Blog Posts by Elise Solé, Shine Staff

  • All Hail Jared Leto's Mom: 8 Facts About the Gorgeous Constance Leto

    Getty ImagesAlthough Jared Leto won an Academy Award on Sunday for "Best Supporting Actor" in the film Dallas Buyer's Club, the real star of the Oscars was Constance "Connie" Leto, Jared's mother.In his now famous acceptance speech, the actor paid homage to his mom, 58, putting her squarely on our radar. Here are 8 things we've learned about Connie in the past 24 hours.

    She struggled to make life better for her two kids: In Jared Leto’s Oscar acceptance speech, he expressed gratitude for his mother who helped paved the way for his success. “In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana, there was a teenage girl who was pregnant with her second child. She was a high school dropout and a single mom, but somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children. She encouraged her kids to be creative, to work hard and to do something special. That girl is my mother and she’s here tonight. And I just want to say, I love you, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to dream."

    She encouraged creativity in her

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  • The 'Today' Show Thinks Anchor Tamron Hall and Michelle Obama Are the Same Person

    Tamron Hall and Michelle Obama. Actually not the same person. (photo: Getty Images)Well, this is awkward. On Friday morning, "Today" show hosts mistook a photo of their own co-anchor Tamron Hall for Michelle Obama. Anyone need more coffee? 

    Hall, a black woman, presented an Instagram photo of a young woman dancing in a leotard and asked co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Carson Daly, and Al Roker to guess her identity.

    “That’s you!” one co-host squealed. Hall replied, “That’s who?” Her co-worker repeated, “That’s you!” Hmm, not quite. It was a photo (clearly depicting) Michelle Obama — you know, the first lady of the United States — taken when she was younger. The photo also bore Obama’s “FLOTUS” Twitter handle on the upper right-hand corner (and the pic was shown immediately after a segment involving the first lady). Hall gracefully laughed off the remarks, but Roker didn't look so amused. Watch the uncomfortable exchange here (which starts at 1:10).

    Clearly not an intentional offense, but also not the warmest welcome for Hall, a longtime MSNBC anchor and

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  • When Did People Stop Having Regular Old Weddings?

    CorbisReady or not, the newest wedding trend is here: ambush weddings. They’re “gotcha” nuptials thrown for unsuspecting guests who believe they’ve been invited to say, birthday drinks or a dinner party. Once they arrive — surprise! — they find out they're about to attend a wedding thrown by the sneaky hosts, otherwise known as the bride and groom.

    According to a story published this week in the New York Post, the hassle of planning a proper wedding (mailing save-the-dates, booking a location, compiling a registry) can be overwhelming, and spontaneous nuptials can lighten stress for the couple. And in some rare cases, the bride is the only one kept in the dark. Back in October, a Miami man made headlines after pulling together an impromptu proposal and wedding for his girlfriend on the same day, by culling ideas from her “Dream Wedding Pinterest Board” (She said yes). Ambush weddings have even infiltrated Hollywood: Celeb couples LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian and Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady

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  • Daughter's Facebook Brag Costs Her Family $80,000

    Dana Snay/FacebookCall it the biggest Facebook mistake ever. A daughter’s snarky status update has cost her father the $80,000 settlement he won in an age-discrimination lawsuit.

    According to the Miami Herald, Patrick Snay, 69, was the headmaster at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami for several years, but in 2010, the school didn’t renew his contract. Snay sued his former employer for age discrimination and won a settlement of $80,000 in November 2011. The agreement contained a standard confidentiality clause, prohibiting Snay or the school from talking about the case.

    However, Snay’s daughter, Dana, now at Boston College and a part-time Starbucks barista, couldn’t resist bragging about the case on Facebook. “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,” she wrote. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: Teen Hit With $6,000 Bill After Using Facebook During NYC Vacation

    Dana has 1,200 Facebook friends, many of whom are current and

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  • Are the Oscars Kind of Sexist?

    Getty ImagesAs fun as it is to watch the Oscars (the gowns! the jokes! the awards!), there’s one thing viewers can always count on: sexism — raging from subtle to wildly over-the-top. Even with the hilarious and classy Ellen DeGeneres hosting the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday, we're still waiting to see what will unfold.

    Remember the sh*tstorm that ensued after Seth MacFarlane hosted the 2013 Academy Awards? Well, let's remind you then: He sang the “We Saw Your Boobs” song — a musical rundown of actresses (most of whom were in the audience) who have done topless scenes in movies; called Jennifer Aniston a stripper; and joked that the film “Zero Dark Thirty” was evidence of “a woman’s innate ability to never let anything go,” among other insults.

    Then, there are the categories themselves. Dividing men and women into “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” groups has been long criticized as archaic — can't we just decide who (man or woman) did the best job? Given that one 2011 study found that only 11

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  • Baby Einstein Products Don't Work, Say Scientists

    CorbisThose trendy DVDs and books that teach your kids how to read are a waste of money, according to new research conducted at New York University. “We can’t say they stunt a child’s reading ability or that kids this age can't learn to read, but these products certainly don’t help,” lead study author Susan Neuman, PhD., professor of early childhood and literacy education, tells Yahoo Shine. “And of the many reading products we tested, Baby Einstein was one of the worst.”
    In the study, Neuman and her team divided 117 infants, aged 9 to 18 months, into two groups. They gave one group a reading product (DVDs, word and picture flashcards, flip books) to use over a seven-month period; the other group didn’t receive any materials. Results showed that the kids who received the products could read no better than those who had been sent home with nothing. 

    “The average child begins reading at age 2 and these materials are marketed to babies as young as 9 months — of course they won’t be able

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  • Weird Reasons We Gain Weight

    Photo: Levi Brown/Trunk Archive You work out regularly. You eat healthfully (most of the time) — so, why are you gaining weight? For starters, check your mood. A forthcoming study of 787 people conducted by Cornell University found that people in a good mood are 77 percent likelier to eat healthy food than those feeling bad.

    “When people are upset, they want immediate relief, which may include grabbing what’s easiest and most comforting,” Brian Wansink, PhD, author of "Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life," tells Yahoo Shine. “However, people in good moods feel optimistic and tend to make choices that benefit their overall health.” Of course, there’s no magic bullet for perking up before you reach for the cookies, but the study also found that taking a moment to ponder a happy thought helps steer people away from the kitchen. But it's not just your mood, of course; here are other surprising reasons you’re tipping the scale.

    You pay for your groceries with plastic: Buying your weekly groceries

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  • Why It's Time to End Our Obsession With Celebrity Kids

    Getty ImagesIn a win for celebrity parents attempting to protect their children's privacy, People magazine announced on Tuesday that it would no longer publish unauthorized photos of famous kids taken by paparazzi.

    The move is just the latest response to an effort led by actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard who, for the past few months, have been campaigning the media to ban celebrity kid shots and encouraging consumers to stop buying magazines who publish said photos. (The couple have an 11-month old daughter together.) On Tuesday gossip site Just Jared followed suit, while "Entertainment Tonight" pledged its commitment to not air footage of famous tots, last week.

    But People may not be 100 percent committed to its promise: In an open letter by the magazine’s editorial director, Jess Cagle, he writes, “Lately, several celebrities, including Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, have been vocal about the paparazzi who can sometimes make life hell for stars and their children…They’ve also made the media

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  • Mom's Photo Series Spotlights Racist Comments Directed at Daughters

    Kim Kelley-Wagner Images/FacebookWhen Kim Kelley-Wagner adopted two little girls from China, now ages 13 and 7, she never imagined that her family would attract much attention. So the barrage of rude and ignorant comments she's received on a daily basis over the years has shocked her. But instead of dismissing her critics, Kelley-Wagner has created a controversial photo series starring her daughters, hoping to show others how words can hurt.

    Though the 55-year-old  communications director at a middle school in Charlottesville, Virginia, never married, she had always known that she wanted kids. Her life changed thanks to a tiny photo accompanying a story about Chinese orphans in Time magazine. “It was an image of six babies sitting in a circle on the floor, and one had the most serious facial expression,” Kelley-Wagner tells Yahoo Shine. “That image stayed with me.” At the time, China was one of the only countries that allowed single people to adopt, so a few years later, in 2001, Kelley-Wagner adopted 10-month-old

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  • What Dr. Drew's Daughter Paulina Pinksy Can Teach Us About Eating Disorders

    Paulina Pinsky, father Drew Pinsky, and mother Susan Sailer Pinsky (Photo: Getty) Paulina Pinsky, the 21-year-old daughter of renowned addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, has bravely revealed her seven-year struggle with anorexia (food restriction) and bulimia (binging and purging), in a series of blog posts, a CNN interview, and with Yahoo Shine. “I’m speaking now because eating disorders are so stigmatized and I want people to feel comfortable opening up,” Pinsky tells Yahoo Shine.

    Speaking and writing publicly has also helped her repair her damaged relationship with her mother. “I felt a lot of anger towards my mother but opening up with her has helped me let go of that,” she tells Yahoo Shine. “Being angry was not helping the problem, and honestly it was exhausting. And I think it's always good to remember that your parents have your best interest in mind, even though it is a hard situation. Being honest with my parents has been one of the healthiest and freeing things I've ever done, and it has allowed me to grow and move on with my life.”

    Late last year,

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