Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff

  • Makeover your summer work wardrobe

    If the wall of humidity hasn't hit you yet, chances are it will at some point in the next three months. Hot, steamy air is anathema to a crisp, ready-to-take-over-the-world work look, but a few well-chosen summer pieces can make you ready for action, regardless of the day's heat index. Here are ten examples of summer workplace essentials. Find the shapes and colors that work best for you, but in general, think cotton blouses, breathable fabrics, swirly skirts and easy shirtdresses. And don't forget a light cardigan for those high-octane air conditioners.

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  • 5,000-year-old health tips to put your life in balance

    Modern life's got a few things going for it. We've got the internet (and thus online shopping), supermarkets, and indoor plumbing. But for all our innovations, there are still some very, very old ideas that have stood the test of time. One such system of solutions is Ayurveda. Sanskrit for "science of life," Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old tradition of Indian medicine. So what's that got to do with you and your Blackberry and your treadmill? As it turns out, a lot.

    The June issue of Whole Living includes an article on "Modern Ayurveda," and how this ancient health system can potentially heal the stressed out, harried, and overweight through diet, lifestyle, "detox" massage, cleansing techniques, and herbal remedies. And to put this in a nutshell, it's all about balance. Paging Ms. Modern--isn't this something you always say you're after?

    According to Ayurveda, each of us has a primary energy, or dosha: vata (movement), pitta (transformation), kapha (stability). Take this quiz to find

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  • How would money change your life?

    There's an underrated Cyndi Lauper song called "Money Changes Everything." Yesterday's news story about a father's plot to murder his own son in order to keep $16 million in lottery winnings for himself drove this point home loud and clear. Stories like this illustrate the ways in which sudden wealth changes people for the worst, mucking up relationships and screwing up priorities. Is it any wonder that Roseanne went seriously down hill once the Connors were rich?

    But money, as we all daydream about as we gaze out from our cubicle, can spell freedom. If you imagine yourself rolling in dough, you take away one of our oldest excuses in the book for not going after what we want: "Yeah, I'd visit Italy/go to cooking school/have a baby...if I had the money." Imagining that you've got millions burning a hole in your pocket can reveal what you really want out of life. Because after the shopping spree loses its thrill and free time seems less dazzling, you'll have the means to craft the ideal

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  • Back on the wagon: Mastering the art of mindful eating

    Three hamburgers, countless tortilla chips, and eleventy-million beers later, I know how you feel. Sometimes that third day of weekend "Sure, let's eat pizza for breakfast!" is just enough to tip you into too-much-vacation territory. This is a state of being so overindulged, you begin to crave bulgur and the crisp snap of asparagus. You have overdone it. But there's nothing like hitting rock bottom to get you swimming back towards the surface.

    What is mindful eating? It's applying the principles of mindfulness--bringing purposeful attention to the moment--to our daily, often automatic act of eating. Psychology Today defines it as, "deliberately paying attention, being fully aware of what is happening both inside and outside yourself - in your body, heart and mind - and outside yourself, in your environment. Mindfulness is awareness without criticism or judgment."

    The glory of mindful eating is tuning into ourselves and food: the sights, smells, and flavors of what we're eating, as

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  • The 10 best movies to watch with your girlfriends

    As much as I love Sex and the City--and believe me, I've seen every episode at least thrice--I am not an "opening weekend" type movie-goer. I'm more of a "wait, is it still playing?" type gal. But the SATC2 fervor has got me wanting to drink pink champagne in the comfort of my own living room among my favorite ladies, and nothing but the finest film moments will do.

    There are "chick flicks" where the oddball girl gets the dreamy guy (Pretty In Pink, we love you), and we all end up in tears and believing in the power of love again. And then there are the movies, first and foremost, about female friendship. There are still sexy men and whiffs of romance floating in the air, but both take a back seat to the starring relationships among women. Round up your dearest lady friends this weekend, pop the champers, and toast to all the times you've plotted to take the world by storm together with one of our favorite gal pal flicks.

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  • The one video you have to watch this week: Jessica's Daily Affirmation

    Ever since I first saw this video on Monday, I have watched it approximately 47 times. In it, a tow-haired toddler psychs herself up for the day and all that she's got going on. And she's happy about a lot. "I like my pajamas, I like my stuff, I like anything!" she tells the mirror. She's like Tom Cruise's creepy motivational speaker in Magnolia, gone very, very right.

    And so Jessica's sink-side dance got me pumping my fists and adopting her mantra of, "I can do anything good! Yeah, yeah, yeah." Remember when you were this excited about, well, everything? When you were stoked just because you woke up, and it was a new day and you were you? I know, it's a little corny to take a toddler as your guru. She doesn't have the pressures of work and bills and Big Girl Responsibilities. She doesn't even have a cell phone. But let this video serve as a much-needed feel-good reminder. Sometimes all you need for a Real-Life Makeover is a little attitude adjustment. All that wacky enthusiasm?

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  • Classic accessories to glamorize any outfit

    If you like basic, trend-proof clothes that show off that slammin' bod of yours, you know what it's like to get dressed only to feel like there is something missing. Audrey Hepburn's little black dress is divine, but what makes hers a look we all are after is the way she wears what she wears. A devil-may-care attitude and an impish grin, coupled with those little touches of personality--the pearls, the updo with a sparkly gemstone, those crazy-chic gloves--make for a singular look.

    Style isn't what other people tell you to wear, and these accessories are only examples; find the bangles that work for you, the sunglasses that suit your face, the chandelier earrings that fit your budget. (Our style crush, Isaac Mizrahi says splurge on a great haircut and fabulous shoes, but fake the rest.) The point here is that even the most glamorous girl in the world sometimes needs a few little extra baubles to bring her look to life. Here, nine ideas for accessories that can elevate your basics

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  • 10 everyday rituals for a more meaningful life

    Yesterday I stood on a lushly green college campus and watched as 500 fresh-faced twenty-somethings threw their caps into the air. It was an event appropriately filled with pomp, circumstance, and century-old traditions still firmly rooted in place. But as my husband and I drove out of the bucolic small town and back to the big bad city, we got to talking about the importance of ritual and tradition, and how they both seem to vanish in adulthood.

    Our early lives are filled with ceremonial doors to pass through, with the beginning and end of each school year (not to mention semesters and midterms) providing structure and a feeling of progression for the first eighteen years of our lives. Then, without warning, we are thrust into a world with its seemingly never-ending progression of days, commuting, working, and paying bills until the next big punctuations of marriage, childbirth, and death. Fun, right?

    This is why bringing rituals into our everyday lives is such an important--and

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  • How to be your own life coach

    I wouldn't mind my own personal Oprah: someone I could sit down with who could help me identify my goals, live my life's purpose, and become self-actualized and Zen-like. And in our own way, that's what Real-Life Makeover is all about: helping you to transform your life in the way that works for you (we're still working on the Zen part).

    Enter Coaching Sanctuary, a new online community life coaching site that brings the coaching experience to those of us on a budget. Here, co-creator Bettina Jetter gets us started on questions to ask ourselves, how to form a game plan, and some Real Talk about how change really happens (hint: there's no magic pill).


    1. What gives me joy and energy?

    "Women are outstanding supporters of their family and friends, and they're great team players. But when it comes to focusing on themselves, taking some time for themselves, and identifying what they like doing, women don't always serve themselves as well," says Jetter. Get

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  • Good news about getting older: You're happier

    The aging process sometimes seems like nature's cruelest joke, but a new study shows there might actually be an upside to growing older. On average, survey respondents reported being less worried after 50, with people in their 70s and 80s the least likely to report negative emotions.

    The findings shocked Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Riverside who studies happiness. "That's really surprising that people in their 80s are happier than in their 70s and 60s. That's almost shocking, and not consistent with everything I've seen."

    Less ground-breaking results of the study, perhaps, regard the emotions of ages on the younger end of the spectrum, in which respondents reported being less stressed and angry in the years after their 20s. Those who have lived through their 20s would likely say that it wasn't the buffet of free-wheeling fun we see on TV. Reality check: twenty-somethings are at the beginning of their careers with lower-paying jobs

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