Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • Would you eat sushi from Target?

    You're at Target, rolling your cart along, checking off the usual list of household staples: toilet bowl cleaner, paper towels, picture frame, batteries, salad spinner, socks ... and then it occurs to you: What's for dinner?

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    That's me, at least once a month. Only it never occurs to me to do my grocery shopping at my local Target because they sell only boxed food-like substances and bottled water.

    Well, stores like Target and CVS are trying to change that by offering much more in the way of food, like produce, sandwiches, fresh-baked muffins, and ... sushi?

    Yup, drug stores are going grocery. We've already seen this in the past few years -- the Target in my mother's neighborhood has a full grocery. Retailers have noticed that stores with grocery add-ons have more traffic so they're investing more than ever before in their food sections -- even adding recipes online. They're not exactly trying to replace

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  • 5 ways sex is good for your heart

    heartheartSex, it does the body good, in oh so many wonderful ways. From the basic pleasure it produces to the afterglow on our skin, our bodies benefit from getting some. While many of its benefits have to do with matters of the heart, it's not always love we're talking about.

    Yes, as unromantic as it sounds, sex is good for cardiovascular health. So in addition to eating right and exercise, you can add doing the deed to your healthy checklist (just be careful who reads it). While you might not always be in the mood, the fact that you may be adding years to your life can serve as a pretty powerful aphrodisiac. Here are five ways sex benefits your heart:

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    1. Sex Relieves Stress

    We all know the toll stress can take on our ticker, but sex can stop it in its tracks. Studies have shown that people who have sex respond better in stressful situations.

    2. Sex Lowers Your Blood Pressure

    Several studies

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  • Is he abusing you with birth control?

    We've all dated that guy who complained that he didn't want to wear a condom -- well, I have, anyway. Again and again. But I never thought about it beyond simple selfishness and stupidity. Could a guy refusing to use contraceptives be out to control you? Is it another form of abuse?

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    I just learned about this new term: reproductive coercion. It refers to guys who sneakily avoid using contraception in an effort to get a woman pregnant so that he has a continued connection to her no matter what.

    I really hadn't thought of it that way. And came across a scary number of guys like this when I was dating.

    The stereotype is that women get pregnant on purpose to ensnare men, and I do know situations where this has happened. But I also know of a lot more situations where the opposite has happened -- and I'm ashamed to say I never thought of it as anything more than dumb guys being dumb.

    I had one boyfriend tell me he

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  • Sandra Bullock and her Golden Globes 'do: will bangs EVER die?

    Sandra BullockSandra BullockSandra Bullock is one of my favorite Hollywood actresses. She has oodles of talent, and still manages to seem both accessible and "real" as a person and breathtakingly gorgeous.

    Until last night, I mean.

    Sandy showed up at the Golden Globes last night in the most horrible new hairdo.

    She bangs! She bangs!

    HATED IT.

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    I don't mind sideswept bangs, but verrrrrry few women look good with straight-cut bangs. I thought this trend was going to last about five minutes when it hit a couple of years ago. But IT KEEPS COMING BACK.

    AAAAARRRGGGHH.

    And while Sandra was the latest victim last night, she wasn't the only one.

    See who else ruined her look with bangs:

    Olivia WildeY'all. I am so mad at Olivia Wilde right now, I don't even know what to do. She was wearing one of my absolute favorite dresses of the evening last night and she topped it all off with a hairdo that looked like she came straight out of gym class,

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  • 15 gayest cities in America: Is your city gay friendly?

    I don't think it's the least bit silly -- even though I'm straight -- to really want to live in a gay-friendly city. My city here in Northern California is by no means gay-friendly enough for me -- not the best it could be but it's alright. The downtown area near us has a vibrant gay and lesbian scene, and the neighborhood where we live and where our kids go to school is very open to gay and lesbian families.

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    So how gay is your city? Is it gay enough for you? Find out after the jump.

    Living in a gay-friendly neighborhood is important to me because I believe deeply in equality for everyone, and I want to live in a place that demonstrates that type of tolerance and openness on a regular basis -- whether that be by showing its fair share of support signage for gay rights politicians and policies or by providing an atmosphere that is open and friendly to the gay community in general. This is the world I want

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  • Sperm whale cocktail, anyone?

    It's official, mixologists have jumped the whale. So forget about going to the speakeasy in that place you can never figure out how to get into, and head to your local pub for an ice cold beer instead. Because nothing more good can come from the specialty cocktail trend. I say this, as an avid speciality cocktail fan.

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    The latest in trendy drinks is ambergris, or clotted cholesterol from a sperm whale. I'm sorry to make you gag while reading, but that is the secret ingredient (or not so secret, because you've gotta' brag about that craziness) in some nightclubs, and some writer's homes.

    Since one doesn't just up and decide to mine sperm whales for their cholesterol one day, it's not surprising that this ingredient is actually something from another time. Apparently ambergris was used by doctors in medieval days to ward off the Black Plague. When that didn't work, someone got the idea to use it in a cocktail. Sound logic,

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  • I pay my kids not to hit each other

    My kids are 4 and 6. And they are really best of friends. They play with each other when we are home, they protect each other when we are out, and they make sure the other is always included when new kids are around. But like most siblings, they get on each other's nerves. And when that happens, they pull hair, punch, pinch, bite, hit, kick, throw toys, or whatever else comes to mind.

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    Annoyingly, I found myself giving time-out after time-out, which did absolutely nothing from stopping them the next time. Isn't the whole point of the time-out so that the kids remember how much they disliked the last one? So they make sure not to do noted bad thing again?

    Either I was administering my time-outs wrong or my kids just didn't mind them all that much. Or maybe the time-out was worth it? Being able to get that last pinch in ...

    Regardless, I had to come up with another plan - so I decided to pay them not to

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  • 'Teen Mom' Jenelle: Someone PLEASE take her baby away!

    teen mom 2 jenelleteen mom 2 jenelleLast night's Teen Mom 2 left me feeling sick. Yes, I cried over the moments between Leah and Corey, and then the previews showing that one of their twin girls needs an MRI of her spine (my heart!), but it was Jenelle's display of violence and flippant attitude that makes me fear for her son, Jace.

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    I know the show is edited and we as viewers can't possibly know everything that is going on, but what I saw on the show last night makes me side with Jenelle's mom, Barbara, who wants full custody.

    The anger and hostility and constant yelling and screaming of curse words aren't good for any child to be around, and Jace is just 16 months old. Judging by what is shown on TV, Jenelle thinks it's totally fine to go out and party all the time since her mom is home to watch her son. But then she cannot get up in the morning to feed her baby or even say goodbye to him as he heads off to day care.

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  • New zodiac signs = divorce for me?

    Is your Sagittarius boyfriend an Ophiuchus now? These new Zodiac signs for 2011 have significance not only over our own personalities and lives, but also over our love lives. Entire relationships have been formed over our astrological signs. As in: "What's your sign, baby?"

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    This may mean the loyal Cancer we fell in love with may actually be a two-faced Gemini (like me) or the out there, exciting Aquarius is actually a hard-driving Capricorn.

    The horror!

    For me, personally, it's devastating. One of the first things I noticed about my husband -- besides his trim and cut build, strong jaw, 6'3" height, and off-beat sense of humor -- was his birthday. He was born on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday, but it's also one day before my mother's birthday. She died when I was 16 and she and I were very close, so I always knew that when I was with a man who was like her, I should

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  • Gyms have more alcoholics than bars

    martinimartiniThe gym can be a rather sanctimonious place. It's often filled largely with people who eschew eating anything bad for their bodies, put health first, and embody everything that's wholesome and good in life. Well, except for one little matter: Many of them drink like fish! Yes, some of the same people who make some of us feel guilty with their seemingly pure lives have a guilty secret of their own that seems about as contradictory as a pro-choice Catholic.

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    Two recent studies highlighted in The New York Times found a correlation between people who drink alcohol a lot and people who exercise a lot. In the first study, rats who had an "inbred taste for alcohol" were given an unlimited supply of alcohol. Those who had exercised on running wheels drank significantly more than the rats who didn't exercise, surprising even researchers.

    The second study was based on actual people -- hundreds of thousands who were

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