flaking and cracking of sidewalks, damaged curbing, conflicting signage at several intersections and sight-line problems at intersections.
Written on the Byram Township Council meeting, this marks my very first article in The Township Journal!
On Tuesday, September 2nd, I attended the Byram Township Council meeting, during which time much of the discussion focused mainly on the role of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), a new committee in the town.
Due to the town of Byram needing to pursue growth both commercially and in their thoroughfare, different leadership groups are beginning to work together and coordinate steps moving forward.