March 22, 2011

Tax breaks for job hunters

Posted: 12:56 PM ET

With about a month to go before taxes are due... you want to make sure you get what you are entitled to. So Morning Express personal finance anchor Jennifer Westhoven wants to highlight some of the overlooked deductions out there.

If you are unemployed, or if you have a job but you have been looking for a new one some of the costs of that job search can be deductible. For example:
-Resume, business cards, postage
-Travel expenses
-Fees charged by a search agency

These deductions apply only if you are searching for a job in your OWN field and you can show that you have been consistently searching (if you stop the job hunt for a while, these won't necessarily apply).

Jennifer Westhoven will have more tips as we get closer to tax day... which comes a little late this year... April 18.

Filed under: Jennifer Westhoven • Taxes • Your Money

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September 21, 2010

Igor heads for Newfoundland, Lisa heads nowhere

Posted: 05:20 AM ET

Igor may be losing his tropical characteristics, yeah, looking a bit abbey-normal, but he still packs a punch. Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings are up for parts of Newfoundland as he will pass very close today. The inner core of Igor is losing it’s thunderstorm action, and he is turning extratropical at the moment. The winds are still around 75 mph though. No matter what you call him, he will still lash Canada with strong winds and heavy rain. The waves are still jacked along the East coast of the US too, along with dangerous rip currents. It’s a rough North Atlantic today.

We also have Tropical storm Lisa way out in the East Atlantic now as well. She will gradually head to the NW, and affect nobody. Like a few college girlfriends of mine, she’s not really worth my time following.

There’s a cold front draped across the Midwest right now producing some heavy rain in WI, MN, and IA. Some of these storms will strengthen later today and may cause some wind damage over IL, MO, and MI. Chicago airspace will be hit, so watch for delays later today at MDY and ORD. I’ll have those updates.

It’s a nice day in the NE today, but the heat will be back later this week. 75 today in NYC and 89 tomorrow. Boston hits 90 on Friday. Atlanta will hit 95 today.

Fire weather is back (windy, dry, warm) for NV, UT, and WY this afternoon, and the West coast will start out foggy again.

Half marathon training is going well. I hit 5 miles yesterday, and I have to do 3 today. When I get some time I’ll map out the whole regiment. I already have J. Westhoven running with me in December, and I’m looking for more people to join up. You can support my run for the Crohn’s and colitis foundation of America by CLICKING HERE. thanks!

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Filed under: Crohn's and colitis • Fire • Fog • Hurricane • Igor • Jennifer Westhoven • Lisa • Rock and Roll Marathon • Tropical Depression • tropical storm • Weather

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September 16, 2010

Jen's 5k half-marathon training run

Posted: 10:40 AM ET

*Morning Express biz correspondent Jennifer Westhoven is getting ready to run the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon in December along with Meteorologist Bob Van Dillen. This is entry #2 in her online training diary. CLICK HERE for her first entry*

Last weekend, I was so looking forward to sleeping in Saturday morning. We’ve got MONTHS to go before this big race, right? Plus my mom was visiting from New Jersey. But then I saw one of my coworkers Keith post on Facebook that he was running a 5k, even with painful knees, to support his wife (she’s losing weight after their first baby). What a supportive husband! It was enough to motivate me. I checked the Internet to find a race - there was one about 2 miles away. So, no excuses.

When I told my mom (that's us in the pic above), she and her husband said they’d love to come and walk it (they’re not runners, but in a charity run/walk, everyone is welcome). It’s still pretty hot here in Georgia, so I was dragging. Love the iPod! I also get so much pleasure from the other runners (great people watching), the enthusiasm of the volunteers, the sun on my face, and the feeling of accomplishment I know is right there at the finish line (plus there are sometimes free snacks).

It took me 45 minutes. Hey, you gotta start somewhere. So, where will you start?

Here's why the 5k is great for beginners:
- It's only 3.1 miles – most people can comfortably walk that far without problems.
- All those other people can help motivate you to finish! (if im at the gym or alone, I sometimes call it quits early, or go very slowly)
- You can almost always register about 30 minutes beforehand. No commitment.

- Wear sunscreen, and if it’s warm out, drink water before and after (They almost always have water on the course, and on hand at the finish).
- If you have health problems, check with your doctor first
- If you don’t like lots of email or real mail, don’t register with your full name, address/email etc. (I use a pseudonym, which is a nice way of saying, a fake name!)

You can usually find a race on the Internet by searching "your state, and 5k" (like, New Jersey 5k or Alabama 5k). You’ll usually find a calendar, although you may need to check a few sites to find one nearby. This time of year, as it cools off, there are usually plenty of them. They’re also usually Saturday morning (sometimes Sunday), so you often finish up and be home by 930 or 10am.

This coming weekend, I'm going to New Jersey to visit one of my dearest friends, Jill. We’ve been friends since 6th grade, and we have the same birthday. I hope there will be race near where she lives.

What about you? Are you considering it? Do you want to walk a few afternoons and then try one next week? You may be surprised by how quickly your times improve, and how much you feel better once you get a few under your belt.

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Filed under: Bob Van Dillen • Extras • Jennifer Westhoven • Rock and Roll Marathon • Writer/Proucer Keith

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September 14, 2010

Jen Westhoven's half-marathon training diary

Posted: 09:18 AM ET

Hello, It's Jennifer Westhoven, and I'm going to run a half-marathon this December.

Here's the story: I am NOT an athlete. In fact, I'm so uncoordinated, my Dad teases me by calling me "Grace". You may not see me fall on TV, but the crew gets many laughs out of me tripping behind the scenes. I started running last year, and then -WHAM- sprained ankle. Then I broke my big toe. So for almost three months, I've been on the couch. I'm completely out of shape and I put a few pounds on.

We all know what the doctors say about exercise and health, but it's another thing to do it. Well, it's time to get up OFF the couch – and losing a few pounds makes looking in the mirror fun. I know that setting a big goal helps inspire me – so here goes.

My great friend and coworker Bob Van Dillen is emceeing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon And Half Marathon on behalf of the Crohn's and colitis foundation of America on December 5th.

13.1 miles sounds like a HUGE challenge to me, I don't even want to run around the block right now!

But Bob says there are bands along the race route, you get to run right down the Strip, and Vegas is so much fun. Just being in the beautiful American West inspires me.

Bob and his wife Ali are really fast and hardcore, (at least compared to me). I'm going to let them sail ahead, and I'm not going to worry about running the fastest, or killing myself, or anything like that competitive. My promise is to do work that I'll be proud of, to the best of my ability, and to have fun along the way.

So I'll post here how it's going, and I invite YOU to post back. We'll support each other. You can set your own goal, maybe a full marathon, or just a 5k, either closer to where you live, or you can even come out to Vegas. We've got three months to train. Are you game?

So I'm going to run it, and I invite you to join me. Even if you can't get to Vegas we can still run "together." Train right alongside me, here. Share the music you're playing that gets you going, what Larabars or other snacks you love, or what makes you get up and run?!

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Filed under: Bob Van Dillen • Crohn's and colitis Foundation of America • Extras • Jennifer Westhoven • Morning Express crew • Rock and Roll Marathon

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August 2, 2010

Monday Munchies

Posted: 07:04 AM ET

Morning Express Producer Marc schmears his Monday bagel
Morning Express Producer Marc schmears his Monday bagel
Hi guys! My name is AJ, I’m one of the floor directors on Morning Express. People always ask me what it’s like to work on such a cool show, so I thought I’d give you all a taste of our world behind the scenes. Check back every so often for the dirt on your favorite morning crew and some show secrets, too.

Bbo Van Dillen's cup-notesIt’s bagel Monday! To ease the sting of a new week, the crew always chows down on some free bagels, (check out Producer Marc getting his schmear on above) but that’s far from the only food getting passed around in the studio.

You know those little elf crackers that come in vending machines? Robin’s a fool for them, she even calls em elfin crack. She also likes her diet sodas to keep her bubbly during the show.

Of course we have our coffee lovers, Bob and Jen. It's like "Night of the Living Dead" before they have their first cup. Bob even writes notes on the side of his! So if you see him lugging a big ol’ coffee cup around, he’s probably reading off of it.

Rafer keeps it healthy (and oh so manly) by toting green tea and other mysterious liquids in a thermos that he leaves EVERYWHERE.

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Filed under: Bob Van Dillen • Extras • Floor Director AJ • Jennifer Westhoven • Morning Express crew • Rafer Weigel • Robin Meade

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July 30, 2010

Robin is going to the biscuit! The where?

Posted: 09:07 AM ET

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Hi guys! My name is AJ, I’m one of the floor directors on Morning Express. People always ask me what it’s like to work on such a cool show, so I thought I’d give you all a taste of our world behind the scenes. Check back every so often for the dirt on your favorite morning crew and some show secrets, too.

I’m kind of glad you can’t hear a lot of the stuff we yell in the commercial breaks. I’m sure we sound like crazy people, because there’s a lot of weird terminology for stuff around the studio. The big screen that Bob does most of his weather from is actually a giant projector called a Christie, named after the manufacturer. We’re pretty sure our bosses would get mad at us, but it’s kind of tempting to want to pop through the middle of the screen while wearing a feather boa and singing Happy Birthday Mister President (hey, a girl can dream).

Carlos, Jen & Ryan use the main anchor desk a lot, but we call it "the biscuit," because if you look closely, it’s shaped like a biscuit. Not a yummy buttery biscuit, more like a joiner biscuit that a carpenter might use to connect two pieces of wood.

Robin’s main desk is called "the bar," because well, it looks kinda like a bar. And just like a real bar, it’s a super fun place to be. It’s also acceptable to hang out there early in the morning. Which is usually not okay in a real bar.

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Filed under: Behind the Scenes • Bob Van Dillen • Carlos Diaz • Extras • Floor Director AJ • Jennifer Westhoven • Morning Express crew • Robin Meade • Ryan Smith

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About this blog

It's Morning Express like you've never seen it before! Hear from Robin Meade and the rest of the show crew for our thoughts on everything from politics to sports... to those bizarre stories that have us buzzing behind the scenes. Plus, plenty of material you might not see on the air. Don't miss OUR TAKE on what's happening in the world. Then tell us YOURS!

Robin Meade
Delivering your dose of morning news, to get you out of bed and off to work.
Robin Meade
Bob Van Dillen
From tracking storms to airport delays, Bob is your weather and travel expert.
Bob Van Dillen
Jennifer Westhoven
Jennifer has the tips you need to take action on stories affecting your wallet.
Jennifer Westhoven