Blog Posts by Ali Swank

  • Tricks and Treats: 8 Decorating Ideas for a Spooktacular Halloween

    Ghosts and goblins lurking behind eerie trees, chilling tombstones in neighborhood yards, and don't forget about the Great Pumpkin. Is your home a ghoulish haunted house for trick-or-treaters? We asked Shine readers to share their spooky decorating and snack secrets for a hair-raising Halloween. Here are 8 tricks and treats to try this All Hallow’s Eve:


    Danielle Darling's spooky centerpiece1. Conjure up a sorcerer’s centerpiece. "Create a centerpiece to make your neighbors wonder how you really spend Halloween night. Turn the dining room table into a witch's favorite spot by gathering up all the spellbinding knickknacks you can find. Items like candles, dried gourds and interesting bottles can be combined with outdoor treasures, such as lichens, seedpods, and mosses, to create what appears to be a very well-stocked sorcery table. If available, blown bird eggs, cicada skins, dead beetles, dried bones, and antlers are bewitching additions, too." – Danielle Darling

    2. Look into the past. "Bring the warmth and memories

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  • It's Boss's Day! 8 Reasons to Thank Your Manager

    October 16 is Boss's Day!It’s Boss's Day! October 16 is the day to thank your boss for being a leader, a team player and a true supporter of your goals. Whether a boss makes the workplace a little more tolerable, or exemplifies a work ethic that employees are sure to follow, we asked Shine readers to share why they would like to thank their chiefs. Here are 8 reasons to show a little gratitude to your manager:

    1. Committed to the job – "My boss loves his school district. He attends almost all of the sporting events at the school, schedules meetings simply to inform his employees about what is going on in the district and to boost morale. He has monthly potlucks during lunch for his employees, and has a smile and kind word for everyone. The turnover rate in my school district is almost non-existent, because no one can find another boss as great as Mr. Bryan." – Leeann Bailey

    2. Takes responsibility for the team – "Being in the accounting department, our team has a lot of pressure to get the details right within

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  • Breast Cancer Survivors Share Stories of Strength and Courage

    Survivors: Kari De Deo, Elaine O. Masters, Jayne Stewart, Lonna Lisa Williams, Mellie Miller, and Michelle Stacy

    It is estimated that 232,340 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Fighting the disease is a complex physical and emotional battle that, according to the National Cancer Institute, will affect one in eight women in a lifetime who will have to make difficult, life-defining decisions—taking medications with unbearable side effects; enduring the fear of loss of identity, recurrence and even death; and finding the strength and courage to overcome the illness. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we asked Shine readers who have bravely won their battle against breast cancer to share their stories. Here are excerpts from their tales of struggle and triumphant victories over cancer:

    "A common complaint women have about themselves involves their breasts. Now think with me a minute: What if those small, large, or saggy breasts were no longer a part of your body? What if you woke up one day, and it hit you like a brick wall that those breasts that were

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  • Street Photographer Captures New York City Romance Over 30 Years

    When street photographer Matt Weber was a New York City taxi driver in the late '70s and early '80s, he says he witnessed "many unbelievable" events on the streets, including the hardships and loneliness of life in a big city. So in 1984, Weber decided to record it all, buying his first camera, a $150 Canon AE-1, and snapping away from the window of his yellow cab. Over the past 30 years, in addition to fist fights and the grittiness of the Big Apple, he's also captured a more romantic side of New York, photographing couples in love. "I must be a romantic, since the old black and white movies have always gotten the best of me," Weber told Yahoo Shine. From PDA at a subway station to couples stealing kisses on bustling sidewalks, check out a few of his photographs from one of his collections, "Urban Romance." -- Ali Swank

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  • Confessions of Introverts: They’re Not as Shy as You Think

    Are you an introvert?Introverts know they're not as anti-social, stuck-up, or awkward (read: "super weird") as people think. Often categorized by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as INTJs, introverts simply prefer to be a little quieter, a little more thoughtful, and a bit more observant. That behavior, however, can be mystifying to extroverts, who thrive on boisterous conversation and constant attention. So what's actually going on in the mind of your introverted friend? We asked Shine readers to fess up and share what it's really like to be an introvert. Whether they wish they could become more extroverted, or are perfectly comfortable being "the quiet one," here are their confessions:

    It's true, an introvert doesn't want to make small talk at your party: “I go to drastic lengths to avoid social events. Folks, I had my labor induced so I could skip a Christmas party. Well, okay, maybe I also did it because it was my due date, and I was ginormously, uncomfortably pregnant. Still, I was not a bit

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  • 14 Fun Things to Add to Your Fall Bucket List

    It's officially autumn! Are you ready for the smell of cinnamon, pumpkin-carving parties, and Sunday drives to see the vibrant, changing leaves? We asked Shine readers to share what's on their bucket list for fall. Here are 14 fun things to add to your own. Tell us, what do you plan on doing this glorious, magical season? -- Ali Swank

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  • Beloved Librarian Claims She Was Fired for Defending 9-Year-Old Contest Winner

    Tyler Weaver receiving his reading contest award from beloved library aide, Lita Casey (Photo: Katie Weaver)It may be a quiet place, but the public library in Hudson Falls, New York (population: 6,927), is buzzing with drama these days, and the story has all the components of a good novel (albeit a novel set in a library, featuring librarians and a 9-year-old reading-contest winner as the main characters). That 9-year-old is Tyler Weaver the self-proclaimed "king of the book club" and one of the library's most frequent visitors who will be taking his book business elsewhere, now that a longtime library aide who stuck up for him in a contest controversy has been fired.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Raising Bookworms: 6 Ways to Nurture Your Kid's Love of Reading

    "The kids call her Gram. That makes it even worse," Tyler's mother, Katie Weaver, tells Yahoo Shine. "Gram" is Lita Casey, a library aide who spent 28 years working at the Hudson Falls Free Library. But Casey says that the library's board of trustees let her go without reason this week, a month after Casey defended Tyler, who won the

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  • Five-year-old Parklen (center) and his superhero family (Photo: Jessica Sorensen)Like so many other little boys, 5-year-old Parklen Henderson is obsessed with superheroes. But how he was first introduced to the characters is a different story than most other kids'. His mother, Amanda Henderson, told Yahoo Shine that it all began when Parklen became too sick to walk or play, so she and her husband, Devan, bought him an Xbox and a Lego Batman video game. "After that, he could not get enough Batman, Superman, or any other superhero you can think of," she said.

    On Saturday, 466 people (and a bunch of their pets) arrived in superhero costumes in the Hendersons' hometown of Casper, Wyoming, to run a 5K, organized to raise money for Parklen's medical bills. The 5-year-old has been ill since he was a baby, with what doctors now believe is an undocumented disease. A bone marrow transplant may be his only hope.

    Ryan Andrews, a family friend who volunteered to help organize the race back in July when Parklen was in the ICU at a Denver hospital, told Yahoo Shine that 207 people

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  • Childhood Memories of September 11, 2001

    Twitter users, many of whom were just kids on 9/11, are sharing their memories of September 11.Everyone has their own memory of September 11, 2001. For those who were kids at the time of the World Trade Center attacks, their recollections are not of terrorism, but of a day when even adults were scared. Twelve years later, that generation of kids who witnessed 9/11, are now sharing their memories on Twitter, along with the hashtag #neverforget.

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  • Fall Food Frenzy: Your Favorite Family Recipes for Autumn

    Can you smell it? Pumpkin, cinnamon, and spices are beginning to waft through the air. Yes, it's finally the season to harvest, cook a pot of chili for game day, bake a delightful loaf of pumpkin bread, eat, and then eat some more. We asked Shine readers to share their family recipes that are perfect for fall. Do you have an original, autumnal recipe to share? Submit it here, and we'll add it to our gallery of scrumptious treats and delicious dishes. -- Ali Swank

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