Blog Posts by Sarah B. Weir, Shine Senior Writer

  • In it to Win It: Americans Highly Competitive (Survey)

    Friendly competition? Friendly competition?

    A heart-warming photograph circulated the Internet recently. It pictured Meghan Vogel, a high school junior, stopping and helping a fallen teammate cross the finish line of their 3,200-meter foot race. Beautiful image. Lovely sentiment. Pure baloney.

    According to a survey of 1000 adults by Shine and Fitness magazine, most people are a lot less altruistic than the young Ohio track star. When it comes to work, intelligence, athletic ability and even hobbies most men and women fiercely want to beat out their competition, even it that means besting a friend.

    Life is just a game

    About 80% of adults acknowledge that they are at least somewhat competitive. Young men (ages 18-34) are the most cutthroat over all-64% say they are "very" or "extremely" competitive. Even at play they want to be the best-about 49% of guys say they are competitive about their hobbies (vs. 38% of women). Don't think that women aren't in it to win it, though.

    Smartest gal/guy in the room

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  • McDonald’s Video Reveals Why Your Burger Looks Worse Than the One on the Menu

    Do you think certain Hollywood stars go through a lot of styling and photo retouching in order to achieve a perfect glamour shot? Well, check out this video released by McDonald's Canada that shows a cheeseburger being primped and airbrushed to look super-gorgeous for a picture.

    Read more: Consumer Reports Readers Rate the Best Burgers

    "Behind the scenes at a McDonald's photo shoot" features marketing director Hope Bagozzi responding to customer Isabel M. from Toronto's question, "Why does your food look different in the advertising than what is in the store?" Bagozzi says, "It's a great question, we get asked that a lot," and then purchases a Quarter Pounder with cheese and heads to a photo studio to show viewers where the Mickey D's advertising magic happens.

    Check out: Best Fast Food Chains in the World

    Ketchup injectionKetchup injectionFirst, the photographer snaps a digital photo of burger number one for later comparison. It looks a little sad. Then, a food stylist cooks a new burger from scratch.

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  • Transgendered Athlete Vies for Spot on Olympic Team

    Olympic hopeful Keelin GodseyUPDATE: Despite jumping from seventh to third place in the fourth round of competition and achieving a personal best, Godsey did not make the Olympic team at today's trials. The three-person hammer throw team will be: Amber Campbell, Amanda Bingson, and Jessica Cosby. Godsey came in 5th place.

    Keelin Godsey, 28, was born a woman but identifies as a man. The 5'9", 186-pound hammer thrower is competing in the women's Olympic trials today in Eugene, Oregon; if he makes it on to the team, he'll be the first transgendered American athlete to go to the Olympic games. "I take a lot of pride in the fact that I have a good amount of muscle mass, and I've done it naturally," Godsey told Sports Illustrated. "But in some ways, this is the last body I would ever want."

    Godsey grew up as "Kelly," in Parker, Colorado, and excelled in basketball, softball, soccer, and track. His success as an athlete didn't protect him from hostility for being "gay." He says he missed a lot of high school

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  • Jennifer Aniston: Awkward Tween to it Girl

    By Sarah B. Weir, Shine Writer


    Would you have guessed that the ultimate California golden girl, Jennifer Aniston, was once a middle school drama geek in New York City? New pictures have emerged from her Rudolf Steiner School yearbook, and they show a refreshingly normal looking teenager--not exactly an ugly duckling but not the swan she would become either.


    Aniston spent her childhood in California but moved to the Big Apple when her parents divorced in 1980. After the Steiner School, which she attended from 1980-1983, she went to New York's High School of Performing Arts (best known as the school from 'Fame'). In 1989, she moved to Los Angeles and nabbed the role of 'Rachel' on 'Friends' in 1994.


    Although she is famous for the shag hairdo she wore on the show, she hated the cut. Aniston had some bumpy beauty moments over the years, but settled into her sleek signature look around 2005 and has stuck with it ever since.

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  • Grilled Pizza: Summery New Twist on a Classic

    Grilled pizzaGrilled pizza"Grilling pizza is one of the easiest ways to make it homemade," Tony Gemignani, owner of five restaurants including Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco, tells Shine. "If it's done right, its as good as any pizza." And Gemignani knows his way around a pie. His flagship restaurant boasts seven ovens including wood burning, coal, and an electric model from Italy. The nine-time World Pizza Champion turns out 11 different styles of pizza and also runs a pizza school that offers 75 chefs a year the most rigorous certification outside of Italy.

    Tony's tips for perfect grilled pizza:

    • Don't start with your heat too high. If you are using coal, pile on one side of grill to make an area with indirect heat.
    • Dryer dough (recipe below) holds its shape better for grilling. If you want to purchase dough, buy it in the morning so it's fresh. Also, pick one at the bottom of the stack in the refrigerator case-it will have been handled less and be colder.
    • Always bring dough to room
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  • "House Hunters:" Subjects say it's fake

    The Jensen familyThe Jensen familyThe blog Hooked on Houses is giving fans a dose of reality about the HGTV series "House Hunters." According to an interview with a former participant, Bobi Jensen, much of the popular show, which has been on the air since 1999, is faked.

    Watch: Bristol Palin Says Realty Show Will Present Her as Normal, Grounded Mom

    The premise of 'House Hunters' is that viewers follow a buyer as they anxiously decide between three different houses. Jensen says that, in fact, one house has already been purchased--the producers wouldn't even finalize her as a subject until after the closing. "When I watch other episodes of the show now I can usually pick out the house they were getting based on hair-dos alone," says Jensen. Houses are sometimes shot months apart. While the two rejected properties may be on the market, in Jensen's case, "They were just our two friends' houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!"

    Read: Racial Hoax Causes PR Headache for

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  • Amar'e Stoudemire’s Fiancée Alexis Welch: Who’s that Lady?

    New York Knicks' captain Amar'e Stoudemire has been considered something of a player--both on and off the court. He's been linked to singer Ciara, among other beauties, so fans got a big surprise when he tweeted from Paris: "When she said yes, it was surreal. I'm still floating. #engaged." The lucky lady is Alexis Welch, who he met back in 2002 when he was only 19 years old and playing for the Phoenix Suns.

    Read: Amar'e Stoudemire's fire extinguisher punch could forever damage his reputation

    The two met at a nightclub after a Nelly concert. They hit it off instantly. He was a recent NBA draft pick and she an accomplished high school athlete who excelled at volleyball, basketball, and track. Welch tells the New York Post, "We were both really young, so we went to a lot of movies. I would make him dinner, and we would just spend time together."

    Although the pair have three children together, the 6'11" hoops star had yet to make it official and has been quiet about his love

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  • British Royal Chosen for Olympic Team

    Phillips rides High KingdomPhillips rides High KingdomLike mother (and father), like daughter. Zara Phillips, 31, Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter, has nabbed a spot on the five-person British equestrian team reports The Independent. Her mum, Princess Anne, competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Dad, Captain Mark Phillips, who is now a head coach for the US team, brought home a gold medal from Munich in 1972 and won the silver at Seoul in 1988.

    Related: 70 year-old Equestrian's Olympic "Miracle"

    "It's awesome to be given this opportunity," Phillips said in a statement. "I am really excited and can't wait to kick on and get him there. Hopefully, we will make it this time." She was chosen in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics but had to drop out when her horse, Toytown, was injured. She and Toytown also had to withdraw from the 2004 games in Athens. On May 23, 2012, Phillips brought him out of retirement when she carried the Olympic torch as part if a five-day relay.

    Phillips participates in a rigorous three-day contest called

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  • America’s Coolest Playgrounds

    Whether you are road tripping with little ones this summer or just in the mood for a young-at-heart adventure, there are incredible playgrounds to check out all over the United States. Scheduling in a visit to a cool playground can be a great way to convince (bribe) kids to go to an art museum or historical sight beforehand. Dissipating some energy also makes dinner or lunch at a restaurant that much more tolerable.

    Here are some of our favorites from sleek to wacky to innovative. What did we miss? Please let us about know your favorite playgrounds in the comments below.

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  • Vaccines Safe Despite Improper Storage, Says CDC

    Vaccination concernsVaccination concernsAccording to a new report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), some free vaccines that are part of a government assistance program called Vaccines for Children have been improperly stored. Some lacked consistent refrigeration, others were stored next to expired vaccines, which could have led to mix ups.

    Read more: Vaccines for US children may not be properly stored

    "The bottom line for parents is that there is nothing you need to do other than make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date," Tom Skinner, spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tells Shine. "You don't need to go be re-vaccinated." Skinner acknowledges that improperly stored vaccines may lose some potency, but says they are still safe and effective.

    "We are at record lows for preventable diseases," says Skinner. "This is an indication that our vaccines are working." He points that recent outbreaks of preventable diseases, such as measles, are a result of under-vaccination. He

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