Blog Posts by Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

  • Elizabeth Smart Speaks Out on Surviving Evil

    Elizabeth Smart in 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)During her nine months of captivity, Elizabeth Smart, then 14, was subjected to unthinkable physical abuse and psychological manipulation. In a special interview airing on Friday, she tells NBC's Meredith Vieira how, during the ordeal, "she didn't' feel human." In 2002, Smart was abducted at knifepoint from her bedroom by itinerant street preacher Brian David Mitchell and held by Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. "To her, I was a slave, and to him, I was an object," she said.

    Related: Congressman-Elect Writing Elizabeth Smart's Memoir

    At the moment of her kidnapping, she said, her greatest fear was that her family would never know her fate. She wished he would rape and murder her by her parents' house so that at least they would have some answers.

    Related: Kidnapping Survivors: What Happens When They Go Home

    The kidnappers took Smart to a secluded campsite about 18 miles from her home. Mitchell performed an improvised wedding ceremony and then raped her. Initially, he chained her

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  • Will KFC Go Cups Make You a Worse Driver?

    (Photo courtesy KFC)Break out the wet wipes and air freshener –– Kentucky Fried Chicken has just released Go Cups for behind-the-wheel snacking. Targeting America's love of fast food, driving, and cheap meals, the containers have smaller bottoms that are designed to fit in a standard automobile cup holder.  "People are already eating on the go," a spokesperson from KFC told Yahoo Shine, "and we're trying to make that as easy as possible." 

    More on Yahoo: Beyoncé Treats Entourage to $2,200 Post-Festival Chicken Feast

    The patented container, which took two years to design, cradles a deep-fried bounty of seasoned potato wedges with your choice of Chicken Littles, Extra Crispy Tenders, Original Recipe Boneless, Original Recipe Bites, or Hot Wings, all for a bottom-of-the-bucket price of $2.49. Before we get distracted parsing the difference between Littles, Bites, and Tenders, let's evaluate the ways eating chicken and fries on the road is a finger-lickin' bad idea.

    More on Yahoo: Breakfast May Prevent

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  • Millennials' Endless Youth: It's Not Their Fault

    Carefree Millennial? Think again... (Getty Images)The very first episode of the Zeitgeist-y TV show "Girls" depicted the parents of main character Hannah yanking their financial support of what they call her "groovy lifestyle." They are fed up with funding Hannah's work as an unpaid intern after she graduated from an expensive liberal arts college. As a stepparent to two early-20-somethings, I watched this and chuckled knowingly. When will these (darn) kids foot their own phone bills, get real jobs, and find apartments? A new report released by the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce says that young adults' "failure to launch" is more about serious structural shifts in the economy and less about mom's free Wi-Fi.

    More on Yahoo: Global Economy: Faith in Economy Put to Test

    "The economy determines what the possibilities are for people," Anthony Carnevale, center director and lead author of the study, tells Yahoo Shine, debunking the idea that some widespread character flaw is slowing down the millennial generation. "This

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  • Gwyneth Paltrow: Our Crazy Roller Coaster Romance

    Happy Birthday, Gwyneth! (Photo: Getty Images)

    It's Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday today, and I'll confess: My relationship with the actress/singer/lifestyles guru/wife/mother/chef/rap aficionado/fluent Spanish speaker is a little stalker-ish. Like any addiction, it's the combination of celestial highs and belly-in-the-gutter lows that keeps me coming back for more.

    Yes, I dubbed her Nashville flick "Country Strong Smelling," but also deem "Shakespeare in Love" one of the all-time great romance movies. Her website GOOP is insufferably pretentious, but damned if I haven't checked it for cleanse tips. I also know she was cursed with a "long butt" — until celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson (nope, didn't have to Google that name, it's just there in my brain, because I care) boosted it to new heights, allowing her to wear gowns with full on sheer side panels in public, for photographs.

    High School Gwyneth Just when you think she's completely lost it by naming her kid "Apple," Gwyneth grabs you by the throat with her candid musings on the challenges of her

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  • Breast Health, a Great Reason to Love Peanut Butter and Jelly

    ,Two servings of peanut butter a week to support breast health (Getty Images)Peanut butter is a delicious snack, but here's another incentive to dig into a jar of crunchy. New research indicates that older girls who regularly eat peanut butter, nuts, and other sources of vegetable protein and fat may reduce their risk of developing benign breast disease (BBD) by as much as 39 percent. The findings are based on data collected from over 9,000 girls and young women who participated in Growing Up Today, a long-term research study led by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. While BBD, which includes a range of conditions, such as cysts and benign tumors, is noncancerous, some forms of it can increase the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

    More on Yahoo: Packing School Lunches With Food Safety in Mind

    The findings were based on the reported dietary habits of girls aged 9 to 15 between the years of 1996 to 2001. Later, from 2005 to 2010, the same participants reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease that had

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  • Food Expired? Here's What's Still OK to Chow Down On

    What's the real expiration date? (photo: Getty Images)When Doug Rauch, the former president of grocery chain Trader Joe's, announced earlier this week that he is planning on opening a discount store that carries expired food, the big question many responded with was: "Is it safe?" Americans have come to equate products past their expiration dates with food poisoning, a misconception that contributes to 40 percent ­— or $160 billion worth — of the nation's food supply being trashed each year.

    More on Yahoo: Packing School Lunches With Food Safety in Mind

    "Food-borne illness comes from the contamination of food by salmonella, listeria, and other pathogens," agriculture and food expert Dana Gunders, who co-authored a recent report on food labeling by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, tells Yahoo Shine. "They get on the food during production and processing. That's what leads to people being sick, not the age of the food." Many foods will still be OK to eat after their "use by" date has long

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  • Sun City Poms: Retirement Mecca's Golden Girl Cheeleaders

    With age comes wisdom-and miniskirts, pom poms, and some rad stunts. The Sun City Poms are a cheerleading squad comprised of ladies of a certain age-if you are under 55 don't even bother trying out. They were established in 1979 at the massive Sun City retirement community in Arizona and now perform 50 shows a year including at the Fiesta Bowl. British photographer Todd Antony crossed paths with them while working on a landscape project of the American West and was smitten. "They were effervescent and fun," Antony tells Yahoo Shine, "while also being very professional about getting their poses correct." The Poms do pyramids, high kicks, pinwheels (where three teammates flip another), and other risky stunts. Shooting one training session, Antony said he was nervous when one woman got stuck ¾ way into her split, "it seemed no one in the group was particularly concerned by this and looked on for some time as she got into to position where she could actually stand up again." Antony will

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  • Woman Reunited With Lost Engagement Ring: Priceless

    Wendy Porter with her recovered ring (courtesy Chris Turner)

    When Wendy Porter lost her engagement ring gardening, she was frantic. It wasn't because of the monetary value — the gold ring with a half-carat diamond had only cost about $400 when it was first purchased at a mom-and-pop jewelry shop in Vancouver that is now long gone. The band, which she wore faithfully for 45 years, was a link to her husband, George, who died a year ago after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.

    More on Yahoo: Museum Reclaims Jane Austen Ring From Kelly Clarkson

    Although she calls herself computer illiterate, Porter searched online and managed to locate Chris Turner, a self-described treasure hunter whose specialty is finding lost rings. Turner started TheRingFinders.com, a directory of more than 200 people in 20 countries who are specially trained in using metal detectors to reunite owners with their lost jewelry and other important keepsakes. In less than four years, they have collectively located over 900 rings, together valued at more than $2 million. Most

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  • 'Sex and the City Three' Twitter Makes Us Laugh (Unlike the Movies)

    Remember how "Sex and the City" went from being a bubbly girl-on-the-town all jazzed up by her big dreams and bigger libido to a moth-eaten drag queen slumped over the piano in a hooker bar in Reno? As the seasons progressed and the four leading ladies had less weird sex, less legitimate angst, and more outrageously priced clothing, the show lost its edge — and its devoted audience (hey, Lena Dunham, are you listening?). By the time series ended in 2004 after six seasons, and the movies were wheeled out years later, the plot, the characters, and the fun were as watered down as a blue margarita at an airport Chili’s. There are rumors of another "Golden Girls" — oops — "Sex and the City" reunion, but for now, we’ll just enjoy laughing with a new Twitter account @SATC3quel instead of at a new movie itself.


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  • Judge Slaps Mom With 2-Year Spanking Ban

    (photo by Getty Images)When is spanking considered physical abuse? A Virginia judge has ruled that Felisha Kimble-Tanks, an Annandale dentist, crossed the line when she left bruises on her 6-year-old daughter's thigh after disciplining her with a belt. The mom is now banned from spanking for two years.

    More on Yahoo: New York's High Court Rules Against Joking Judge

    The girl's father, from whom Kimble-Tanks is separated, discovered the bruises in January and filed a complaint with the Stafford County Sheriff's Office. According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, he also said that despite the incident, she was a good mother. Defense lawyer Mark Murphy pointed out to Yahoo Shine that the father made no move to get physical custody of the girl even though it would have been within his rights. He also noted that "the department of social services took no steps to remove the girl from her mother's home."

    More on Yahoo: Historic Child Abuse Inquiry Opens in Australia

    Prosecutor Tara Mooney initially charged

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