Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff

  • What would the heroine in your life movie do?

    MiramaxMiramaxIf you're like me, you often wish life were more like the movies. We would make excellent use of the hair and makeup people and have that marvelous movie advantage called I-can-walk-all-day-in-impractical-shoes-and-my-feet-never-hurt. There would be a soundtrack, of course, that followed us as we--so full of vim and vigor, spilling charm onto the sidewalk there's so much to spare!--bopped down the street carrying dahlias, a baguette, and The New Yorker. You know, movie heroine stuff. This isn't my daily reality. But would it be wrong to have a little more movie magic in our day-to-day?

    One night a few years ago, feeling sad and depleted about something I can't even remember now, I called my friend Alison. I sat in my bedroom with the lights turned off, holding the phone tightly to my ear. That night, she offered the kind of advice that was perfect in that moment, and which, years later, I still fish out on rainy days. "What would the heroine in the movie version of your life do?"

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  • 10 stylish ways to upgrade your brown paper lunch bag

    Why should only school kids get the excitement of a new lunch box? Our lives are way harder, and besides, aren't you tired of toting your lunch to work in that leftover Sephora bag? These ten lunch boxes are super cute, of course, but equally important, they solve the age old problems of where to put the dressing on your take-to-work salad and how to keep your sandwich from getting squished.

  • New study: walking can make over your workout and your brain

    A new study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience shows that walking for forty minutes three times a week can improve the connectivity between brain circuits that tend to erode as we age. The study took a group of couch potatoes who reported fewer than two 30-minute bouts of exercise in the past six months (!), and found that at the end of twelve months, their brain connectivity had improved.

    Dr. Arthur F. Kramer, who led the study, explained to Reuters: "Patterns of connectivity decrease as we get older. Networks aren't as well connected to support the things we do, such as driving," he said. "But we found as a function of aerobic fitness, the networks became more coherent."

    Walking became the ultimate brain anti-ager, turning the clock back decades. "As the older people in the walking group became more fit, the coherence among different regions in the networks increased and became similar to those of the 20-year-olds," Kramer explained.

    Kramer told Science Daily, that

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  • Calling all worrywarts! How to fret less and live more

    If you're looking for something to do, there's certainly a lot to worry about. Oil spills, religious intolerance, a crappy economy, and new health threats rear their heads every day. These are serious problems, worthy of concern and solutions. But no matter how many nights we lie awake staring at the ceiling, worry won't change anything. So why do we do it? And how can we stop? Here, what worry is and how to ease it out of your life.

    ETYMOLOGY: "Worrying may shorten one's life, but not as quickly as it once did. The ancestor of our word, Old English wyrgan, meant 'to strangle.'" --The Free Dictionary

    Chronic worry can feel like strangling or even drowning. If your worry feels this life-threatening, it could be part of a generalized anxiety disorder. A trip to the doctor to ask about anti-anxiety medications is in order.

    WHERE IT COMES FROM: "Psychologists believe that worry, defined as a person's negative thoughts about a future event, evolved as a constructive problem-solving

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  • Make over your date night: 20 outside-the-ordinary, surprising dates to spark romance

    Frankly, you probably feel lucky if you even get a date night. And tried-and-true though it may be, sometimes dinner and a movie needs an update. Your date together doesn't have to be wild, extreme, or totally wacko to be unusually delightful. Getting outside of the dating box is all about having a new experience with your partner--any new experience, whether it's dorky, silly, or sexy. Those new experiences can help simulate those first-time-we-laid-eyes-on-each-other butterflies, no matter how many kisses you've stolen over the years. Here, twenty unconventional date ideas for the lazy, foodie, retro-loving, and high-octane among us.

    1. B-I-N-G-O! Hey, it's not just for old ladies. Or maybe it is. But think how young and attractive you'll feel!
    2. Wine tastings, classic or DIY-style. There's likely a winery or microbrewery within striking distance to you, but if there's not, many wine stores will offer afternoon tastings on the weekend. Or create your own tasting by sampling
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  • How can you resolve to make your September healthier?

    If you're like me, you'll grab any opportunity that comes your way for a fresh start. And you don't have to be Jewish to seize the opportunity of the new year today, wipe the slate clean, and reboot our resolutions for health and happiness. A new beginning for everybody who needs one!

    I have a friend who does this each month. Every thirty days, she takes stock of where she is in her life. She kicks it up a notch on the yoga mat, signs up for a running class, or resolves to run her first race. She's always challenging herself, and it's a quality I really admire. Because she keeps striving, she never ends up in that oh-please-not-another-minute-on-the-elliptical rut.

    There's no reason not to do this every month--or even every week--and we've already asked what other areas of your life are getting a fresh start. But September, with the wind of Rosh Hashanah and a new season at our backs, gives our goals for health even more invigoration. With the last hurrah of summer celebrations,

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  • 5 ways to cope with the change that comes your way

    September stirs up something. Call it a longing for the way things were or an unwillingness to let go of the summer and all its carefree fun, but fall dramatically ushers in change (back to school, back to the grind), and brings to a head our ability or, well, inability to deal. You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to know that change is one thing we can rely on. So how can we cope with whatever comes our way? Here, five ways to deal with life's curve balls.

    Realize your power....and your limits.
    We walk around trying to exert our power over the world, and sometimes we do a really good job of convincing ourselves that we have any control over anything at all. We write lists, keep calendars, implement systems of organization. But the truth is, life is one big steaming pot of chaos and unpredictability. The only thing we have control over is ourselves. You can't control when the television repair man will finally make it to your house. You can't control whether your dream guy will call

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  • money can buy happiness?

    New studies reveal that money can, in fact, buy happiness. But only up to a point. The Center of Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University reviewed a survey taken by 450,000 Americans for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and found that people's overall emotional wellbeing increases along with their income up to about $75,000. So why does this study annoy us so much?

    Many of us hold dear the idea that the best things in life are free. You can't buy a cupcake delivery from your sister when you're heartbroken or a sunset so pretty in stirs up a deep quiet in you. Some things are priceless and accessible to all of us no matter how little money we have: love, family, friendship, and a belief in something bigger than ourselves.

    This study flies in the face of that feeling. But it also brings something home anyone who has struggled to rub two nickels together knows to be true: it is really hard to be happy when you can't stop worrying about money.

    This study suggests that when

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  • 8 foods that will keep you from getting sick

    Schools might as well be called germ incubators, and don't even get us started on the gym (seriously, people, those antibacterial wipes next to your elliptical are there for a reason!). You wash your hands and eat healthfully, but you can makeover your diet and give your immunity system a boost with with these eight foods. Doesn't hurt that they're delicious, either.

  • Make over your iPod: Better-than-gym-class back-to-school cardio playlist

    Do visions of school-issued gym uniforms give you convulsions? Don't worry! We figured out a way to bring you the best of the back-to-school season without making you return (and, oy, some of us wouldn't want to go back there even if you paid us), How about a high energy playlist filled with autumn-y schoolyard vibes that you can listen to while revisiting the high school track and running the mile on your own terms this time? Frankly, that sounds a lot better than having to suffer through one more game of capture the flag.

    1. "Rock 'n' Roll High School," The Ramones
    2. "Be True to Your School," The Beach Boys
    3. "Punk Rock Academy," Atom and His Package
    4. "The Samurai in Autumn," Pet Shop Boys
    5. "And I Was a Boy From School," Hot Chip
    6. "New Friend Request," Gym Class Heroes
    7. "Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard," !!!
    8. "Concrete Schoolyard," Jurassic 5
    9. "School's Rules," Phoenix
    10. "Autumn Almanac," The Kinks
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