Blog Posts by Maggie Nemser, Shine staff

  • Question of the day: How many nights a week do you actually cook?

    The other day my friend Kendra confessed that she hasn't entered her kitchen all summer long. She's been eating out every night for the past two months and is "Broke as a joke with a tummy the size of Texas." Even though many of these dinners have been take-out, her wallet and tummy are screaming for a little vacay.

    Kendra declared that she's going to cook at home for an entire month as she tries to get back to her fighting weight and more comfortable financial situation.

    I started asking people if they eat out more in the summer than other seasons and I've heard one giant "yes!" from about 50 + people. How many nights a week do you stay home and cook in the summertime?

    10 ways to stay slim and save money by eating ...eggs?
    5 ways to enjoy the last lazy days of summer

    (photo credit: gettyimages)

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  • The communal table trend: What's the etiquette?

    Bumping into someone you know at a restaurant can be both wonderful and awkward, but after years of unanticipated restaurant run-ins, we've developed socially acceptable norms for coping. There are the standards like, "Been here before?" and the overly enthusiastic to compensate for being curt, "So good to see ya! Let's talk soon!" route. We were getting the hang of it, but now, thanks to the communal table trend, we've got a bigger fish to fry.

    What do you do when you're seated right next to your ex, for example? Finding the happy medium between ignoring them and ditching your dining companion can be challenging for even Emily Post herself.

    Just the other night I was eating at Gjelina restaurant, a delicious new hot spot in Venice, California and was seated at a communal table across from my spinning instructor. I wasn't sure if she recognized me. She didn't say hi and her fedora hat made it difficult to catch eye contact for long enough to shoot a hello her way. I could have

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  • Question of the day: What's your edible anti-depressant?

    Food can change my mood in an instant. If I'm having a mildly decent day, stick a piece of eel nigiri in my mouth and suddenly I'm sporting a smile the size of Texas. While I love the traditional comforts, my mood lifting eats are slighty more quirky. Here's what's topping my edible anti-depressant chart this month:

    1. Salmon sushi cut roll with soy paper and jalapeno
    2. Salsalito turkey
    3. Al dente spaghetti (pref w/ a fresh tomato basil sauce)
    4. Seriously sauteed spinach with garlic and olive oil
    5. The perfect chocolate chip cookie (pretty standard)
    6. Pinkberry w/ bananas and coco pebbles
    7. Pizza with Parmesan and prosciutto
    8. Goat cheese
    9. Diet Coke (haven't kicked it yet) or diet root beer. I know I'm cheating because they're not foods, but I'm including because a nice, cool DC or RDC enjoyed at the just the right time (approx 4 PM) makes me grin.
    10.Sauteed hen of the woods mushrooms

    Do certain unexpected foods give you an immediate surge of happiness? I know most

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  • It's time to drink your watermelon

    Watermelon is one of the most refreshing summer bevys, but between the sticky factor and the pits it can be a pain. Here are two cool alternatives to getting your watermelon fix without the production.

    EatingWell's Watermelon Agua Fresca


    8 cups cubed seeded watermelon, divided 1 cup water, divided 1/3 cup sugar, divided 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 liter club soda or seltzer water, well chilled Lime slices for garnish


    1. Combine half the watermelon, half the water and half the sugar in a blender; puree. Pour through a coarse strainer into a large container. Repeat with the remaining watermelon, water and sugar. Stir in lime juice. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours.
    2. To serve, stir in club soda (or seltzer) and garnish with lime.

    Yield: 10 servings

    EatingWell's Watermelon Slush


    1. 3 cups diced watermelon
    2. 2 tablespoons lime juice
    3. 1 tablespoon sugar
    4. 1 cup crushed ice
    5. 1/2 cup water

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  • Does running give you wrinkles?

    The other day I realized that spinning may make my bum larger and today I realized that running may cause wrinkles. There's no way that all that bouncing around, especially on concrete, could be good for the ole visage. A little overly-superficial, I know, but lets be honest, no one's jonzing for workout-induced crows feet so it's worth a discussion, right? And now that I'm on the topic, running can't be that good for the boobs, either. I mean, sports bras are great and all, but I'm yet to find one that creates an absolutely 100% jiggle-free experience. So what do you think? Does running overtime potentially cause wrinkles and boob saggage? And even if it does, do we care?

    Related Links:

    Does spinning give you a fat bum?

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  • Would you rather: A boyfriend or a fried chocolate vanilla creme Pop Tart with Nutella?

    My friend was just complaining about her newly vegetarian and overly weight-conscious boyfriend. "If he makes me go on one more silly hike or hit up another farmer's market for a single head of lettuce, I don't know what I'm going to do."

    Keep in mind that she's a size 6. (Kate Moss, look what you've done to our society.)

    "Every time I eat he says, "Quit while you're ahead!" And every time he says that, I want to eat a fried chocolate vanilla creme Pop Tart with Nutella on top." She said.

    My slight attention deficit disorder kicked in with the image of a fried chocolate vanilla creme pop tart w/ Nutella. That sounded relatively creative and delicious.

    So folks, what do you think? Does it sound good to you? Seems a little overly sweet, but nothing a glass of milk can't cure, right? Also, feel free to weigh in on how she should handle the beau. When it comes to this guy I say, "Go for the Pop Tart!"

    Related Links:

    How to judge a dude by his booze
    How to judge a dude by his food

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  • If you can't take the heat, drink some eel.

    According to CBS News there's a hot new drink called "Unagi Nobori" (surging eel) that supposedly helps keep you cool in the hot summer months. It tastes like you're drinking broiled eel. Gross. If this canned concoction, now only available in Japan, is truly effective in chilling you out, I'm guessing we'll see it on menus soon enough. If that time comes, here's hoping there's TUMS on hand.

    (photo credit: gettyimages)

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  • Cheeseburger challenge: Is there anything better than cheddar?

    I've always loved cheddar on my burger but I decided to switch it up and try some other cheesy combinations. I'm having a new love affair with Humboldt Fog, a creamy and buttery goat cheese from California, so I decided to give it a run atop a burger. It was a great bite, subtle and delicious with a little tangy kick. I was all smiles until I spotted my friend Jeremy's avocado/balsamic/bacon burger oozing with cheddar. I couldn't hide my drool-worthy-burger-envy so I asked for a bite (or 6). Suddenly, I forgot it was Sunday, I forgot that I don't really eat bacon and I may have even spaced that I was eating his entire burger.

    As fancy, fun and fabulous as the idea of a little gorgonzola or goat is, when it comes to the big bad burger maybe cheddar really does make everything better? What do you think? What funky cheese have you thrown on your burger and loved?

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  • The 15-minute healthy taco salad

    EatingWell's 15 minute taco salad works it out. It's quick, pretty darn good for you and seriously yummy. Throw some Mo-hotta-mo-betta-chipolte-adobo hot sauce on this baby and life is good. If you're feeling the taco and not the salad, go with this quick and healthy recipe con taco.


    1. 1/2 cup prepared salsa
    2. 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    3. 1 teaspoon canola oil
    4. 1 medium onion, chopped
    5. 3 cloves garlic, minced
    6. 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
    7. 2 large plum tomatoes, diced
    8. 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed
    9. 2 teaspoons cumin
    10. 2 teaspoons chili powder
    11. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    12. 8 cups shredded romaine lettuce
    13. 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

    1. Combine salsa and sour cream in a large bowl.
    2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add turkey and cook, stirring often and crumbling with a wooden spoon,
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  • Does spinning give you a fat bum? I think it does. Discuss.

    I've started spinning my ass off lately or should I say my ass on. I've noticed something slightly disturbing about my newfound semi-favorite workout: It makes my butt grow. I know, I know, it's muscle, but I don't care if it's money bags, I don't want it on my bum. What am I going to do with a muscular badonkadonk? It's not like I can lift sh** with it.

    So folks, what do you think? Does spinning do an ass bad? Check out the rears of your most avid biker gal pals. Chances are, you'll see a trend and it ain't pretty. Another sh**ty observation: this phenomenon doesn't seem to affect men. If you don't believe me, next time you see a biker in a dorky yellow glowing shirt, check his bum bum out.

    If you're an avid spinner or cyclist who has managed to avoid the fat bikers-butt trap, pretty please let me know how you do it. Less resistance? Smaller jumps? Share the wealth. What's the secret to maintaining a sexy and small bum as a spinner?

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