Blog Posts by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

  • 5 Crazy Pizza Toppings for 2012

    It's the biggest pizza party on the planet. The International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas played host to pie-makers, restaurant owners, and food product innovators from around the world this week. The annual convention features competitions (best pizza-related tattoos, top dough tosser), panels (Stromboli 101, delivery fee debates) and a smattering of Vegas impersonators. But mainly, it serves as a stage for the exotic, odd and incredible pizza trends for the coming year. Check out some of the buzziest exhibitors and sitings at the three-day expo.

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  • Mom, Dr. Phil Confront Teacher Who Ran Off with Student

    Two weeks ago, Tammie Powers says she was buying Lunchables for her teenage daughter. Now she's pleading with her to come home on national television.

    In February, Jordan Powers, 18, ran off with her teacher, James Hooker, 41. Hooker, who taught at her Modesto high school, left his wife, three kids and his career behind to move in with his new girlfriend. Since then, Tammie has been on a desperate campaign to put the man, who she believes is brainwashing her daughter, behind bars.

    Video: Teacher and student declare love for each other in first interview

    This week, Tammie came face to face with 'Mr. Hooker' on Dr. Phil, after weeks of public feuding on Facebook and in the press.

    "I think you are arrogant," she hurled at Hooker, as a gawking audience looked on. "I think you are self-serving. I think you are selfish. I think you are ruining my child with this."

    Hooker first met Jordan when he taught her ninth grade class. While the couple claims they only became intimate after Jordan's

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  • Olive Garden Critic’s Tips on How to Review a Restaurant

    Marilyn Hagerty, food critic turned phenomenon. (Grand Forks Herald/AP)Marilyn Hagerty, food critic turned phenomenon. (Grand Forks Herald/AP)
    Two weeks ago, Marilyn Hagerty was a restaurant critic for the Grand Forks Herald. Now she's an international sensation. The 85-year-old grandmother's sincere review of the new Olive Garden in her area, hit a nerve on the internet. Nobody outside of an Olive Garden commercial had ever described the decor as "Tuscan farmhouse style" or the portions as "warm" and "generous."  But it was Marilyn's summation of the eatery as "the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating in Grand Forks," that had readers sharing the review like it was going out of style.

    Read how Marilyn's Olive Garden review went viral
    Check out healthy revamp to Olive Garden, Red Lobster menus

    While food snobs scoffed at her fine dining approach to the pasta franchise, others defended Marilyn, calling her critics "ageist." One thing was clear: Marilyn wrote one of the first restaurant reviews everyone in the country wanted to read. Not only did it highlight the different relationships Americans have to chain

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  • 7 Women Who Set World Records

    It's one thing to be the first woman to break a record. It's another to be the first person. In both sports and American history, record-breakers are segregated by sex. Sometimes it's a product of physiology, other times it's just good old-fashioned backwards thinking. Nobody believed a woman could break a man's long-distance swimming record, or that anyone would dare to try. But in 1926, a 19-year-old named Gertrude Ederle knocked down every roadblock when she swam 35 miles across the English Channel, breaking the men's world record by almost two whole hours. Today, women are defying categories with the speed of an Olympic sprinter. In honor of Women's History month, here's a look at some recent record-breakers beating men to the finish line.

    PHOTOS: 7 amazing, world record-breaking women

    Most Twitter followers: Lady Gaga

    Lat week, Gaga became the first person with 20 million Twitter followers. She's already been the most-followed person in the world since 2010, so she was only

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  • Toddler Tantrum Gets Family Booted from JetBlue Flight. Is Flying Still Kid-friendly?

    Colette Vieau's daughter, Natalie. (NBC10)Colette Vieau's daughter, Natalie. (NBC10) Is a 2-year-old girl really a flight risk? Of course not, unless she's having a temper tantrum.

    Colette Vieau and her family were heading home from vacation, when their toddler had a code red melt-down after boarding the plane. Refusing to stay seated and buckled up, and possibly agitating her 3-year-old sister, Vieau's youngest daughter, Natalie, became public enemy number one as the plane crew waited for take off.

    Related: First-Class Flying Penguins Delight Delta Passengers

    "We were holding them down with all of our might, seat belt on. And I said, 'We have them seated. Can we go now?" Colette, a pediatrician, told Rhode Island's NBC 10. "[The flight attendant] said the pilot's made a decision to turn the plane around."

    Things got worse from there, according to the New England-based mom. The plane turned around on the tarmac and promptly booted the family of four from the flight.

    A representative for JetBlue backed the pilot's decision, stating the flight had "customers that

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  • Movie Popcorn is Too Expensive, Says Lawsuit. Are Concession Prices Illegally High?

    Public enemy #1? (Thinkstock)Public enemy #1? (Thinkstock)
    popcorn is a rip-off. We all know this, but what we choose to do with this information depends on the person. Some of us choose to smuggle in store-bought food, other go hungry. Joshua Thompson calls his lawyers.

    The Michigan man is suing AMC Theaters over $8 he spent on a Coke and a box Goobers at movie theater concession stand in December. He says he'd pay three times less than that at a nearby drug store, and he's right.

    "He got tired of being taken advantage of," Thompson's lawyer, Kerry Morgan told the Detroit Free Press. "It's hard to justify prices that are three- and four-times higher than anywhere else."

    That kind of price inflation is unlawful in the state under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, claims Thompson, a security technician in his mid-20s. He's asking the court for refunds for overcharged customers, a civil penalty against the chain and consumer justice for all.

    Legal experts told the Free Press Thompson's chances of success are slim to none, because

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  • Parenting Advice from Former Child Stars

    The phrase child star is synonymous with tragic outcomes and E! true Hollywood stories. But there's another route: the parenting guru.

    Did you ever think you'd be taking child-rearing advice from Blossom? Two decades after her sitcom aired, Mayim Bialik has launched a second career as an unofficial spokesperson for attachment parenting. Actually, after her neuroscience Ph.D and her TV comeback on 'The Big Bang Theory,' it's a fourth career, but who's counting?

    In Beyond The Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way, the 36-year-old mother of two boys, touts the benefits of co-sleeping and diaper-free potty training.

    Last year, Bialik's unconventional mothering methods drew both admiration and ire when she blogged one the website Kveller about breast feeding her 3-year-old.

    Bialik let both Miles, 6, and Frederick, 3, dictate the weening process, which meant they continued to breastfeed much later than most kids. Other Bialik-isms:

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  • Paula Deen's Controversial Year

    Paula Deen in February. (Photo by Serg Alexander/Getty Images) Paula Deen in February. (Photo by Serg Alexander/Getty Images)
    Paula Deen is used to trouble:  She's been robbed, had a ham thrown at her head and been called the "worst, most dangerous person."

    That's nothing compared to her problems in 2012. Since January she's been at the center of controversy that's only gotten worse in the past week. The latest accusations come from the former general manager of a restaurant she co-owns with her brother in Savannah.

    Read more about the lawsuit filed against Deen.

    Lisa Jackson, who worked at Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House for five years, has filled a sexual harassment lawsuit against Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers, claiming the siblings are responsible for a hostile work environment rife with sexism, racism and other types of "outrageous and intolerable conduct."

    In court documents, Jackson claims when Deen promoted her to GM she said she was "going to do something I've never done. I'm going to put a woman in a man's job." That's just the beginning.

    Jackson accuses Deen's brother of repeated Read More »from Paula Deen's Controversial Year
  • Bachelor Recap: Women You Won't Recognize Tell All

    It's been a long journey, we've traveled (kind of) far, and we've finally reached the penultimate episode that takes place in the abandoned studio once inhabited by former late night talk show host Pat Sajack. They even kept the background cityscape in tact, and all the Christmas wreaths!

    Downtown Cincinnati really lights up around the holidays!
    There were a few familiar faces and a lot of people we've never ever seen before.
    This is the Real Housewives reunion, right?

     But mostly there were sparkles and weird cleavage. And totally unsubstantiated bitchy expressions.

    We're here to set the record straight about a bonus clip from episode two.

    This one thinks she's made it a lot further in the season.

    You got to love the audience reactions. There were three clusters of audience members there to provide facial feedback to anything happening on stage.
    We're the Nuh-Uhs. We don't ever buy it.

    I'm in charge of the I CAN NOT BELIEVE SHE JUST SAID THAT face.

    I give an empowering Woooooot! Also I'm a man.
    The best part of the show is always the fifteen minute teaser for the next Bachelor Pad. This one got the gang of seasons past together for a wild night of Jagermeister lemon drops at a Vegas hotel. Let me just say on a serious note, the Bachelor contestants really are like a family.

    These guys are like my brothers, because we sleep in bunk beds when we're on the show.

    A family where everyone

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  • Pippa Middleton's Rock Star Moment

    (AFP / Getty Images)(AFP / Getty Images)
    Just in case you were wondering, Pippa Middleton hasn't lost her mojo.

    It's been almost a year since Kate's little sister zipped up her bridesmaid dress and earned the title of world's biggest crush. Since then, she's attracted the kind of hysterical, rabid fan-base of a Beatle, circa 1966.

    Exhibit A: the above photo taken this past weekend during a charity ski race near Stockholm. After a 56-mile cross-country trek, Middleton crossed the finish line and had a total Pippa-mania moment.

    "It was totally spontaneous, really innocent, just a cheek kiss," phantom kisser Erik Smede said in his own defense, on The Daily Beast. Smede, a student and part-time truck driver who lives near Stockholm where the race took place, was working as a steward helping out with the event.

    Because of Middleton's participation, the race attracted a large amount of attention from locals as well as photographers (the girl is snapped an average of 400 times a day.) Undeterred, Smede

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