Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • Teen with autism defeats bullies to take homecoming princess title

    princess crownprincess crownOh karma, how do I love thee? In the case of an autistic teenager about to become her school's homecoming princess, the answer is soooooo much. The thing is, Rachel Sampson's name was added to the ballot as a prank by some juvenile bullies. And slam bang in the middle of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, they're getting their comeuppance.

    More from The Stir: Kid Suspended for Body Slamming Bully is a Hero

    That's some be-a-yoo-ti-ful karma right there. And it's a good lesson for all of us in how to help our kids fight their bullies.

    Remember high school, when our parents just didn't get how cruel people could be? They told us to laugh it off and it would stop? It was as though "kids will be kids" was the go-to answer for any bullying.

    More from The Stir: 7-Year-Old Gets Plastic Surgery to End Bullying

    But the autism community has made big strides in forcing parents to remember that they're their kids' best advocates, that kids still need to be "raised" even

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  • Pizza vending machines are pretty much a terrible idea

    When I first heard about pizza vending machines, I thought my prayers had been answered. Hot, fresh pizza by the tap of a button, yes please! I was so turned on by the idea that I just had to have pizza for lunch. You can't read about pizza and then not eat it, it's just not possible. So I bounced down the street here in New York to grab a slice and ... I had a thought bubble: What exactly would these pizza vending machines accomplish?

    More from The Stir: Before You Wolf Down Your Lunch, Consider This

    Because getting some delicious 'za on a street corner in Manhattan is pretty damn easy. A vending machine seems pretty pointless. Especially since they're being rolled out first in NYC. Come on, pizza-vending-machine makers! Know your market. They say their invention is really awesome and gives you great pizza in 90 seconds, but that's what a pizzeria is for. You go in, point to the slice you want, they hand it to you on a paper plate, you hand them $3, and you're outta there.

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  • Weird things you can pass off as tabletop decorations

    I realize this is partially because I have small children, but let's be honest: Even before I had kids, I was a klutz and a clutter-magnet. I do love to talk about good home décor, but when it comes to my actual home, well ... let's just say it's a work in progress. Early in the progress.

    Which is why I am amazed every time I hear there is this thing called a "tabletop accent." It boggles my mind: People have free space in their homes, not to mention free money with which to buy otherwise useless objects?

    More from The Stir: 8 Simple Ways to Decorate Your Home For Fall

    I posted this on Facebook, and my friends took up the challenge to list their homemade tabletop accents. Which kind of homemaker are you -- a tabletop-accenter, or a tabletop-clutterer?

    According to one decorating site, these tchotchkes "add a finishing touch to your tabletops." If you don't know the word "tchotcke," it's Yiddish for "dust collector." Yet there's apparently a huge market for heirloom

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  • The fall catalogs make me feel inadequate

    Every fall, as the leaves redden and fall off the branches and pile up on my lawn, the magazines pile up in my mailbox, each whispering and begging me to open them, hoping I'll add their goodies to my Christmas list. Mostly I roll my eyes, wonder how I got on the mailing list for Geriatrics Quarterly, and throw them into the recycling bin. Occasionally, I'll catch my pack rat 8-year-old trying to stealthily make off with Cardiac Surgeon Monthly (I'm just sure he's saving his pennies to buy me a portable defibrillator!), which is always an epic battle of the wills, but usually I go unchallenged.

    More from The Stir: Weird Things You Can Pass Off as Tabletop Decorations

    I would personally like to offer a sloppy kiss of thanks to whomever invented the gift card.

    The only catalog that I have any interest in spending time with is my Pottery Barn Holiday Edition catalog. That one is to me what Victoria's Secret catalogs are to teenage boys: eye candy. I grab a nice tall glass

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  • Is it ever okay to snack on your groceries before buying them?

    Is it just me, or does anyone else keep making the mistake of grocery shopping while hungry? I know you're supposed to avoid it because then you end up buying a load of snack food you don't need, but sometimes it's just hard to time my grocery shopping with the 40,000 other things I have to get done.

    More from The Stir: Magic Ingredient That Keeps Food Fresh for Years Freaks Me Out

    So there I am in line, starving because it's 2 o'clock and I haven't had lunch yet, and everyone else in the world has decided to go grocery shopping at the same exact time, naturally. The checkout lines are so long, you'd think we were waiting to buy the mythical iPhone 5 instead of milk and broccoli.

    Is it really so horrible if I tear open a Mojo Bar so I can remain upright and keep pushing my cart? You know, as long as I save the wrapper for the cashier to ring up the bar code?

    It's not like I'm snacking on grapes. I do know better than that. No snacking on groceries that need to be

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  • Separate hair salons for overweight women is a bangin' idea

    The very thought of hair salons segregated by weight sounds mean, disgusting, and discriminating except when you hear a British hairstylist named Trim Basher Brown (yes, that's his name!) defend the whole concept.

    More from The Stir: Plus-Size Models Wearing Fat Suits Are New Fashion Low

    Brown had heard from many of his plus-sized clients that they absolutely hated going to the hair salon. Why? Because the gowns and chairs were too small; the basins to wash hair were too narrow; there were unfriendly mirrors everywhere; they felt stared at and intimidated by all the slimmer women walking around ... basically, going to the hair salon made them feel crappy about themselves. Can you even imagine? Getting your hair cut is supposed to make you feel sexy and beautiful!

    Based on their feedback, Brown came up with a brilliant idea:

    He's opened a hair salon that specifically caters to plus-sized women. What does that mean exactly? Well, it has extra-large seats, roomier

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  • 6 biggest breast cancer myths debunked

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month definitely opens our eyes to all the different ways women are preventing, coping with, and treating the disease. But that doesn't mean that plenty of urban legends, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods about breast cancer persist -- some even passed down from generation to generation or from doctor to patient.

    More from The Stir: 7 Things to Do After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

    And since knowledge is power -- especially when it comes to our health -- it's important that we make sure to double-check the research and set the record straight. Here, five of the biggest myths about breast cancer risk, screenings, and treatment -- debunked!

    1. MYTH: Mammograms are the only screening worth having. REALITY: There are various types of screening methods used for detecting breast cancer, like digital mammography, ultrasound, and thermography. Soon, there may even be a new breast cancer scanner, which finds tumors in the breast without radiation, using
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  • 'Average' guys are the best guys

    A survey of women in the UK reveals what most of us already knew: We ladies aren't looking for the tallest, best looking guy in the world. We don't want a star basketball player or the richest man in the country to sweep us off our feet and love us forever. Most of us are looking for "Mr. Average."

    "Mr. Average," according to the Daily Mail, is somewhere between 30 to 45, around 5'10", dark haired, a good cook, gainfully employed, and somewhat creative. And while I'll agree these qualities are far preferable to "bad boy, lots of money," they are also far from "average."

    More from The Stir: How Far Would You Go to Make Your Man Happy?

    Sadly, a nice, dependable guy who respects/loves his wife and loves his family is anything but "average." He isn't the norm, it's sad to say. In fact, he's a huge catch.

    In my estimation, "average" would probably be the guy who comes home after a long day just wanting to be alone, visits strip clubs without telling his wife, and plays

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  • 5 fall styles that have a magical slimming effect -- voila!

    Fall catalogs are stacking up, making us all feel inadequate, so it's time to do something meaningful with the misery and make our fall wardrobes wonderful. So you didn't lose the ten extra pounds over the summer like you'd hoped. Me neither. But that's no excuse NOT to shop for great-looking clothes this season. In fact, the only answer to the extra-ten-pounds woe is buying clothes that fit your ten-pounds-heavier body, which actually makes you look and feel thinner. I swear it's true!

    More from The Stir: You'll Never Believe Why This Salon Charges $500 to Dry Your Hair

    Plus, this fall there are many slimming trends and styles that can help camouflage problem areas, from tummies to thighs to waists that are shorter than the length of my index finger (shut up I was born this way, and no I don't have an extra long index finger). They won't all work for everyone -- because we're all perfectly imperfect in different ways -- but I promise you'll find a few that will make you

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  • 5 reasons to get your fruits & veggies fresh from a CSA


    If you haven't heard the calls of, "Eat local! Eat organic!" you haven't been listening, and you're probably wondering what a CSA even is. But as more and more people become aware of how their food is processed and where it comes from, we've all been kind of freaking out. Going back to the land is appealing, even if you live right in the middle of the concrete jungle.

    More from The Stir: The Hidden Danger in Organic Food

    With this growth in local food popularity has come the rise of the CSA, or community supported agriculture program. While this concept has been around a long time (roadside fruit stand, anyone?), today's CSA comes straight to your door. It's literally a farm-to-table journey as your local farms gather up their weekly bounty and bring it to your neighborhood. Some farms set up a drop-off location and you swing by with a box, bag, or your arms and load up. Others drop a box right off on your porch, and you have fresh produce to enjoy all week long.

    But is this kind

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