Blog Posts by Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

  • Beer, Not Bordeaux: The New Trend in Food and Drink Pairings

    Beer, the next big thing in fine dining (photo by Getty)Put a cork in that Malbec, because the biggest trend in food and beverage pairings is beer. And we're not talking about a Michelob with hot wings. There are more than 2,300 craft breweries in the United States today, each creating innovative and unique styles and blends. In fact, these artisanal brews now account for 30 percent of the suds sold by Costco. Restaurants, breweries, and pubs across the country are pairing gourmet dishes with esoteric beers redolent of caramel, pine, figs and other funky flavors. Even the upscale resort chain Four Seasons has launched Beerfest, a worldwide campaign to promote craft beers by serving dishes like Peruvian ceviche and sweet potatoes paired with a citrusy pale ale.

    More on Yahoo: How the Franchise Industry Tapped Into the Craft Beer Trend

    This may all sound a tad snobby, but the exciting thing is that beer, true to its blue-collar roots, is accessible and democratic. It's also a bargain: trying an unfamiliar wine in a restaurant could set you

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  • How We're Ripping Off Indie Artists with Our Cheap Tchotchke Habit

    Owls by (L-R) Abigail Brown and Cody FosterWhile some say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, for a growing group of artists and crafters, it's more like a kick in the gut. In particular, a group of artisans who claim that Cody Foster and Co., a successful wholesaler of ornaments and other decorative items, is plagiarizing their designs and devaluing the work their livelihoods depend upon.

    "Monday morning I received an email from a woman who keeps track of as many rip offs as she can find," illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon tells Yahoo Shine. The email contained a photo of Congdon's Nordic-themed drawings of reindeer, polar bears and other animals, alongside Cody Foster's look-a-like baubles. The details are the same down to the intricate patterns on the beasts' saddle blankets. "It made my stomach turn. It was pretty obvious it was a blatant copy," says Congdon. 

    A quick Internet search revealed she was just one of the many artists accusing the knick-knack giant—whose items have been sold by Anthropologie,

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  • Public Works Sleuths Find Elderly Couple's Special Rings

    Charles and Marie RobertsonWhen Marie Robertson accidentally flushed her rings down the toilet, her husband was ready to just give up and consider them lost for good. "I'm from the old school. I'm 91 years old," Charles Robertson said.

    Robertson was filmed in a video recently released by the city of Springfield, Missouri, to call attention to what happened. "In my age group you accept things the way they are," he said.

    More on Yahoo: Arizona Woman Finds Mother's Ring in Ashes of Home Lost in Wildfire

    After three weeks, their daughter Joy, however, persuaded her father to ask the local public works department to see if it could help. The rings had special meaning to the couple, who have been married for 67 years. Robertson, a retired dentist, had purchased the gold band with a cluster of small diamonds for his wife "many, many, many years ago," he said. His wife, who is now living in a nursing home and being treated for Alzheimer's, had a custom casing made of leftover gold fillings from his dental practice to

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  • Man Spreads Joy by Treating Cancer Patients to Starbucks

    Dan Dewey, courtesy Dan's Coffee Run/FacebookFor the past seven years, Dan Dewey has been brightening cancer patients' days in Royal Oak, Michigan, by treating them to whatever they want from Starbucks. "To see somebody smile who had no intention of smiling that day, it's just the best." The 67-year-old retiree visits two hospitals, St. Joseph's Cancer Center and the Rose Cancer Center, and most recently, CARE House of Oakland County, a refuge for abused and neglected children. "Someone once asked me why I get them Starbucks—which is expensive—and I said, 'Where should I go, the gas station?'" Dewey calls the patients and hospital staff he meets "the best people on earth," and thinks they deserve anything they feel like ordering. "If they're having a bad day, I'll twist their arm and make them get one of those 'frou-frou' drinks like a caramel Frappuccino. There are no rules, have two drinks if you want."

    More on Yahoo: Starbucks' Plea to Customers: Help End the Shutdown!

    Dewey first got the idea of making free coffee runs when

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  • Eat These and You May Live Longer, New Study Says

    (photo by Getty Images)A group of international scientists has located a possible fountain of youth, and it's in our kitchens. A new study in the Journal of Nutrition reports that older adults who consume higher amounts of polyphenols have a 30 percent chance of living longer. Polyphenols are micronutrients found mainly in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, coffee, and tea. Evidence suggests polyphenols have a role in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, osteoporosis, and other degenerative diseases.

    Related: Great-Tasting Antioxidant Treats

    The 12-year study, which involved more than 800 participants, is the first to use a specific biomarker (in this case, urine analysis) to measure polyphenol levels, instead of relying on questionnaires. "The results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality," lead author Raúl Zamora Ros, PhD, of the University of

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  • Study Links Eating Disorders to Childlessness

    (photo credit: Getty)

    Ten years into her recovery for bulimia and anorexia, former Miss Florida Allison Kreiger Walsh suffered a miscarriage and was shocked to learn it was likely related to her past eating disorders. "Losing a child was the worst thing that ever happened to me," she tells Yahoo Shine. Walsh says she was lucky to have a doctor who recognized the link. "He sat me down and told me I wasn't the first survivor to be in that situation." It's commonly thought that once a woman returns to a normal weight and her hormone levels are balanced, she regains her reproductive health, but new data shows that isn't necessarily the case. Walsh was lucky. Her doctor recognized the problem and she was able to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy to term. Now she has a 20-month-old little girl. "I'm very fortunate," she says, "but many women aren't."

    A new study shows that women with eating disorders are significantly less likely to have children than their peers. About seven million women in the United

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  • Planning to Blow Off That Flu Shot? Think Again

    It's flu shot season again (photo by Getty)

    Just thinking about getting a flu shot makes my arm sore. Receiving an influenza vaccination isn't pleasant, and its not 100 percent effective, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and infectious-disease experts recommend that everyone over 6 months old get one, with only a few exceptions. And now is the time. "This is absolutely the best time to get your vaccination," Andrew Pekosz, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine tells Yahoo Shine. It takes about two weeks for the body to develop maximum immunity, and he warns, "We've already seen cases positively diagnosed."

    Related: Flu Vaccine Not Tied to Pregnancy Complications

    This year, there are many vaccine options, some of which are available for the first time. The variety can be confusing, and the CDC isn't recommending one particular vaccine, but that's not a reason to avoid getting vaccinated. "Go to your health care provider," William Schaffner, MD, professor of

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  • Florida Mother Upset by School's 'Fat Letter': Is BMI Bogus?

    Kristen and Lily Grasso (photo: Kristen Grasso Facebook)A Florida mom received an unpleasant surprise in the mail recently. No, it wasn't an unexpected bill; it was a letter that said her 11-year-old daughter, Lily, was overweight. "Lily is tall, she's athletic, she's solid muscle," Kristen Grasso, told Fox 4 News. "By no means is she overweight." The girl, a star on her middle school volleyball team, had her Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated as part of a health screening mandated by Florida law. While parents can opt out, Grasso, a mother of four who says she tries to encourage her children to be active and feeds them healthy meals, said she thought the upcoming screenings would be about vision and hearing, not about weight.

    More on Yahoo: Is BMI Best? 8 Steps to Your Healthiest Weight

    About 20 states have now adopted mandatory health screenings including weigh-ins to calculate the BMI of public school children as part of an effort to combat the childhood obesity epidemic. BMI is determined by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by

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  • Texas McDonald's Tells Patrons to Pull Up Their Pants

    Sign outside Dallas McDonald's"No shoes, no shirt, no service" is a common rule posted outside many restaurants, but now you can add saggy pants to the list of forbidden attire. At least two Houston-area McDonald's have banned low-slung, baggy trousers. "The signs say, 'Pull your pants up or don't come in. Try to have some decency and respect for others. No one wants to see your underwear,'" the manager of one of the restaurants told Yahoo Shine (he preferred not to use his name). He added that the rule doesn't apply to young children.

    More on Yahoo: Student's Duck Dynasty T-Shirt Deemed 'Threatening'

    A spokesperson for McDonald's said that she had heard of the ban and that individual franchises are free to impose their own dress-code policies. "It's our understanding [that the restaurants] chose to do so of their own accord and to reflect what they feel is appropriate for their community business," she explained via an email to Yahoo Shine. "We continually strive to maintain a positive restaurant environment in

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  • Food Fight: L.A. Restaurant Claims to Make Country's Best Pizza

    (Photo: Getty Images)

    Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach, California, is known for its thin-crust pizzas. But now, not only is the eatery famous for stretching dough, it's also famous for stretching the truth by calling itself the No. 1 pizza spot in America and citing restaurant reviewer Zagat. Along the Northeast corridor from New York to New Haven to Providence, over to brawny Chicago and far across to the foggy San Francisco Bay – you can almost hear the cry of "We was robbed" echoing from mom-and-pop joints and tony bistros alike.

    More on Yahoo: Kitten Refuses to Let Go of Pizza

    The restaurant says it uses local, organic ingredients, makes its own mozzarella daily, and has been voted the tastiest pizzeria in Los Angeles for the past two years. "We managed to top that by being named the Best Pizzeria in the United States, a title Tony's in San Francisco has held for years," owner Michael Dene told the Long Beach Patch this week. "It's very humbling, and I'm extremely proud of my staff who works in the

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